A quick cast iron peach cobbler that bakes directly in a skillet. With just one bowl and one pan, it's an easy dessert full of fresh, ripe summer fruit and hints of spice and notes of caramel.
When it comes to baked fruit dishes, you have options. There are crisps, crumbles, bettys, buckles, and cobblers, to name just a few. Who knew there were so many?
What they all have in common is that they're unfussy desserts that are easy to throw together. And in my case, it's usually at the last minute, too. They're quick enough to prep and they can bake up in less time than it takes to eat dinner.
They’re excellent desserts to bake after picking fresh fruits at a farm or orchard and you want to immediately use up the ripest of the bunch. And yet, they also work great with frozen fruit as well.
🥧What is a cobbler?
I've simplified my previous peach cobbler recipe to be more in line with the true meaning of a cobbler - something that is cobbled together.
Cobblers emerged from resourceful early American colonists who, lacking traditional pie ingredients, resourcefully assembled fruit and dough in baking dishes - or perhaps cast iron skillets - as a kind of makeshift dessert. The biscuit dough quickly bakes over the fruit until golden brown while the fruit softens and releases its juices.
I already had a reliable biscuit recipe, adapted from Alton Brown, and that’s the most important part of a good cobbler. In this version, I use a little more liquid for a softer dough and don't bother to shape it into biscuits. Instead, the dough is simply scooped the dough over the fruit.
It's not meant to be pretty or perfect. But it's easy and tasty, and that's all that matters. You can't mess it up, because the beauty is in its imperfection.
Here's what you'll need for this peach cobbler skillet recipe:
- Peaches - Look for ripe, but not too soft peaches. There's no need to peel them. Frozen sliced peaches will also work in this cobbler.
- Milk - Any variety will work fine for the dough.
- Sour cream - Or Greek yogurt, helps make the dough more flavorful and tender.
- Brown sugar - Either dark or light brown sugar is fine.
- Brandy - An optional addition. The oaky sweetness pairs well with the peaches, vanilla, and spices.
See the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
🍳Substitutions and Variations
- Biscuit version - A bit more work, but if you like traditional biscuits, it's worth it. Reduce the milk by 2 tablespoons and shape the dough into a solid mass on a lightly floured counter. Handle the dough as little as possible to keep tender. Cut out circular biscuits and arrange on top of the cast iron pan before baking.
- Other fruits - Try this recipe with apples, plums, nectarines, or a combo of fruits.
- Without a cast iron skillet - Feel free to use another oven-safe pan or transfer the peaches after cooking on the stovetop to a baking dish.
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Whisk together the dry ingredients for the biscuit topping.
Add the sour cream, milk, and butter and stir to combine into a loose dough.
Slice the peaches. Remove the pits, but don't bother to peel the fruit.
Toss the peaches with brown sugar, spices, vanilla, brandy, and lemon juice.
Cook on top of the stove over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes.
Spoon the biscuit topping over the peaches in the skillet.
Place the cast iron skillet on a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes.
Remove from the oven when golden and the topping is cooked through. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.
- Make sure your butter, sour cream, and milk are as cold as possible, as this will help keep the butter solid and create a better textured biscuit topping.
- If your fruit is already ripe and juicy or you're short on time, you can skip the step of pre-cooking the fruit on the stove. Instead, mix everything together in the cast iron skillet before topping it with the biscuit dough.
There's no need to peel your peaches for a cobbler, so save yourself the trouble.
Personally, I would store the cobbler in the fridge. In my house, summer temps are usually too warm to keep food sitting out overnight. Also, I don't want to attract flies or ants. You can pop the whole pan in the fridge and when ready to eat, throw in the oven for a few minutes first.
Aim to use peaches that are ripe, but not overly soft. Peaches that are too ripe may easily overcook and become mushy. You want them to retain their structure while baking.
In this recipe, the fruit portion of the cobbler is what is touching the bottom of the cast iron pan and so it's not necessary to grease before cooking. But if you were making a cake and wanted the slices to come out nicely from the pan, then yes, I would be sure to grease your cast iron first.