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Easy Oat Crumble Topping With Cinnamon and Brown Sugar



Baked flour brown sugar and oats in a bowl.
Photo by Travis Rainey, Food Styling by Emilie Fosnocht

Whether you’re craving a sweet snack or need to put the finishing touches on a strawberry rhubarb pie, this easy oat crumble topping deserves a spot in your repertoire. The cinnamon and brown sugar crunch is a boon to all sorts of baked fruit desserts: Sprinkle it on top of an open-face cherry pie in the summer or a Thanksgiving pumpkin pie come November. (Can’t make up your mind which pie to prepare? Check out our build-your-own pie bar.) Pile it on an ice cream sundae, milkshake, or a bowl of Greek yogurt. Consider it your go-to for all manner of fruit crisps. Or pack up a batch to take to the beach or campsite to spoon over grilled fruit with Mason jar whipped cream.

Opt for old-fashioned or rolled oats (quick-cooking oats will lose their crunch). If desired, you can substitute a cup of gluten-free flour, or add ½ tsp. of allspice, ground ginger, cardamom, or other baking spices in addition to the cinnamon. Or, throw in a handful of golden raisins or dried cranberries and chopped pecans or walnuts for a granola-like treat. Cool the crumble topping completely on a wire rack before adding to your dessert of choice to keep its crunchy texture intact. You can even prepare the oat crumble topping recipe through the second step and store a batch of the unbaked oat mixture in an airtight container in the freezer in case of dessert emergencies down the road. Your future self will thank you.

Recipe information

  • Total Time

    45 minutes

  • Yield

    Makes about 3 cups


1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
½ cup (107 g) light brown sugar
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. kosher salt
¾ cup (67 g) old-fashioned oats
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into pieces


  1. Step 1

    Place rack in middle of oven; preheat oven to 375°F.

    Step 2

    Whisk 1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour, ½ cup (107 g) light brown sugar, ½ tsp. baking powder, ½ tsp. ground cinnamon, and ¼ tsp. kosher salt in a large bowl. Add ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into pieces, and work into flour mixture with your fingertips until pea-size lumps form. Add ¾ cup (67 g) old-fashioned oats and mix with your fingertips until clumps form; it should look like crumb topping. Chill 15 minutes.

    Step 3

    Transfer oat mixture to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet; bake 8 minutes. Using a metal spatula, stir and toss crumble. Rotate pan and continue baking until crumble is dark golden brown, about 8 minutes more. Let cool.

    Do Ahead: Crumble can be prepared 3 days in advance. Let cool completely, then store in an airtight container at room temperature.

    Photo by Travis Rainey, Food Styling by Emilie Fosnocht

    Editor’s note: This oat crumble topping recipe was first printed in October 2016 as part of our Build-Your-Own Thanksgiving Pie Bar. Head this way for more of our favorite recipes with oats

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  • Gjkkll

    • Hjkk

    • 6/24/2024

  • I made this crumble to replace the cake in a truffle recipe and it was perfect. The crumble was just sweet enough to compliment the flavors of the various fruits, cream and pudding I used in the recipe

    • Becky57

    • Sonoma, CA

    • 7/18/2017

  • Everyone loved this crumble when I served it over blueberry-peach pie filling. It was nice that everyone could sprinkle on as much as they wanted. For one person it needed to be gluten-free so I substituted KAF gluten-free flour, which is probably why it took quite a bit longer than the recommended time to get golden and crunchy. I could see it was not done after 16 minutes, so I turned off the oven and left it in there. After about 12 minutes it was perfect. I did use a very heavy baking pan so that also may have made it take longer to bake. Also added half a cup of chopped pecans. I made it in a food processor so it went together very quickly. Will definitely make again.

    • Key2

    • Washington

    • 4/16/2021

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