This biscuit-topped easy cranberry cobbler recipe makes the best of the season. Tart, sweet cranberries and apples cook until jammy, topped with an easy, homey drop biscuit.
Meet This Biscuit-Topped Apple Cranberry Cobbler Recipe
Of all the desserts out there, I can’t help but love the simple ones best. Especially when they are particularly homey, comforting, and not too sweet.
That’s why I love this easy cranberry cobbler recipe. With fresh cranberries cooked down to sweet, jammy perfection with a cornmeal buttermilk biscuit topping, this cobbler recipe makes a perfect low-key dessert or breakfast and brunch treat.
How to Make This Cranberry Cobbler Topped With Cornmeal Biscuits
This recipe has two main steps: 1) the cranberries, and 2) the biscuits.
- The first step is to put the apple cranberry mixture (cranberries, apple, sugar, spices, and water) in a greased casserole pan and bake. This cooks the cranberries down into a glorified chunky cranberry sauce.
- While the cranberries bake, make your biscuit dough. This is a simple cornmeal buttermilk drop biscuit that is easy to mix.
- Add the biscuits on top of the stewed cranberry mixture, and continue to bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden brown.
Baking With Cranberries
The main filling of this cranberry cobbler recipe is, of course, the cranberries. There is exactly one apple. Why? Most apple cranberry cobblers are heavy on the apples, and light on cranberry. I wanted this recipe to really pop with color and tartness. That meant reversing the ratio, and using mostly cranberries and only one apple.
The apple serves two purposes. First, it adds pectin. Pectin in a natural thickener in some fruits. Second, it softens the harsh edge of the cranberries.
Baking the cranberries (step one) basically creates an oven-baked cranberry sauce. You could technically half cook a cranberry sauce on the stove, then transfer it to a baking dish, add biscuits, and bake.
This method adds a little time, but also saves a couple of pots and pans, so I say that’s the bigger win.
Apple Cranberry Cobbler With Biscuit Topping: Recipe Notes
- The cranberry mix should be baked uncovered. It needs to stew and cook while evaporating some of the liquid.
- Drop the biscuits in large, shaggy clumps all over the surface of the hot cranberries, then bake.
- Serve this after it’s cooled for about 15 or 20 minutes. This lets the cranberries thicken up just a bit more, and brings the cranberry cobbler to a temperature more appropriate for serving.
Crisp vs. Crumble vs. Cobbler
The terms cranberry crisp and cranberry crumble are often used interchangeably. And the general idea is the same: fruit tossed with sugar, spices, and cinnamon on the bottom, topped with a topping made from some combination of butter, sugar, flour, and perhaps cinnamon, nuts, or oats.
- A cranberry crisp has a streusel topping made with oats
- But cranberry crumble has a streusel topping made without oats
- And cranberry cobbler (as here) has a biscuit topping
Love this biscuit apple cranberry cobbler recipe? Enjoy more cranberry dessert recipes:
Cranberry Cobbler With Biscuit Topping
For the Cranberry Filling
- 1 12-ounce bag of fresh or frozen cranberries, picked over and rinsed
- 1 medium apple, peeled and diced
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- Pinch ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon cold water
For the Buttermilk Cornmeal Biscuits
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- Generous pinch kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
- 1/2 cup buttermilk + more to brush the top
For the Cranberry Cobbler
- Preheat the oven to 425°F and grease an 8"x8" or 9"x9" casserole. My preference is a 9"x9" if you have it.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the cranberries, apple, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. (In other words, everything but the water.) Mix together.
- Pour the cranberry mixture into the greased casserole. Stir in the 1/3 cup water.
- Place in the oven and bake, uncovered, for about 45 minutes, until reduced into a chunky, jammy consistency. It's ok if it looks a little liquid-y.
For the Biscuits and to Finish
- In a large mixing bowl -- you can just wipe out the cranberry bowl -- combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
- Add the butter and work it in with your hands until the mixture resembles crumbly sand. Do not overmix. There should still be small, visible bits of butter.
- Add the buttermilk. Use your fingers to mix just until fully combined. The mixture should look shaggy and clumpy. Chill, covered, until ready to use.
- Remove the cranberries from the oven after 45 minutes. Use your fingers to carefully (don't burn yourself!) drop large pieces of biscuit dough over the entire surface of the cranberries.
- Brush the biscuit topping with a little buttermilk.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the biscuits are golden brown. Cool for 15 to 20 minutes before serving, preferably with fresh whipped cream.