Basic Streusel Recipe
You’ll use this basic streusel recipe over & over! Easy to make in just one bowl, & great on everything from muffins to pies to fruit crisps.
Yes, you read that right. This is a recipe for streusel. Just streusel. Only streusel.
I know it may sound a bit strange to devote a whole post to crumb topping, but the thing is, I just recently realized just how often I find myself referring back to this simple formula.
I put it on so many things!
Table of Contents
- What is streusel?
- What does streusel taste like?
- Special equipment
- How to make streusel topping
- Frequently asked questions
- A few more of my favorite topping recipes
What is streusel?
Streusel, aka: crumb topping, is a really simple way to jazz up all your favorite baked goods.
It’s made from just a handful of pantry staples, in just a minute or two, and it can be flavored in all sorts of different ways.
When it’s first made, it seems kinda doughy? But as it cools it crumbles in the most delicious way.
It’s buttery, just sweet enough, and has a tender crunch, and it just brings everything it touches to a whole different level!
Here is what I like about it:
- It’s easy. It all happens in one bowl (or pot, as it were). No big clunky food processor with tons of pieces to wash. You don’t even have to get your hands dirty!
- You don’t have to bake it. You can- but if you want to put it on a no-bake type situation, or an already baked type situation, just stir it over medium-low heat for a minute or two, to cook out the raw flour taste.
- It’s versatile. I use this buttery crumble topping on everything from muffins and breads, to fruit crisps and pies, even donuts!
- It’s customize-able. Putting this on a berry dessert? Sub out the cinnamon for citrus zest. Want something a little lighter and more subtle? Use white sugar instead of brown. Want to add some substance? Try adding oats, chia seeds, and/or nuts. My hubby and kids love when I add walnuts or pecans to this. They give it some added crunch and a toasty flavor that’s just so warm and homey.
What does streusel taste like?
The base is buttery and a little sweet, but honestly you can flavor this however you like!
And the texture can go from tender to chewy to crunchy, with the simple addition of oats or nuts.
You probably already have everything you need to make this in your kitchen already!
I like to use unsalted butter because it lets me control the amount of salt in the dish. Different brands of butter can contain different amounts of salt, so this way you get a more consistent result.
For a vegan or dairy-free streusel recipe, use a plant-based butter that can substitute for dairy butter 1:1.
All-purpose flour is my go-to, but you can swap it out for any kind of whole-grain option if you like. You may need slightly less if you go that route.
A gluten-free flour blend that can sub 1:1 for regular flour should also work just fine, if you’d like to make a gluten-free crumb topping.
Sugar adds sweetness (obvs!) but it also aids in browning and keeps things moist, since it’s hydrophilic (this means it loves water, in other words, it draws moisture in).
You could also sub for another type of sweetener if you like. As long as it swaps 1:1 for granulated sugar it should work.
Salt carries the flavors and intensifies them. The end result won’t taste salty, but it will make everything so much more flavorful!
I like kosher salt best because it doesn’t have any additives (table salt usually contains iodine which can leave a bitter taste), so the flavor is pure. It’s also inexpensive and easy to find in a regular grocery store.
These are completely optional. You can totally make your crumb topping recipe with just the above.
But if you want to add some additional flavor and texture, think about also throwing in some spices, zest, cocoa powder, vanilla bean, oats, seeds, and/or nuts.
Here are the tools you’ll need to make this recipe.
How to make streusel topping
It’s all as easy as melting a bit of butter and adding flour, sugar, and salt.
Throw in some cinnamon too! You can go with as much or as little as you like. When I’m making something like pumpkin bread or apple pie, I’ll add a lot of cinnamon- two whole teaspoons. This time, I chose to keep it a little more subtle with just one.
Toss it all together with a fork until the ingredients are evenly dispersed. I like when there’s an even mix of big, boulder-like hunks and smaller, finer crumbs.
Frequently asked questions
Can I make this streusel topping without brown sugar?
You can use any kind of sweetener you like. As long as it swaps 1:1 for regular sugar, it should work just fine.
Does it have to be baked?
Consuming raw flour comes with risks. So if you want a no-bake streusel topping, just heat everything on the stove for a few minutes, to cook the rawness out.
The texture will be slightly different (more sandy than crunchy), but I still really like it this way!
Can this be made ahead of time?
Fo shizzle. Mix up a big batch and it should keep in the fridge for around a week, or in the freezer for a month or two.
Thaw it at room temperature or in the fridge and throw it on all your best recipes!
What is the serving size?
This recipe makes about 2 1/2 cups of topping, which is plenty for any pie, cake, donut, muffin, crisp, or pie recipe.
The nutritional info in the recipe card below is for 1/12th of the whole batch. That’s about 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon.
These numbers include the oats, but if you use nuts or seeds instead of, or in addition to, that would change things a bit.
A few more of my favorite topping recipes
** HERE’S ANOTHER VIDEO! THIS WAS A LIVE RECIPE DEMO AND IT’S GOT TONS OF GREAT INFO! **
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Basic Streusel Recipe
- 1/2 cup (112 g) unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups (187.5 g) all-purpose flour, (or whole wheat)
- 1/2 cup (110 g) light brown sugar, (or dark brown, or granulated (white) sugar)
- 1/4 teaspoon (1.5 g) kosher salt
- 1 to 2 teaspoons (2 g) ground cinnamon, (or 1 tablespoon citrus zest)
- 1/3 cup (27.03 g) oats, nuts, or seeds (optional)
- Place the butter in a small pot over medium-low heat, until melted.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients with a fork, until evenly distributed.