If you’re looking for a topping that’s loaded with the sweetness of brown sugar and the crunch of pecans, have I got a treat for you! This easy streusel recipe is perfect for topping desserts or even your favorite sweet potato casserole!
What is Streusel?
Streusel is a sweet, delicious crumb topping that you can place on cakes, cookies, cookie bars, or muffins before baking.
Lest you think it’s only for desserts, however, think again! Streusel is also ideal for a variety of holiday offerings, including sweet potato casserole.
A Crumb is a Crumb is a Crumb…and that’s a good thing!
What makes streusel a “crumb” topping is the fact that it’s not meant to stick together. It forms a layer of crumbly goodness on top of the main dish, adding both texture and sweetness.
According to Delighted Cooking:
Also called a crumble or streusel crust, streusel originated in Germany, and the name translates as “to strew or scatter.” The three essential ingredients are butter, sugar and flour. Combinations of spices, nuts and other extras are also commonly included in this dessert.
What do I Put Streusel On?
You can take a mildly sweet cookie bar (like my white chocolate raspberry bars) and add streusel on top for an added layer of flavor.
My recipe is simple and delicious. It’s also super easy to memorize. It calls for a half cup of each of the ingredients (except for the flour…you’ll need a full cup of that).
Buttery Crumb Topping Recipe
You will find a full printable recipe card at the bottom of this post but here’s a quick peek at what you’ll need to make a good streusel topping. These are simple ingredients you likely have in your pantry or fridge.
- brown sugar
- white sugar
- salted butter (room temperature)
- pecans (optional)
- all purpose flour
- pinch of salt (if you use unsalted butter)
- cinnamon (optional, depending on the dish you’re baking)
You can mix things up a bit if you like. For instance, you could use any of the following substitutions:
- almond flour (in place of all-purpose flour)
- dark brown sugar (in place of light brown sugar)
- monk fruit (in place of white sugar)
- unsalted butter, ghee, or shortening (in place of salted butter)
- walnuts (in place of pecans)
- chopped raisins or craisins (in place of oats)
- pumpkin pie spice (in place of cinnamon)
How to Make this Easy Streusel Topping
This is such a simple recipe. It comes together so quickly and easily! You’re going to want to put it on top of many of your desserts and side dishes.
You won’t need an oven for this. In fact, you won’t even need the stove top. Just start with room temperature butter and watch the magic happen!
You can make this by hand, stirring with a fork. Or, if you prefer, you can make it using an electric mixer or stand mixer. You can even make streusel with a pastry cutter.
Place butter in medium bowl and mix until light and fluffy. Work in the sugars until fully incorporated.
Add the dry ingredients (oats, flour, salt). You’ll have a paste-like substance pretty quickly if you’re using a mixer, but if you’re mixing by hand with a fork it might look sandy until you’ve given yourself a workout.
Fold in the chopped nuts and any spices you want to add. Look at those coarse crumbs! Aren’t they beautiful? (A pastry blender will give you the same outcome.)
Sprinkle streusel mixture on top of unbaked bars, cakes, muffins, casseroles, etc.
If you’re not using your crumble right away you can store it in an airtight container in the freezer up to two months. If you are baking it right away bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until the crumble turns golden brown.
This is a rich buttery streusel that tastes delicious, no matter what you’re putting it on! Talk about an easy way to dress up your dessert!
What to Use Streusel On
I love using streusel on a variety of baked goods, like my Easy Cinnamon Streusel Muffins with Pecans. I’ve also got a yummy Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake that calls for a generous crumb topping. Like I mentioned above, streusel is also terrific on sweet potato casserole.
Here are some of suggestions for how (and where) you might use streusel. I’ve chosen simple recipes from this blog, which would be delicious with a crumb coating:
Easy Cinnamon Sugar Muffins: Yes, please! These would be delicious covered in crumble. Be sure you press it into the batter on top of muffins before baking. (Homemade muffins are bliss!)
Luscious Lemon Berry Muffins: I dare say, these would be over-the-top delicious with streusel on top!
Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins with Mayonnaise: Yep, you read that right! These muffins have the rich addition of mayo!
Bran Muffins with Peanut Butter: Streusel would be the perfect topping on this healthy muffin.
Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins: Add crumbly topping and take this recipe to new heights!
COOKIES & BARS:
Cherry Pie Bars (Cherry Cobbler Bars): These are with with fruity goodness and a crumb coating would add an extra layer of crunch that would be perfect! This is one of those delicious desserts you’re going to make again and again.
Brown Butter Banana Bread: This is a dark, rich bread, loaded with texture and flavor. It would be perfect with a streusel topping. Simple press streusel mixture into the top of the loaf.
Old-Fashioned Banana Bread with Mayonnaise: This recipe is the perfect banana bread. I would imagine it would be delightful with a crumb topping. (This is one of my favorite recipes!)
Sweet breads are made even better with this delicious crumble!
Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake: My go-to coffee cake, rich with cinnamon and sugar. (Crumb cakes are the best, especially during the fall!)
Lemon Blueberry Coffee Cake: Bake this in a 9 x 13-inch dish and cover with crumb topping. Yum!
Easy Cranberry Breakfast Cake: Bake in a 9 x 13-inch pan and cover with streusel before baking.
Easy Pumpkin Spice Cake: Bake in a 9 x 13-inch pan and press the streusel into the top of the cake before popping it into the oven.
Cinnamon Sugar Pound Cake: I would love to add a crumble topping to my cinnamon sugar pound cake. I would definitely add cinnamon to the streusel for this one!
Luscious Brown Butter Walnut Cake: Bake it in a 9 x 13-inch pan and add the streusel topping before baking.
PIES & COBBLERS:
Easy Cake Mix Cherry Pies: Cover these little darlings with a spoonful of streusel before baking.
Easy Blackberry Cobbler: Substitute crumble in place of the top crust on this (or any of my other) cobblers.
Delicious Apple Crisp: This recipe calls for a “crisp” on top but a crumble would be even better! (Fruit crisps are so simple! Fruit on bottom, crumble on top!)
Questions People are Asking about Streusel Topping:
How do I keep it crunchy?
Sometimes a crumb topping goes soft or mushy, especially if you’re putting it on a cobbler or pie that has to be refrigerated. Reheat the crumble in the oven before serving and it will crisp right up.
Can I use streusel on top of other types of foods?
Yes, you can bake your crumble by itself and then sprinkle it on your yogurt. (Yum!)
Can I use streusel in place of pie crust?
On most fruit pies, yes. Strawberry, blackberry, blueberry. . .these are all great with a crumble topping. Spread it liberally. You won’t want to use crumble on cream pies (like chocolate, lemon, etc.)
Can I use cold butter?
You can, but you might want to grate it first. Whether you use melted butter or cold butter, you want the same crumb-like texture in the end.
Can I use whole wheat flour?
That’s it for this post, friends! I hope you enjoyed this simple streusel recipe.
See this recipe at
About the Author
Janice Thompson is an author, baker, and all-around mischief maker! She has overcome a host of baking catastrophes, including a toppled wedding cake, to learn more about the baking process. Janice has published over 150 books for the Christian market but particularly enjoys writing recipes and baking devotions. To learn more about Janice or to drop her a note, visit her About the Author page.
- 1/2 cup salted butter (room temperature)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- pinch of salt (if you use unsalted butter)
- cinnamon (optional, depending on the dish you're baking)
How to Make this Easy Streusel Topping
This comes together so quickly and easily! You're going to want to put it on top of many of your desserts and side dishes.
You won't need an oven for this. In fact, you won't even need the stove top. Just start with room temperature butter and watch the magic happen!
You can make this by hand, stirring with a fork. Or, if you prefer, you can make it using an electric mixer or stand mixer.
Place butter in medium bowl and mix until light and fluffy.
Work in the sugars until fully incorporated.
Add the oats and flour. You'll have a paste-like substance pretty quickly if you're using a mixer, but if you're mixing by hand with a fork it might look sandy until you've given yourself a workout.
Fold in the chopped nuts and any spices you want to add.
Place streusel on top of unbaked bars, cakes, muffins, casseroles, etc.
Bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until golden.
Store unused, unbaked streusel in a ziplock bag in the refrigerator (up to two weeks) or freezer (up to two months).