Sweet, rustic, and so easy to make, this Healthy Apple Cobbler hits all the right apple pie notes, without added sugar and fat! You’ll love how the sweet and tart flavor of fresh apples shines through in this very simple apple cobbler recipe.
Lightened-Up Apple Cobbler Recipe
I love apple desserts! Don’t we all? There’s nothing like a beautiful homemade apple pie, apple crisp, or apple tart pulled right out of the oven. Apples handle baking beautifully, becoming soft and sweet while still having that tart juiciness. Add a little cinnamon, and you’re in apple heaven! This apple cobbler is one of the best, because it is so, so simple. And, unlike some of the more decadent apple treats out there, it doesn’t need any sugar to sweet and delicious! Made with tart apple slices and a light, cakey topping of flour, spices, vanilla, and applesauce, it’s a homespun and healthy dessert that works equally well as a breakfast option.
This is one easy recipe you’ll be making again and again. Your house will smell wonderful, and you’ll love serving this wholesome treat with a cup of cold milk, or a cup of hot coffee. Or a Hot Toddy.
What’s the Difference Between a Cobbler and a Crisp?
You might wonder if apple cobbler is the same as its more popular cousin, the apple crisp. The answer is: sort of, but there are key differences! While both desserts feature a delightful baked apple base, the primary difference lies in the texture and composition of their toppings.
- Apple Cobbler:
- Topping: The topping for a cobbler often consists of a biscuit-like or cakey batter that is spooned over the fruit filling. As it bakes, this batter rises and spreads, forming a “cobbled” appearance, which is where the name “cobbler” might come from.
- Texture: The topping is generally softer with a more bread-like or cakey consistency.
- Apple Crisp (sometimes called apple crumble, especially in the UK):
- Topping: The topping for a crisp is made of a mixture of butter, flour, sugar, and often rolled oats. It’s crumbly in nature, hence the alternate name “crumble.”
- Texture: This dessert has a crunchy, granular topping, thanks to the inclusion of the oats and the crumbly mixture.
Ingredients For Healthy Apple Cobbler
- Apples: Peel and slice your apples before adding them to the cobbler. Make sure to remove the tough core from each slice.
- Spices: Ground cinnamon and nutmeg add warmth and a hint of sweetness without any added sugar.
- Flour: Self-rising flour makes this recipe so easy! It already contains the right amount of rising ingredients, so there’s no need for baking powder, soda, or salt.
- Eggs: Three large, whole eggs bind the batter for the topping.
- Applesauce: My go-to is unsweetened applesauce. I find that it is sweet enough, and again, this cuts down on unnecessary sugars in the recipe.
- Vanilla: For the best flavor, use pure vanilla extract.
How to Make Healthy Apple Cobbler
- Prep the Oven and Apples. Before you begin, set your oven to preheat to 375˚F. That way, it’ll be hot when you are ready to slide the baking dish in. Next, load your peeled and sliced apples into a large (9×13 inch, or 3 quart) baking dish, or a cast iron skillet. Set the dish aside for now.
- Make the Topping. Get out a large mixing bowl and a whisk. Combine the flour, beaten eggs, applesauce, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla in the bowl, and whisk them together until they’re smooth and combined, like pancake batter.
- Top the Apples and Bake. Pour the topping batter over the apples in the baking dish. Use a spatula or the back of a spoon to smooth it out, and cover all of the apples as well as possible. Bake the cobbler for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top is browned and the topping is baked through.
- Enjoy! Let the apple cobbler stand at room temperature for several minutes before serving.
Easy Tips and Variations For Apple Cobbler
- Apple Options: You can use any good baking apples for this recipe (think tart, flavorful, and firm). Different apples will give you different results, so you can make a lot of different apple cobblers depending on what’s good in your area. My favorite apple choices include Granny Smith, Jonathan apples, Pink Lady, Lady Alice, and McIntosh.
- Watch the Sugar: Depending on how sweet or tart the apples are, you may want to adjust with a bit of sugar or sugar-substitute.
- Flavor Options: Feeling spicy? Add some additional ginger, nutmeg, or cloves! You can also amp up the flavor in the apple filling with a little bit of rum extract, or a tiny splash of brandy.
- Garnish It: A sprinkle of coarse sugar makes a lovely, crunchy topping for this recipe. You could also sprinkle raisins into and on top of the cobbler for a punch of texture, taste, and color.
Storing and Reheating Apple Cobbler
- Most cobblers, crisps, and pies can be stored at room temperature for two to three days.
- You could also store it in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days, or freezer for 3 to 4 months. If you freeze the cobbler, thaw it in the fridge overnight before reheating.
- To reheat your cobbler, just bake it at 375˚F for 10 minutes or so, until piping hot.
Can I Make Apple Cobbler in Advance?
- If you’d like to get a head start on this easy dessert, prepare the filling and batter in advance, store them separately, and refrigerate or freeze them until the day of.
- Stored in airtight containers, it will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge, or 3 months in the freezer.
- Thaw frozen apple filling/topping overnight in the refrigerator, before using.
Healthy Apple Cobbler
- Preheat oven to 375˚F.
- Peel and slice the apples, and transfer to a 9×13 baking dish or a cast iron skillet; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, eggs, applesauce, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla; whisk together until thoroughly incorporated. Mixture should resemble a pancake batter.
- Pour the batter over the apples.
- Smooth out the top to cover all the apples with the batter.
- Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until top is browned and cake is cooked through.
- Remove from oven and let stand 8 to 10 minutes.
- Apple Choice: Use firm and slightly tart apples, like Granny Smith or Honeycrisp, for a better texture and flavor balance in the cobbler.
- Apple Slices: Cut all the apple slices of similar thickness for even cooking. A mandoline slicer can help.
- No Sugar? No Problem!: This recipe uses unsweetened applesauce for natural sweetness, reducing added sugars. If you find your apples too tart, you can drizzle a bit of honey or maple syrup over the slices before adding the topping.
- Flour Swap: If you don’t have self-rising flour on hand, you can make your own by combining 1 cup of all-purpose flour with 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
- Watch the Edges: Keep an eye on the cobbler’s edges while it bakes. If they brown too quickly, you can tent the dish with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning.
- Serve Warm: This cobbler tastes best when served warm. Consider pairing it with a scoop of vanilla yogurt or a dollop of whipped coconut cream for added creaminess without straying from the healthy theme.
- Storing Leftovers: If you have any leftovers, allow the cobbler to cool completely before storing it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should last for up to 4 days.
- Spice Variations: For an added depth of flavor, consider introducing a pinch of ground cloves or allspice to the batter. Adjust according to your taste preference.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.