Crazy for Crust

How to Make Crumble Topping for Fruit Pies

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, read my disclosure policy.

This recipe for crumble topping is the perfect crumble for any pie recipe. You can even make it for muffins or coffee cake!


bowl of crumb topping

When I was in college I created my recipe for crumb apple pie. It was the first pie I’d ever made completely from scratch and it became my signature recipe that is constantly requested at every holiday. (Mel doesn’t even eat my dessert but my apple pie is one he will eat!)

We always joked that the pie would be fantastic with just crust and crumble, no filling. After all, the crust and the crumble are the best parts! That conversation led to this blog being created.

Ever since I first made this crumble recipe, I’ve been topping other pies with it. So many things change over time but the one thing that stays the same is this recipe. It’s the BEST crumble topping recipe you’ll ever make or eat and it goes perfect with any fruit pie.

I’ve also used this recipe with muffins and coffee cake, so it’s a super versatile crumb recipe.

How do you make a crumble topping?

It’s easy and you only need 3 ingredients. One of them is butter. LOTS of butter!

use a grater to grate the butter for crumble topping

Don’t be scared by the amount of butter in this crumble recipe. It makes it delicious, I promise.

I love some pie with my crumble, if you know what I mean, so piling it high is a must!

One of my secrets for making a crumble topping: grating the butter!

There is nothing harder than using a pastry cutter to cut in cubed or diced butter. It takes a lot of time and arm strength, so I created a shortcut: I grate the butter.

Simply grate the butter on the large side of a box grater and you’ll be able to make your crumble in just minutes.

Grated butter for crumble topping is easier to cut in than cubed.

The other two ingredients for crumble topping are sugar and flour.

What kind of sugar do you use in a crumble topping?

That’s an easy question: what kind of sugar do you like?

For a long time I made this crumble using all granulated sugar. I love using white sugar when I make my apple pie recipe, but when I make peach pies, I think that brown sugar adds a little extra flavor.

The beauty of this crumble topping recipe is that you can use any sugar or combination of sugar you like. Use all white, all brown, or a combination of the two!

4 ingredients overhead shot

For flour, all-purpose is the best. It’s easy to find and everyone already has it in the pantry.

Once you have all your ingredients you have to combine them. Crumble topping is delicate and should be crumbly, so you don’t want to use a mixer. You want to make crumble topping by hand, so I like using a pastry cutter.

If you don’t have a pastry cutter, you can use a fork or two knives, but a pastry cutter is easier.

Cut together the crumble topping using a pastry cutter

Once you cut in all the ingredients with the pastry cutter, you’ll have a crumbly sweet topping for any pie. Use this recipe on peach or apple pie, blueberry pie or blackberry or any fruit you like.

Alternately, use this crumble recipe on muffins or coffee cake or anywhere a recipe calls for crumble!

It makes a delicious pie served with lots of ice cream!

Want even more? Subscribe to Crazy for Crust to get new recipes and a newsletter delivered to your inbox. And stay in touch on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram for all my latest updates.

bowl of crumb topping
5 from 1 vote
Leave a Review »
Servings: 8 servings

Crumb Topping Recipe

Prep Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
10 mins
Crumb topping for pie is such an easy recipe. This crumble recipe can also be used to top muffins or coffee cake!


  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar — (brown or white or a combination)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour


  1. Grate cold butter into a large bowl. Alternately, you can dice it small.

  2. Add sugar: use all brown or all white or a combination to make 2/3 cup. Use whatever combination you like (I like using 1/3 cup each brown and white).

  3. Add flour and then, using a pastry cutter, work the butter into the flour and sugar until the mixture forms coarse crumbs.

  4. Use crumble as recipe directs, on a fruit pie or on muffins or coffee cake. Bake as directed in recipe.

Recipe Video

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: crumble, pie

Nutrition Information

Amount per serving (1 serving) — Calories: 300, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Cholesterol: 45mg, Sodium: 2mg, Potassium: 30mg, Carbohydrates: 34g, Sugar: 16g, Protein: 2g, Vitamin A: 525%, Calcium: 9%, Iron: 1.1%

Crumb topping would go so well on so many of my pie recipes.

Apple Crumb Pie is my absolute favorite!

This crumble topping also works on apple muffins!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. If you don’t use all of it up, can the leftovers be frozen?

  2. I like to keep crumb topping in an air tight bag in the freezer for last minute muffin topping. Quick breads benefit from crumb topping too. I always make a double batch, then freeze the extra.

  3. This is close to the one I make except I add nuts.

  4. can you use a food processer to make this crumble?

  5. I am a great cook, but every time I make a crumble top, it comes out hard and not dry and crumbly. I follow the recipe exactly. What am I doing wrong?

  6. Carol, I’ve found that if you over mix the crumble, you will create a cookie top (this easily happens if the butter is too warm or mixed to much)  instead that will be hard. Your butter should be cold and cut in so it is not binding like a dough but just light tiny crumbles. 

  7. Is there a gluten free option? Anyone make this with a cup for cup type flour or have an adequate substitute flour?

  8. Awesome

  9. Made it with brown sugar for my fresh peach pie. It was delicious. Best ever.

Leave a Comment »