Crisp Topping For Pie


Growing up as a kid, I was a Crisp Topping for Pie connoisseur. In fact, when my parents let me stay up late on the weekends to watch movies, one of the pie options that I wanted was that of strawberry crisp topping for pie.

If you love to bake homemade pies, then you know how important it is to have a good crisp topping. Everyone’s favorite part of pie – other than eating the filling, of course – is that glorious, buttery topping. But what makes a truly great topping? One packed with flavor and that turns your mouth into a bubbling cauldron of excitement!

How to Make Crumble Topping for Fruit Pies

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!

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!

Tips and Tricks for Crumble Topping

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.

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!

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.

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!

Classic Apple Crumb Pie

Also known as Dutch apple pie, the best crumb pie starts with the apples: we always suggest a mix of different tastes and textures for a balanced filling that is both sweet and tart with toothsome and soft pieces. For example, Granny Smith apples are tart, Golden Delicious hold their shape nicely and McIntosh add an applesauce-like quality – a mix of these and/or your favorite varieties are ideal. For a simple upgrade, toss the filling with a couple tablespoons of heavy or sour cream for added richness. The pie dough gets special attention too: a preheated baking sheet acts as an extra heat conductor and sets the bottom crust before it has a chance to become soggy. Keep an eye on the crumb topping and cover with foil if it browns too quickly.Save Recipe

  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 3 hr (plus 2 hour chilling)
  • Active: 50 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings


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For the Crust:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup ice water, plus more if needed

For the Crumb Topping:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature

For the Filling:

3 pounds mixed apples (such as Golden Delicious, Granny Smith and Gala), peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon saltAdd to Shopping List


  1. Make the crust: Whisk the flour, granulated sugar and salt in a large bowl. Rub the butter pieces into the flour using your fingers until pea-size pieces form. Drizzle in the vinegar and ice water; stir gently with a fork to combine. If the dough doesn’t hold together when you squeeze it, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Turn out the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and form into a disk; wrap tightly. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.
  2. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 13-inch round. Ease into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim the edges, leaving a 1-inch overhang, then tuck the overhanging dough under itself; crimp the edges with a fork. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.
  3. Meanwhile, make the crumb topping: Mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Rub the butter into the mixture with your fingers until no longer floury and crumbs form. Freeze until ready to use.
  4. Make the filling: Place a foil-lined baking sheet on the lowest oven rack; preheat to 400˚. Mix the apples, melted butter, both sugars, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Spoon the filling into the chilled pie crust. Pat the crumb mixture on top.
  5. Bake the pie on the hot baking sheet until lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350˚ and bake until the apples are completely soft when pierced with a paring knife, 60 to 80 more minutes. (If the topping is getting too dark, cover loosely with foil.) Transfer the pie to a rack to cool completely.

Homemade Apple Pie with Oatmeal crumb topping

Homemade Apple Pie with Oatmeal crumb topping. Easier than a double crust pie, this homemade apple pie has a delightful oatmeal crumb topping. Still super delicious, especially served with a dollop of vanilla ice cream on top or on the side.

Homemade Apple Pie

Making a homemade pie crust is easier than you might think. Especially if you use a food processor. Even more, if you opt for a single crust and top your apple pie with a crumb topping.

The ingredients for the single pie crust are:

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoon cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons (1 ¼ sticks) cold unsalted butter, cubed (for a more tender and flaky crust you could use 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter + 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening or lard)
  • 2 teaspoon white vinegar
  • scant ⅓ cup cold water
  1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, cornstarch, and salt. Cube the butter and place it in a small bowl. In a measuring cup, add the vinegar and top with water to reach ⅓ cup. Put everything in the fridge for about 10 minutes.
  2. After that time, add the dry ingredients to the bowl of the food processor. Top with the cubed butter, then pulse six or seven times. The fat sould be the size of small peas.
  3. Add slowly the vinegar/water mixture, while pulsing. Stop pulsing when the mixture is starting to form larger clumps.
  4. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and pack it into a ball. Wrap it in plastic, then flatten it, and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

The apples

I find that a combination of tart and sweet apples work the best, however, you can opt for all Granny Smith if you like more tartness. We used organic Ambrosia apples.

An easy way is to use an apple slicer, then peel the wedge and cut it into two thin slices. Place in a bowl and drizzle lemon juice on top. In another bowl, mix sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt. Dress the apples with the mixture.

The oatmeal crumb topping

  • In a food processor, combine the oats, flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon. Pulse a few times just to mix. Add the cubed butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Do not over mix. You want to see some oat flakes.
  • Empty the crumbs into a bowl and rub them gently to make it more buttery. Rrfrigerate until ready to use.


Roll the dough – Place the dough on a lightly floured parchment paper and lightly dust the top with flour. Dust the rolling pin with flour, too. Flatten the dough a little, just to make it more workable. Then, begin rolling the dough from the center out, giving the dough a quarter turn every time. Repeat the rolling and dusting the top/rolling pin as needed, until you have an approximate 13-inch circle. Lastly, invert the parchment paper onto a 9-inch deep dish pie pan and peel the parchment off. Flute or crimp the edges, then refrigerate the shell until needed.

Preheat the oven – Adjust the racks in the oven, one in the lower position, and one in the middle. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

Fill – Take the pie dish with the shell out of the fridge and fill it with the apple mixture. Then, cover with a generous amount of the crumb topping, pressing down gently on the apples.


  • Place the pie dish onto a baking dish and position it on the lower rack. Bake for 30 minutes, then lower the temperature to 375°F (190°C) and move the baking dish to the middle rack, rotating it 180°. Bake for about 30 more minutes or longer, until you see the filling bubbling up on the edges and the top a nice golden brown. If the top seems to be getting too dark, cover it with foil.
  • Transfer the pie to a rack and cool for 1 ½ to 2 hours before serving. Cover and refrigerate leftovers after 24 hours.

This pie is all about texture

I love the texture of this pie. The crumble is a lovely golden color and highlights the delicateness of the topping. That lovely pinched border is perfect to hold this Homemade Apple Pie with Oatmeal Crumble Topping. However the aroma of this pie is the clencher. Nothing like baked apples with all the spices and sugar and the smell of a buttery pie crust, so yummy!

Old fashioned flavors

This pie makes me feel like I was in one of those diners way back when. The crust flaky, buttery, and delicious. More so, the apples hold a nice bite and are not mushy by any means, with just enough sweetness to tantalize the taste buds. That topping is perfect. It has lovely caramelized notes and a texture that hold so much flavor from the oatmeal.

Homemade Apple Pie with Oatmeal Crumble Topping is the perfect end to any home cooked, comforting meal. More so, it can be the pièce de resistence of a holiday menu, being Thanksgiving or Christmas.


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