The Best Berry Cobbler You’ll Ever Have

Whoa, how delicious does this berry cobbler look? Julie of Willow Bird Baking says that her cobbler “makes for a sweet date: two forks, a skillet of cobbler, some ice cream and a warm night on the patio.” Here’s how to whip one up…

The Best Berry Cobbler You’ll Ever Have
By Julie of Willow Bird Baking

When you ask for cobbler, you might receive very different things depending on your geographical location, heritage, disposition, and maybe even hair color. There are cobblers that use pie pastry, cobblers that use crumble topping, cobblers that use a light batter. There are brown betties, crumbles, buckles, pandowdies, grunts, and apparently something from my own state, North Carolina, called the Sonker, though I’ve yet to try it. The only sure thing in a cobbler is fruit and goodness.

This particular cobbler is one my mom used to make for me and my four siblings, and we all clamored for it! She used a big can of peaches—and you could certainly do so, too—but I chose to freshen it up here with bright berries. Cooking a portion of the berries to bursting on the stove ensures that there’s enough liquid to mimic the sauce from canned fruit, and a little lemon zest brightens up the whole dessert. She called it a “cobbler cake” because of the saturated, cake-like couch surrounding the fruit.

The best thing about cobblers? They’re thrown together with very little effort—this will take about 15 minutes of prep time once you’ve washed and sliced your berries. Do take the time to measure your ingredients and set out your supplies before you begin. This preparation (called “mise en place,” or “putting in place”) may seem like extra effort, but I promise it will actually make baking simpler and more fun for you!

I eat my cobbler right out of the skillet (you can use a 9 x 13-inch baking dish if you don’t have one). It saves dishes, but more important, it makes for a sweet summer date: two forks, a skillet of cobbler, some ice cream and a warm night on the patio.

Recipe: The Best Berry Cobbler

You’ll need:
1 cup flour
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
Dash of salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup blueberries, divided
1 cup raspberries, divided
1 cup quartered strawberries
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest

Measure out your ingredients; wash and cut your berries. Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a medium saucepan, mix 3 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 cup blueberries, 1/2 cup raspberries and 1/4 cup water. Cook them over medium-high heat until the berries burst and release their juices and the mixture begins to thicken, about 10-12 minutes. Pour this into a bowl to cool slightly while you complete the following steps.

In a separate large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Set these dry ingredients aside while you melt the stick of butter in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the skillet from the heat. Pour the milk into the dry ingredients and mix until the lumps are gone (the batter will be very liquid) and then pour this batter over top of the melted butter.

Gently mix the slightly cooled cooked fruit with the leftover uncooked fruit and lemon zest before pouring it around the top of the batter. Do NOT stir this—just let it fall where it falls! Bake the cobbler for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and almost set. Serve hot with a big scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

WOW. Thank you, Julie!

P.S. More best recipes, including caramel apple pie and chocolate-chunk cookies.

(Photos and recipe by Julie from Willow Bird Baking. Thanks to Shoko for help with this series.)

  1. Pete says...

    So, 8ish years later, this is still one of my our favorite desserts. A new baby has made my wife dairy free because of the baby’s sensitivity. Anyone try this with diary free butter or almond milk and the like?

    • Erin D LaDue says...

      I used Vegan butter and almond milk. I will let you know.

  2. Karen says...

    I made this today, turned out beautify. I didn’t serve it warm, but I will next time. My husband who is not a fan of cobblers, really liked this one. I did use only 3/4 cup of sugar, which was sweet enough for us. I also used some black caps in place of some of the Strawberries. Definitely will make again.

  3. I know it’s probably scandalous to ask but would this still work well with frozen berries?

  4. My son in law said this is THE BEST cobbler he’s ever had! Making it again for him today.

  5. I made it last night, cut the sugar in half and it was still simply wonderful. My kids loved it and begged for the scant leftovers for breakfast.

  6. Thank you for this recipe! I made it for my brother’s 30th birthday dinner with the family and he told me it was “the best cake I’ve ever had!”, and trust me he does not throw these types of compliments around readily!

  7. I made this for several people, my boyfriend included and it was the best recipe ever!! Before I made it I asked him if we had a cast iron skillet and he goes ‘no but I just love those things, I always look at them and think about getting one…’ We went out and got one 30 minutes later! HAHAHA MEN!

  8. But he only brings in a wedding dress the bride everything looks: glamor, understated and a special eye-catching detail!
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  9. looks very yammy! Perfect for the weekends!

  10. Love how you went for the best part, the center w the ice cream… Smart cookie!

  11. Thanks for this lovely recipe. I made it last night, and the husband and I thought it was delicious. I’d not made cobbler in a cast iron pan before, and it worked splendidly! We did put it in bowls like civilized folk, but I was highly tempted to just throw the ice cream on top and pull out the spoons.

  12. I make this sort of dessert quite a lot, usually on a Sunday. It’s amazing with pear, too. And a little cinnamon. I’ve never thought about eating it out the pan and sharing though, that makes it a little more intimate :-)

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  14. I love berries more than any other food — this looks incredible! I cant wait to try it!

  15. Growing up, I never liked baked fruit. It shouldn’t be mushy, I thought. But as I get a little older, I now think otherwise. This looks delicious!

  16. No worries! I feel like you have to make that mistake once or twice as a rite of passage in the kitchen — LOL! I still make it every now and then. Just my subconscious trying to keep me on my toes, I think! ;)

  17. And that’ll teach me to read everything next time, too ;)

  18. I’ll try it again with less next time, thanks Julie!

    It’s still super delicious! Will definitely add this one to the hits list.

  19. Hi Margaret, Sorry to hear about your oven! It’s a 12-inch, as mentioned in the recipe. If you’re using a 10-inch, you might want to withhold some of the batter for the reason you describe!

    -Julie @ WBB

  20. AAaaahhhhh! I just made this, and be warned that a standard 10″ skillet will not contain the batter once it starts cooking. Lots of burned stuff on the bottom of my oven now, alas.

    What size is the pan in the photo? I should have paid more attention to the comment that a 9″ x 13″ dish would be a good alternative.

  21. Oh stop it!! This is just amazing!! I had a recipe pulled for a cobbler to try but this one looks better. Perfect for summer. I made a grilled watermelon mint salad…helped cooled me down with the heat!! (on my blog)

  22. Oh stop it!! This is just amazing!! I had a recipe pulled for a cobbler to try but this one looks better. Perfect for summer. I made a grilled watermelon mint salad…helped cooled me down with the heat!! (on my blog)

  23. Nom, nom, nom! Can’t wait to try it. Thanks Joanna!

  24. yum. love that this is baked and eaten in the skillet. putting it on the to-do for the weekend!

  25. I LOVE THE “BEST EVER” RECIPES!! The ones I have made have all turned out AMAZING!!! I hope you continue this series for a long time :)

  26. This looks AWESOME. I love that it’s in a skillet. I’ve been meaning to invest in one of those. This just gives me one more reason to. :)

  27. Delicious :)

  28. that looks amazing! i’m always looking for cast iron skillet recipes – i tend to make cornbread in the skillet over and over. i’ll definitely be trying this in the next week.
    -ale @

  29. Yumm! I would eat that WHOLE thing! Great job!

  30. This looks absolutely delicious. I have a sweet spot for berry cobblers and such. Something about warm berries and a crunchy topping just make me happy.

    xoxo Jessica

  31. Two forks? Psh, I’m totally not sharing that. One fork will be sufficient, thank you. :)

  32. Looks awesome! @B- my boyfriend is enamored with cast iron skillets too, maybe its a boy thing?

  33. One of my very favorite moments this summer was the afternoon I spent picking blueberries in Norway — these gorgeous photos just transported me back, thank you!

  34. This looks amazing! Definitely going on my to-try list :)

  35. Despite marrying a Brit who swears crumble is the best use of any berry, for me there is no dessert more satisfying than a peach or blackberry cobbler.

  36. B says...

    YUM! My boyfriend loves anything cooked in a cast iron skillet (don’t ask, he thinks its the best cooking tool ever invented), so I may just have to show him this recipe and hope he’s tempted! I love berries, this sounds amazing right about now! Thanks for the post!

  37. I just had lunch and this would be perfect dessert :):)

    maria ana

  38. Was just thinking how I hadn’t made a cobbler yet this summer. Great inspiration! Thanks!

  39. growing up we called this a “dump cake”

  40. I love these “best you’ll ever have” recipes. I have made a couple already. Great idea. Thanks!

  41. Looks yummy! Sounds like my kind of date too

  42. yumm!!! So delicious! I have never tasted it before since we don’t have it in Germany where I live.

    Would also love to try it with apples!

    Thanks Joanna and Julie