Old Fashioned Peach Cobbler boasts layers of juicy peaches under a crispy cake like topping. This Southern cobbler is simple to make and will quickly become a new favorite.
Nothing says summer like fresh juicy peaches bursting with sweetness. And what better way to showcase them than with a fruit cobbler. An old fashioned peach cobbler is made by creating a topping of caramelized sugar. Don’t worry, this is super easy!
This fresh peach cobbler has an unusual crispy topping which is created by pouring hot water over a batter that has been topped with sugar. The sugar is caramelized as it bakes forming this amazing crispy topping.
This is the type of recipe you’re going to find in a Southern church cookbook or Junior League cookbook. These cookbooks, always have the best recipes, because they’re generally family recipes that have been passed down. And no one is going to submit a recipe that isn’t a family favorite.
I’ve only ever made this type of cobbler with peaches, strawberries would be too juicy and apples too firm, but it’s scrumptious with peaches.
The crust what is so unique, it’s actually more of a cake-like topping than a traditional biscuit topping, like what you’ll find on blueberry cobbler. It’s also completely different then an apple crisp or strawberry rhubarb crumble where you’ll find a buttery topping that is sprinkled over the fruit before baking.
You can prep this Southern-style peach cobbler in about 15 minutes thanks to a short ingredient list. It takes even less time if you leave the skins on the peaches.
Some fruit cobblers use cornstarch or flour as a thickener, like with strawberry cobbler. Strawberries release a lot of liquid when cooked and need a thickener to keep it from turning into soup.
However, in this recipe, the peaches cook down and release some of the peach juices but most of the liquid is absorbed into the topping.
What I really love is that there is no sugar added to the peaches themselves, all you’ll add to the fresh fruit is lemon zest and juice. There is a little sugar in the cake, and of course you have to top it with sugar to get the unique crust, but you don’t need any added to the peaches themselves, just naturally sweet peaches. This is one of our favorite desserts to make during peach season.
For the best flavor, use perfectly ripe peaches. If yours are rock-hard, try these tips for how to ripen a peach, starting out with sweet peaches will give you a better tasting cobbler.
You can even make this with frozen peaches and enjoy a traditional summer favorite in the middle of winter. In fact, if your peaches aren’t sweet, you’re better off using frozen peaches. Frozen peaches are generally frozen within hours of harvesting so they tend to be very fresh.
What are the best peaches for cobblers
Most people prefer freestone peaches for baking because the flesh of the peach easily comes away from the pit. However, clingstone peaches, where the flesh is firmly attached, are just as sweet. The only reason to choose a freestone over a clingstone for cobbler is that it’s a little easier to prep.
While yellow peaches are the most abundant, white peaches are so sweet and perfect in a cobbler. My suggestion is to use peaches that smell delicious, the sniff test always works for me!
My favorite way to serve this delicious cobbler is warm with heavy cream poured over the top. The cream adds a richness without adding any sweetness and is perfect with the sweeter topping. However, for you ice cream lovers, there is nothing better than a scoop of vanilla ice cream on a homemade peach cobbler.
You can use peaches in endless recipes, from jam to cinnamon rolls to salsa. Grill them for a summer appetizer, or, serve them with pork chops. Whatever you choose is sure to be a hit with the peach lovers in your life.
How to peel peaches quickly
I prefer to peel peaches with a sharp paring knife, it doesn’t take long and the peelings come off easily. If you’re going to be peeling a lot of peaches, a quicker method is to boil them first. Bring a pan of water to a boil. Make sure there’s enough water to cover the fruit.
Then reduce the heat to simmer and add in the peaches for about 30 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a bowl of ice water. Once cool, use your fingers to loosen the skins. They will slip right off.
Some of our favorite peach recipes
Flaky and sweet, fresh Peach Dumplings get drizzled with bourbon glaze.
Dutch Baby Pancakes are custardy, fruity and extra special.
Studded with blueberries, Peach Bundt Cake is perfect for weekend brunch.
If you like Keebler Pecan Sandies, you’ll love Peach Pecan Crumble.
Old-Fashioned Pound Cake from scratch is even better than Starbucks.
Cardamom sets this Streusel Coffee Cake apart from the crowd.
Velvety and thick, cream cheese makes Fresh Peach Pie extra-rich.
Why you’ll love it
- Sweet summer peaches are always the best
- Easy instructions and simple ingredients
- Hot water caramelizes the crunchy crust
- Use frozen peaches and make it any time of year
- Change things up and serve it for breakfast!
What you’ll need
Fresh peaches – if they’re not available then you can substitute frozen peaches, just let them thaw first. Canned peaches will be too soft for this recipe.
Lemon – you’ll need the juice and zest.
Butter – use it at room temperature so it’s easy to incorporate into the batter.
Milk – whole milk makes a richer topping but any kind will work.
Nutmeg and cinnamon – for a hint of spicy warmth.
Pantry staples – all purpose flour, sugar, baking powder and salt
Water – You don’t need boiling water, but it needs to be hot
How to make an easy Southern peach cobbler recipe
Peel and cut the peaches into chunks. If you don’t mind the peelings, you can leave them on. Place the peaches in a baking dish or, for a more rustic look, in a cast iron skillet. Sprinkle with lemon zest and lemon juice.
Cream the butter and part of the sugar with an electric mixer.
Combine flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon in a bowl. Then add to the butter mixture.
Beat in the milk until the dough is light and fluffy.
Pour the batter on top of the peach mixture. You’ll want to use a spatula to smooth it evenly across the peaches.
Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the cobbler.
Heat the water until it’s hot (it doesn’t have to boil). Then pour it over the fruit and topping.
Bake for 60-65 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the topping is golden brown and cracked and a toothpick comes out clean.
Let it cool in the baking pan for about 30 minutes before serving. Cover and store leftovers in the fridge for 2-3 days.
Pro tip: I love using a Microplane grater to zest a lemon. If you don’t have one, then use the smallest holes of a cheese grater. Just use the yellow part of the lemon and avoid the white, which can be bitter.
If you have any leftover cobbler, you can leave it on the counter for a day, after that, refrigerate it for up to 2-3 days. You can also freeze it in an airtight container and once thawed, heat it in the oven so you’ll have warm cobbler.
How to soften butter
For the crust for peach cobbler, you’ll need softened butter, not melted butter. That’s because you’ll want it to have a cake-like texture.
The easiest way to soften butter is to remove the amount you need from the refrigerator. Let it sit on the counter at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes. To speed up the process you can cut the butter into smaller slices or chunks. You’ll know it’s ready when it yields to pressure from your finger but still holds its shape. It should not feel squishy or oily.
FAQs and tips
A Pie crust is just flour and butter while the crust of a cobbler is more cake or biscuit like. Cobblers typically don’t have a bottom crust, instead the dough is placed on top of the fruit.
While some prefer their peaches peeled, you can leave the skins on if you like. Just use a kitchen towel to gently rub off the fuzz.
The top will be golden brown and the fruit should be bubbly. Use a knife to check to see if the fruit is still firm. If so, continue to cook.
More fruit cobbler desserts
Blackberry Cobbler with peaches and bourbon is perfect year-round.
Pomegranates transform traditional Apple Cobbler into something special.
Lime zest adds a twist to Coconut Blueberry Cobbler.
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Old Fashioned Peach Cobbler
- 4 cups peaches peeled and chopped
- 1 lemon zest and juice
- ¼ cup butter softened
- 1 cup sugar divided
- ¾ cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ cup hot water
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- Chop peaches into 1 inch chunks and place in bottom of a casserole dish. Sprinkle the top with lemon zest and then squeeze the juice from ½ lemon over the top of the peaches.
- Use an electric mixer to cream the butter and ¾ cups sugar until combined, about 1 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Add to the butter mixture and mix until combined.
- With the mixer on low speed, add the milk and beat on high until light and fluffy.
- Spoon on top of the peaches and smooth with an offset spatula or knife.
- Sprinkle ¼ cup of sugar over the top and then pour hot water over the entire top.
- Bake for 60-65 minutes, until the top is brown and cracked. A toothpick should not show any batter.
- Let sit for 30 minutes to an hour to let it set before serving.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- If your peaches are not ripe, here are some tips for how to ripen peaches.
- The water does not need to be boiling, but it should be very hot.
- If you want to use frozen peaches, let them that before adding.
- You can double this recipe and it should fit into a 9 x 13 baking dish.