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Streusel Topping

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Use this simple streusel topping recipe to top any muffin, quick bread, fruit crisp, coffee cake, or pie.

streusel muffin topping in a bowl

Streusel is one of those things that can take a treat from really good to really great, just by existing.

Kind of like sprinkles, but with far less color and far more butter.

While many recipes that could benefit from a classic streusel topping, there are times when you may want to change up the topping on a muffin, quick bread, or pie and having a go-to streusel recipe is something you’ll want to have on hand.

This recipe for streusel topping is my favorite, and I’ve used it on many of my recipes here on my website. Here are all of my recipes that include a crumble top.

STREUSEL INGREDIENTS

Streusel toppings are very simple to make, and the ingredient list is small enough that you can likely make homemade streusel at a moments notice. You’ll need 5 simple ingredients.

ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR

You only need a small amount of flour to help bind the mixture together and encourage it to crumble. If you need a gluten free streusel, any gluten free baking blend you like will work just fine as a replacement.

BROWN SUGAR

Brown sugar adds sweetness and a rich molasses flavor to any streusel topping. It also adds moisture, as brown sugar has a higher water content than granulated sugar.

If you want a little more texture and crunch in your streusel, you can use all granulated sugar or use a combination of brown and granulated sugar. Just keep the total amount in the recipe the same, and you’ll still have a perfectly sweetened streusel topping.

CINNAMON

Cinnamon is a totally optional ingredient, as its only true function is to add flavor, but it works well as a flavor complement to most places you’d want to use a streusel topping.

You can leave it out completely or combine or replace it with other spices you like. See my pumpkin streusel muffins (below) which also have pumpkin pie spice in the streusel topping.

pumpkin streusel muffin with a bite taken out of it

SALT

Just like you typically find salt in any baking recipe, so should you find it in streusel to balance the flavor and sweetness. I use table salt in my baking. See recipe notes if you use a different texture of salt.

UNSALTED BUTTER

Butter’s function in streusel is to coat the mixture in fat and help deliver the flavor. The other granulated and powdery ingredients stick to the butter and create chunks of flavor.

As the solids of the butter melt, the moisture stays behind, as does the buttery flavor mixed with the spices and sugar. Without the butter, the mixture would be dry and unappetizing.

streusel topping for muffins in a bowl

I work pretty much exclusively with unsalted butter, so if you only use or only have salted butter, see the notes in the recipe for adjustments. You can use a dairy-free butter alternative to make this crumble topping vegan. These butters are usually salted. Pay attention to that, too!

HOW TO MAKE STREUSEL TOPPING

You’ll start your streusel by combining the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Mix it up with a fork until it is thoroughly combined. This will prevent your mixture from having concentrated pockets of ingredients when you add the butter.

Once everything is mixed, you’ll add the butter. I typically cut my ¼ cup of butter into 16 pieces.

To do this: cut the stick in half long ways, turn it on its side and cut in half long ways again, then slice into 4 slices. This will make 16 small pieces.

chunked butter in a bowl of streusel topping ingredients

Use a fork to smash the pieces of butter into the mixture. Stop when all of the chunks are smashed.

Now it’s time to get your hands messy– use your fingers to press the ingredients together until butter is in small chunks.

fingers pinching homemade streusel in a bowl

I like to pick up chunks of butter and gently pinch them between my thumb and pointer and middle fingers to flatten slightly. I then drop the flattened pieces of butter back into the mixture so they pick up the dry mixture, then go through the whole bowl again with all of my fingers to “fluff” the mixture and turn the flattened pieces back into larger chunks.

crumb topping in a bowl

You are aiming for mostly medium-size chunks and some smaller and larger chunks.

HOW TO USE STREUSEL TOPPING

Scatter this streusel evenly over muffins, breads, cakes, and pies before baking. You may need to add two or three minutes to the baking time if there isn’t already a streusel topping involved, due to the added moisture and increased density of the batter.

HOW MUCH STREUSEL DOES THIS RECIPE MAKE?

As written, this streusel recipe will top about 18 standard size muffins. Halve the recipe for a quick bread in a standard size loaf pan or a streusel layer in the middle of a bundt pan cake.

hand dropping homemade streusel topping onto coffee cake batter to make a streusel layer in the middle

CAN I MAKE THIS CRUMB TOPPING RECIPE AHEAD OF TIME?

Good news! You can absolutely make this recipe for crumble topping ahead of time– up to 3 days in advance. Store covered tightly in the refrigerator.

CAN I ADD OATS OR NUTS?

You sure can! To make this streusel topping with oats or finely chopped nuts, add ½ cup along with the dry ingredients. The instructions are the same.

Easy peasy! You are now prepared to go forth and streusel.

Use this streusel crumb topping on any of these recipes from Fresh April Flours: cinnamon streusel coffee cake (pictured below), coffee cake muffins (pictured below), chai streusel muffins, apple cinnamon streusel bread (pictured below), and apple cinnamon oat streusel muffins.

streusel muffin topping in a bowl
5 from 2 votes
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Streusel Topping

Use this simple streusel topping recipe to top any muffin, quick bread, fruit crisp, coffee cake, or pie.
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Recipe Author Lynn April
Servings: 1 cup

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (60g) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (50g) firmly packed light brown sugar1
  • 1 and ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt2
  • ¼ cup (57g) unsalted butter cold and cut into small pieces3

Instructions

  • Place flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt into a small bowl. Toss together with a fork until combined.
  • Add the butter to the bowl, then use a fork to smash the pieces of butter into the mixture.
  • Use your fingers to press the ingredients together until butter is in small chunks. I like to pick up chunks of butter and gently pinch them between my thumb and pointer and middle fingers to flatten slightly. I then drop the flattened pieces of butter back into the mixture so they pick up the dry mixture, then go through the whole bowl again with all of my fingers to "fluff" the mixture and turn the flattened pieces back into larger chunks. You are aiming for mostly medium-size chunks and some smaller and larger chunks.
  • To use: scatter evenly over muffins, breads, cakes, and pies before baking. As written, this streusel recipe will top about 18 standard size muffins. Halve the recipe for a quick bread in a standard size loaf pan or a streusel layer in the middle of a bundt pan cake.
  • To make ahead: you can make this streusel up to 3 days in advance. Store covered tightly in the refrigerator.
  • To add oats or nuts: to make this streusel topping with oats or finely chopped nuts, add ½ cup along with the dry ingredients. The instructions are the same.

Notes

  1. Brown sugar: I like to use all brown sugar, but you could use all granulated (white) sugar or half brown and half granulated. Granulated sugar will bring a little more texture to your streusel. The instructions and method are the same.
  2. Salt: I use table salt. If you use a larger, flakier, or coarser salt, you may want to increase this to ½ teaspoon. If you are using salted butter, decrease the added salt to just ⅛ teaspoon.
  3. Butter: I typically cut my ¼ cup of butter into 16 pieces. Cut the stick in half long ways, turn it on its side and cut in half long ways again, then slice into 4 slices. This will make 16 small pieces. You can also use salted butter. Decrease the added salt to just ⅛ teaspoon.
  4. Nutritional information: all nutritional values are approximate.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @freshaprilflours on Instagram or tag #freshaprilflours!
Serving: 1cup | Calories: 851kcal | Carbohydrates: 104g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 47g | Saturated Fat: 29g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 122mg | Sodium: 605mg | Potassium: 167mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 54g | Vitamin A: 1428IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 99mg | Iron: 4mg

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5 stars
I went looking for a streusel recipe because I wanted to add streusel to my grandma’s apple cake and found this. It worked great and our family loved it!

5 stars
I actually foundt his recipe from your coffee cake recipe and i’m going to save it for all of my pie baking this summer. thanks!