Traditional British Apple Crumble

Easy traditional apple crumble

The Spruce

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
425 Calories
18g Fat
63g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 425
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 18g 23%
Saturated Fat 11g 54%
Cholesterol 65mg 22%
Sodium 163mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 63g 23%
Dietary Fiber 3g 9%
Total Sugars 33g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 4mg 18%
Calcium 79mg 6%
Iron 2mg 9%
Potassium 214mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Puddings and desserts are the backbones of British food and they are renowned throughout the world because of their wonderful balance of flavors. Although crumbles come in many guises and can be both sweet and savory, apple is the most popular and one of the most quintessential British sweet treats that have been adopted in cuisines around the world. The closest in the American tradition is the apple crisp, but this version includes most times the oats that the classic British dish lacks.

Delicious British apples, which are at their best in the autumn and winter, are the core of this dish. We love Bramley apples, considered the best apples for cooking because of their balance between sugar and acid, but other apples like Jonagold, Pink Lady, Mutsu, or Honeycrisp are also great. Simply avoid the really hard varieties such as the Granny Smith, as they don't break down in the same way and can stay too hard even after cooking. 

Classically served warm with a side of custard, the crumble can also be served with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.


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For the Filling:

  • 1 pound apples, such as Bramleys or other medium-to-soft apples

  • Pinch ground cinnamon, optional

  • 2 tablespoons golden caster sugar

For the Topping:

  • 6 ounces all-purpose flour (or plain flour)

  • 4 ounces golden caster sugar

  • 4 ounces butter, cold

For Serving:

  • 1 cup custard, or to taste

  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream, optional

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this apple crumble dessert is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and baking.

Prepare the Filling

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Apple crumble ingredients
    The Spruce
  2. Peel, core, and chop apples into chunky pieces. Don't cut apples too small because when cooked they could disintegrate, and you want the cooked fruit to have some texture.

    Chopped apples
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  3. Place apples in a mixing bowl and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon, if using.

  4. Arrange apples into a shallow baking dish, approximately 9 x 7 inches. Reserve.

    Sliced apples in baking dish
    The Spruce

Make the Topping

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for crumble
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  2. In a large baking bowl, place flour and sugar. Cut butter into small pieces and add to bowl.

    Cubed butter in a bowl
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  3. Using your hands, rub butter into flour and sugar until you have a very coarse mixture. It doesn't have to feel or look even, as this is quite a rustic dish and works well with an irregular texture.

    Flour and butter mixture
    The Spruce
  4. Alternatively, make crumble mixture in a food processor by placing all topping ingredients into processor and pulsing until you get a coarse mixture. Do not overmix.

    Crumble mixture in food processor
    The Spruce
  5. Evenly sprinkle topping over apples, but be sure there aren't parts of topping that are too thick as it will not crisp up, nor allow apples to cook nicely.

    Crumble sprinkled on top of the apples
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  6. Place dish into preheated oven and bake until golden, about 30 minutes. The apples will appear bubbling through from underneath.

    Baked apple crumble
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  7. Remove from oven and let dish rest for 5 minutes before serving.

    Baked apple crumble
    The Spruce
  8. Serve with custard or vanilla ice cream.

    Apple crumble with custard
    The Spruce

What is Caster Sugar? Can I Make it at Home?

Sometimes found as "castor" sugar, this superfine sugar is usually used in baking, as it won't weigh down batters because of a finer texture that's between powdered )confectioners') sugar and granulated sugar. Also known as fine sugar, you can find caster sugar in the United States under the names baker's sugar and bar sugar as well. Its name comes from a shaker called a "caster" in which this type of sugar was kept to sprinkle on food.

Golden caster sugar is unrefined and tends to be more golden in color.

If you are unable to find caster sugar you can make your own at home:

  • Per each cup of caster sugar that the recipe calls for, use one cup plus to tablespoons of regular sugar. Process the sugar in a high-speed blender, spice grinder, or food processor, but don't let it become powder. You want a finer texture than common sugar, but not powder like confectioners' sugar. Pass the processed sugar through a sieve before using.