How to Make Peach Cobbler, Southern-Style
Our deep-dish, easy peach cobbler recipe, made the soul food way, is juicy and buttery, with plenty of cinnamon. Bring on the ice cream!
Article, recipe, and photographs by Krysten and Marrekus Wilkes of Cooks with Soul
Peach cobbler is as much a part of soul food as collard greens and mac and cheese. It’s a signature dessert that you will find at any gathering where soul food is served. From the sweet peaches to the cinnamon and nutmeg flavor, down to the flaky crust, peach cobbler is our go-to dish for almost every occasion, no matter the time of year.
Unlike mainstream fruit cobblers you may come across that are made with a biscuit topping, peach cobbler made the Southern way, and more specifically, the soul food way, is cooked in a deep dish with both a bottom crust and a flaky, buttery, lattice-like top crust. Both of these versions are oftentimes served with heaping scoops of vanilla ice cream on top. Whether you call it a cobbler, pandowdy, brown betty, crisp, or crumble, this dessert is an absolute must-try.
Peach cobbler is also a dish that has special significance to us. For one of our first dates, Marrekus invited me to a back-to-school fundraiser event where attendees could purchase plates of fried fish, spaghetti, and of course, peach cobbler. Unfortunately, I arrived late and the food was all gone, but what I didn’t know is that Marrekus set aside a plate of peach cobbler just for me. He remembered from our previous conversations that it was my favorite dessert! Later that week, he also showed up at my house and surprised me with a huge pan of fresh-baked peach cobbler — made the soul food way. To this day, we joke about how I fell in love with him over this cherished dessert.
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Ingredients for homemade peach cobbler
All you need for our recipe is fresh, firm-ripe peaches, an egg, a lemon, salt, ground cinnamon, granulated sugar and brown sugar, nutmeg, cornstarch, refrigerated pie dough, and salted butter. If you only have unsalted butter, just increase the salt in the recipe from 1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon salt.
How to peel fresh peaches
Our version of this dish features fresh peaches, which are in season from May to late September. First you’ll want to peel the skin. Because peaches are so delicate and the skin is thin, you don’t want to use a vegetable peeler. Instead, blanch the peaches in boiling water for about 15 seconds, just until the skin can be loosened easily with the tip of a knife. Then just pull off the skin.
Once you’ve peeled all the peaches, cut them similarly to how you would slice an avocado. Carefully cut each peach in half, running a knife around the center of the peach, then twist to pull the two halves apart and remove the pit. Finally, slice the peach halves into wedges that are 1/2 to 1 inch thick.
Making the peach cobbler filling
Next grab a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed 5- to 6-quart pan and place it on the stove over medium heat. Melt 1/2 cup of salted butter in the pot. Then stir the sliced peaches, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup white sugar, some cinnamon, cornstarch, nutmeg, salt, and lemon juice into the melted butter. Bring to a boil, and then remove the filling from the heat and let it cool. Feel free to transfer the filling to a sheet pan and chill it in the fridge to speed things up.
Outside of fresh peach season, you can use frozen peaches for this recipe. Once you bring the frozen peaches to a boil, reduce the heat to low, let them simmer for 10 minutes, and then cool the filling.
How to make an easy lattice crust and assemble the cobbler
For the crust, we opted for store-bought refrigerated pie crust, which makes this recipe easy enough even for novice bakers. When buying, be aware that most refrigerated pie crusts come with two dough rounds, which is perfect for the top and bottom of the peach cobbler. Therefore, you only need to buy one box.
Grease the baking dish with butter and then press a single pastry round into the bottom of a 1 ½-quart baking dish that’s 2 ½ to 3 inches deep. We used a 7.5x11-inch oval ceramic baking dish. You can also use an 8-inch square dish. If you have a rectangular dish, roll out the pastry onto a surface dusted with a little all-purpose flour and shape it into a rectangle to fit the size of the dish.
As for the lattice, start by cutting the second pastry round into 1-inch-wide strips. Now pour the cooled peach filling into the lined baking dish. Then arrange half of the pastry strips on top of the peaches in one direction and the rest in the opposite direction. That’s it!
Instead of a lattice, you could also arrange the second pastry round on the cobbler as a full sheet and cut a few slits in the top to let the steam escape.
Lastly, and one of the most important steps, as my grandmother would say, brush the top of the dough with an egg wash to get a nice golden brown crust on top.
How do you know when peach cobbler is done?
If you made the cobbler in a ceramic dish, preheat the oven to 350°F and bake the cobbler for 45 to 55 minutes. For a glass baking dish, increase the heat to 375°F for better browning and bake the cobbler about 45 minutes. You can tell peach cobbler is done when it's golden brown and bubbling.
Since this fresh peach cobbler is on the juicy side, let it cool before serving for about 2 hours at room temperature to give the butter in the filling a chance to thicken up. (The total time for the recipe is 4 hours, but that includes cooling.)
Get the peach cobbler recipe
Peach cobbler is a dessert that is not only special to us as husband and wife, but is also a cherished family recipe that’s been passed down and is of important cultural significance. It reminds us of summertime, family reunions, and Sunday dinners. From the buttery crust down to the sweet and juicy peaches, this peach cobbler is sure to be a real crowd-pleaser.
Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream — or more — on each serving, and enjoy!
Dive into more summer dessert recipes
Don't put that large bowl away just yet! Now that you have our best peach cobbler recipe in hand, how about trying blackberry cobbler with whipped cream, crispy edged blueberry cobbler, or one of these next ideas?