Berry Cobbler with the BEST Biscuit-Cake Topping!
Easy Berry Cobbler recipe made with your favorite juicy mixed berries and topped with a thick buttery sugar and cinnamon biscuit-cake topping!
This Berry Cobbler recipe will be on repeat all spring and summer long because it’s incredibly, easy, versatile, and above all, DELICIOUS! Lush sweet berries laced with cinnamon, nutmeg and splashes of vanilla and lemon juice are blanketed in a pillowy soft cake-like biscuit topping with a golden crisp crust. Add some cold vanilla ice cream and dig into heaven. This Berry Cobbler can be made with any of your favorite mixed berries or swap in frozen berries when they’re out of season – because you’re going to want to dive in all year round!
Fruit desserts are always a treat in the summer! Some of our favorites include peach cobbler, strawberry crisp, apple crisp, pear crisp, fresh strawberry pie, key lime cheesecake, blueberry cheesecake, lemon blueberry cake, strawberry shortcake cake and of course this new Berry Cobbler recipe.
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BERRY COBBLER RECIPE
This Mixed Berry Cobbler is one of the easiest, tastiest spring and summer desserts of all time. It delivers all of the warm satisfying comforting flavors you love about berry pie PLUS a satisfying, buttery soft-crunchy biscuit topping – but without all the work!
This recipe is simple enough to throw together on a random weeknight but glorious enough to serve for Easter or Sunday dinner. Little ones will love it, adults will love it, and YOU will love how easy it is! So, if you’re If you’re planning on serving this Berry Cobbler anytime soon, make sure everyone has saved plenty of room for dessert, it’s worth the wait.
what you’ll love about this recipe:
- Sweet, juicy filling: The sweet berries are laced with sugar and a splash of lemon juice and zest that work together to enhance the bright berry flavor. As the cobbler bakes, the natural berry flavor concentrates and the berries soften and release their juices to a create a self-saucing syrup that’s divine; not watery, not overly thick, not overly sweet, but just right.
- Soft and crispy topping: The topping bakes up light and pillowy with a deliciously crunchy crust giving way to a soft interior- it’s so good you’ll want to eat it plain! The whole cobbler is a beautiful marriage of warm, tender, sweet, soft and crunchy mingled with creamy, cooling vanilla ice cream.
- Delicious all year round. Nothing screams spring and summer like fresh berries. We love serving this Berry Cobbler for Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, 4th of July, potlucks, barbecues, pool parties, etc. BUT because this recipe also works with frozen fruit, it’s great any time of year! Serve it up for Thanksgiving, Christmas and every sweet tooth occasion in between.
- Quicker and easier than pie! This cobbler is a lazy, dump and bake dessert with barely any chopping (and zero chopping if you don’t use strawberries). It can be made from start to finish at a moment’s notice because you don’t have to make pie crust, chill pie crust, etc. Instead, the topping is made in minutes in your food processor or in a bowl.
- Short cooling time: Most pie recipes require hours of cooling to set, not this recipe. You can be diving into this Berry Cobbler minutes after it comes out of the oven, which means you don’t have to plan ahead!
- Made with pantry friendly ingredients: This is one of my favorite last-minute recipes because you can easily keep all the ingredients on hand. In fact, you probably have almost everything you need right now – grab some berries and you’re good to go! You can even use frozen berries instead of the fresh berries so you truly can make this dessert any time, even in winter, without a trip to the grocery store.
- Easily adaptable: This recipe can be made with any combination of mixed berries and fresh or frozen berries. You can use all blackberries for blackberry cobbler or all blueberries for blueberry cobbler, etc..
What is the difference between cobblers, crumbles and crisps?
Cobblers, crumbles, and crisps are similar desserts but with varying toppings. In a cobbler, the topping is biscuit-like, in a crisp, the topping bakes up crisper, cruncher, lighter and more cohesive. In a crumble, the streusel crumb topping is more crumbly and less crispy. The textural differences come down to the technique and the ingredients:
- Cobbler: Topped with a biscuit or cake-like topping made of dough dropped directly onto the fruit to create a “cobbled” effect. The topping is soft on the inside and crispy on the outside.
- Crisp: Topped with an oat streusel topping typically made with flour, sugar, oats, melted butter and sometimes nuts. The oats crisp up during baking making the topping truly crispy.
- Crumble: Topped with an oat-less crumb topping. The butter is cut into the flour and sugar until it’s sandy/pebbly to create a streusel before being sprinkled over the fruit before baking. The lack of oats means the crumble streusel bakes up less crispy, denser and cakier.
WHAT berries are best FOR THIS RECIPE?
I recommend a mixture of fresh berries for this recipe. The more berry varieties, the deeper, more complex the berry flavor. I typically like to use ⅓ blueberries and divide the rest between blackberries, strawberries and raspberries, but any ratio of mixed berries will be delicious.
Select ripe berries for the sweetest, deepest flavor. Unripe berries won’t be as juicy, flavorful or sweet. The strawberries should be ripe but not soft. If the strawberries are soft, they will bake up that much softer and create a runnier filling.
BERRY COBBLER INGREDIENTS
This Berry Cobbler is simply irresistible with its sweet, jammy, fruit filling, super soft biscuit topping with a crescendo of buttery crunch. And the best part? This dessert magic can be whipped together any time with pantry friendly ingredients – no planning required! Let’s take a closer look at what you’ll need to make this recipe (full recipe measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the post):
FOR THE BERRY FILLING:
- Berries: You will need 2 pounds, about 10 cups, of berries for this recipe. I recommend a mixture of blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries. Frozen berries are also delicious and an affordable, pantry friendly option but may produce a runnier filling so consider increasing the cornstarch to 3 tablespoons.
- Cornstarch: Berries release a lot of moisture when baked so we need a thickening agent to prevent the filling from becoming watery. Cornstarch blends seamlessly with the mixed berry juices so you aren’t left with a gummy filling or raw flour, but instead, a sweet, self-basting sauce that’s the perfect syrupy consistency without becoming gummy.
- Lemon juice and zest: The slight acidity helps balance the sweetness and brings the clean, berry flavor forward.
- Sugar: Use granulated sugar to enhance the natural sweetness of the mixed berries.
- Vanilla extract: Adds an extra oomph of flavor. Use quality extract for the best flavor.
- Spices: Even Berry Cobbler should be seasoned! Cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt enhance the flavors and balance out the sweetness. Use more or less to taste.
THE COBBLER TOPPING:
- Flour: Please use all -purpose flour or gluten-free 1 to 1 baking flour.
- Baking powder: The baking powder leavens the topping, giving it volume and a light, fluffy texture. Make sure your baking powder is fresh so it works!
- Sugar: The granulated sugar promotes a soft and tender topping by absorbing some of the liquid and slowing down the formation of gluten strands. It also promotes caramelization for a more golden crust.
- Butter: The butter helps bind the ingredients together and adds buttery goodness. Cube your butter then chill it so it’s nice and cold. Use unsalted butter so we can control the salt. If you only have salted butter, reduce the salt in the topping to ¼ teaspoon.
- Buttermilk: Is a secret ingredient that adds flavor and creates more tender and moist topping. You can also substitute with sour milk which I do all the time by adding 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar to a liquid measuring cup, adding milk until it reaches 1 cup, giving it a stir, and letting it rest for 10 minutes.
- Salt: Is an important addition for flavor, but equally important, it allows the gluten to hold more carbon dioxide, allowing the dough to expand and stretch without tearing and achieve a fluffier biscuit topping.
- Cinnamon and sugar: I use raw sugar/coarse sugar because it has larger, coarser granules and a hint of molasses for superior crunch, sparkle and flavor, but you may substitute with granulated sugar.
HOW TO MAKE BERRY COBBLER
Homemade Berry Cobbler is a beloved dessert not only because it’s DELICOUS, but because it’s so easy to whip up! Let’s take a closer look at how to make it (full recipe in the recipe card at the bottom of the post):
STEP 1: make the filling
Grease a 9×13-inch pan with softened butter. You can use cooking spray but butter is well, buttery! Add the berries, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla and stir to combine. Next, stir in sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt, then spread filling into an even layer.
STEP 2: MAKE THE TOPPING
I HIGHLY recommend using a food processor to make the biscuit topping. It eliminates all the elbow grease and allows you to make the topping in minutes with a couple pulses.
First, pulse (or whisk) together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the cubed, cold butter and pulse several times until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs (the largest piece of butter should be no larger than pea-size). If not using a food processor, cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter.
Add the buttermilk and vanilla and pulse a few times to moisten (don’t overmix). If not using a food processor, make a well in the center of the mixture and add the buttermilk to the center. Fold together with a spatula until it begins to come together but don’t overwork the dough.
STEP 3: ADD THE TOPPING
There isn’t really a precise method here. You can use larger tablespoon-size sections of dough, slightly flatten then place on top of the filling (as seen in the video) or drop the dough by grape size spoonfuls all over the topping (as seen in the photos). Both methods work, but I think the grape-size dropped balls bake up fluffier. If you have extra dough after you have added the topping, double it up in some of the thinner areas until all of it is used.
Lastly, brush the top of the biscuits with some buttermilk to promote extra browning, then sprinkle with coarse sugar and ground cinnamon for extra crunch and flavor. The buttermilk is optional, but I wouldn’t skip the sugar and cinnamon.
STEP 4: BAKE
Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes, or until the filling is thick and bubbling and the topping is golden and cooked through.
STEP 5: SERVE
Let the Berry Cobbler stand for 10 minutes before serving. This will give the syrupy berries a chance to thicken a little more as the cobbler cools. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream!
TIPS FOR best BERRY COBBLER RECIPE
- Work quickly. You don’t have to rush, but don’t dilly dally while making the topping. You don’t want the berries sitting in sugar for too long because they will will start to macerate (soften and release juices) once they’re combined with sugar which can make a runny filling.
- Use real butter. If you want the BEST Berry Cobbler recipe, you must use real butter, margarine won’t have the same effect.
- Chop the butter first. The butter needs to be very cold for the fluffiest biscuit topping. Cold butter melts as the topping bakes which releases steam and creates little pockets of air which translates into an airy, soft topping underneath the crispy crust. If the butter melts or softens before the topping bakes, it will be hard and flat. I like to chop the butter very first thing, then place it back in the refrigerator while I proceed with the recipe.
- Leave some space in between the topping. When dropping the topping onto the mixed berry filling, make sure to leave a few gaps otherwise the cobbler will steam both the fruit and the topping and you’re left with a runny filling and soggy topping underneath. Leaving a few gaps will allow steam to escape so the filling caramelizes and thickens, and the bottom of the topping cooks.
- Don’t overwork the biscuit dough. Don’t overmix, over-pulse or over-handle the dough. Overworking the dough will melt the butter and over-activate the gluten in the flour, resulting in a hard, flat topping. It’s okay if the dough is a little crumbly.
- Watch for a bubbling filling. It’s important to bake the Mixed Berry Cobbler until the topping is golden and you see syrup bubbling up all around the edges of the pan. This is a sign the filling has thickened in the middle. If you skip this sign, then the filling will be runny beneath the topping. If this happens to you, pop the dessert back in the oven and cover with foil if the topping is becoming too dark.
- Test the biscuits for doneness. To avoid an under baked or doughy biscuit topping, insert a toothpick into the biscuit topping, if it comes out clean, then the topping is cooked through, if not, bake on.
- Serve warm. This recipe is delicious cold or at room temperature, but is exponentially better served warmed!
BERRY COBBLER RECIPE VARIATIONS:
My favorite easy Berry Cobbler is this classic recipe – but that doesn’t mean you can’t mix it up! Here are some recipe variation ideas:
- Individual Cobblers: You can use the same ingredient measurements to make individual berry cobblers. Divide the filling in oven safe ramekins followed by the topping. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake until the filling is bubbling and the biscuit topping is baked through.
- Blackberry cobbler: Use all blackberries.
- Blueberry Cobbler: Use all blueberries.
- Strawberry Cobbler: Use all strawberries. Make sure they are ripe but firm otherwise the filling will be runny instead of jammy.
- Raspberry Cobbler: Use all raspberries.
- Add stone fruit: You can add, mix and match peaches and nectarines or I’ve even used peacharines! If you’re looking for peach cobbler, however, use this recipe instead.
- Add coconut: Add sweetened coconut to the filling.
- Add nuts. Add chopped pecans or walnuts to the berry filling.
- Swap topping: Turn the Berry Cobbler into a Crisp by using an oat streusel topping. Follow the instructions for my Strawberry Crisp topping.
- Make gluten-free Berry Cobbler: Swap the flour in the topping with gluten free 1 to 1 baking flour like Bob Red’s Mill. All the rest of the ingredients are gluten free.
HOW TO SERVE BERRY COBBLER recipe
The BEST Berry Cobbler recipe is served warm, fresh from the oven. It becomes exponentially more delicious with a big, cold scoop of vanilla ice cream. The cold, silky smooth ice cream mingled with the warm, sweet, filling and buttery soft, crunchy topping is heavenly! Like my husband noted, “the vanilla ice cream changes it entirely.” You can also top with extra berries, whipped cream or berry syrup – but honestly this Berry Cobbler doesn’t need it!
WHAT TO SERVE WITH mixed BERRY COBBLER?
This easy Berry Cobbler is a favorite spring and summer-time dessert so naturally, it pairs well with any of your favorite cookout foods such as Best Burgers, Steak Kabobs, Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs, Grilled Flank Steak, Grilled Sirloin Steak, Chili Lime Grilled Salmon and Grilled Lemon Butter Shrimp.
CAN YOU MAKE BERRY COBBLER AHEAD OF TIME?
I do not recommend make this Mixed Berry Cobbler recipe ahead of time. If you combine the berries with sugar they will start to macerate and the filling will be runny. The topping should also be baked as soon as it’s made or it won’t rise as much. You can, however, chop the strawberries, and juice and zest the lemon.
HOW LONG IS berry cobbler RECIPE GOOD FOR?
Berry Cobblers is the very best fresh from the oven because the topping is the crunchiest. You can certainly enjoy leftovers, but the topping will start to soften. Refrigerated cobbler is good for up to 4 days.
HOW TO STORE berry cobbler
- Let the dessert cool completely at room temperature.
- Once cool, cover tightly with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate or transfer to an airtight container.
- Refrigerated for up to 4 days.
HOW TO REHEAT BERRY COBBLER
- Microwave: The microwave is convenient for smaller portions but the topping won’t get as crispy as the oven – just full disclosure – but still delish. To microwave, transfer a portion to a microwave safe plate. Microwave for 30 second intervals until warmed through.
- Oven: Reheat the baking dish at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until heated though. You can also transfer smaller portions to a smaller baking dish or cast-iron skillet to reheat.
CAN YOU FREEZE BERRY COBBLER?
Yes! Baked Berry Cobbler freezes well but the topping does become softer and chewier and loses some of its crispiness – still totally delicious – just more cake-like. I do not recommend freezing unbaked cobbler.
You can also freeze fresh berries when they’re in season and use them in homemade Berry Cobbler year-round.
HOW TO FREEZE mixed BERRY COBBLER:
- Let the baked cobbler cool completely
- Wrap the freezer-safe casserole dish with two layers of plastic wrap followed by two layers of foil.
- Freeze for up to 6 months.
- When ready to use, thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
- Warm in the oven at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or until heated through.
BERRY COBBLER FAQS
Cobbler is a deep-dish baked dessert made of a fruit filling such as berries, apples and peaches. The fruit is tossed in sugar and cornstarch in a large baking dish then topped with a thick dropped-biscuit topping that appears “cobbled” when baked. The crust includes a leavening agent so it rises a bit and becomes soft and crispy.
There are many variations cobbler. Some recipes are more like a cake, with a cake-like batter prepared on the bottom of the pan and then fruit incorporated. Some cobblers are topped with a pastry crust topping, and some are topped with a more cake-like topping. To me, however, cobbler isn’t a cake or a pie! It necessitates a luscious fruit bottom layered with and a sweet, thick biscuit topping. And this recipe is just that.
The name cobbler was first record in 1859. It may be related to the archaic word cobeler, meaning “wooden bowl,” or a nod to the topping’s cobbled stone appearance.
There are three possible reasons for a runny fruit cobbler:
1. First, the berries, particularly the strawberries, can be too ripe. Soft strawberries will release more juices because they are already breaking down, contributing to a runny filling. Make sure to use firm strawberries otherwise add an extra tablespoon of cornstarch to the filling.
2. Second, the filling must be bubbling-hot before removing it from the oven to ensure the cornstarch is cooked enough to thicken the filling.
3. Third, leave a few spaces in between the topping so steam can escape otherwise all that moisture gets trapped in the filling and it can’t reduce.
You shouldn’t have a problem with this Berry Cobbler recipe being gummy if you use fresh fruit unless you overcook it.
Berry Cobbler should be juicy and jammy, but not gooey – enveloped in a thick syrup that’s formed as the juices bake. If your cobbler is gooey, it’s a sign that there was too much cornstarch mixed with the berries for the amount of juices that were released while baking. This is usually a result of your berries not being ripe enough.
Unlike other fruit cobblers, you don’t have to worry about mushy berries in this recipe. The jammy filling will be soft and tender with berries breaking down into a chunky syrup. If the berries are soft and mushy before you even cook with them, then they are starting to decompose and best used for strawberry syrup or jam instead.
You will need to toss the berries with 2 ½ tablespoons of cornstarch before baking. The cornstarch will thicken the juices so that your filling doesn’t come out runny. Make sure you see the filling vigorously bubbling up before pulling it out of the oven. This means the cornstarch is fully activated and has thickened the filling.
Thickening the filling is necessary because berries release juices when cooked. This is to our advantage because the juices mingle with the sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and cornstarch to create a sweet, self-basting sauce that’s the perfect consistency without becoming gummy. Without cornstarch, the juices would create a watery filling.
You may also thicken the Berry Cobbler filling with double the amount of flour. However, this is more likely to produce a gummy filling.
Yes Berry Cobbler can be overcooked but it is very forgiving. The longer you cook the Berry Cobbler, the more broken down the berries will become, resulting in more jammy filling verses a chunky filling. If you cook beyond the jammy consistency, then the filling can become gummy. You also don’t want to overcook the the cobbler or the topping can burn.
It can be tricky to know when cobbler is done because you can’t see the filling or the bottom of the topping. Bake the Berry Cobbler for 45-55 minutes at 350 degrees F. When it’s done, the topping should be deeply golden and a toothpick inserted into the biscuit topping will come out clean. You can further tell when the cobbler is done by checking the temperature of the topping. Cobbler topping is a variation on a quick bread, and should be baked to at least 200°F at the thickest part of the topping. It is also crucial that the berry juices are bubbling up around the edges of the pan.
Berry Cobbler does not need to be refrigerated for up to 2 days so it’s perfect to bring to you next potluck, picnic or barbecue. Still, I like to refrigerate the cobbler in order to prolong its life.
Yes, you can certainly halve this recipe, although I would advise against it because it’s SO good and goes down SO easily. My husband and I can eat half a pan in one sitting. Still, if you want to half the recipe, use the serving arrows in the recipe card and change them to 4 servings. Use an 8×8 baking dish.
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- 1 tablespoon softened butter for greasing the pan
- 2 pounds (32 ounces) mixed berries (see notes)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed small
- 1/2 cup buttermilk (see DIY in Notes)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
ADD LATER FOR TOPPING
- 1 tablespoon RAW or coarse sugar (may sub granulated sugar)
- 1 tablespoon buttermilk (optional for browning)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with softened butter.
Add the berries, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla to the pan and stir to combine. Add the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt, stir to combine, then spread filling into an even layer; set aside.
Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt to a large food processor (or large bowl). Pulse (or whisk) until combined. Add the cubed butter and pulse several times until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs (the largest piece of butter should be no larger than pea-size). If not using a food processor, cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter.
Using a liquid measuring glass, whisk the vanilla into the buttermilk then pour into the feed tube while pusling. Pulse a few times to moisten (don’t overmix). If not using a food processor, make a well in the center of the mixture and add the buttermilk to the center. Fold together with a spatula until it begins to come together but don’t overwork the dough.
Drop the dough by small spoonfuls all over the berries, leaving a few gaps so the filling can steam. Brush the top of the biscuit dough with 1 Tablespoon of buttermilk to help it brown (optional). Sprinkle the topping with raw sugar and ground cinnamon.
Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for 45-55 minutes, or until the filling is thick and bubbling and a toothpick inserted into the topping comes out clean. Let the cobbler cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes to set before serving. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream and extra fresh berries if desired.
- Berries: I recommend a mixture of fresh berries for this recipe. The more berry varieties, the deeper, more complex the berry flavor. I typically like to use ⅓ blueberries (12 ounces) and divide the rest between blackberries, strawberries and raspberries, but any ratio of mixed berries will be delicious. If you use all blackberries or blueberries, reduce the cornstarch to 2 tablespoons because they won’t release as much juice.
- Frozen berries: Frozen berries are also delicious and an affordable, pantry friendly option. Do not thaw the berries before using and increase the cornstarch to 3 tablespoons.
HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT
- Make ahead: I do not recommend make this recipe ahead of time. If you combine the berries with sugar they will start to macerate and the filling will be runny. The topping should also be baked as soon as it’s made or it won’t rise as much. You can, however, chop the strawberries, and juice and zest the lemon.
- To store: Let the dessert cool completely at room temperature, cover and refrigerated for up to 4 days.
- To freeze: Baked Berry Cobbler freezes well but the topping does become softer and chewier and loses some of its crispiness – still totally delicious – just more cake-like. I do not recommend freezing unbaked cobbler. To freeze, let the baked cobbler cool completely then double wrap in plastic wrap followed by foil. Freeze for up to 6 months. When ready to use, thaw overnight in the refrigerator then warm in the oven at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or until heated through.
- To reheat in the microwave: The microwave is convenient for smaller portions but the topping won’t get as crispy as the oven – just full disclosure – but still delish. To microwave, transfer a portion to a microwave safe plate. Microwave for 30 second intervals until warmed through.
- To reheat in the oven: Reheat the baking dish at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until heated though. You can also transfer smaller portions to a smaller baking dish or cast-iron skillet to reheat.
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