Crumble Topping Not Crunchy? Here’s How To Fix It…

Why Apple Crumble Not Crunchy

Apple Crumble is yet another one of those classic British desserts worth eating wherever you are in the world. Come to think of it, there’s loads of fruit crumbles we enjoy in Britain.

We dare you to think of something better in life than finishing a meal with a hot, home-made apple crumble and custard (cream or ice cream also acceptable).

But if your crumble topping is disappointingly soft rather than perfectly crunchy, or worse, a floury mess, then there’s really no point in cooking one.

For that very reason, here we give you some hints on why your crumble might turn out not to be crunchy, plus a load of other tips on how to make a great crumble (including top recipes).

After all, where better to go than a place called the British Grub Hub to solve all your Apple Crumble issues…

Why Your Crumble Topping Isn’t Crunchy

It’s just common knowledge that a good fruit crumble is way more enjoyable when you get that crunchy texture and sound when you bite into one. So much so, that it’s annoying when you don’t quite achieve that desired crunch.

Here’s the thing:

The main reason your crumble topping isn’t crunchy is probably because you haven’t used Demerara sugar. Although, it could also be that you’ve got your topping ingredient quantities wrong: either too much or not enough flour and butter alongside the sugar. Or potentially, it might also be that your topping layer is too thin.

In addition to this, there might be a few other problems connected to your crumble topping not turning out the way it should:

  • You’ve guessed the ingredient quantities (maybe you don’t have any kitchen scales)
  • You’ve not mixed the topping properly
  • Your oven temperature isn’t right 
  • The topping layer is too thick
  • You’ve not used ingredients that add crunch

In other words, you haven’t followed a good recipe, which is pretty much essential with most desserts, not just a crumble.

It’s ok though, most of these things are all easily fixable with just that, a good recipe (examples coming right up).

How To Make Your Crumble Topping Crunchy

There’s several potential ways to make a crumble topping crunchy, including: 

Use Correct Ingredient Quantities

It might sound obvious, but the value of using a tried and tested recipe can’t be underestimated, at least when it comes to the basis of the crumble topping, i.e. the butter and flour ratio.

Use Digital Scales 

Measuring your ingredients using digital scales will give the best accuracy.

The Use Of Oats

A common addition to a standard crumble topping is porridge oats, which somehow give a nice delicate softness but also add crunch once cooked in the oven. Using other breakfast cereals could also be an idea.

Mix The Topping Well

Combining all your ingredients together in a nicely dispersed fashion will ensure an even distribution of the topping and therefore a consistent crunch.

Set A Good Oven Temperature

All ovens vary, but our research suggests setting the temperature of yours between 160 – 200 degrees Celsius for the best crumble dessert.

Use Demerara Sugar

If everything else is in place, Demerara sugar seems to be the key to a crunchier crumble topping. We really can’t emphasise the benefits of using Demerara sugar for your crumble topping enough (in addition to caster sugar). This is what really gives a crumble topping that crunch factor, because Demerara sugar has a coarser grain.

Naturally, the other elements of a good crumble topping need to be spot-on too, but if you use Demerara sugar, either in your crumble mix, or at the very least, by sprinkling over the topping before going into the oven, then your crumble should be much crunchier.

Apple Crumble Recipes

Let’s face it, before we dish out our absolute favourite apple crumble recipe, we all want to see how Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay make theirs:

How To Make Jamie Oliver Crumble

How Gordon Ramsay Makes Apple Crumble

The Best Apple Crumble Recipe


  • 1kg/2lb 3½oz Bramley apples
  • pinch sugar, to taste
  • 1 tbsp water or apple juice
  • 100g/3½oz plain flour
  • 75g/2½oz butter
  • 50g/2oz rolled oats
  • 100g/3½oz demerara sugar


  • Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
  • Wipe the apples and cut them into quarters, then remove the cores and slice each piece in two. Put them into a pan, taste a slice for sweetness and add a sprinkling of sugar accordingly. Add a tablespoon of water or apple juice and cook over a medium heat for about five minutes, until the apples start to soften.
  • Transfer the apple mixture to a shallow ovenproof pie dish.
  • Blend the flour and butter in a food processor for a few seconds, until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
  • Stir in the oats and the brown sugar and sprinkle over the cooked apples in the pie dish. Transfer to the oven to bake for 30 minutes or until crisp and golden-brown on top.

Source: Nigel Slater via The BBC

Related Apple Crumble Questions 

How Do You Keep Crumble Topping Crisp?

There’s no two ways about it, keeping a crumble topping crisp (after it’s been cooked and then cooled down) isn’t easy, and reheating the thing in the oven is probably the only way to go. It helps if you’ve crisped it up nicely the first time around by using a sufficient amount of butter. 

Does Apple Crumble Need To Be Refrigerated?

It can be tempting to leave your apple crumble out overnight when you think that’ll help keep it crisp and crunchy, but it probably won’t, and you’ll run the risk of allowing bacteria to grow faster in your dessert. Refrigerating your crumble is usually best to protect its quality and prolong its life.

Is it OK to Reheat Apple Crumble?

It’s perfectly ok to reheat apple crumble. For best results, use an oven for approximately 10-15 minutes at a reasonably high temperature (around 180-200 degrees Celsius), although microwaves can do the trick too. 

How Long Does Apple Crumble Last?

Assuming it’s been refrigerated at a suitably low temperature and the ingredients are reasonably fresh, apple crumble should last somewhere between 3-5 days, although clearly, it’ll taste at its best the sooner it’s demolished.

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