Streusel Topping (Crumb Topping)

Ready to add a sweet, crumbly twist to your favorite desserts? Dive into our easy and versatile streusel topping recipe that’s perfect for beginners and seasoned bakers alike!

Bread coated in crunchy streusel topping

Recipe At a Glance

Streusel topping is an indispensable recipe in any baker’s toolkit. When you see a crumbly layer on top of a pastry or dessert, chances are it’s a variety of streusel topping.

Streusel topping (or crumb topping) adds texture and sweetness, plus it elevates the look.

It’s typically found on cakes, muffins, and fruit-based dishes like pies or crisps and it can even transform a simple cream puff into a Choux au Craquelin.

If you’re new to making streusel topping, it’s helpful to read through the ingredient notes, step-by-step instructions, and tips. Experienced bakers can head straight to the recipe card.

Ingredients Notes and Substitutes

Classic Streusel

Streusel topping ingredients
  • Butter. Use regular unsalted butter.
  • All-purpose flour.
  • Sugar. White, brown, or a combo of the two all work great. Just don’t use powdered sugar.

Butter, flour, and sugar make the base for streusel topping, but the variations are endless, depending on what you want to achieve with the crumb topping.

Chocolate Streusel

Chocolate streusel topping ingredients

In chocolate streusel, we replace 10-15 percent of flour with cocoa powder and keep the rest the same. You don’t want to add too much cocoa, or it will taste bitter. I typically use white sugar with chocolate streusel, but brown sugar is okay, too.

If you’re just starting out, use the classic 1:1:1 ratio. Once you have some experience with it, start experimenting with different ratios and extra ingredients.

How to Make Streusel Topping

Depending on your final dish and how much time you have, there are a few ways to make streusel topping.

Rolled and Cut Streusel Method

Perfect for when you need a thin, perfectly shaped layer of streusel. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Warm up the butter. Take the butter out, chop it into cubes, and let it sit at room temperature for about an hour. We want it nice and soft. Skip if you’re in a hurry.
  2. Mix dry ingredients. Grab a medium bowl and mix your sugar and flour in there.
  3. Add butter. Now add that room-temperature butter to the mix and mix the ingredients together using a fork until you achieve a homogeneous mass. A mixer will also do the trick.
  1. Roll out. Sandwich your dough between two sheets of parchment paper or silicone mats, and roll it out thin – aiming for about 1/10 inch or 2 to 3mm thick. When it starts getting tough to roll, peel off the top layer, place it on your work surface, and then flip the dough over onto it. Finish by peeling off and placing back the other layer. Repeat whenever it gets hard to roll.
  1. Refrigerate. Pop the rolled-out dough, still between the sheets, in the fridge for about 30 minutes. For best results, place it on something that will retain a low temperature for longer, like a cutting board.
  2. Cut. Be quick here because the dough softens fast. Cut it into whatever shapes you fancy. Use whatever tools you like – cookie cutters, a pizza cutter – just avoid warming it with your hands. Once all the necessary shapes are cut out, gather the remaining streusel scraps using a pairing knife or an offset spatula, form them into a ball and roll it out or freeze for next time.
  1. Back to the cold (optional). If time allows, refrigerate the cut streusel for 10 to 15 minutes so it doesn’t break when you’re transferring the shapes onto whatever you’re going to bake. You can prepare the streusel the day before you need it and leave it overnight in the fridge.
  2. Ready to use. When you’re ready, take the cut shapes out and carefully place them on your baking item with a spatula or knife.

TIP: If you’re working with a large amount of streusel, it’s best to work in smaller batches. After being rolled out, the streusel warms up and becomes difficult to work with quickly.

How to Use Streusel Topping

You can add streusel topping to almost anything. Here are some ideas:

  • Muffins and Cupcakes: A sprinkle of streusel on top adds a crunchy texture contrast.
  • Fruit Pies and Tarts: Streusel topping is a popular alternative to a pastry top, especially for apple, peach, or berry pies.
  • Pastries: Spruce up cream puffs and eclairs with a touch of elegance.
Cooling baked puffs
Streusel-topped cream puffs
  • Coffee Cake: Imagine a layer of streusel nestled inside and another one sitting pretty on top.
  • Crumble Desserts: Similar to pies, but with a looser fruit filling, like apple crumble or rhubarb crumble.
  • Bread and Quick Breads: Take banana, pumpkin, or zucchini bread to the next level.
Dough finished with crunchy streusel
Bread dough finished off with crumb topping
  • Bars and Squares: Oatmeal or fruit bars get a tasty twist.
  • Cheesecakes: A crunchy layer adds a delightful contrast.
  • Yogurt Parfaits: A less common but delicious option, where pre-baked streusel is sprinkled over yogurt and fruit for a breakfast treat or dessert.

Storage

You can refrigerate leftover streusel topping for 3 to 4 days in an airtight container or freezer bag in the fridge or freeze it wrapped tightly for a couple of months.

When you’re ready to sprinkle some joy, just bring it to room temperature.

Streusel Topping

Ready to add a sweet, crumbly twist to your favorite desserts? Dive into our easy and versatile streusel topping recipe that’s perfect for beginners and seasoned bakers alike!
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Blueberry buns coated in crunchy streusel topping
Prep Time:10 minutes
Refirgeration:30 minutes
Total Time:40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 oz unsalted butter 4 tbsp or 56g
  • 2 oz all-purpose flour 7 tbsp 1 tsp or 56g
  • 2 oz light brown sugar 1/4 cup or 56g

Instructions

Roll and Cut Streusel Method:

  • Butter Prep: Cube the butter and let it soften at room temperature for about an hour.
  • Dry Mix: In a medium bowl, mix sugar and flour together.
  • Butter Mixing: Add the softened butter to your dry mix. Use a fork (or a mixer) to blend until it forms a uniform mixture.
  • Rolling: Place the dough between parchment paper or silicone mats. Roll it to about 1/10 inch or 2-3mm thickness. Peel and reposition the sheets as needed for easier rolling.
  • Refrigerate: Refrigerate the rolled dough (still between sheets) for about 30 minutes, ideally on a cutting board that will retain temperature for longer.
  • Shape Cutting: Work quickly to cut the dough into desired shapes, using tools like cookie cutters or a pizza cutter. Repeat the process with any leftover scraps or turn into a ball and freeze for later.
  • Chill: If time allows, return the cut shapes to the fridge for 15 minutes until firm. This way, the shapes are less likely to break when transferring onto the baking item.
  • Use: Once firm, use a spatula or knife to place the streusel shapes onto your baking item.
Servings: 6 oz streusel topping
Author: irish

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