This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Over years of making muffins, I have perfected this crumb topping recipe. Add this to any muffin, bread, cake or pie! This streusel topping is sweet, crunchy, and will elevate anything you add it to. Keep reading for my best tips for crumb topping perfection!

My new favorite crumb topping! Delicious flavor, simple to make, will be my go-to from now on.

-Diane M
crumb topping in glass bowl on wood background
Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Sweet and Crunchy Streusel Topping Recipe

Coffee cakes are known for their crumb topping, but streusel topping can be added to any bread or muffin recipe. Our banana bread, blueberry muffins, or lemon cake would be amazing with crumb topping. 

What is Streusel?

Streusel is a crumbly topping made from a mixture of flour, sugar, and butter. It is commonly used to add a sweet and crunchy element to baked goods such as muffins, cakes, pies, and coffee cakes. The word “streusel” is derived from the German word “streuen,” which means “to sprinkle” or “to scatter.”

What is the Difference Between Crumble and Streusel Topping?

Crumble, streusel and crumb topping are essentially the same thing. It’s a topping made from flour, sugar, and butter that you can add to muffins, cakes and pies.

A crumble and crisp are very similar, both are baked fruit desserts. A crisp is typically made with the addition of oats. 

flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in glass bowl on wood background

Streusel Topping Recipe Ingredients

  • all purpose flour – gluten free all purpose flour works great as well!
  • brown sugar
  • cinnamon
  • salt
  • unsalted butter

How to make a Crumble Topping

  1. Combine all ingredients. In a mixing bowl combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and melted butter. Use a spatula to mix the crumb. The mixture will be thick and you must stir well (elbow grease!) to combine all the dry ingredients. Continue to combine until the mixture looks wet.
  2. Will look sandy. It’s okay if the mixture is “sandy” in texture. Use your hands to squeeze clumps together, forcing the mixture together.
  3. Set the crumb aside until ready to use. The streusel topping can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 days. 
melted butter being poured into glass bowl with crumb topping mixture on wood background

How to Properly Measure Flour

The most accurate way to measure flour is to use a kitchen scale, weighing it in grams. 

If you don’t have a kitchen scale, follow this method. 

  • Aerate the flour with a whisk or spoon. Flour becomes heavy and compact as it sits. Aerating is the same as fluffing the flour, but not the same as sifting it. Do not sift the flour unless the recipe specifically calls for it.
  • Use a spoon to sprinkle the flour into the measuring cup. Do not tap the cup against the counter, as this will compact the flour.
  • Use the back of a butter knife to level off the excess.
crumb topping in glass bowl on wood background

Generously pile the crumb topping on muffins, bread, cake or pie. I found it easiest to squeeze some of the crumb in my hands, forming a ball, then break off smaller pieces, lightly pressing the crumb into the batter. Ideally you want substantial pieces of crumb. 

Sugar is a critical ingredient in streusel topping. Below I’ll talk about the granulated sugar versus brown sugar debate. 

crumble topping being added to cake in glass 9x13 inch pan

Granulated Sugar vs. Brown Sugar

Using granulated sugar in crumble topping will produce a paler and crunchier topping because it lacks the rich brown color of brown sugar and the extra moisture that brown sugar has. 

Hear me, crumb topping with granulated sugar is not bad. It’s great and lots of recipes turn out awesome using it! 

I discovered that I personally liked using brown sugar in my crumb topping because I was looking for a color definition between the muffin and the crumb. 

Brown sugar based crumb topping will turn out richer in color. Dark brown sugar based topping will be even darker in color. 

Brown sugar crumb topping holds it shape well without being too crunchy, like granulated sugar streusel topping can be. 

There’s no right or wrong sugar to use, it just depends on personal preference. 

coffee cake muffin with streusel topping on white plate

Tips to making Crumble Topping

The amount of butter is important. 

  • Too much butter will result in a crumb topping that melts and spreads during the baking process.
  • Too little butter will result in a dry and “flour-y” crumb. 

The amount of flour is important.

  • Too much flour causes the crumb to be dry and overly crumbly. 
  • Too little flour causes the topping to not have enough stability and structure. 
crumb topping piled high in metal muffin pan

How to use this Crumble Topping Recipe

Add crumb topping to any muffin, cake or pie recipe before baking. 

When adding to muffins, be sure there is enough space in the muffin liner to “hold” the crumb topping. Meaning, add slightly less batter to each muffin liner.

When adding to cakes, be sure to add it to thick, dense batters. Thin, liquidy batters will cause the crumble topping to sink instead of staying on top of the cake.

When adding to pie, think fruit pies, tent the crumb topping if it becomes too brown during the baking process. 

Streusel Topping Recipe FAQs

What makes Crumble Topping Crunchy?

Crumble topping gets its crunchy texture from ingredients like butter, sugar, and flour. The butter is cut into the dry ingredients to create small clumps or crumbs. During baking, the butter melts and coats the mixture, resulting in crispiness. Sugar contributes to caramelization and adds sweetness to the crunchy layer. Proper baking technique, such as even spreading and baking at the correct temperature, ensures a crispy crumble topping without over-baking.

Why is my streusel not crumbly?

If your streusel is not crumbly, it may be due to insufficient butter, over-mixing, incorrect ingredient ratios, using melted butter or warm temperatures. Ensure you have added enough butter and distributed it evenly throughout the dry ingredients. Avoid over-mixing the streusel mixture, as this can result in a dense texture. Check the ingredient ratios to ensure the proper balance of flour, sugar, and fat. Use cold butter rather than melted butter to achieve a crumbly texture. If necessary, chill the streusel mixture before using it.

More Recipes

4 from 70 ratings

Tap stars to rate!

Crumble Topping Recipe

By: Beth
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 12
Over years of making muffins, I have perfected this crumb topping recipe. Add this to any muffin, bread, cake or pie! This streusel topping is sweet, crunchy, and will elevate anything you add it to. Keep reading for my best tips for crumb topping perfection!

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour, 180 grams
  • cup brown sugar, packed
  • tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted

Instructions 

  • In a mixing bowl combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and melted butter. Use a spatula to mix the crumb. The mixture will be thick and you must stir well (elbow grease!) to combine all the dry ingredients. Continue to combine until the mixture looks wet. It’s okay if the mixture is “sandy” in texture. Use your hands to squeeze clumps together, forcing the mixture together.
  • Set the crumb aside until ready to use. The streusel topping can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 days. 
  • Generously pile the crumb topping on muffins, bread, cake or pie before baking. Follow the baking instructions of your base recipe. I found it easiest to squeeze some of the crumb in my hands, forming a ball, then break off smaller pieces, lightly pressing the crumb into the batter. Ideally you want substantial pieces of crumb. 

Notes

How to use crumb topping
Add crumb topping to any muffin, cake or pie recipe before baking. 
When adding to muffins, be sure there is enough space in the muffin liner to “hold” the crumb topping. Meaning, add slightly less batter to each muffin liner.
When adding to cakes, be sure to add it to thick, dense batters. Thin, liquidy batters will cause the crumble topping to sink instead of staying on top of the cake.
When adding to pie, think fruit pies, tent the crumb topping if it becomes too brown during the baking process. 
Make in advance
The streusel topping can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 days. 

Nutrition

Calories: 171kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 53mg | Potassium: 36mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 236IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About Beth

I believe that everyone should have a go-to dessert to bring to parties! With hundreds of recipes, I'll help you find yours!

You May Also Like:

Leave a comment

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

Recipe Rating




10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    My new favorite crumb topping ! Delicious flavor,  simple to make will be my go to from now on . I’ve found so many new favorites doing your challenge s! 

  2. Can I bake crumbles alone on a baking sheet and then use the toppings on something else that doesn’t require baking? What would be the temperature and time?