Wonderful Crumble Topping

Mixed Berry Crumble

Image: Fruit Topped With Crumble
Image: Fruit Topped With Crumble | Source

Preparing Crumble Mixture

Image: Making Crumble Topping Mixture
Image: Making Crumble Topping Mixture | Source

Reduce Butter if Using Brown Sugar

For those who use brown sugar for crumble, I would suggest cutting back on the butter amount because brown sugar is softer.

This is a Soft Crumble, Not a Crisp

This is a soft, rich crumble, if a crispier crumble is desired, reduce butter amount.

Wonderful crumble makes a rich topping for fruit cobblers, or for "icing" for muffins and loaves. Let your imagination be your guide.

Easy Crumble Topping--A Crumbly Sweet Topping That's Easy to Make and Perfect for Topping Fruit, Muffins and Pies

With just three ingredients, this crumble topping can be made from memory. It whips up quickly and can be used in any number of desserts.

I rely on this mixture any time I want to add something extra to whatever I'm making. It's a godsend when you run out of ingredients and desire to "finish" something. One time I made a cherry pie but I ran out of pastry. I topped the pie with crumble and my guests raved over it.

Because you can easily commit the three ingredients to memory, you may just find this recipe becomes an old stand-by.

Wonderful Crumble Topping

Crumble topping mix makes up in seconds and can be used whenever you need a sweet, soft crumbly topping mixture.

  • 1/2 cup of butter (room temperature but not too soft)
  • 1/2 cup of white sugar
  • 1/2 cup of flour

Place ingredients into a bowl, then cut together with a pastry cutter until crumble mix is crumbly. This step is important so that small "crumbles" form.

Crumble-Topped Dessert Ready to Pop into the Oven

Image: A Crumble Ready for the Oven
Image: A Crumble Ready for the Oven | Source

Crumble Making Tip

  • Do NOT cream or stir ingredients together, which would result in a mixture that melts
  • DO use a pastry cutter and cut in ingredients until mixture is crumbly.

Uses for Crumble Topping

  • Use crumble topping with any of your favorite fruits and turn baked fruit into a special dessert.
  • If you run out of icing ingredients, use crumble topping as a streusel to "ice" your muffins
  • Use crumble on open-faced pies (this works well when you run short of pie crust)

Crumble Not Crisp

Remember, this is a crumble topping and not a crisp. There is a difference. This mixture is softer.

Delicious "Icing" for Muffins

One of my favorite uses for crumble is to use it top top muffins. This is so delicious and takes muffins to a whole new level. You simply sprinkle on crumble on the top of your muffin dough before baking.

One of the most delicious mixtures is maple muffins topped with crumble.

Topping for Open-Face Pies

If you run out of pie crust or you want to "fancy-up" and open-faced pit, crumble is the perfect topping.

An "Icing" for Sweet Loaves

Crumble also makes a wonderful topping for sweet loves, such as apple or lemon loaf.

Fruit Crumbles

You can make a variety of fruit-based desserts by using wonderful crumble topping. Anytime you have left-over fruit, place it in a pan and top with crumble. This comes in handy if you have left-over fruit and want to somehow dress it up.

  • Apple Crumble--Layer sliced apples in a greased casserole dish. Sprinkle cinnamon and cloves over, then top with crumble topping. Bake until browned. Serve with vanilla ice cream.
  • Blackberry Crumble--choose your favorite berries and place in a greased casserole dish. Cover with crumble topping and bake until topping mixture is browned. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
  • Blueberry Crumble--fresh blueberries can be sprinkled into a casserole dish, the topped with crumble mixture. Serve with lemon pudding.
  • Cherry Crumble--remove pits or use canned cherries, then top with crumble.
  • Jumble-Crumble--Mix together assorted berries and top with crumble mixture. Bake, then serve while still warm with ice cream or whipped cream.
  • Peach Crumble--place canned, sliced peaches in baking pan. Top with crumble mixture. Serve with whipped cream or ginger-vanilla ice cream.
  • Pear Crumble--collect ripe pears. Peel and place in baking dish. Cover with crumble topping. Serve with vanilla ice cream.
  • Raspberry--spread berries evenly and top with crumble mixture. Good with vanilla ice cream.
  • Rhubarb-Strawberry--a combo of fruits works best when using rhubarb.

Where Did Crumble Come From?

Crumbles can be traced to the European colonization of the Americas.They are also associated with food rationing and are thought to have arisen in Britain during World War II when rationing made making pie more difficult. In modern times, a fruit crumble is often served with whipped cream or ice cream, which makes a perfect creamy counterpart to the tart fruit and the rich crumble mixture topping it.

Which Will You Choose?

  • If you deisre crispy and spicy, choose a crisp.
  • If you want a hearty "stewed" dish, choose a cobbler
  • If you want a dessert topped with a rich, soft streusel topping, choose crumble

Difference Between Crumble, Cobbler and Crisp

At times, the words crumble, cobbler and crisp are used interchangeably but there are generally recognized differences between all three.

Crisp is, as the name hints of, crispier. This is achieved by using oats in the mixture. Cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg lend a spicy flavor and come fall, this is an oft enjoyed dessert, when apples and other fruits are harvested.

Cobbler is a fruit-based dessert that is a close cousin to crumble. Often it is topped with a crust comprised of a biscuit or dumpling-like mixture, and the batter may include either milk or eggs. At times, cobbler includes bread crumbs or graham crumbs. The name cobbler may have arisen because dough was dropped on top of fruit in clumps, which resembled cobbles.


Colorful American names for cobbler include:

  • Betty
  • Buckle
  • Grunt,
  • Slump
  • Sonker
  • Pandowdy.
  • New Englanders make Grunts and Slumps in an iron skillet on top of the stove.
  • Sonkers are deep-dish cobblers from North Carolina.
  • A Brown Betty is made with fruit and bread or graham cracker crumbs
  • A Pandowdy commonly includes a crust that is broken or "dowdied" before serving.

Crumble can be likened to a streusel-type topping. The ingredients are rolled together to make small crumbles. Care must be taken when using crumble to top moisture-rich fruit or the crumble may absorb too much liquid and thus "melt." Crumble is usually made with flour, butter and white or brown sugar, (depending on preference). Crumble works best when used to top something that doesn't have too much liquid, such as cake or muffins, (as seen in the video below). Fruit crumble is often served with custard or ice cream.

Just Love Crumbles and Cobblers?

Further Reading:

  • Cobblers and Crumbles
  • Rustic Fruit Desserts: Crumbles, Buckles, Cobblers, Pandowdies, and More
  • Cobblers, Crumbles and Crisps and Other Old-Fashioned Fruit Desserts
  • Crumbles and Cobblers

Adding Soft Crumble Topping to "Ice" Muffins

Crumble Topping Tips

Did you catch the crumble topping tips in this Hub?

  • Make sure your butter is room temperature (but not runny), which makes this so much easier to make, because you can effortlessly cut in the ingredients.
  • Use a pastry cutter so that your crumble topping mixture mixes into a crumbly mixture.
  • It is important to cut in your butter with a pastry cutter until mixture resembles loose crumbs.

Important Reminders About This Crumble Recipe

This is a recipe for a soft crumble topping, not a crisp. If you are looking for a crunchy topping, a recipe that uses oats may be more suitable.

This crumble make a lovely topping for muffins or open-faced pies or baked fruit but as mentioned it is not a crisp in the strictest sense of the word.

It turns out like the muffin topping pictured in the video.

* Important: You cut in your butter into your sugar and flour as you would do when making pie crust. Do not stir or cream ingredients.

Do You Make Crumble Topping?

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Why Crumble?

Every busy cook should know how to make a good crumble. Crumble topping can be a life-saver when you are short on time or short on ingredients.

© 2007 Athlyn Green

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Comments 11 comments

Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green 4 years ago from West Kootenays Author

Hi Rachel,

I've used this recipe for years and as long as you cut in the butter with a pastry cutter so that the mixture is crumbly it works fine. It is so easy to remember, as well. This makes a softer crumble topping. It is not meant to be like crisp such as seen with apple crisp. Your butter should not be overly soft.

Rachel 4 years ago

I used your recipe and it was a disaster that is too much butter. I would use 1/4 of a cup with the flour and sugar amounts staying the same. I just put this on top of my Banana Bread and I am terrified of the results. It was not crumbly at all. Too much butter.

Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green 4 years ago from West Kootenays Author

Hi Brandy,

I'm not sure why you had problems. I've used this recipe for years and the crumble turns out perfectly every time. It is important to cut in your butter and continue cutting mixture until it is crumbly. If butter is left in large chunks I could see it melting.

This recipe makes a soft crumble, such as is seen on muffins. It is not as crunchy as say a topping mixture containing oats, as is used in crisps.

Brandi 4 years ago

I used this over an open faced apple pie. It melted and almost became candy over the pie, not at all crumbly. Wouldn't use this again.

Jamie 4 years ago

Mine was crumbly. Cutting the butter in is crucial, also added brown sugar!

Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green 5 years ago from West Kootenays Author

Did you top something with it, and bake it in the oven? It becomes crispy as it bakes.

Jane 5 years ago

I used this recipe also and it was smooth not crumbly at all. I added more flour I hope it works.

Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green 6 years ago from West Kootenays Author

Hi sammy,

Did you use a pastry cutter and did you cut the mixture until it was crumbly?

Sammy 6 years ago

Perhaps I did something wrong, but I found this recipe to be very smooth and not crumbly at all, I wouldn't use this recipe again...

Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green 7 years ago from West Kootenays Author

Hi Allison,

Yes wonderful crumble topping is so easy to remember and to make and tastes so delicious. I've used it for years.

Allison 7 years ago

Excellent - just what I needed! Have some rhubarb going begging and I need a crumble recipe to use. Couldn't remember exactly what went in it! Thanks!

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