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This recipe for crumble topping is the perfect crumble for any pie recipe. You can make it with brown sugar or granulated sugar and it’s even the perfect topping for muffins or fruit crisp.

crumble in a clear bowl.

Crumble Topping for Pie

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. 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!

ingredients in crumble topping.

4 Ingredients Needed

  • Butter: Use slightly softened unsalted butter. You can use salted butter, but then omit the added salt. Soften it just a bit – not as soft as when you’re making cookies but not hard straight from the refrigerator.
  • Sugar: You can use granulated sugar, brown sugar, or a combination of sugars in this recipe. Just use 2/3 cup of either or the combination.
  • Flour: All-purpose flour gives the crumble it’s body. If you prefer an oat crumble, use this oatmeal crumble recipe.
  • Salt: Just add a bit of salt only if using unsalted butter.

How to make Crumble

  1. Whisk your dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Add your butter in small chunks or grated (see below)
  3. Use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the dry ingredients.
  4. The crumble is done when it’s crumbly and pea-sized with no loose dry ingredients.

Grating the Butter makes it easier!

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. If you want to make mixing the crumble much easier, grate the butter.

  • Freeze the butter for about 30 minutes.
  • Grate it using a box grater.
  • Use as directed in the recipe.

Tip From Dorothy

Expert Tips

  • Grating the butter makes it easier to cut into the ingredients, but it’s not required if you don’t want to.
  • 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.
  • You can make this up to a day ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
slice of crumb apple pie

Uses for Crumble Topping

bowl of crumb topping

Crumb Topping Recipe

4.87 from 163 votes
Crumb topping for pie is such an easy recipe. This crumble recipe can also be used to top muffins or coffee cake!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Yield 8 servings
Serving Size 1 serving


  • 12 tablespoons (170g) unsalted butter
  • cup (133g) sugar (packed brown sugar or granulated sugar or a combination)
  • 1 ½ cups (186g) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
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  • Grate cold butter into a large bowl. Alternately, you can dice it small.
  • Add sugar: use all brown or all white or a combination to make ⅔ cup. Use whatever combination you like (I like using ⅓ cup each brown and white).
  • Add flour and then, using a pastry cutter, work the butter into the flour and sugar until the mixture forms coarse crumbs.
  • Use crumble as recipe directs, on a fruit pie or on muffins or coffee cake. Bake as directed in recipe.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

  • Store crumble in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before using.
  • If using salted butter, omit added salt.

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 300kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 30mg | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 525IU | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1.1mg
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Dessert
Cuisine American

Favorite Pie Recipes

Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

4.87 from 163 votes (127 ratings without comment)

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    1. I usually use it to top 1 fruit pie – we like a high crumb. But you could use less and make it for 2 pies.

  1. what if the recipe doesn’t call for the crumble topping, how long do you cook it? Do you put it on before you bake the apple pie or after it has baked for awhile?

    1. If you’re making a fruit pie, top the pie with the crumble instead of a top crust and bake as directed.

  2. I want to use this crumb topping with your mini cherry pie recipe. How long do I bake them after putting on the topping?