Cobblers are the answer to fruit desserts that require little work. This is an old-fashioned recipe with a layer of juicy blackberries and a golden biscuit topping. It's fantastic served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. You can have it ready in an hour and can be made ahead, and kept refrigerated for a few days or frozen.
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If you never made a cobbler before, it's one of the easiest desserts to make and especially good with fresh fruit. We have several here covering different seasons, like the very popular pear cobbler and the old-fashioned peach cobbler recipe.
We're always trying new recipes for different types of delicious cobblers and adding them to this blog after they come out right. A sort of summer ritual around here when the farmer's market is bursting with fresh fruit.
What makes a cobbler such is a fruit layer topped by a biscuit topping that bakes resembling a cobblestone street and that's where the name comes from. It's like a sweet casserole dish.
Another popular top layer is using pie crust and making a lattice topping. Super easy and a great dessert to make with leftover pastry dough. Easy recipes like this one are perfect to take advantage of fresh berries on a hot summer day.
About this recipe
- Quick and easy dessert recipe. This is an old-fashioned blackberry cobbler recipe with the traditional biscuit-style batter. It uses melted butter for easy mixing, and the blackberry filling is stirred directly in the baking dish.
- Make ahead. It keeps well in the refrigerator for several days and can be frozen. So it's a great dessert to plan ahead.
- Flavorings. You can adjust and adapt to the type of blackberries that you find, add more sugar if you can only find tart berries, add a tablespoon of liquor that pairs well, or some citrus zest. Find your own sweet spot when it comes to the flavor of this scrumptious dessert.
- Blackberries: I always favor fresh blackberries, but it can be made with frozen ones (which is the case today because I couldn't find sweet berries). Wild blackberries can also be used and you might need to adjust the sugar depending on how sweet they are.
- Lemon: both lemon zest and lemon juice are used for the filling, and potentially for the topping if you want.
- Cornstarch: it's the thickening agent for the syrupy sauce that forms during baking when the berries release their juices.
- Sugar: I love brown sugar for this cobbler for its caramel flavor, but using only white sugar or a mix of both also works very well.
- Unsalted butter.
- Flour: all-purpose flour or cake flour, both work.
- Salt: I like to use kosher salt when baking. But regular table salt works just fine.
- Baking powder: make sure it's not expired as it will help the biscuit topping rise in the oven.
- Buttermilk: it makes the biscuit dough more tender, but regular milk or even almond milk all work. For homemade buttermilk see the Notes section in the recipe card at the end of this post.
How to make a cobbler
It's very simple to make a homemade blackberry cobbler.
What you need: a grater for the zest, a medium bowl for the topping mixture, a spoon or rubber spatula, and a ceramic dish.
The fruit layer is mixed directly in the baking dish. But, you can use a separate large bowl to mix it and then dump it into the dish.
- Cornstarch mixture: this is the thickener needed for the blackberry juice to turn into a syrupy sauce as it bakes. Be sure to completely dissolve it first (with lemon juice or water) before drizzling it on top of the berries. Otherwise, it might not integrate well.
- Flavorings: go easy on the lemon zest as it can be bitter and blackberries are not always super sweet. You can omit using it, but a little bit is nice for an extra punch of lemon flavor. Orange zest and juice also work very well with blackberries if you like a mellower flavor.
- Start by mixing the flour mixture with the brown sugar (these all are also called the dry ingredients) in a bowl.
- Add the wet ingredients starting with the buttermilk.
- Melted butter: make sure it's warm not too hot or parts of it will probably seize when you add it and it won't integrate well.
- Stir everything to mix. Do this very lightly. Don't beat or over-mix it as it will toughen the dough. This is important!
Assembling and baking a cobbler
- Make sure you have the right pan size. This is important if you don't want the filling to overflow before the biscuit topping is fully baked. If it does overflow (it happens) put a piece of foil on the bottom of the oven to catch the spilled juices.
- Drop mounds of biscuit dough on top of the blackberry filling (image below). There should be space left between them allowing the juices to bubble up and the crust to bake properly. You can flatten the mounds slightly but don't spread them to cover up the blackberry filling.
- When is it done? The top will get golden brown and the strawberry layer bubbling. But always lift the dough here and there with a fork to check that it's completely baked inside. There should be no wet parts at all.
- Organization: always read the recipe first and make sure you have all the ingredients, at the right temperatures, and also the rest of the equipment and space to make it. This will make the process so much easier!
- Baking time: keep in mind that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look the same or very similar. The baking time in my recipes is as accurate as it can be, but it might take you more or less time. You can use a thermometer that is placed inside the oven (like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that your oven is at the right temperature. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you might need to adjust.
- Berries: the amount of some of the ingredients varies slightly if using fresh or frozen blackberries. Frozen ones will release more liquid, so I recommend you add more cornstarch. They might be more or less sweet, so I recommend different amounts of sugar. It's all explained in the Notes section of the recipe card, below.
- Cobbler topping: follow the instructions in the recipe card and you'll be fine. Don't over-mix it, that's the key. You can also use cold butter and make a topping similar to a scone, like the one we use in the Blueberry Cobbler recipe. But it takes a little more work and I wanted to keep this a simple recipe. Crunchier topping: you can increase the amount of sugar in the recipe if you like a crunchier topping. See Notes in the recipe card.
- Storing: this easy blackberry cobbler recipe can be made ahead and kept frozen for a month or in the refrigerator for several days before serving, always well covered in plastic wrap. Store leftovers in an airtight container if the baking dish occupies too much space in the fridge.
- Flavorings: blackberries go great with lemon, but also with orange (Orange Blackberry Muffin Loaf anyone?). You can also add up to a teaspoon of vanilla extract if you like that mellow, sweet flavor. I find that it takes away from the fruit, but that's just me. And a pinch of ground cinnamon or mace can be a nice addition.
- Southern blackberry cobbler: the most common variation is using a pie crust dough on top of the berries instead of a biscuit topping. If you like this idea check out the cinnamon plum cobbler that uses pastry dough cutouts for the top crust. You can also do a lattice crust which is more traditional.
Related recipes you might like:
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For the berries:
- 4-5 cups blackberries, fresh or frozen (see Notes below)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch (see Notes below if using frozen berries)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
For the topping:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons buttermilk
- Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream to serve, optional
- Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C.
For the berry mixture:
- Have ready an 8x11-inch (or a 9-inch round or square baking dish) ceramic or glass dish.
- Mix blackberries directly in the baking dish (or in a medium bowl and then add to the dish) with the lemon zest and sugar.
- Mix cornstarch with the lemon juice in a small bowl until smooth and no lumps remain. Pour over the blackberry mixture and mix lightly.
For the topping:
- In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
- Add buttermilk and then the warm melted butter.
- Mix lightly with a fork or spoon. Don’t over-mix or beat it so that the biscuit bakes soft and tender. It should be like a scone or thick muffin batter.
- Spoon mounds of this mixture over the blackberries.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, until it’s dry, golden and, when you carefully lift the topping with a fork, it’s completely done. Make sure you check this as it sometimes appears well baked on top but still needs some time to fully bake inside.
always read the recipe first and make sure you have all the ingredients, at the right temperatures, and also the rest of the equipment and space to make it. This will make the process so much easier!
- Fresh berries are always preferred when in season, but frozen ones absolutely work too! Use 2 tablespoons of cornstarch for the filling, as they usually release more liquid.
- If you like a very sweet dessert, or if the berries are too sour, add up to 3 more tablespoons of sugar to the blackberry filling.
- Fruit to topping ratio: I like more fruit than biscuit, so I use 5 cups of fruit. But if you like less fruit, use only 4 cups.
Crunchier topping: you can use more sugar, double the amount in the recipe, if you like a topping that has more crunch than crumb.
Baking time: keep in mind that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look the same or very similar. The baking time in my recipes are as accurate as I they can be, but it might take you more or less time. You can use a thermometer that is placed inside the oven (like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that your oven is the right temperature. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you might need to adjust.
Serving: cobblers are served directly on the dish they were baked in, so make sure you use one you like to take to the table. A dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream rounds up the plate. I use a lovely ceramic rectangular dish from Emile Henry.
Make ahead: you can make it a day ahead and kept in the refrigerator, covered. Warm in a 350° oven before eating. This dessert can be frozen after it's baked. Also, blueberries can be kept year-round in the freezer and the topping comes together in ten minutes. So it's very easy to put together.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Category: Desserts
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: ⅙
- Calories: 232
- Sugar: 14 g
- Sodium: 112.3 mg
- Fat: 8.6 g
- Carbohydrates: 36.9 g
- Fiber: 5.7 g
- Protein: 3.8 g
- Cholesterol: 21.2 mg
Keywords: blackberry cobbler