My favourite go-to easy oat crumble topping. This super simple recipe is perfect for adding to your bakes. Try it on top of pies, with seasonal baked fruits or even just with ice cream for a spiced oaty crunch.
This recipe has six ingredients:
- Oats - these can be standard sized or jumbo. Old-fashioned or quick cooking (sometimes called porridge oats). The type of oat will impact the consistency of the overall crumble topping - smaller oats or finer cut will have less oaty crunch. I recommend using old-fashioned rolled oats for the best crisp topping.
- Brown sugar - I use a light brown sugar (sometimes called muscovado) firmly packed. You can also use dark brown sugar - this will have a stronger molasses-y flavour, which may overpower the cinnamon.
- Flour - crumble toppings use a little flour to bring everything together creating the traditional crumbly consistency. All-purpose flour or plain flour will work in this recipe.
- Cinnamon - ground cinnamon is key to the spiced cinnamon crisp topping. Other spices can also be used here, depending on your taste preferences and wider recipe.
- Salt - a small amount of salt will accentuate the flavours in the recipe.
- Butter - unsalted butter, melted. This will bind the ingredients. You can use salted butter in this recipe, but if doing so, do not add additional salt.
You really can't get easier than a crumble topping. Just add all the ingredients to a bowl and mix together! The only equipment you need is a bowl and your hands!
For the best distribution, you may wish to give the dry ingredients a stir first before adding the butter, but honestly it's not necessary.
Using your hands to rub the ingredients together, a bit like preparing a pastry (rubbing the butter into the flour) will make this come together best.
Once combined into a lightly moistened crumbly oat crisp topping, you can top your dessert and follow baking instructions as usual.
Baking Crumble Topping
If you want to add your oat crumble topping to a no-bake recipe (in other words, if you won't be baking the crumble topping as part of your wider recipe baking), you will need to bake this separately.
Spread the crumble mixture on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F for about 15 minutes, until starting to turn golden.
It is important to bake the crumble mixture because flour needs to be heat treated to be safe to consume.
If you want to make an unbaked crumble topping, you can heat treat the flour separately before adding to the mixture and this will also be safe. For more details on heat-treating flour, see my recipe for Edible Cookie Dough Cones.
Uses for Oat Crumble Topping
There are so many uses for a good oat crisp topping! Here are some of my favourite ideas:
- Crumble topped pies - try adding this cinnamon crisp topping to an apple pie in place of the top pastry shell or make my Peach Crisp Pie, which follows the same process.
- Classic fruit crisps - this crumble topping can be added to the top of chopped seasonal fruits and baked for a super simple dessert. This works particularly well with plums, pears, apples, mixed berries, peaches and nectarines.
- Ice cream or yoghurt - bake the crumble topping on its own and use as a crispy oat topping for yoghurt or make an ice cream sundae with a bit of crunch.
Some Easy Alternatives
If you're looking to get creative, use my recipe as a building block. Make some tweaks to suit your tastes or preferences.
Some easy options to make this recipe your own:
- Add some chopped nuts - pecans or almonds are great paired with fruit. Try adding about a quarter cup of finely chopped nut to this recipe for an added crunch and flavour.
- Change up the spices - cinnamon is by far my favourite spice! But, nutmeg, ginger and clove are all great paired with different fruits. These work nicely with the brown sugar oat mixture to give a little extra flavour.
- Non-dairy crumble topping - if you need to make this recipe without butter, you can use non-dairy butter substitutes, melted into liquid form. Add the substitute slowly and mix as you go as the measurements may vary for using different products used.
Yes! In fact, I think oat crumble topping is the best ever type of crumble topping! Sometimes an oat based crumble is referred to as a crisp, due to the crispness the oats lend to the recipe.
This cinnamon oat crisp topping can last well for several days. It is at its most crisp when freshly baked.
If making as part of a dessert, leftovers can be stored as required by the wider dessert (in the refrigerator or at room temperature). The crumble topping will become a bit softer, especially if on top of a moist bake or fruit filling.
Yes - this topping freezes well as part of a bake. If making ahead or in bulk, it is best to freeze before baking. This will enable you to bake fresh and preserve the optimal amount of crispness.
Love a crumble? Try one of these recipes:
Oat Crumble Topping
- ½ cup rolled oats
- ½ cup light brown sugar (muscovado) firmly packed
- ¼ cup all purpose flour or plain flour
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup unsalted butter melted
- In a mixing bowl, stir together the oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt.
- Pour in the melted butter and rub together with your fingers until you have a lightly moist crumbly mixture.
- Sprinkle over top of your pie or chopped fruit and bake as directed in the recipe. (see note)
- If baking separately, spread in a layer on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in the centre of a 350°F (175C/155C Fan) preheated oven for 15 minutes.