Add a bit of crunch and a sweet buttery finish to your baked goods with this delicious Streusel Topping! You can use it to transform simple muffins, quick breads, pies, and cakes into next-level sweet treats in no time with very little effort. It's a quick and easy 5-ingredient recipe that comes together in less than 10 minutes!
- 💡What is streusel topping
- 💡 What is the difference between streusel topping and crumb topping?
- 💡 What is the difference between crumb and crumble?
- 🌟 Why this is the best recipe
- 📝 Ingredient notes
- 👩🍳 How to make this recipe
- ✨ Flavor variations and substitutions
- 🎓 Expert tips
- ❓Recipe FAQ
- ✨ How to use streusel topping
- Streusel topping (Crumb topping)
💡What is streusel topping
Streusel topping is basically a sweet and buttery crumb topping that is often added over muffins, cakes, and pies before they are put into the oven. The word streusel itself comes from the German word streuen, which means to sprinkle. So it's a very common addition to many German desserts.
Once baked, streusel adds a lovely flavorful crunch that contrasts well with the soft and moist texture of many baked goods. But if you're wondering, what is streusel topping made of? The yummy crumb topping is actually just a mixture of flour, butter, and sugar and is often flavored with cinnamon or vanilla. Easy peasy!
💡 What is the difference between streusel topping and crumb topping?
Essentially streusel and crumb topping are the same thing. They are both made with a mixture of flour, butter, and sugar. And both are used to add another layer of flavor and texture to baked goods. However, the amounts of ingredients used are a tad bit different. So technically they are not exactly the same. There is almost always more sugar added to the crumb topping. Yet, most people use streusel topping and crumb topping interchangeably.
💡 What is the difference between crumb and crumble?
Basically, a crumble is a British dessert and a crumb is the actual topping of the crumble. So, is streusel a crumble? No, this streusel recipe I'm sharing is technically a crumb. So while these terms may sound similar, they are not the same. Yet again, many people use them interchangeably.
🌟 Why this is the best recipe
- Super delicious – This yummy crumb topping elevates any baked goods to the next level with a lovely crunch and a sweet buttery finish.
- Very easy - How do you make a streusel topping? With barely any effort! This is a simple recipe that only requires 5 basic everyday ingredients.
- Quick to make - From start to finish this crispy streusel topping comes together in under 10 minutes ready to top your baked goods!
- Versatile topping - You can use this crumb to top muffins, cakes, pies, and quick breads before they go into the oven. You can even bake it alone on a sheet pan and then sprinkle it on ice cream or yogurt!
- Customizable recipe - It's easy to add different spices or ingredients to this easy streusel topping recipe to customize it to your preferred taste or particular recipe.
📝 Ingredient notes
- Flour: Basic all-purpose flour is all you need. To learn more about different types of flour and how to use them, check out my flour guide.
- Sugars: Both white granulated sugar and light brown sugar, which has a bit of molasses in it, are used to sweeten the streusel. Check out my sugar guide to learn how to use different types of sugar in baking.
- Butter: Always use unsalted butter to control the saltiness of the recipe. I also prefer using butter with an 82% fat content. And for this recipe, the butter needs to be at room temperature.
- Salt: A dash of salt is used to help balance the sweetness and enhance the flavors.
🛒 You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post
👩🍳 How to make this recipe
1. Step-by-step process
- Cut the butter into small chunks and then allow it to come to room temperature.
- Whisk the all purpose flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and salt together in a large bowl.
- Add the room temperature butter to the flour mixture in the bowl. Then mix everything together using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon just until the dry ingredients are fully coated with the butter and a crumble has formed. Or, use your fingers but make sure not to melt the butter.
- You can make the crumbs larger or smaller simply by pressing the mixture together with your fingers.
- Transfer the streusel to the fridge to set until you're ready to use it for baking. As the butter cools it acts as a binding agent.
- Top your favorite baked goods with the crumb topping and bake.
- You can also spread the topping out on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and bake it in the oven at 177 C / 350 F (no fan) for 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown and crisp.
💡 Top Tip: Take the butter out of the fridge and cut it into small chunks at least an hour before making the recipe.
✨ Flavor variations and substitutions
This classic streusel is really easy to make and customize. Just remember to keep the ratios about the same for the best results.
- Spices - Add a pinch of spice such as cinnamon, ginger, or cardamon to the flour mixture. This is how to make cinnamon streusel topping, which is my favorite.
- Freeze-Dried Fruit - Crush up freeze-dried fruit like I do in my Strawberry Shortcake Crumble and add it to the flour mixture for some added fruity flavor.
- Chopped Nuts - Finely chopped nuts can be worked into the crumble before baking for a nutty crunch for topping muffins or quick breads.
- Citrus - Mix in a bit of lemon zest or orange zest for some citrus flavor, which would be lovely on blueberry streusel muffins.
- Coconut - Add some texture and flavor to the topping by mixing in a little shredded coconut.
- Dried Fruit - Stir in some finely chopped dried apples to make an apple streusel topping. You could also use dried pears or dried orange peel if you like.
- Oats - How to make streusel topping without flour? Use quick oats instead. For the best results when making a streusel topping recipe with oats, pulse them a few times in the food processor first.
- Brown Sugar - Use all brown sugar to create a crumb topping with more caramel flavor. Or, omit the brown sugar and use all white sugar. You can also use other types of sugar like date sugar or coconut sugar.
- Flour Replacements - If you would like to use other types of flour or make gluten-free streusel.
- Butter Free - There are a number of ways to omit traditional butter by using different alternatives. Check out my butter substitution guide to learn how.
🎓 Expert tips
- For the best streusel topping recipe results use a digital scale to measure all your ingredients for accuracy.
- Use high quality unsalted butter with an 82% fat content for the most flavorful topping.
- Do not forget to add salt to the crumb topping as it adds depth and balances out the sweetness.
- If you don't have unsalted butter on hand and need to use salted butter, you will want to omit the salt in the recipe.
- Your hands are the best tool for adding the streusel to baked goods. You can make the crumbs bigger or smaller by pressing the mixture together with your fingers.
Yes, just spread it out on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and bake it in the oven at 177 C / 350 F (no fan) for 10 to 12 minutes. It will be golden brown and crisp when it's ready.
Use room temperature butter to immediately achieve the perfect crumb texture for baking. Cold butter takes a bit longer to combine with the flour. On the other hand, if using melted butter, you will need to chill the mixture for quite a long time to solidify back again.
The ratios of your ingredients are probably off. There is likely too much flour and not enough butter.
You most likely didn't add enough flour. If you add too much butter or sugar, but not enough flour the topping will not bind together properly.
Unbaked topping can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container. Whereas, baked streusel will keep for up to a week. Proper storage is also how to keep streusel topping crunchy.
Yes, you can easily freeze unbaked topping by spreading it out on a sheet pan and putting it in the freezer to set for an hour. Then put it into a sealed freezer bag and it will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. To use, just add it to your baked goods or bake it by itself in the oven as instructed in this recipe.
✨ How to use streusel topping
So the big question is when to add streusel topping? I'm going to give some examples here of ways to add the topping to recipes as well as how to use already baked topping and what to do with extra streusel topping.
It should also be noted that how long to bake streusel topping is dependent on the recipe. You're basically just going to sprinkle the topping over the batter before the baked good is put into the oven. So for example, if a muffin takes 20 minutes to bake then that's how long the streusel will be baked too.
- Muffins - Streusel topping for muffins is a wonderful addition to almost any type of muffins including these Cinnamon Streusel muffins, Pumpkin Banana Muffins and Banana Mini Muffins.
- Quick Breads- This easy crumb topping is a great way to add a bit of texture to quick breads. For instance, you can make a streusel topping for Banana Bread. You can also omit the cream cheese frosting on my Pumpkin Bread and top it with streusel instead.
- Cakes - Make streusel coffee cake by topping your favorite recipe with this crumb. You can also sprinkle already baked streusel on cakes like my Spiced Apple Cake, Caramelized Banana Upside Down Cake, and Cinnamon Cupcakes right before serving for another layer of flavor.
- Pies - Make a streusel topping for apple pie to add to my No Bake Apple Pie. Or, add a bit of crumb to my Pumpkin Custard Pie. Streusel topping for pie adds little more buttery goodness.
- Cooked Fruit - Make a quick crumble by topping my Caramelized Apples with some of this baked crumb.
- Cold Desserts - Sprinkle the streusel over ice cream, yogurt, or pudding for a bit of crunch.
Streusel topping (Crumb topping)
- 150 g (1¼ cups) Flour
- 100 g (½ cups) Granulated sugar
- 50 g (½ cups) Brown sugar
- 110 g (½ cups) Unsalted butter cut into chunks, use at room temperature
- Pinch of salt
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
- Cut butter into small chunks and let it come to room temperature
- In a bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and salt
- Add room temperature butter chunks to the mixture and mix with a spatula or wooden spoon (or with your fingers) just until the dry ingredients get coated with the butter
- You can make sand-like crumbs or larger crumbs by simply pressing the mixture together using your fingers
- Place the streusel into the fridge, the butter will cool off and act as a binding agent creating a yummy crunchy texture
- Please note that the quantity stated above is enough to coat 12 muffins
- Measure your ingredients with a Digital scale for accuracy
- Do not skip the salt, it will balance the flavors
- Use good quality 82% unsalted butter
- Feel free to add nuts, oats, freeze dried raspberries, coconut, etc. to this mixture
- Some recipes state to use melted butter or cold butter. With cold butter, you would have to work the mixture a bit longer, as the butter slightly needs to warm up to be able to coat the dry ingredients, but eventually, the same result can be achieved. With melted butter, you would have to chill the mixture for the butter to somewhat set and being able to form the crumbs. Therefore, I suggest working with room temperature butter that is just perfect to create the crumbs.