Mix up the flavours of a comforting crumble with something extra special. Simply adding a few new ingredients to your usual mixture can create more exciting flavours and textures.
Whether you have a garden glut of summer fruit or a favourite filling that you return to again and again, we’ve got plenty of tasty toppings to take your crumble to the next level. For even more ideas, check out our ultimate collection of crumble recipes.
1. Classic crumble
Sometimes, simplicity is best and a basic crumble topping of sugar, flour and butter is all you need for the perfect pudding. In Raymond Blanc’s popular apple & blackberry crumble, the topping is pre-baked so it retains a light, crumbly texture and doesn’t stick together. Short on time? Throw together our super simple quick crumble mix for a failsafe finish.
You can also experiment with different sugars and flours to alter the taste and consistency. For example, using demerara sugar instead of caster sugar in this gooseberry crumble topping will give it a more caramelised quality. Muscovado and soft brown sugar would achieve a similar effect. Our autumnal orchard crumble also uses half wholemeal flour and half white to create a more wholesome, full-bodied flavour.
2. Go nuts
Nuts are a popular addition to crumbles, including almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts and pistachios. Our autumnal pear and blackberry crumble creates layers of texture by combining chopped hazelnuts and flaked almonds with pumpkin seeds and chunky oats clusters. Roasting the nuts before chopping will intensify the flavour, as we’ve done in this recipe for rhubarb, pear & hazelnut crumbles. Heavier fruit fillings like our maple plum crumble work well with a light and crunchy coating of almond flakes.
3. An oat-standing finish
Give your crumble topping more bite by adding wholesome porridge oats or rolled oats, like in our oaty apple crumble. You can also add a little syrup to the mixture to create a flapjack-style texture with gorgeous little chewy clusters, as shown in this apple flapjack crumble. Experiment with other cereals or another malted wheat grain for added crunch.
4. Chocolate drops
If your crumble is in need of some indulgence, then a liberal scattering of chocolate should do the trick. This simple pear & chocolate flapjack crumble combines dark chocolate chunks, porridge oats and golden syrup for a sweet, crunchy finish that complements the fruit beautifully. For something extra special, try the white chocolate crumble from our summery sugar-cured strawberries recipe. This scrumptious sprinkling is magically concocted by combining melted white chocolate with butter, milk powder, cornflour and sugar to create a light crumb.
5. Peanut crunch
Treat your crumble to an American-style flavour by adding a dollop of crunchy peanut butter spread to the topping. This rich, nutty flavouring balances perfectly with the zingy blueberry and raspberry filling in our fruity peanut butter berry crisp. And we won’t blame you for finishing off the jar in the process…
6. Spice things up
Add a sprinkling of fragrant spices to give your crumble a flavour boost and enhance the filling. Our rhubarb & apple crumble incorporates hints of aromatic ginger to balance the tangy fruit, while warming cinnamon and clove-infused crumbs make a suitably festive topping in our raspberry Linzer slices.
Spices can also be sprinkled over the topping after baking, like our next level apple crumble recipe, which suggests warming cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice. You can also try incorporating layers of spiced crumble into a dessert for textural contrast – make these apple, cream & spiced crumble pots for an indulgent dinner party dessert with stewed apple and crunchy cinnamon and cardamom-flavoured rye breadcrumbs.
7. Coconut coating
Give your crumble a tropical twist with a sprinkle of desiccated coconuts. The topping for our irresistible blueberry lemon cake combines coconut shavings with melted butter, sugar and eggs. Your taste buds will be transported to sunnier climes in no time.
8. Make it vegan
There’s no reason why those on a dairy and egg-free diet can’t enjoy a classic pudding too. This vegan apple crumble uses a dairy-free spread with a simple combo of rolled oats, sugar and flour. Serve topped with an oat-based vegan cream or custard for ultimate luxury. Looking for a savoury version? It’s hard to believe that this vegan ‘cheesy’ leek crumble doesn’t actually contain real cheese. The nutritional yeast delivers a convincingly tangy and umami hit that’s sure to win dairy lovers over.
9. Taking the biscuit
Embellish your pudding with some satisfyingly crunchy biscuit chunks. We’ve used amaretti pieces in these super fruity berry crumble pots, which make an easy yet impressive dessert. Try this simple cookie-dough crumble or make our decadent vegan cookies & cream brownies topped with chocolatey Oreo chunks, too.
10. Crumble + scones = scrumble
We love a foodie mash-up, so combining two of the nation’s best sweet treats into a topping seemed like a no-brainer. Half scone, half crumble, the cobbler-style sponge on our pear & blackberry ‘scrumble’ marries the crunch of a biscuit with the cakey texture of a scone.
11. Eating crumble pie
Can’t decide between crumble or pie? We think it’s only right to combine the best of both worlds in this next level apple & almond dessert. This double textured delight combines a satisfyingly crispy shortcrust pastry plait border with a soft crumble topping centre. The result is a dessert which slices perfectly and achieves a perfect balance between the topping and fruity filling.
12. A savoury twist
Who says a savoury crumble isn’t as satisfying as a sweet? The same goes for toppings – this comforting butter bean & squash stew is finished with a fragrant herby crumble combining chopped rosemary, parsley, walnuts and breadcrumbs. Sprinkling cheese into a topping also guarantees a gorgeously melty result. Opt for a grating of flavoursome parmesan, as used on our wintry vegetable crumbles, or try something different, such as tangy Caerphilly cheese crumbled over this moreish leek & Caerphilly crumble tart.
Get ready to crumble some more…
What’s your dream crumble topping? Leave a comment below…