My make ahead crumble topping is an easy big batch recipe to stock in your freezer. Bake up all kinds of fruit crisps, crumbles, and pies with this buttery, sweet topping; just scoop out what you need and leave the rest in the freezer for another day. This is summer dessert on demand, over and over again!
You’ve heard of meal prep, but what about dessert prep?
This ingenious recipe for a bulk crumble topping freezes beautifully so you can make spur of the moment fruit desserts any time the urge strikes. Making dessert for the family, the potluck, or just a single serving is so quick and easy. Just fill a baking dish with fresh or frozen fruit, sweeten if necessary, and top with this magical crumble…no need to thaw it, just bake and enjoy.
Ingredients for my bulk crumble topping ~
These ingredients are pantry staples, you probably already have them in the kitchen…
- butter ~ unsalted good quality butter
- brown sugar ~ light or dark brown sugar will work. Dark brown sugar has more molasses content and therefore a deeper flavor.
- flour ~ all purpose is what I use, but you can experiment with whole wheat, or oat flour.
- oats ~ rolled oats, either regular or quick cooking.
- salt ~ don’t skip the salt, it really brings out the flavors.
- spices ~ I use cinnamon and cardamom
- vanilla extract ~ you could also use almond extract.
Assemble your big batch crumble ~
- Put all the ingredients in a large bowl and get in there with your clean hands.
- Rub the bits of butter into the dry mixture with the tips of your fingers. Keep at it until all the butter has been broken up and incorporated. You should end up with a coarse, nubbly crumble.
How to freeze your freshly made crumble topping ~
- Simply scoop your crumble into a heavy duty zip lock freezer bag that you’ve labeled. You can also use any freezer safe container you like, even mason jars will work.
- Your crumble will last up to a year.
- It’s so easy to take out as much as you need, the crumble remains loose, even when frozen, how convenient!
Tip: You can substitute this frozen crumble in any crumble recipe, no need to thaw or change the baking time.
Some ideas for varying your crumble topping recipe ~
- add chopped nuts like walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds or pecans.
- use different spices, cardamom and cinnamon is a basic blend, but you could use pumpkin spice mix, allspice, ginger, or vanilla bean (we’re planning a gingerbread-spiced version for fall fruits!)
- use less butter for a drier, more “crisp”-like topping.
- use a granulated sugar substitute.
- substitute almond extract for the vanilla.
- use whole grain flour like whole wheat, buckwheat, or oat. If you use oat flour your topping will be gluten free.
Types of fruits that work best ~
Many fruits are sweet enough that you can bake them without any added sugar. The sweet topping will be all you need. Others, like cranberries and rhubarb, will need some sweetening.
- Any and all summer berries! My favorites are raspberries, black raspberries, and blackberries.
- Stone fruit like peaches, plums, etc.
- Rhubarb in spring.
- Apples, pears, bananas, and cranberries in fall
How to assemble the perfect fruit crumble for one ~
- Choose small bowls or jars that can safely go into the oven.
- If you are using ripe berries or stone fruit, you won’t need any added sugar. If you’re using rhubarb or cranberries, you’ll need to sweeten them. I add about a tablespoon per cup of fruit, but go by your own taste.
- Fill your jars almost to the top with fruit. The fruit will shrink down as the crumble bakes.
- Top the fruit with a thick layer of crumble. I like to mound it a bit on top because of the shrinkage.
- Bake at 375F for about 25 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is starting to turn golden.
- Top with ice cream or sweetened whipped cream.
Some of my best crumble and crisp recipes ~
- Vanilla Almond Plum Crumble
- Gluten Free Spiced Peach Crisp
- Summer Jumble Fruit Crumble
- Gluten Free Rhubarb Crisp
- Blueberry Peach Crumble Pie
Big Batch Crumble Topping for the Freezer
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter (3 sticks) The butter can be cold or at room temperature, but if using cold butter, cut into small pieces
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl and rub the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingertips until well mixed and crumbly. Be sure to get all the butter incorporated so there are no large chunks of butter.
- Spoon the crumble mixture into a freezer safe container (we used zip lock freezer bags), and place in the freezer until ready to use.
- Your crumble will last up to a year in the freezer. Just scoop out what you need and reseal the rest. No need to thaw the crumble before baking.
To use your crumble
- Add the fruit filling of your choice to a baking pan, filling the pan about 2/3 of the way full. Then top generously with your frozen crumble (don't thaw it first.) I like to mound the crumble on the fruit, because everything will shrink down in the oven. Bake at 375F for about 25-30 minutes, or until the fruit is bubbling and juicy and the topping is starting to turn golden.
notes and variations