This peach cobbler is an old-fashioned beauty made with peaches, flour, milk, sugar, and a surprise trick to make the surface irresistibly crackly and crisp. What we consider one of the best stone fruit cobbler specimens ever.
Peach cobbler takes many forms. This particular one has been deemed by our testers as “The finest cobbler that I have ever, or will ever, eat.” The cobbler topping isn’t biscuity so much as it is cakey with a shatteringly crisp, crackly, sugary surface and sweet summer fruit beneath. Others are saying, “EVERYONE who has tasted this has fallen COMPLETELY in love with it.” For more of our testers waxing poetic about this peach cobbler ,you can read their full comments, found just beneath the recipe.–Renee Schettler Rossi
- 4 1/2 pounds (about 10 large) peaches unpeeled, cut into 1-inch (25-mm) chunks or slices
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon preferably organic
- 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter softened
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup whole milk (or substitute almond milk)
- 1/2 cup hot water
- Heavy cream cold, for drizzling
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, pressing it into the edges of the pan and allowing a little excess foil to hang over the edge of the sheet.
- Place the peaches in a 9-by-13-inch baking pan and pat them in a roughly even layer. Using a zester or a Microplane, finely zest the lemon evenly over the peaches and then squeeze the lemon juice evenly over the peaches, too, catching any seeds before they plummet into the baking dish and get lost among the peaches.
- In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar on medium speed until sandy, about 1 minute.
- Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and beat again for another 30 seconds, until all the flour is incorporated and the mixture is evenly crumbly.
- Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the milk. Increase the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes more.
- Plop the batter in 6 large blobs over the peaches. With an offset spatula or small knife, carefully spread the batter evenly over the fruit so it’s no more than about 1/2 inch thick in any place.
- Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup sugar over the batter. Then drizzle the hot water evenly over the sugar to melt the sugar into the topping. (Yes, we know, it’s a strange method. But it works. Trust us.)
- Place the baking dish on the foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 60 to 70 minutes, until the top is cracked and golden brown. (You’ll want to start checking it at 60 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the topping should come out dry—just be sure to check it in a few places.)
- Let the cobbler sit in the baking dish on a wire rack for at least half an hour. (It's no fun to wait, we understand. But scalding hot stone fruits are no fun, either.) Scoop the warm peach cobbler into big bowls and dribble heavy cream on top.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
A delicious, homey cobbler. Perfect for summer and very simple to make. I thought it might be a little too tart since there wasn’t any sugar on the peaches, but the cobbler topping seeps down into the peaches and makes a fantastic syrup, and then you have a layer of cakey topping, and finally the crunchy sugar on top.
My cobbler was brown and bubbly after 60 minutes. My peaches were small, so it took 15 to make 4 1/2 pounds.
Most of us, at one time or another, have probably fallen in love with peach cobbler. For me, it was in a big cast-iron Dutch oven over a campfire while camping with the Boy Scouts. We used Bisquick. As mediocre as Bisquick was, it still could not hide the fact that cobbler is a delightful concoction in any form. In the 40 years since, I have tasted many cobblers, all basically the same and yet each one unique. There are always chunks of fresh peaches and always some sort of dough or another. Sometimes, as in this recipe, the dough rests only on the top. Other times the dough surrounds the peaches like an overgrown peach pie. I have seen pie doughs, biscuit doughs, and doughs like scones. One last thing they all seem to have in common is the fact that warm peaches and dough of any kind are always delicious!
Having regaled you with my love of peach cobbler, I will say that this one is the finest that I have ever, or will ever, eat. This seems like a bold statement, and yes, I have, on occasion, been accused of exaggeration. But in this instance, I assure you, these are the facts.
We thought that leaving the skin on the peaches was odd and hoped that we wouldn’t be sorry later. I was also concerned that pouring hot water through the sugar and dough was questionable. After 70 minutes in the oven, the peach skins had magically disappeared and the crisp, crackled, candy-like crust that sits atop this masterpiece was a dessert unto itself!
I made the first cobbler as per the instructions in this recipe. I believe it would easily feed 10 to 12 people. We (against my better judgment) gave half to our neighbors. Several days later, I couldn’t get this cobbler out of my mind, so I made a second, but I scaled down the recipe since there are only 2 of us. I used an 8-inch square baking dish and 6 small to medium peaches, which after chopping and removing the stones came to exactly 24 ounces. I chose to NOT reduce the amount of batter to allow for a slightly thicker topping and, of course, to allow us to enjoy it from the paddle and mixing bowl since it was egg-free, hence worry-free! I also used a bit less sugar on the top but left the water about the same at just under 1/2 cup. Everyone who has tasted this has fallen completely in love with it.
This is a very special version of a humble-sounding, old-fashioned dessert. We were intrigued by the method of pouring the hot water over the sugar-coated batter. Indeed, the result is a deep brown, crackly, utterly delicious, buttery, sweet-salty crust. All our tasters loved the bright and clean flavors of the peaches with lemon. One tester said this dessert rates an “11 out of 10.” We made this once for our household and once as a gift. (I felt exceptionally noble that the cobbler was gifted intact, nary a crumb was missing from that crust. Fortunately, the giftee was kind enough to share with us.)
That second cobbler we made in a kitchen without a stand mixer, so we beat the dough using a wooden spoon, and it baked up just fine. I believe that, in theory, this recipe could serve 8 civilized dessert eaters, but with my crowd, it served 4 generously.
Half my testers dribbled the cobbler with the heavy cream and considered it essential, and half my testers were completely satisfied with the cobbler as is. Another tester ended up loving the cobbler for breakfast the next morning, reporting that on its own, the cobbler is too sweet, but with a cappuccino it was excellent.
The hands-on time is less than 30 minutes, but plan on the cobbler taking about 2 hours before serving because it’s bubbling hot after baking and has to cool. (We baked 2 peach cobblers within a week and both baked perfectly at 70 minutes.) My grandmother was the best home baker I’ve ever known, and she was mighty particular about great flavor and the best ingredients. I grew up eating spectacularly scrumptious cakes, cobblers, pies, and crumbles. This peach cobbler would have made my Grandma Ruth sit up and notice.
WOW! This was one amazing dessert.
I happened to have some gorgeous, juicy, white peaches that I indulged in at a boutique green grocer—the kind where you take out a second mortgage on your home before you shop there. I also had about 1 cup fresh blueberries, so I added them to the cobbler. The result was a delicate crackly crust unrivaled in the world of cobblers. I made the peach cobbler to serve to guests tomorrow night but managed to sneak a little in a manner that wouldn’t show when I serve it and had to force myself not to eat the entire cobbler. I think I could have sat down with a glass of cold milk (well, almond milk, since I’m lactose intolerant) and slowly but surely finished off the entire cobbler.
The only change I made was to substitute almond milk for the whole milk and not serve it with heavy cream, as I think it’s too perfect as is. The recipe is well-written and other than substituting almond milk for the whole milk as an option for lactose-intolerant folks, the only other change I would suggest is to possibly add about a teaspoon cornstarch mixed with a tablespoon cold water to the peaches if they’re very juicy. My peaches were extremely juicy, and the result was slightly runnier than I would have preferred, even after a half hour of sitting, but that’s not really a negative. The addition of the blueberries was the icing on the cake. I think next time I may try making this with cherries and blueberries, but this recipe is definitely a keeper.
The flavors were good. The hot water really does work much in the same way as a pudding cake does. I always think this is a little magical. I also liked that the author specified that the peaches should be unpeeled.
This peach cobbler was clear and easy to follow. Half an hour before the end of baking, I covered the top of the cobbler with aluminum foil to stop it from browning, as I found it had colored enough by this time, but it still hadn’t cooked through. I would suggest baking the cobbler at a lower temperature, perhaps 300°F to 325°F (150°C to 160°C ), as the top seems likely to burn easily.
I didn’t find the topping particularly crackly as stated in the recipe; instead, it was a bit chewy and like toffee in parts, which was also quite nice. Perhaps my topping didn’t get crackly because the foil kept the steam in and prevented the topping from hardening.
Within minutes of seeing this recipe posted on the LC site and reading the other tester comments, I knew I had to make this. The peaches from our tree were ripe and ready to harvest, I had all the other ingredients in my pantry, and it was perfect timing. It was destiny. I’ve made cobbler many times over the years and this is the best version I have ever made or tasted by far. It’s really that good—so good, in fact, that I shared the post with several family members and friends who love to cook. This recipe is a keeper, I only wish I had found it sooner!
The light and somewhat airy topping is perfection in itself. It has almost a caramel, butter, brown sugar, cake-like taste, and it’s surprising how the peaches were perfectly sweet. Assembly the cobbler was a breeze. I love that the peaches don’t need any peeling, and it’s amazing that the skins do just melt away and become virtually undetectable. I followed the directions exactly and found them to be accurate. I used a slightly deeper 9-by-13-inch lasagna dish versus my glass 9-by-13-inch baking dish just to prevent having to use a lined sheet pan and this worked well for me. The total baking time was about 60 minutes. Be sure to check the thickest part of the cobbler with a toothpick for doneness. When I tested the cobbler in several places at the 50-minute mark, the toothpick came out clean when testing the sides for doneness, but the middle took a bit longer, about 60 minutes total.
Thanks, LC, for another winner of a recipe. This may be one of my all-time favorite recipes of 2015!
Originally published July 02, 2020