Easy Cherry Cobbler

published Jun 30, 2024
summer
Cherry Cobbler Recipe

A stunning dessert that highlights the best of this peak-season fruit.

Serves8 to 10

Prep30 minutes

Cook35 minutes to 40 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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cherry cobbler in bowl with spoon and ice cream
Credit: Photo: Erik Bernstein; Food Styling: Spencer Richards

I grew up with a Montmorency cherry tree in our backyard, and my job when I was a kid was to climb it and fight the birds at the beginning of every summer for those tart gems. The fruity cobblers made from those cherries — featuring a buttermilk biscuit topping — are still the best, in my opinion. That tree is long gone, and I’m now beholden to local farmers for peak-season sour cherries. I have to admit my cherry cobbler recipe is way easier and pain-free now that I don’t have to endure scratch marks on my limbs to make it.

This cherry cobbler recipe is easily adaptable and can be made with either sour or sweet cherries, which are available in abundance at any supermarket’s produce section in the spring and summer and year-round in the freezer aisle. As the buttery topping bakes and melds with the jammy cherries, it fills the kitchen with the most intoxicating aroma. Once neighbors come knocking, dish it up with vanilla ice cream, freshly whipped cream, or a simple drizzle of cold heavy cream. 

Why You’ll Love It

  • The biscuit dough is so fluffy. The more substantial topping provides the perfect balance to the soft, juicy cherries. 
  • It’s low-effort, high reward. Pitting the cherries is where most of the prep lies. As for the topping, it’s a stir-together, drop-biscuit situation that’s really easy to prepare.
Credit: Photo: Erik Bernstein; Food Styling: Spencer Richards

Key Ingredients in Cherry Cobbler

  • Fresh or frozen cherries: The flavor of fresh sour cherries is unparalleled in this cobbler recipe, but depending on the season and your location, they can be tricky to source. You can use fresh or frozen sweet cherries (no need to thaw).
  • Sugar and cornstarch: Mix cornstarch into granulated sugar to prevent clumping and toss the mixture with the cherries to make a lush sauce as the fruit cooks down. 
  • Lemon juice: A hit of lemon juice helps tart things up if you’re using sweet cherries.
  • Extract: Almond extract enhances the fruity flavor of the cherries, providing a subtle background nuttiness.
  • Buttermilk and butter: Adding melted butter to cold buttermilk will cause it to clump and create pockets of butter in the dough that will steam in the oven, producing light and fluffy biscuits.

How to Make Cherry Cobbler

  1. Pit the cherries. Place a stemmed cherry in a cherry pitter and squeeze the handle to poke out the pit while leaving the fruit whole. (Cherry pitters operate like a hole punch and make fast work of an otherwise tedious task.) Alternatively, use a sharp paring knife.
  2. Make the filling. Toss the cherries with almond extract and lemon juice (if using sweet cherries) and coat them in sugar, cornstarch, and salt.
  3. Prepare the biscuit dough. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Combine melted butter with cold buttermilk, stir it into the dry ingredients, and dollop small mounds onto the filling, leaving space between each portion.
  4. Bake the cobbler. The topping will become golden-brown and the filling will thicken in the oven.

Helpful Swaps

  • Sweet vs. sour cherries: This cherry cobbler recipe can use either or a mix of both types of cherries. You will need to adjust the amount of sugar depending on what you use. A 1/2 cup of sugar is enough for sweet cherries, but you’ll need twice as much for sour cherries, while 3/4 cup is the sweet spot for a mix of sweet and sour cherries.
  • Gluten-free all-purpose flour can be substituted for all-purpose wheat flour. Just make sure the blend has xanthan gum, and avoid chickpea-based flours.
  • Frozen cherries are a convenient sub for fresh in this recipe, but steer clear of the canned variety — both cherry pie filling (too sweet) and cherries canned in water (too mealy). Use 2 pounds and 12 ounces of frozen cherries (7 to 8 cups), and do not thaw them. You’ll need to extend the baking time by 5 to 10 minutes. You’ll be hard-pressed to find frozen sour cherries at the store, but you might be able to find a mix of sweet and sour.
  • Almond extract and cherries are a classic pairing, but vanilla extract is perfectly fine if that’s what you’ve got.

Storage Tips 

  • Refrigerator: Allow the cherry cobbler to cool to room temperature, then place it in an airtight container (or cover the baking dish tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil) and store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. 
  • Freezer: To freeze the cobbler, portion it into individual servings for easier reheating. Wrap each portion tightly in plastic wrap, then place the wrapped portions in a freezer-safe zip-top bag or wrap them in aluminum foil. Cherry cobbler can be frozen for up to 3 months. To thaw frozen cobbler, transfer it to the refrigerator and let it thaw overnight. For quicker thawing, leave it at room temperature for a few hours.
  • Reheating: Bake the cobbler in a 350°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes. If it looks dry, sprinkle a little water over it before reheating.

More Cherry Desserts

Cherry Cobbler Recipe

A stunning dessert that highlights the best of this peak-season fruit.

Prep time 30 minutes

Cook time 35 minutes to 40 minutes

Serves 8 to 10

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the filling:

  • 3 pounds

    fresh sweet or sour cherries

  • 2

    medium lemons (if using sweet cherries)

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    almond extract

  • 1/2 to 1 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 3 tablespoons

    cornstarch

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

For the topping and serving:

  • 1 1/2 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    baking soda

  • 8 tablespoons

    (1 stick) unsalted butter

  • 3/4 cup

    cold buttermilk

  • 2 teaspoons

    turbinado or coarse sugar

  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional)

Instructions

Make the filling:

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.

  2. Stem and pit 3 pounds fresh cherries (7 to 8 cups), placing them in a large bowl along with any juices they exude. If using sweet cherries, juice 2 medium lemons into the bowl (about 1/4 cup), discarding any seeds. Add 1/2 teaspoon almond extract and stir to combine.

  3. Place the granulated sugar (1/2 cup if using sweet cherries or 1 cup if using sour cherries), 3 tablespoons cornstarch, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in a small bowl and stir to combine. Add to the cherry mixture and stir to combine. Scrape into a 9x13-inch or 3-quart baking dish and spread into an even layer.

Make the topping:

  1. Place 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda in a medium bowl and stir with a fork until combined.

  2. ​​Melt 1 stick unsalted butter in the microwave or on the stovetop. Measure out 3/4 cup cold buttermilk in a liquid measuring cup. Add 6 tablespoons of the melted butter (reserve the remaining butter for brushing) to the buttermilk and stir to combine (it will clump). Pour into the flour mixture and stir with a flexible spatula until a fluffy dough forms and no dry spots of flour are visible.

  3. Using a small cookie scoop or 2 soup spoons, drop tablespoon-size mounds of dough over the cherry mixture, spacing them 1 inch apart. Brush the tops of dough with the remaining melted butter, then sprinkle with 2 teaspoons turbinado sugar. Place the baking dish on the baking sheet.

  4. Bake until the topping is golden-brown and cooked through and the filling is bubbling, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before serving with vanilla ice cream if desired.

Recipe Notes

Substitutions: Vanilla extract can be used in place of the almond extract.

Frozen cherries: Use 2 pounds, 12 ounces frozen cherries (7 to 8 cups) if fresh cherries are unavailable. Do not thaw the cherries, but extend the baking time by 5 to 10 minutes.

Storage: The cobbler is best eaten within 24 hours of being baked. It can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat in a 350°F oven until warmed through, 15 to 20 minutes.