For some people, there is nothing like a classic double-crusted apple pie. But I prefer less fussy apple desserts. Crisps are usually my go to, but I also like a good dairy-free apple cobbler. It’s as easy as apple crumble, but the topping is blended into a thick batter, and baked to make a very moist, tender, slightly cakey topping. This recipe is also topped with a layer of cinnamon and sugar for a sweet “crust” on top.
This Dairy-Free Apple Cobbler is a Fuss-Free Dessert for All
I adapted this recipe from King Arthur’s Sugar-Crusted Apple Cobbler. In addition to making it dairy-free, I adjusted the baking time, added some more cinnamon, reduced the sugar, and clarified some of the ingredients and instructions. I also have some tips in the following recipe FAQs!
Which Apples Work Best in Dairy-Free Apple Cobbler?
In the dairy-free apple cobbler pictured, I used Envy apples because they were on sale. They’ve been heavily promoted as a new varietal out of New Zealand, and their website says their pie-friendly. So I thought I’d try them. Anyway, they worked very well! They had a nice sweetness, and not too much juice. But any great pie apple will work nicely, or you can use a combination of good baking apples to mix things up. King Arthur has a guide to the best pie apples.
Shouldn’t the Filling Have Starch or Flour?
It isn’t needed! The topping absorbs excess moisture as it cooks. I’d still avoid overly juicy apples, and stick to those that are best for baking.
Can I Use Oil Instead of Butter Alternative?
I haven’t actually tested oil in this recipe because I wanted that buttery taste. But oil should work! I would use the full 1/2 cup. I would probably add another pinch or two of salt if using oil. I used Country Crock buttery sticks, which are on the salty side, and we thought the flavor balance was just right. And remember, if using oil, the sugar and oil won’t “cream.” Just blend all of the ingredients together.
Can I Use a Different Sugar?
Definitely! I can’t say how sugar-free alternatives will work, but you can use demerara sugar, brown sugar, or coconut sugar. Regular or organic sugar just let the apples shine a little more since they have a milder, pure sweetness.
Which Milk Alternative do you Recommend?
You can use whatever type you have on hand. I’ve tested with unsweetened soymilk and unsweetened almond milk with good results. But most types should work fine. You can even use a sweetened type if it’s what you have on hand.
Should I Let the Vinegar and Milk Alternative Sit?
In this recipe, I use a faux buttermilk alternative with milk beverage and vinegar. There’s a myth that you need to let them sit and curdle. This isn’t necessary. See my Dairy-Free Buttermilk Recipe for more tips.
Help, the Milk Alternative Became Chunky!
Don’t worry. The vinegar can cause certain types of milk beverage to separate. Just pour it all in and mix away! It will be fine.
How Can I Make this into a Gluten-Free Apple Cobbler?
You can substitute your favorite gluten-free flour blend. A friend of mine swears by King Arthur Measure for Measure Gluten Free Flour. She says it’s a seamless swap for wheat flour in every recipe. But please note that we haven’t tried it in this dairy-free apple cobbler recipes specifically.
Special Diet Notes: Apple Cobbler
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian. Just be sure to choose the milk alternative and butter alternative that suit your dietary needs.
- 6 cups apple slices (630g/1.4lb slices, about 3 large to 6 small apples, peeled, cored, and sliced ⅛ to ¼-inch thick)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon + ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon or apple pie spice, divided
- ½ cup dairy-free buttery sticks (I used Country Crock)
- ½ cup + ¼ cup sugar, divided
- ½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
- Scant ½ cup unsweetened dairy-free milk alternative
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 to 2 tablespoons water, as needed
- Preheat your oven to 350°F, and lightly grease an 8-inch square or 9-inch round baking dish.
- Add the apples, lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon to your prepared pan and stir to evenly coat the apples. Press the apples into an even layer, as best you can.
- In a mixing bowl, cream the butter alternative and ½ cup sugar with a hand mixer.
- Put the vinegar in a glass measuring cup, and add enough milk beverage to make ½ cup.
- Add the flour, milk-vinegar mixture, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to your mixing bowl, and beat until smooth. The batter will be thick and creamy.
- Spoon the batter over the apples in your baking dish. Use a spatula to spread the batter into an even layer and to the edges of the dish.
- Evenly sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup sugar over the batter. Evenly sprinkle the remaining ¼ teaspoon cinnamon or spice over the batter. Using a small spoon or a mister, lightly drizzle or spray water to dampen the sugar. You should only need a tablespoon or so of water.
- Bake the cobbler for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the surface is golden and crispy and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake topping comes out clean.
- Remove the cobbler from the oven and place it on a rack to cool and set for about 30 minutes. The topping will settle.
- Serve warm. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers for up to 3 days.