Easy Apple Cobbler with Cinnamon-Scented Drop Biscuits

updated Aug 12, 2023
Easiest Fall Ever
Easy Apple Cobbler

An easy apple dessert that looks like you worked harder than you did.


Prep15 minutes to 20 minutes

Cook1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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Easy apple cobbler in baking dish with serving missing and spoon inside.
Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani | Food Stylist: Jesse Szewczyk

You know what I love about apple cobbler? For a minimal amount of work, you can have a cozy fall dessert that feels like it took all the time in the world. In fact, anytime an apple pie is in order, I encourage you to consider cobbler instead.

Trust me, I love apple pie as much as the next person, but on an occasion like Thanksgiving when I’m busting out a 13-dish meal, cutting this little corner is a great way to save myself time and effort and not miss out any of those pie feels. Instead of making pie dough, resting it, rolling it, and creating a visually perfect lattice (which even for me is difficult!), I get to top my spiced apples with cinnamon-scented drop biscuits. Not exactly a bad swap, is it?

Cobblers are also a great way for beginner bakers to introduce themselves to apple desserts. Here’s how to make my very favorite one.

What’s the Difference Between Apple Crisp and Apple Cobbler?

Apple crisps and cobblers are both baked apple desserts topped with some type of pastry, but whereas a crisp has a streusel-like topping, cobblers have a biscuit topping. The biscuits are typically dropped onto the apples in small rounds, giving it the appearance of a cobbled road (hence the name cobbler).

This recipe’s drop biscuit topping requires very little effort and will impress just the same. You’ll combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, and a little salt, then work in cold butter with your fingers until it resembles cornmeal. You’ll then stir in buttermilk, which I use because I love the tang it lends to biscuit dough, but if you don’t have any, try subbing in heavy cream, sour cream, or yogurt.

I use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to drop the biscuits on top of the apple mixture, but you can also use a #20 size ice cream scoop to make easy, perfectly mounded biscuits.

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani | Food Stylist: Jesse Szewczyk

The Best Apples for Apple Cobbler

Sweet-tart baking apples are best for apple cobbler. They keep their shape as they bake, so feel free to mix and match them, or use whichever ones you grabbed while apple picking. Use any of the following:

  • Honeycrisp (sweeter)
  • Pink Lady (sweeter)
  • Granny Smith (tarter)
  • Jonagold (tarter)

The Spices in Apple Cobbler

Slice the apples up, then toss them with your favorite fall spices. Speaking of spices, cardamom is my favorite spice to complement apples. Chances are that if you eat an apple dessert in my house, there will be ground cardamom in it. This recipe includes cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and vanilla, but if you’re feeling adventurous, sub in some of your favorite fall spices like cloves, nutmeg, or allspice. I also add some lemon juice and zest for acidity, butter to enrich the apples, and a little flour to bind all the juices together.

How to Make Apple Cobbler

  1. Prep the apples. Peel, core, and slice the apples into wedges.
  2. Make the filling. Toss the apples with butter, vanilla, spices, sugar, lemon, and flour before you put them in a baking dish.
  3. Par bake the apples. Bake the apples on their own for about 15 minutes so the juices start to release.
  4. Make the biscuit topping. Stir together an easy biscuit dough made with flour, sugar, baking powder, buttermilk, butter, and cinnamon.
  5. Top the cobbler. Scoop the biscuit topping onto the apples.
  6. Bake and serve. Bake until the biscuits are browned and the filling is bubbling, 45 to 55 minutes more. Let cool for 20 minutes before serving.

The apple cobbler is delicious is, but you can top it with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream if you want to add a little creaminess to dessert.

Easy Apple Cobbler

An easy apple dessert that looks like you worked harder than you did.

Prep time 15 minutes to 20 minutes

Cook time 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes


Nutritional Info


For the filling:

  • 1

    medium lemon

  • 3 1/2 pounds

    sweet-tart apples, such as pink lady or honeycrisp (about 8 medium or 6 large)

  • 4 tablespoons

    unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish

  • 1/4 cup

    packed light brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons

    all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    ground cardamom

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    ground ginger

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

For the biscuits:

  • 2 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 4 tablespoons

    granulated sugar, divided

  • 1 tablespoon

    baking powder

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 10 tablespoons

    cold unsalted butter

  • 2/3 cup



Make the filling:

  1. Arrange a rack in the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 9x13 or 3-quart baking dish with butter.

  2. Finely grate the zest of 1 medium lemon until you have 1 teaspoon. Halve and juice the lemon until you have 1 tablespoon. Place the zest and juice in a large bowl.

  3. Peel, halve, and core 3 1/2 pounds apples, then slice into 1/2-inch thick wedges (about 10 cups). Place the apple slices in the bowl with the lemon. Cut 4 tablespoons unsalted butter into 1/2-inch cubes and add it to the bowl of apples. Add 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar, 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Gently stir until everything is well coated with the spices.

  4. Transfer to the baking dish and spread into an even layer. Bake until the apples are fragrant, releasing juices, and slightly tender, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, make the drop biscuits.

Make the biscuits:

  1. Place 2 cups all-purpose flour, 3 tablespoons of the granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Cut 10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter into 1/2-inch cubes and add to the bowl. Using your fingertips, incorporate and squeeze the butter into the flour mixture until it looks like cornmeal with some pea-sized butter pieces. Add 2/3 cup buttermilk and gently stir until a craggy, slightly sticky, biscuit-like dough comes together.

  2. When the apples are ready, remove the baking dish from the oven. Toss the apples to coat them in the juices. Drop 1/4-cup scoops of the biscuit dough onto the apples. Sprinkle the biscuits with the remaining 1 tablespoon granulated sugar.

  3. Bake until the biscuits are golden brown, the apples are tender, and juices have thickened slightly, 45 to 55 minutes more. Check after 30 minutes: if the biscuits start to get too dark, loosely cover in aluminum foil. Let cool uncovered for 20 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 4 days.