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Oat Crumble Topping For Any Warm Baked Filing

A foolproof oat crumble topping to go wild for – the crunchy, nutty, cinnamon-spiked crumble topping with oats is the perfect complement to any warm baked filling. You can also make this oat crumb topping healthier (gluten or dairy free) and enjoy it in a variety of ways by mixing and matching with your favorite fruits.

Crumble topping with oats - baked oat crumble topping (without fruit) which can be used as granola.
Baked oat crumble topping (without fruit) – which can be used as granola.

This oaty crumble topping recipe involves a delicious mix of rolled oats, butter, sugar, and flour and once you start making this recipe you’ll realize this crumble topping with oats is more than just an oat streusel topping.

It can be used in many ways and many recipes like this apple blueberry crumble, this healthy apple crumble pie, or, this strawberry crumble / crisp and peach crisp. Additionally it stores well when you need a quick dessert fix.

Unbaked oatmeal crumble to be used as topping.
Unbaked oatmeal crumble to be used as topping.

Related: Apple And Plum Crumble

Oat Crumble Topping Recipe

Making oat topping for crumble is easy. It’s just a matter of incorporating cold butter into a flour, then stirring briefly with sugar and rolled oats to finish. You could do this in only one bowl, whether by hand or with a food processor (easier and quicker).

An oat crumble topping is the the perfect crunchy, buttery component to add in many recipes like these blueberry muffins with crumb topping, as granola substitution or even sprinkled on some ice cream dessert. Or for an easy dessert like this blackberry and apple crumble.

Oat crumble topping baked with apples.
Baked fruit with oat crumble topping.

This crumble topping with oats it’s also a great make-ahead recipe. You can save some time and prepare big batches and have portioned bags in your freezer. This is very convenient specially during the holidays.

This recipe for oat crumble topping will never fail if you follow the tips mentioned below.

Whether I used regular flour (for guests) or a 50/50 mix of white and whole grain, or gluten free flour (1 type or a gluten free flour mix) it provides the same crunchy delicious result.

The thickness, topping ingredients and baking time yields different results, so feel free to experiment. I’ve made this oat crumble for topping a lot of desserts and I will specify below what you can expect with each recipe variation.

Baked oat crumble topping with a sandy texture, to be used as granola.
Baked oat crumble with a sandy texture, to be used as granola.

How Do You Use The Oat Crumble Topping?

Oat crumble topping used for crisps and crumble recipes.  Just sprinkle this oat topping on any crumble.
I usually use this oat crumble topping for crisps and crumble recipes. Just sprinkle this oat topping on any crumble.

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Ingredients For Oaty Crumble Topping Recipe

  • Rolled oats rolled oats are the best (not steel cut or quick oats) whether you use regular or gluten free. Organic version will ensure a healthier dessert will less pesticide contamination.
  • Flour use one plain type or a mix (your choice). Finer (starchier) flours will yields a more golden brown surface. Whole grain flours are healthier but they will change the texture and flavor a bit.
  • Butter – the cold butter (frozen) helps the topping hold that crumble texture. Use vegan butter or coconut oil to keep this oat crumble topping – vegan & dairy free.
  • Brown sugar – to keep the recipe refined sugar free maple sugar (my favorite) or coconut sugar are also wonderful.
  • Walnuts – provide crunch and a rich sweet taste. Feel free to use your favorite nuts or omit them.
  • Spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom (optional but recommended) and salt.

Find the complete printable recipe with measurements below in the recipe card.

Ingredients needed for making and oat crumble topping displayed on a board.
Ingredients needed for making and oat crumble topping.

How To Make This Oat Crumble Topping

Step 1. Prepare the ingredients and rub butter into flour first.

  • Place you butter in the freezer for at least 1 hour before starting.
  • Then, if you’re doing it by hand, use a grater: in a bowl, rub the frozen butter against the smaller grating surface on a box grater. Toss the frozen shreds of butter with flour until all pieces are coated.
  • If you have a food processor: add the cold butter and the flour to the bowl of a food processor and pulse the mixture until you have a chunky / crumb like mixture.
Process shots showing how to cut the cold butter into the flour by using the pulse function of a food processor and to make oat crumble topping.
Cut the cold butter into the flour by using the pulse function of a food processor.

Step 2. Combine all the ingredients and mix.

  • To the butter and flour mixture, add the spices, sugar, crushed walnuts and rolled oats, mix by hand or with a spatula until combined. Now you could freeze the oat crumble topping for future use as it is, or bake the same day on a pie, or separate.
Process shots showing how to mix ingredients for an oat crumble topping.
Now these ingredients can easily be mixed by hand without a food processor.

Step 3. Bake the oat crumble topping:

  • Transfer the mixture to a baking tray or cookie sheet, use your fingers to sprinkle evenly.
  • Bake the oat crumble topping at 360°F for 17-20 minutes total (if you’re using regular flour) and 8-12 minutes more if you’re using gluten free flour (it usually browns slower).
Process shots showing how to make oat topping with crumble and bake it in a single layer on a cookie sheet.
Baking the oat crumble topping.

Step 4. Cool and serve

  • Once the oat crumble topping it’s crisp and golden remove from oven and let it cool.
  • Serve cold or room temperature. Enjoy!

Clumpy Or Sandy Crumble Topping

  • If you prefer a clustered oat crumble topping then bake the whole time without stirring. To make a crispier oat crumb topping that’s more granular and dispersed, remove from oven half the baking time, stir, then return to oven and bake until golden. This is great when you intend to serve it separate as a dessert topping and not incorporated in a pie or cake.
  • If you prefer a finer oat crumb texture then you can chop the rolled oats along with walnuts in a food processor before mixing all other ingredients.
Making clumpy oat crumb topping.
  • If you prefer a clumpy oat crumble topping (instead of a sandy texture) then after mixing everything, let it sit at room temperature for 5-8 minutes ant then use your hand to clutch and squash the mixture. The heat from your hand will help create lumps (see pic below).

Oat Crumble Topping Substitutions & Tips

  • Add ins: flaked coconut, dried fruits, crushed pecans or sliced almonds (or seeds if allergic to nuts).
  • Healthy oat crumble topping without butter: the only healthy substitute I could think of is coconut oil. But this will yield a somewhat coconutty flavor.
  • Use fresh / or frozen fruits: berries, apple, mango, pear, plum or peach under the crumb topping.
  • Make It Dairy Free: use a dairy free butter like – Miyoko’s (it has similar texture as regular butter when frozen) and is healthier than Earth Balance brand.
  • Make It Gluten Free: use gluten free flours like – gluten free oat flour, almond flour, arrowroot flour (similar to potato flour), buckwheat flour, sorghum flour or rice flour. For best results use a mix of a starchy flour and whole grain flour.
Oaty crumble topping.
oat crumb topping serving
Baked apples topped with oat crumble (left). Coconut yogurt and oat crumble topping (right).

Recipe FAQs

How thick should crumble topping be?

Ideally about 2 cm thick (0.57 inch), to provide an even browning.

What is the difference between crumble and streusel?

They are the same thing, it depends how you use it. For example the streusel is more often incorporated into shortbread-like baked goods, but the crumble is more often used as topping to baked fruits, pies or crisps.

Should the crumble topping be added before or after baking?

If you’re incorporating it into a pie, crisp or coffee cake, then you should add it before baking.

How do I make my crumble topping crisp?

To make the oat crumple topping scrip and crunchy you need to use cold fat (frozen butter is the best). Another option is to mix all dry ingredients and at the end to drizzle melted butter (or oil), then mix again with your hands until everything is evenly coated. Both options work well.

Why is my crumble topping soggy?

It’s either because the filling you baked the crumble with has too much liquid or because the temperature wasn’t high enough or because you used the wrong proportions.

Can you make crumble topping in a food processor?

Yes, you will need the food processor just to incorporate cold butter into the flour. The rest of ingredients are easily mixed by hand if you want a clumpier crumble topping.

Storing Suggestions

  • Storing leftovers: if already baked, keep at room temperature for up to 3 days, if you want to prepare the oat streusel topping in advance (unbaked) and store, then keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days before baking.
  • Freezing: For longer storage is best to freeze the crumble topping unbaked. Freeze for up to 3 months, in an airtight container or bag. You can top a pie while still frozen and bake it right away. Baking with frozen crumble topping will yield a crunchier texture.

Or you could bake the oat crumble with some fruit, like this one below!

Baked oat crumble topping.
Baked oat crumble topping.

More Crumble Dessert Recipes With Oats

Other Recipes With Crumb Topping

If you made this oaty crumble topping, then please leave a star rating and a comment below the recipe card.

Your feedback is really helpful for me and readers!

Crispy crunchy oat crumble topping that you can use for pies, muffins, coffee cakes or crisp. An oat crumble topping to go wild for – the crunchy, nutty, cinnamon-spiked crumble topping with oats is the perfect complement to any warm baked filling. You can also make this oat crumb topping healthier (gluten or dairy free) and serve separate in breakfast or as a snack. #crumbletopping #oatcrumbtopping #oatcrumbletopping #oatcrumble #oatmeal #streuseltopping #oatstreuseltopping
oat crumble topping recipe
Print Recipe

Oat Crumble Topping Recipe (Healthier)

An oat crumble topping to go wild for – the crunchy, nutty, cinnamon-spiked crumble topping with oats is the perfect complement to any warm baked filling. You can also make this oat crumb topping healthier (gluten or dairy free) and enjoy it in a variety of ways by mixing and matching with your favorite fruits and sweet veggies.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Clean Eating, French, German
Servings: 2 cups
Calories: 876kcal
Author: HealthyTasteOfLife
Pin Recipe Save

Ingredients
 

  • 3/4 cup rolled oats - use gluten free if you need
  • 1/3 cup flour - for gluten free see notes
  • 1/2 cup crushed walnuts - optional, but recommended
  • 6 tbsp butter - for dairy free see notes
  • 1/3 cup maple sugar - or brown sugar, or coconut sugar

Spices

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom - optional but recommended
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt - if the butter is unsalted

Instructions
 

Step 1. Prepare the ingredients and rub butter into flour first.

  • Place you butter in the freezer for at least 1 hour before starting. Then, if you’re doing it by hand, use a grater: in a bowl, rub the frozen butter against the smaller grating surface on a box grater. Toss the frozen shreds of butter with flour until all pieces are coated.
    If you have a food processor: add the cold butter and the flour to the bowl of a food processor and pulse the mixture until you have a chunky / crumb like mixture.

Step 2. Combine all the ingredients and mix:

  • To the butter and flour mixture, add the spices, sugar, crushed walnuts and rolled oats, mix by hand or with a spatula until combined. Now you could freeze it for future use as it is, or bake the same day on a pie, or separate.

Step 3. Bake the oat crumb topping:

  • Transfer the mixture to a baking tray or cookie sheet, use your fingers to sprinkle evenly. Bake at 360°F for 17-20 minutes total (if you’re using regular flour) and 8-12 minutes more if you’re using gluten free flour (it usually browns slower).

Step 4. Cool and serve:

  • Once it’s crisp and golden remove from oven and let it cool. Serve cold or room temperature.
    See notes for tips.

Notes

 
  • For a clustered crumb: bake the whole time without stirring. To make a crispier oat crumb topping that’s more granular and dispersed, remove from oven half the baking time, stir, then return to oven and bake until golden. This is great when you intend to serve it separate as a dessert topping and not incorporated in a pie or cake.
  • Make It Dairy Free: use a dairy free butter like – Miyoko’s (it has similar texture as regular butter when frozen) and is healthier than Earth Balance brand.
  • Make It Gluten Free: use gluten free flours like – gluten free oat flour, almond flour, arrowroot flour (similar to potato flour), buckwheat flour, sorghum flour or rice flour. For best results use a mix of a starchy flour and whole grain flour.
  • Freezing: For longer storage is best to freeze the crumble topping unbaked. Freeze for up to 3 months, in an airtight container or bag. You can top a pie right away while still frozen. 
  • If you already cooked the oat crumb but then you want to top a pie with it, it’s best to cover the pan with foil while baking to prevent burning.
Tried this recipe?Mention @HealthyTasteOfLife or tag #healthytasteoflife!

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 876kcal | Carbohydrates: 92.6g | Protein: 15.43g | Fat: 51.1g | Fiber: 8.56g | Sugar: 32.1g

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator.

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Recipe Rating




Mandy

Friday 10th of June 2022

Hey just made oat crumble was fabulous w stewed apple and homemade macadamia nut cream yummy thank you 😊

HealthyTasteOfLife

Friday 10th of June 2022

That's wonderful, sounds delicious! Thank you.

Teri

Wednesday 4th of May 2022

Your topping looks great. Can I just bake my fruit filling, say the day before and top it with your baked crisp topping just before serving? Thanks

HealthyTasteOfLife

Friday 6th of May 2022

Yes you could do that, but make sure not to bake the filling all the way through the day before. When you add the topping the next day you'll need to bake everything together for at least 20-25 minutes or so.

Megan

Wednesday 30th of March 2022

So easy to make the crumble with frozen butter and a food processor, thanks for the tip!

HealthyTasteOfLife

Wednesday 30th of March 2022

Yes, it's my favorite trick too! :)

Jane

Wednesday 26th of January 2022

I love that this oat crumble is not a sticky mass, you can easily use it as granola topping as well!

HealthyTasteOfLife

Wednesday 26th of January 2022

Absolutely, enjoy!