The peaches shine in this Old Fashioned Ozark Peach Cobbler recipe. An easy sweet drop biscuit tops off all the juicy fresh peaches for the perfect summer treat.
This simple old fashioned peach cobbler is so incredibly delicious and flavorful that you will want to go back for seconds and thirds until it is either all gone or your belly is begging for mercy. Bonus points for topping it with homemade vanilla bean ice cream or vanilla anglaise.
This recipe is Jean Jennings family recipe that Nancy Baggett included in her 2005 compilation, “The All-American Dessert Book.” It is looser than others I have made but it is simple and unfussy. She rolls the crust out like a pie and then covers the whole filling. I chose to pinch off pieces, flatten and top the filling. Sometimes you just need easy.
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In 2022 when I remade this old fashioned peach cobbler for YouTube, I omitted the ¼ cup water that is in the original recipe. This made it thicker and it wasn’t runny at all! The original also calls for shortening in the crust but I used butter because I wasn’t reading too closely that morning back in 2014. I liked it so much I kept it!
Ingredients in Old Fashioned Peach Cobbler
- Fresh Peaches: Ripe peak Summer peaches will make all the difference in this simple recipe.
- Sugar: I use granulated sugar here and it is a substantial amount. You can certainly adjust it to your personal preference.
- Butter: I use unsalted butter for baking, because you want to control the amount of salt you are adding. Every brand is different and it makes adjusting the recipe a challenge. You can reduce the butter, but it adds just a nice richness to the filling.
- All-purpose Flour: I use all-purpose flour but you could also use pastry flour to an even better effect!
- Salt: I use kosher salt always. It heightens the flavor here and will keep your pastries for tasting dull or flat.
- Water: I mentioned above that I omitted the water in the old fashioned peach cobbler filling, but the water for the crust should be COLD! All the tried and true pie crust rules apply here.
- Sugar for topping: I can never say no to a crunchy, sugared topping. Reduce some of the sugar in the filling but please, don’t omit the sugar on the crust!
Tips for working with cobbler dough
Cobbler dough is just like pie crust and all those best-practices apply. I will say that I wasn’t as persnickety about this crust as other. It’s old fashioned peach cobbler and it’s not that serious, though you can tell the difference. If you want to take a few extra steps, it will be worth it.
- Keep it cold: This is the theme that runs through the whole process. The butter or shortening should absolutely be cold, the water should be ice cold and bonus points if the flour, mixing bowl and utensils are cold.
- Work Quickly: This serves two purposes: the first is to keep your ingredients cold and the second is to restrict the amount of gluten that develops in your pastry. Cut your butter in as quickly as the method will allow; keep your focus while adding the water; and when gathering the dough into one cohesive mass, only work it just until it comes together.
- Chill it: I clearly skipped this step in the video and my topping didn’t rise as much. Still delicious, but definitely a noticeable difference.
- Chill the filling: Yes, yes I know. These are precious moments standing between you and fresh baked cobbler. The agony! I did not chill it in the video, nor did Jean in the original recipe, and it will keep your cobbler topping from being flakey. Still tastes awesome. But if you want to go the extra mile, chill it. xo
You can watch my video on how to peach peaches three ways!
Arguably the most challenging part of making old fashioned peach cobbler is peeling the peaches. I am here for you with three different methods. Find the one that works for you.
Pastry Chef Tip
This filling has no added thickeners, instead it is thickened with little bits of the cobbler dough. Save a little to pinch off and press down into the filling! From Jean’s kitchen to ours.
Old Fashioned Ozark Peach Cobbler
For the Filling:
- 9 ½ cups peaches (peeled, pitted, & sliced (~4 ½ pounds))
- 1 ⅓ cups sugar
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (cut into chunks)
For the Dough:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 13 tablespoons butter (cubed, or shortening)
- ½ cups cold water (combined with 2 ice cubes)
- 1 tablespoon sugar (for sprinkling over dough)
To make the Filling:
- Pre-heat oven to 425°.
- In a large saucepan, gently stir together the peaches and sugar. Add butter. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then turn it down to medium. Stir occasionally. Simmer until the peaches start to release their juices, about 4 minutes. Or longer if you start reading something else and lose track of time. It’ll still tastes just as good! Pour into baking dish (9 ½ x 13 ½ inches)
To make the dough:
- Stir together flour and salt. Add the shortening. Using a pastry blender or fork, cut the shortening into the flour until the mixture resembles course crumbs.
- Measure out 7 tablespoons of ice water and sprinkle over the mixture. Blend lightly with a fork until the dough holds together. If it is at all dry, then add more water. The dough should hold together when pressed between your fingertips.
- Turn out pastry onto a lightly floured surface. Gently knead until the dough holds together and is very smooth.
- Shape the dough into a log and roll out until it will hang over the edge of your 9 ½ -by-13 ½ inch pan. Trim the edges until it will only hang over by ½ inch. Roll pieces of the cut-off dough into small balls and drop into the peach filling. Stir to mix. This will act as a natural thickener: a trick that Jean’s Mother taught her.
- Center the dough on the dish and fold edges and “tuck it neatly into place”. Cut slits with a greased paring knife. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar over the top of the pastry.
- Bake for 20 minutes in pre-heated oven. Reduce heat to 375°. Continue baking 15 to 20 minutes longer, or until the top is nicely browned and the filling is bubbly. Transfer to wire rack. Let cool at least 20 minutes, ideally longer, before serving.
- Get really, really excited! It’s going to be mind-blowingly delicious!
I halved the original recipe for the photos shown. Note: The original recipe from 2014 included ¼ cup water in the filling. I have since removed it for a thicker filling.
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