This crumble topping is a delicious and versatile streusel that can be used on many fruit desserts like pies, cobblers, crisps, and crumbles. It's made with a simple mix of flour, oats, butter, and sugar. Baked until golden brown, this crumble topping is endlessly adaptable and can be made with variations and additions so it's perfect for whatever dessert you're making.
There are so many crumble, crisp, and cobbler recipes on this website but no stand-alone recipe for crumble topping. But when you have your own favourite fruit or mixed berry filling you just want an incredible recipe for the best crumble topping you've ever had.
This is that recipe. I've been using this crumble for the last 15 years and know it by heart. It is one of my most treasured and frequently made dessert recipes. You'll find it on this fruit crumble, the raspberry and peach crumble and of course, the rhubarb and ginger crumble. But it would also be an incredible topping to this apple tart or this strawberry puff pastry tart. Or, just bake it up and serve it warm and crunchy over plain vanilla ice cream.
- ⭐️ Why You'll Love This Crumble Topping
- 🧾 Key ingredients and why
- 📖 Substitutions & Variations
- 💡 Top tip: Pastry chef secrets
- 👩🏻🍳 How to make buttery oat crumble topping step-by-step
- 💡 Top tip: Pastry chef secrets
- 💡 Top tip: Make ahead oat crumble topping
- 🍯 Storage
- Choose your own crumble
- The Best Homemade Crumble Topping
⭐️ Why You'll Love This Crumble Topping
- Easy- this crumble topping is so easy to make, especially if you have a food processor.
- Delicious- crunchy, buttery, and sweet, crumble topping provides the perfect contrast to the soft and juicy fruit fillings of pies, crumbles, and crisps.
- Customizable- there are endless ways you can make this crumble topping your own. Add in some chopped almonds for a fruit crumble or add in cinnmon and nutmeg for the perfect apple crisp.
- Budget-friendly- with only a handful of basic ingredients required this crumble topping is perfect for using with frozen fruit for the perfect affordable family dessert.
- Versatile- this buttery oat topping is perfect for using instead of a top pie crust, on crisps or crumbles and just sprinkled over some ice cream with roasted peaches for the perfect summer dessert.
🧾 Key ingredients and why
- oats- preferably rolled oats rather than quick cooking for more texture.
- butter- salted or unsalted work brilliantly in this recipe. *I use salted.
- sugar- caster or granulated *use golden caster sugar for extra depth
- flour- plain or all-purpose flour is all you need.
- *Add-ins- see the substitutions and variations section of all the ways you can customise this simple crumble topping
See recipe card for quantities.
📖 Substitutions & Variations
- Nuts- Add in chopped toasted nuts like almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts
- Spices- Mix in cinnamon, nutmeg, or allspice which will bring extra depth to the fruit flavours.
- Chocolate- Add in some white, milk or dark chocolate chunks to make an indulgent crumble. Perfect for cosy autumn desserts.
💡 Top tip: Pastry chef secrets
👩🏻🍳 How to make buttery oat crumble topping step-by-step
- In a food processor
- Cube the cold butter and measure all the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and use the pulse setting to incorporate the butter and blend the topping.
- This will only take about 2 minutes. The topping should look like coarse breadcrumbs.
- *Be sure to not over mix the crumble.
- In a mixing bowl
- Weight the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
- Using a fork or your fingers cut the butter into the dry ingredients until you have a crumbly mixture that looks like coarse breadcrumbs.
💡 Top tip: Pastry chef secrets
Use cold butter. This will help to create a crumbly texture that will be irresistible and bake into crunchy morsels.
Once the butter is incorporated you can add in any chopped nuts, dried fruit, or spices. Either use the crumble right away or store it in the fridge or freezer for later use.
💡 Top tip: Make ahead oat crumble topping
For stress-free baking crumble topping can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 days or in the freezer for 3 months. Double the recipe for making a crumble now and storing half in the freezer for the next time you make a fruit crumble dessert.
- Storage: In an airtight container in the fridge for 2 days and the freezer for 2 months.
- Thawing and Reheating from Frozen: There's no need to thaw the crumble topping before using. Simply place the frozen crumble topping over your dessert and bake as usual.
Choose your own crumble
- nuts- add 100g chopped nuts into the mixture- almond or pistachio with peaches and walnuts or hazelnuts with mixed berries or apples
- dried fruit- add in some dried currants, raisins or apricots for extra sweetness and texture.
- chocolate- white, milk or dark go well with almost any variation of crumble. Elevating your dessert from comforting and cosy to indlugent and elegant.
- coconut- stir in some dessicted coconut when using peaches or apricots for the perfect tropical twist.
- gingersnap- brings a warming flavour to any crumble. Perfect for winter desserts. shortbread- adding in some crushed shortbread will make your cumble topping even more buttery and melt in your mouth.
- graham cracker or digestive biscuits- adds a sweet crunchy twist to a crumble topping. Perfect for when you add chocolate to your crumble.
Use cold butter. This will help to create a crumbly texture that will not stick together when baking.
Use a mix of flour and oats. The oats will add a bit of crunch and texture to the topping.
Don't overmix the ingredients. The crumble topping should be made with a "coarse" crumb.
Absolutely. It won't make much difference in your final result. I have had to use self-raising several times when in a pinch and those crumbles turned out amazing too!
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The Best Homemade Crumble Topping
- 225 g (1 ⅔ cups) plain flour
- 225 g (1 cup) butter, cold, cubed
- 125 g (1 ½ cups) rolled oats, *see notes
- 200 g (1 cup) caster sugar, *see notes
- Weigh the cold butter and cut into medium size cubes.
- Place the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or a medium mixing bowl.
Food processor method
- Use the pulse setting to combine the butter with the dry ingredients. The mixture should resemble course breadcrumbs.
- Add the cold, cubed butter to the mixing bowl and use a fork or pastry cutter to cut the ingredients together until you have a very course mixture.
Assembling the crumble
- Once you have a course buttery crumble topping, scatter the topping generously over the fruit filling and bake at 180ºC until the crumble is golden and the fruit filling is bubbling.
- Divide between bowls and serve warm with vanilla ice cream or custard.
- Use rolled oats instead of quick cooking for better texture.
- You can use caster, granulated, or demerara sugar in this recipe for great results. Just stay away from regular brown sugar. It won't give the right texture.