This 200-Year-Old Summer Dessert Is Just as Delicious Today

Turn peaches and leftover bread into a truly delicious dessert that’s been around for over 200 years. This peach brown betty recipe tastes like summer and couldn’t be easier to make.

This 200-Year-Old Summer Dessert Is Just as Delicious Today
peach brown betty in a pie dish with pie pan
Simply Recipes / Photo by Andrew Bui / Food Styling by Tiffany Schleigh

I find myself drawn to quick and easy options when it comes to fruit desserts. I want something that lets the natural flavor of the fruit shine, with a few additional ingredients that not only enhance the flavor but also contribute interesting texture. A peach brown Betty checks all of those boxes. 

The brown betty is a retro recipe that, like a fruit crisp or crumble, never goes out of style. It goes back over a hundred years, appearing in cookbooks from the mid-1800s. The easy recipe is a great way to use simple ingredients, such as abundant fruit and leftover or stale bread. 

While a brown betty is most often made with apples, the dessert is incredibly versatile and can be made with just about any type of fruit. For a summer-inspired dish, I turn to juicy peaches, which pair beautifully with notes of brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter. Don’t forget a scoop of ice cream to top it all off! 

Use Fresh or Frozen Fruit

If you have access to fresh peaches while they’re in season, harness that flavor. I will always choose to make this treat using fresh peaches for a much more flavorful base. However, that’s not always an option, and you can certainly make use of frozen peaches instead. Just be sure to pull them out of the freezer and allow the peaches to thaw and drain before mixing up this dessert. 

Want a more rustic brown betty? Leave the skins on while you’re preparing your fresh peaches.

bowl of peach brown betty with a scoop of ice cream next to a pie dish with more and ice tea in two glasses, all at a cozy table setting (tablecloth pattern is watercolor cut fruit)
Simply Recipes / Photo by Andrew Bui / Food Styling by Tiffany Schleigh

Easy Recipe Variations

The beauty of a brown betty is just how adaptable this age-old recipe is. While sliced apples and peaches make for popular choices, you can let your creativity run wild by using whatever fruit you have. Use fresh apricots, try strawberry rhubarb, or combine a variety of berries for a mixed berry brown betty. 

While I choose to use a simple, sliced white bread for this recipe, you can certainly use what you have. Slice up a baguette or French bread, or use wheat bread slices for a heartier flavor.

How To Serve Brown Betty

This is definitely one of those comforting desserts that can be spooned straight out of the baking dish into a bowl and enjoyed warm. Want to dress it up a bit? Add a scoop of classic vanilla ice cream or choose a fruit-flavored ice cream. You might also consider drizzling heavy cream over the top, or adding a bit of extra sweetness with a drizzle of good maple syrup. 

More Peachy Treats

peach brown betty in a circular pie pan next to a serving in a bowl at a cozy table setting (tablecloth pattern is watercolor cut fruit)
Simply Recipes / Photo by Andrew Bui / Food Styling by Tiffany Schleigh

Preheat the oven to 350°F. 

Prepare an 8x8-inch baking dish by greasing it with cooking spray. This recipe can also be made in a 9-inch pie dish or a roughly 9-inch cast iron skillet.

Prepare the peaches: 

In a mixing bowl, combine the peaches, brown sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter. Mix until the peaches are coated and transfer them to the prepared baking dish.

Prepare the topping:

Tear the slices of bread into smaller pieces and then pulse in a food processor until almost fine crumbs form. Feel free to leave some slightly larger pieces unprocessed if desired for a chunkier topping. Transfer the breadcrumbs to the same mixing bowl used for the peaches.

Whisk in the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Mix in the melted butter to moisten the breadcrumbs.

Top the peaches:

Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the prepared peaches in the baking dish. Use your hands to shift some of the peaches around, allowing some of the breadcrumb mixture to fall between the cracks.


Bake the brown betty until the topping is golden and the peaches are tender, 30 to 35 minutes. 

Remove from the oven and serve warm topped with vanilla ice cream.  

Cover and store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 2 days. Reheat in the oven before serving.

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