How to Make Crumble Topping for Fruit Pies

4.42 from 12 votes

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!

Apple Crumble Pie sitting on a table with a blue and white plate in the background

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

My favorite CRUMBLE Pies:

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Crumb Topping Recipe

Crumb topping for pie is such an easy recipe. This crumble recipe can also be used to top muffins or coffee cake!
4.42 from 12 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Yield 8 servings
Serving Size 1 serving


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


  • 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 2/3 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

Nutrition Information

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
Keyword crumble, pie

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

Apple Crumb Pie is my absolute favorite!

Apple Crumble Pie on a table with a blue and white plate with forks, an apple and a spatula

This crumble topping also works on apple muffins!

Stack of Apple Muffins
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Recipe Rating

39 CommentsLeave a comment or review

  1. Cuisinart works like a charm. Put all ingredients in bowl with frozen butter last. Pulsed until all mixed, looked just like the photo. Took longer to cut butter than to mix topping. Great job!

  2. I’ve had this recipe forever! I wrote it out when I was a kid after having warm blueberry crumble with vanilla ice cream (or served cold with real whipped cream, adult version add 1t of bourbon to the whipped cream). It’s a verstile, easy recipe–I ‘ve gone through my old recipe box 3 times and there’s no card written in loopy middle school cursive. I’m so HAPPY to find the recipe here…the night before Thanksgiving! My pie crust isn’t stellar, so I’m making an apple crumble. I made Crumble (that’s what I call the resulting dessert) this summer with peaches and it was fab. And, I did a test run with apples a few weeks ago. I couldn’t find the recipe then, so I found “Crumble Topping for Fruit Pies.” Well, for Crumble, I skip the bottom crust and just serve the fruit topping.

    I’d like to try to cut back the sugar in the entire recipe. I like the ratio in the crumble of butter, sugar and flour, so I’m not going to cut there. I’ll try to go with as little sugar in the fruit as I can manage. With blueberries, I mixed in some cinnamon with about 2 T of sugar. With peaches I used nutmeg. With apples I’m wondering if I should add some water, juice or butter to help the soften the apples and produce some juiciness?

  3. I was informed recently that crumble is not one of the major food groups… that’s just so wrong!

    I found your site to get an actual recipe, I usually just wing it. Yours looks great and I’ll use it, maybe you can assist with what for… I’ve developed a spectacularly addictive homemade apple sauce with tons of brown sugar and a smattering of nice big chunks (a happy accident when I was in a hurry and used a Bullet to chop them up, but put them all in at once and a bunch were left delightfully large). I don’t even like applesauce, I made it for someone else, but this is fantastic and I’m obsessed. Now I want to make it into a pie with your crust and crumble. I can reduce the water and cook it down more, but I need something to thicken it and was thinking of corn starch or tapioca, but then I wondered about adding a jelly or jam or apple butter…??? I’m envisioning a consistency almost like a pecan pie… Should I just combine a pecan pie recipe without the pecans? Is there such a thing as applesauce pie??? I don’t bake much so I don’t have much experience to draw from. What would you suggest? Thanks! Holly ~ Vero Beach, FL