If you asked me for my top 5 favourite desserts, apple crumble would be one of them. Soft, cinnamon-laced apples sitting under a blanket of crunchy streusel topping – this is the stuff I grew up with.

For more easy fruit desserts, try this mixed berry crumble or this apple and plum cobbler too.

Top down view of apple crumble in a white rectangular dish

This recipe is a combination of my cinnamon apples and apple and plum cobbler with the topping adapted from my ginger loaf cake. The three merge perfectly into one super cosy dessert.

Ingredients

I love a recipe without a massive list of ingredients and this is definitely one of those.  Here’s the most important.

An image of the ingredients needed for apple crumble

  • Apples – Granny Smiths work best for this as they keep their shape well when baking.
  • Sugar – two types; white in the apple filling and brown in the streusel.
  • Spices – cinnamon and nutmeg are the perfect cosy partners for the apples
  • Oats – these go into the crumble topping with flour, butter and brown sugar. You can use traditional or quick oats.
  • Cornflour / Cornstarch – this is used to thicken the juices that release from the apples as they bake.

And that’s all there is to it.

A white dish filled with apple crumble with custard being poured over

Crumble vs Crisp

Back in the day a crumble was less likely to have oats in the topping but these days a crumble and a crisp are very much the same thing. A baked fruit filling covered with a streusel with or without oats and sometimes with nuts.

How to make it – step by step

You may be surprised at how easy it is to make a cosy apple crumble like this.

3 images showing how to make the crumble.

  1. The streusel is made first, with all ingredients pressed and rubbed together until it looks incorporated and starts clumping (images 1,2,3).

3 images showing the apple filling

  1. Next, the filling. Peel, core and chop apples into roughly 1.5cm (1/2 inch) pieces. Combine them with spices, sugar, cornflour and a touch of water and give them a good mix (images 4 & 5).
  2. Scatter the streusel over the top (image 6), then bake. That’s it.

When I was growing up, apple crumble would be served nearly swimming in custard (as in the vanilla sauce style custard) just like below and that’s still how I prefer it but you can also serve it with  ice cream or just plain pouring cream is good too. Whatever takes your fancy.

2 images of apple crumble in a small dish - 1 with custard and one with ice cream

Tips and Tricks

  • Grating the butter into the other streusel ingredients helps to combine it quickly.
  • Once the apple mixture is combine, try to level it out as much as possible so that the crumble topping sits on top as opposed to falling through all the gaps.
  • This recipe works well for other fruits too. Try stone fruits or pears too. You could also use berries but this would not need to bake quite so long.

This simple apple crumble is best eaten freshly baked but it will keep for a few days covered in the fridge. The longer it sits, the more the topping will soften but you can crisp it up in the oven again.

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Closeup of apple crumble in a white rectangular dish

With it’s crunchy topping, and soft cinnamon apples, it may be a big call, but I believe this is truly the best apple crumble and the only recipe you’ll ever need.  

More comforting dessert recipes

A spoon topped with apple crumble hovering above a dish full

Simple Apple Crumble

5 from 1 vote
Comforting and cosy, this simple apple crumble is a family favourite. This classic dessert, with it’s warm apples, cinnamon and crunchy topping is quick to make and perfect for a cool evening.

Ingredients

FOR THE CRUMBLE

  • ¾ cup rolled oats 85g (85g / 3oz)
  • 97 g plain (all-purp) flour (3/4 cup / 3.4oz)
  • cup, packed brown sugar (66g / 2.3oz)
  • 115 g unsalted butter, cold (1 stick / 4oz)

FOR THE APPLE FILLING

  • 1 kg granny smith apples (2lb)
  • cup white sugar (66g / 2.3oz)
  • 1 tablespoon water (notes)
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch) (notes)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / 160C fan forced.

FOR THE CRUMBLE

  • In a medium bowl, combine the oats, flour and brown sugar. Grate in the butter. Use your fingers to mix and press it all together until well combined and clumping (notes). Place in the fridge.

FOR THE APPLE FILLING

  • Peel the apples, remove the cores then cut roughly into 1.5 cm (1/2 inch) cubes. Place them in a casserole dish (about 6 cup capacity).
  • Add the white sugar, water, corn flour, cinnamon and nutmeg, then mix well until everything is evenly combined. Level them out and try to flatten it down a little.
  • Scatter the crumble topping over the top.
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes until the top is golden and it's bubbling at the sides. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Notes

  1. I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (=4 teaspoons worldwide)
  2. For best results, you should always weigh ingredients where a weight is the first measurement given. Kitchen scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
  3. All ovens vary – test for doneness 5-8 minutes before the recipe suggests
  4. The streusel mix should be well dispersed and creating small clumps but don’t take it so far that you have a dough.
  5. Serve it with cream, ice cream or creme anglaise
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A spoon topped with apple crumble