Apple Cobbler With Cake Mix

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Apple Cobbler With Cake Mix is the perfect dessert during this wonderful season! This is a very simple recipe to make. You will love how tasty it is and your family will love it. It’s always nice to have something warm and sweet for your friends and family when they come to visit at home.

Caramel Apple Cobbler Dump Cake

If you’re looking for quick and easy dessert recipes, this apple dump cake is so simple to make with just a few ingredients including boxed cake mix and canned apple pie filling! It’s perfect for fall, especially Thanksgiving or Christmas when you’re feeding a crowd. Your entire family will love this impressive sweet treat served warm with vanilla ice cream.

Course: Dessert

Keyword: 4 ingredients, apple, baking, cake mixes, cobbler, dessert, dump cake, fall, for a crowd, holidays, pie filling, simple, sweet treats, thanksgiving

Servings: 10

Ingredients

  • 2 (21 ounce) cans apple pie filling
  • 1/2 (11 ounce) bag caramel bits (found in the baking section by the chocolate chips)
  • 1 (15 ounce) box yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup melted butter (2 sticks)

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick spray.
  2. Spread both cans of apple pie filling onto the bottom of your prepared dish.
  3. Sprinkle about half of the bag of caramel bits evenly over the top of the pie filling.
  4. Evenly distribute the dry cake mix over top.
  5. Pour the melted butter evenly over the cake mix covering as much of it as you can.
  6. Bake uncovered in the center rack for 30-40 minutes or until the buttery cake mix turns a deep golden brown.
  7. Allow it to cool for about 5 minutes and then serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Recipe Notes

  • You could also sprinkle a handful of chopped pecans in with the caramel bits for added crunch, and if you really like spice, try sprinkling extra cinnamon or nutmeg over the cake mix before adding the butter.
  • Place any leftovers covered in the fridge for up to 5 days and reheat in the microwave. It’s just as good leftover!

Why Use Cake Mix as Apple Cobbler Topping?

When most people think of a cobbler, they think of something like one of my southern style peach cobblers: pie crust on the top, maybe on the bottom as well, and a filling made of fresh, frozen, or canned fruit and sugar. Although an old fashioned apple cobbler with fresh apples and pie crust would be delicious, a cake mix cobbler is good because it is almost effortless.

Instead of measuring out ingredients and rolling out pie dough, all you have to do is open a box of white or yellow cake mix, sprinkle it over the fruit filling, top with butter, and then bake. Super quick and easy.

Another advantage of using cake mix as cobbler topping is that the combination of cake mix and butter makes a delicious crumb topping. Most cobblers have a soft cake or crispy pie crust topping, but making apple cobbler with cake mix gives the cobbler a crumb topping that is very similar to a crisp or crumble.

Can You Make Apple Cobbler with Apple Pie Filling?

Like I said earlier, when most people think of a cobbler, they think of a dessert with a fruit filling made of fresh, frozen, or canned fruit. However, using storebought apple pie filling makes this cobbler extremely easy because there is no peeling apples, measuring sugar, or adding cornstarch. The canned pie filling has apples that have already been peeled and sliced, and the sugar and thickener have been added as well, so all of the work has already been done for you.

The only drawback to making apple cobbler with apple pie filling is that you can’t control the ingredients. Do you prefer dark brown sugar? You want something a bit less sweet? Usually canned pie fillings are not well spiced, so if you want your cobbler to be truly outstanding, you will probably need to add some spices–I will go over that in a bit.

Can You Make Apple Cobbler with Cake Mix and Canned Apples?

Yes, you can definitely use canned apples. As long as the canned apples have sugar and are not runny, they can be substituted in equal amounts for apple pie filling.

Now that you understand the advantages of making apple cobbler with cake mix and pie filling, let’s walk through the recipe. You only need 3 basic ingredients, but a few extras will make your cobbler even better.

Easy Apple Cobbler with Cake Mix and Pie Filling
This dump cake style apple cobbler is quick easy: all you have to do is “dump” pie filling, cake mix, and butter into a pan!

Apple Cobbler with Cake Mix and Pie Filling: Three Ingredient Apple Cobbler

If you make apple cobbler with cake mix and pie filling, you only truly need three ingredients: cake mix, pie filling, and butter since the cake mix and pie filling already have sugar. Although it would be good with just the basics, adding a few other things will make your cobbler truly delicious. Let’s walk through the recipe to show you how to make this easy apple cobbler.

Dumping Pie Filling into Pan

The first step in learning how to make apple cobbler with cake mix is putting the pie filling in the casserole dish. A 15.25 oz box of cake mix makes enough crust for a 9 x 13 pan, so you need 2 20 oz cans of apple pie filling. Most storebought apple pie filling in the United States is sold in 20 oz cans, but be sure to read the label.

After first coating the casserole dish with butter, pour in the apple pie filling and spread it out evenly. If some of the apple slices look bigger than the others, cut them into smaller pieces.

Just like everything else, storebought apple pie filling is meant to appeal to as many people as possible, so it is usually pretty plain. It will be good if you use the pie filling as is, but I recommend adding a few other things to give your apple cobbler a bit more flavor:

  • Extra brown sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Ginger
  • Lemon Juice

You may want to use all, a few, or none of these extra spices and brown sugar, but I think that they helped to make the storebought apple pie filling taste more homemade. Once the filling is spread out evenly in the 9 x 13 pan, just sprinkle the spices and brown sugar over the apple filling and then lightly mix in to incorporate. Super simple.

Making the Apple Cobber Cake Mix Topping

Once the apple pie filling and spices are in the pan, it is time to make the cake mix topping. This is a dump cake style cobbler, so all you have to do is sprinkle a standard 15.25 oz box of cake mix over the top of the filling and then spread it out evenly without pressing down too much.

I recommend white or yellow cake mix since those flavors are fairly neutral and won’t compete with the apple filling too much, but I think that a spice cake mix could work as well. If you get creative with the cake mix flavor, let me know how your cobbler turns out.

Adding the Butter to Make the Crumb Topping

Next, you need to add butter to the cake mix so that it forms a crumb topping as the cobbler bakes.

Although it seems like a lot, you need 2 sticks of butter for this recipe. Since you are not mixing the cake mix with water, milk, or some other liquid to make a batter, you need the butter to moisten the cake mix as the cobbler bakes. You could probably get away with 1.5 sticks, but less than that, and I think that your cobbler would have a few dry patches.

Can you use melted butter to make the crumb topping?

When I made my apple cobbler, I did what I saw most other YouTube chefs do. I sliced the 2 sticks of butter very thinly, pretty much as thinly as I could, and then I laid the butter slices on top of the raw cake mix, spacing them out as evenly as possible.

As the cobbler baked in the oven, the butter melted down into the cake mix, moistening it and giving it the fat it needed to turn into a crispy crumb topping during the baking process. The melting butter moved more down than out, so it is important to put the butter slices close together, being careful to not leave a section of the cobbler with no butter at all. If a section of the cobbler has no butter, it will turn out dry, so making sure that the butter is evenly distributed is important.

Slicing butter into thin pieces and then placing those pieces on top of the cobbler takes a few minutes, so you might want to know if melting the butter and pouring it on top of the apple cobbler is an option. I did some a few people on YouTube just pour on the melted butter, but I think you would have to be careful to not accidentally more too much in one area and not enough in another.

Although I think you could melt the butter and pour it on top of the cake mix, I recommend cutting the butter into slices

Apple Cobbler with Cake Mix and Pie Filling Bake Time In the Oven

Once the butter is on top of the cake mix, it is time to bake the apple cobbler in the oven. I baked mine at 350 F, uncovered, for 1.5 hours (90 minutes), longer than bake my other cobblers. The first time you make this, I recommend checking it at the 60 and 75 minute marks to see if a section of the cobbler is browning too much. You may have to rotate the pan or cover part of the cobbler with foil to make sure that the surface browns evenly.

When the apple cobbler is done baking, take it out and let it cool down at least 15 minute before serving so that it holds it shape a bit more when served. Cake mix cobblers with pie filling do not hold their shape like pie crust cobblers, do using a big spatula to scoop out portions if likely the best way.

Apple Cobbler in 9 x 13 Pan
This apple cobbler in 9 x 13 pan recipe is perfect for feeding a large crowd.

Apple Cobbler with Cake Mix and Pie Filling in a 9 x 13 Pan: Perfect for a Crowd

If you are cooking for a lot of people, this apple cobbler with cake mix and pie filling recipe is perfect. 1 standard 15.25 oz box of cake mix, 2 cans of pie filling, and 2 sticks of butter is enough for a 9 x 13 cobbler.

If you were to make a large old fashioned cobbler, you would need at least 2 pie crusts. You would also have to peel and prep at least 2 pounds of fresh apples to make the filling. That would be a lot of work, so if you need to make apple cobbler for a crowd, this cake mix and pie filling version is great.

With pre-measured ingredients you probably already have at home, you can quickly make a 9 x 13 apple cobbler that would be perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Sunday dinner, a family reunion, or other event.

Can You Make Apple Cobbler Ahead of Time?

If you are making apple cobbler for a crowd, you may consider making it ahead of time, perhaps the day before.

I think you could make it ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator, but the cake mix topping would lose some crispiness. When I made my cobbler, I tried a piece the following day. Although it still tasted great, it was a bit less crispy, the moisture from the filling having softened the crumb topping slightly.

You could get away with making this apple cobbler ahead of time, but no more than the day before. I think that freezing and thawing would definitely change the crust texture, so I wouldn’t recommend it. In all honesty, this apple cobbler with cake mix is so quick to make, I recommend making it the day of so that you don’t sacrifice the texture. If you are going to cheat on your diet, you want to eat your calories wisely, haha.

Appearance: 7 / 10

This apple cobbler with cake mix and pie crust definitely looked good. The butter melted into the cake mix and turned it a nice brown color, and the sight of a large 9 x 13 pan of dessert was very inviting.

However, when compared to my old fashioned cobbler with pie crust, this quick dump cake mix cobbler was not as visually appealing. In all honesty, it definitely looked like I had “dumped” the ingredients on top of each other and baked.

Taste: 8 / 10

This apple cobbler tasted very good…but it wasn’t my favorite.

Really, it was a bit too sweet. Although I love desserts, I do not like overly sweet desserts. The storebought canned filling actually wasn’t quite sweet enough for me, so that is why I added the bit of brown sugar.

Normal pie crust usually has just a teaspoon of sugar, so if you use it as a crust for your cobbler, you aren’t adding extra sugar.

However, cake mix has sugar, so with the cake mix and pie filling combined, this cobbler was a bit too sweet for me.

I have had followers on YouTube comment that they enjoyed this cobbler recipe, so I don’t think that everyone will have the same complaint as me. Honestly, I think that the vast majority of people will love it–but if you are sensitive to sweet things, this might be too sweet for you.

I also wanted to add that I was glad I added the extra spices. I think they helped to cut through the sweetness in a way. Like I said earlier in the article, I highly recommend adding them.

Texture: 10 / 10

The one thing that really stood out about this apple cobbler with cake mix and pie filling as the texture. I really liked the crispy crumb topping that formed on the top–it was more like what you would find on an apple crisp or crumble. Having a bit of crunch in my mouth as I chewed the soft apple filling was nice.

Ease: 9 / 10

This apple cobbler was super easy to make since all I had to do was “dump” the pie filling, cake mix, and butter into a 9 x 13 dish and bake. Without a doubt, this is a lot easier to make than an old fashioned cobbler with cobbler.

However, taking the time to slice the 2 sticks of butter into small pieces and then place them on top of the cobbler takes a few minutes, so that is the only “hard” thing about this recipe.

Possible Changes to the Recipe

Can I use canned apples?

Like I said earlier in this article, you can substitute equal parts of canned apples for apple pie filling. I think that this cobbler would be a great way to use up homemade canned apples, especially if your canned apples are not super sweet. That way, you wouldn’t have to worry about your cobbler being too sweet.

Can I make this in a crock pot?

Although I baked my apple cobbler in the oven, I think you could definitely make this in a crock pot as well. The only thing is that your cobbler may not get as crispy on top since the dry heat of an oven tends to make things crispier.

However, if you want something that you can mix together and then come back a few hours later to serve, a crock pot version of this recipe would be perfect.

Dutch Oven Apple Cobbler with Cake Mix?

While researching this recipe, I found a lot of blog comment sections in which people said that they have made Dutch oven apple cobbler with cake mix and pie filling while camping. This recipe would be perfect for camping: all you have to do is open packages and “dump” out the ingredients, so you do not need to take separate containers of sugar or flour, or measuring cups, with you to the camp site.

Expert Tips & FAQs


Can I use other pie fillings instead of apple?

Yes, you can use your favorite pie filling instead of apple! Use any of fruit pie fillings, home-canned or from the grocery store. Simply substitute the same amount of peach, blackberry, cherry (try our crockpot chocolate cherry cobbler!), or any other pie filling you like. Our readers have commented saying that peach pie filling is a perfect substitute for apple!

Can I use other cake mix flavors?

Yes, you can change out the cake mix flavor in this recipe. Many have raved about yellow cake instead of white cake mix, while others have used spice cake mix and even caramel apple cake mix. If you use a cake mix that already has spices, you can leave out the cinnamon sugar in this recipe.

Try other variations like chocolate cake mix with cherry pie filling or French vanilla cake mix with strawberry pie filling. We also think lemon cake mix with blueberry pie filling would be amazing! Be sure to leave a comment with your favorite variation!

Can I use fresh apples instead of canned pie filling?

Using fresh apples in this crockpot apple cobbler instead of pie filling is totally fine. You can make your own apple pie filling using our filling recipe from this apple pie.

Can I make this gluten-free?

We are not gluten-free experts, however, we have heard from a couple of readers that they were able to substitute the regular cake mix with gluten-free cake mix. Please let us know how it works for you!

Can I double this recipe?

Yes, you can double this recipe, just make sure that you are using a 6-quart slow cooker or larger.

Can I double the cake mix for more crust?

We have not tried doubling only the cake mix. My only concern would be that you would have pockets of the dry mix because of the height of the mix in the crock.

Can I use my Instant Pot?

Yes, you can make this apple cobbler on low for 4 hours in your Instant Pot.

Can I use salted butter?

Yes, you can use either salted or unsalted butter for this recipe.

What can I use instead of butter?

If you would like to keep the calories down, you can use margarine or any other butter substitutes like I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, Earth Balance, etc.

Can I add nuts?

Yes, you can add nuts to this apple cobbler depending on the texture you prefer. If you like the nuts soft, I would add them to the crockpot with all the other ingredients, just sprinkle them on top. If you prefer the nuts toasty, about ten minutes before serving, toast the nuts in a skillet on the stovetop. Add the toasted nuts on top when serving.

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