Blackberry Cobbler

Blackberry Cobbler

It’s hard to think of a dessert that captures the flavor of summer better than sweet, tart blackberry cobbler. With its juicy deep purple berries and tender biscuity topping, this dessert is the quiet MVP of backyard barbecues, potlucks, and family dinners across the nation. The kind of dessert that has a low profile but that we’d all miss if it were absent.

What Is a Cobbler?

Cobblers belong to that nebulous class of fruit desserts that have charming, old-fashioned names like grunt, slump, sonker, and crisp. Believe it or not, there actually are differences among these desserts.

Cobblers specifically have a fruit filling with a dough topping. The dough can be thicker, like a biscuit, or thinner, like cake batter. Sometimes, especially in the American South, you’ll find a cobbler with a top and bottom crust.

How To Make Blackberry Cobbler

Blackberry cobblers are popular because they taste like summer distilled into a small baking dish, but they also owe some of their popularity to how easy they are to make. In this recipe, we give the blackberries a head start at releasing their purple-black juices by mixing them with sugar and letting them sit while we make the cobbler batter.

As for that batter, it all comes together in one bowl with a few pantry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, milk, and vanilla. The baking dish goes in the oven with some butter until the butter is melted, then the batter is poured on top and the berries are scattered over. The cobbler bakes until deep golden brown.

All About Blackberries

The blackberries you buy at the store will all be relatively sweet, with a nice tartness. But summer wouldn’t be complete without a u-pick berry situation. You may find that blackberries vary wildly depending on the variety and where you pick them.

Farms in the Pacific Northwest, for example, grow a wide swath of different blackberry varietals as the climate is especially good for growing berries. These farmed berries will have great flavor and sweetness, though some will be more tart and others sweeter.

Picking wild blackberries is a different story. Some may be large and sweet, others small and bitter or very sour. Taste your fruit before baking and adjust the recipe accordingly. Tart berries will need more sugar. Very sweet berries will benefit from an added squeeze of lemon juice. You may find that some wild blackberries are so seedy and bitter that they are best left for the birds.

How To Substitute Other Fruits

Cobbler is a super versatile format. Any berry can be swapped for the blackberries without making too many adjustments, though it’s always a good idea to taste the fruit to gauge sweetness. Stone fruits like apricots, peaches, and plums can be substituted. Just pit and chop them. Peaches with thick skins should be peeled, but many peaches have thin skin that can be left on.

You can also use a combination of fruits, like blackberries and chopped apples or apricots and raspberries. If using all apples or pears, the fruit will benefit from pre-cooking with sugar and spices to help tenderize it.

Adding Flavor To Blackberry Cobbler

While you don’t need to add anything special to make a great blackberry cobbler, there are some things you can include to boost the flavor. Rub lemon or orange zest into the sugar for a citrusy accent. Add ground ginger or cinnamon to the cobbler topping. Diced candied ginger is a nice addition to the berry mixture.

How To Bake Blackberry Cobbler in Different Sized Pans

This cobbler is made in a 9-inch cast-iron skillet or 2-quart baking dish, but there are other options that work well. Really any oven-safe 9-inch skillet will work here, as well as any 9-inch square or round baking dish, including cake or pie pans.

You can also bake individual cobblers in ramekins or small gratin dishes. The number of servings will depend on the size of the dishes you want to use, but if using 8-ounce ramekins expect to make 8 servings. Add 1 tablespoon butter to each ramekin, place the ramekins in the oven to melt the butter, then divide the batter and berries evenly among the ramekins. The baking time will be closer to 25 minutes.

How To Serve Blackberry Cobbler

Blackberry cobbler is best served slightly warm, but it’s great at room temperature, too. Cold blackberry cobbler is a fine thing to have for breakfast the morning after the cookout with some Greek yogurt. While technically blackberry cobbler needs no accompaniment, it wouldn’t feel right to skip the vanilla ice cream. Other ice creams, like peach or pistachio, are also excellent. Or serve with whipped cream or vanilla custard sauce.

Tips for Making Blackberry Cobbler

  • Using frozen fruit — You can substitute an equal amount of frozen berries for fresh. You do not need to thaw the berries.
  • Using self-rising flour — If desired, substitute 1 cup self-rising flour for the all-purpose flour. Omit the baking powder and salt.

“The batter has a sweet, toasty, and chewy/crisp texture that is lovely. That extra bit of added texture on this cobbler took it over the top for me. The berries soften completely, release some of their juices, but still maintain their shape.” —The Spruce Eats Test Kitchen

A golden blackberry cobbler dotted with dark berries baked in a cast iron skillet A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 3 cups (12 ounces) fresh blackberries

  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar, divided

  • 1 cup (120 grams) all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces; 113 grams) unsalted butter

  • Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, for serving

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

    Ingredients to make Blackberry Cobbler

    The Spruce Eats / Abby Mercer

  2. Stir together the berries and 1/4 cup (50 grams) of the sugar in a medium bowl until well coated. Set aside to macerate for 30 minutes or until the berries begin to soften and berry juices moisten the sugar.

    A bowl of blackberries mixed with sugar

    The Spruce Eats / Abby Mercer

  3. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 3/4 cup (150 grams) sugar together in a medium bowl until combined and no clumps remain.

    A bowl of flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt

    The Spruce Eats / Abby Mercer

  4. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and whisk in milk and vanilla until smooth.

    Milk and vanilla whisked into the flour-sugar mixture

    The Spruce Eats / Abby Mercer

  5. Place the butter in a 9-inch cast-iron skillet or a 2-quart baking dish. Place in the preheated oven until the butter is melted, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the oven.

    A cast iron pan with melted butter

    The Spruce Eats / Abby Mercer

  6. Pour the batter over the melted butter (do not stir). Scatter the berries evenly over the batter. Sprinkle any leftover sugar in the bowl over the berries.

    A cast iron pan with melted butter, cobbler batter, and blackberries

    The Spruce Eats / Abby Mercer

  7. Bake the cobbler in the preheated oven until puffed and golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

    A full baked blackberry cobbler in a cast iron pan

    The Spruce Eats / Abby Mercer

How To Store

Refrigerate leftover blackberry cobbler tightly covered for up to 5 days.

Recipe Variations

  • Cinnamon-spiked: Add 1/2 tsp. cinnamon to the berries and sugar when macerating. Cinnamon is a complementary flavor to blackberries and will help amplify the berries’ natural flavors. 
  • Gingery: Add 2 tsp. grated fresh ginger to the berries and sugar when macerating for a little gingery kick. 
  • Triple berry: Use 1 cup blackberries, 1 cup blueberries, and 1 cup raspberries. 
  • Blackberry and stone fruit: reduce berries to 1 1/2 cups and add 2 cups sliced peaches or nectarines. 
  • Vegan blackberry cobbler: Substitute a plant-based milk like oat or almond for the milk and vegan butter for the butter.

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