Buttery Crumb Topping

Recipe for Buttery Crumb Topping | In Jennie's Kitchen

Much as I love making lattice crusts for my pies, sometimes I take the easy way out, and slap a crumb topping over the filling. Then there are certain pie fillings that beg for a crumb topping, I’m looking at you peaches. And let’s not forget the other obvious use for crumb topping—COFFEE CAKE. Yes, all caps were really necessary for that one. So, needless to say, having a good recipe for a Buttery Crumb Topping is a pantry essential in my house.

Before we talk about the topping, though, can we take a step back and talk coffee cake? This is a total non-sequitor, but I noticed recently that some people call what I think of as a danish, a coffee cake, and that leaves me wondering what they would call my idea of a coffee cake? A crumb cake, perhaps, another name of which it goes by in Brooklyn?

What do you all say here? Inquiring minds (read: me) want to know.

Recipe for Buttery Crumb Topping | In Jennie's Kitchen

Anyway…back to our previously interrupted conversation. Buttery Crumb Topping. It’s a pretty basic recipe, one you can tweak as you see fit. At the core, it’s flour, sugar, melted butter. Feel free to mix up the flours a bit. Want a deeper flavored crumb topping? Use some brown sugar. Spices take it in a different direction, too—try cinnamon, cloves, allspice, or nutmeg. I prefer a pinch of salt, but if you want to nix it, or are using salted butter instead, then no worries.

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Whenever I have a recipe that calls for crumb topping, I always make a double batch, and freeze it to use in the future. Just sprinkle it on a lined baking sheet. Set the tray in the freezer until the crumb topping is firm, then transfer it to a container or ziptop bag. You can then use the topping straight from the freezer for coffee cakes, muffins, and pies, or anything recipe that calls for a sweet crumb topping.

Recipe for Buttery Crumb Topping | In Jennie's Kitchen

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Recipe for Buttery Crumb Topping | In Jennie's Kitchen

Buttery Crumb Topping

5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins


  • 1 ¾ cups 262 grams flour
  • ¼ to ½ cup 50 to 100 grams natural cane sugar
  • 8 tablespoons 1 stick / 112 grams unsalted butter, melted
  • Pinch of salt


  • Add all of the ingredients to a medium bowl. Use a fork to stir together until the butter is fully absorbed, and forms a wet, sand-like mixture. The crumb topping should clump easily when squeezed together. Use immediately, or transfer to a covered container, and store in the fridge for up to 1 week, or the freezer for up to 2 months.






  • Steph

    Yum! I’ve never cared for pie, mostly because of the texture of crust. But I love a good crisp or graham cracker crust. Thanks for sharing!

  • Cathy Dolata Diaz

    Freezing the crumb topping is an excellent ‘hack ‘, and one I never would have thought of myself. I align myself with you completely regarding the definition of coffee cake. BTW, your Couronne recipe is next in my queue!

  • gabrielle

    I love having crumb topping in the freezer! It makes fruit crisp feel like instant food. I agree with you–coffee cake is something with crumb topping. I think of crumb cake as that uber-Brooklyn coffee cake of my youth, with the really big crumbs that must have been rolled in powdered sugar? And a danish is great but it’s…a danish!

  • Lea

    Yes, coffee cake has a crumb topping; hopefully in equal proportion to the cake.
    Some crumb toppings are made with cold butter cut in the flour, but I prefer it as you have it here with melted butter. Great tip on making extra to have in the freezer 🙂

  • Caitlin

    5 stars
    So good! I browned the butter and used 75g of brown sugar to make a topping for apple crisp last night and it was perfect!

  • Charr

    5 stars
    I love coffer cake. Your kind. On the pumpkin pie topping I have an idea. My son adores pumpkin pie and had it for his birthday every year (Late September good tome for it). Anyway I read about using ginger snaps amd pecans on the inside crust in “The Pie Bible” and it is delicious with pumkin pie. Even better I’m going to try using that as a topping instead! Ideas just grow! Thanks.

  • Megan Tortora

    We always called what you call coffee cake by the name “crumb cake” and it always came in a breakfast pastry assortment from a bakery. But that was on Long Island so not far from Brooklyn.

  • Jennie

    I remember a place my uncle used to go to called Fritz’s (I think) near Oakdale, and they had great crumb cake, Megan! xo-Jennie

  • Jennie

    So funny. I ran into an old friend in Brooklyn last week, and she knows Fritsche’s, too! I feel the need for a road trip. xo