A super simple streusel topping recipe for muffins, cakes, and quick breads.
Adding a buttery crunchy topping to homemade muffins, coffee cake, and quick breads is a great way to bring extra texture and flavor. This streusel recipe is super simple and makes enough for a dozen muffins.
It's easy to double or triple for a bulk batch and makes the perfect topping for your favorite recipes.
What is streusel?
Buttery streusel is made with a super simple recipe but it takes your baking to a new level. It is a buttery crumb topping made of butter, flour, and sugar. It's similar to shortbread in the sense that it uses a high butter-to-flour ratio. This creates a really tender crumble, that melts in the mouth.
Some recipes add in other additions like spices, nuts, or even oats. However, the base of a classic streusel topping is butter, flour, and sugar.
Use It for many baked goods, not just muffins! It's delicious on a peach pie.
The state of the butter takes differs in many streusel recipes. Sometimes it's cold butter, sometimes room temperature, or as in this recipe, melted butter. There are pros and cons to using butter in any of these forms.
Cold butter - When cold butter is used, the flour in the streusel mixture coats the pieces of butter. When it hits the hot oven, the water in the butter evaporates and creates a crunchy streusel. You'll need a pastry cutter or use your fingers to rub the cold butter into the flour.
Room temperature butter - Similar to cold butter, but a little easier to work by hand. Room temperature butter is worked into the dry ingredients, but it creates softer pieces of streusel.
Melted butter - This is the easiest way to make streusel as there is no cutting or rubbing of the butter involved. Pour melted butter over the flour mixture and stir into the crumbly mix. The one thing to note though is not to overmix it. When butter is melted, the water is released and you don't want this to be mixed excessively with the flour as this encourages gluten development. Just stir it enough until it makes crumbly clumps.
Find the full recipe and ingredient amounts in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post. Here is a rundown of what you will use in this streusel recipe, with a little extra information
- Flour - Use all-purpose flour, pastry flour, or even whole wheat flour. Whole wheat will bring more texture.
- Sugar - Granulated white sugar or soft brown sugar. Granulated sugar creates a crispier streusel, but a brown sugar streusel brings deeper flavor.
- Butter - Use unsalted butter or salted butter. If choosing salted butter you can reduce the added salt in the recipe if you wish. It uses 3 tablespoons butter for ½ cup of flour. This high ratio of fat helps inhibit gluten formation and keeps the streusel tender.
- A pinch of salt - to offset the sweetness.
- Half a teaspoon ground cinnamon makes a cinnamon streusel topping or use other spices (like pumpkin pie spice) to bring extra flavor
- Oats - This makes more of a crisp topping rather than a streusel, but oats bring a lovely texture and flavor. See the recipe notes in the recipe card at the bottom of this post for adding oats to the streusel.
This recipe makes enough streusel for a standard quick bread like banana bread, a dozen muffins, or a 9-inch streusel-topped pie.
The best blueberry muffins are topped with streusel! Here's a recipe for blueberry streusel muffins.
Melt the butter and let it slightly cool.
In a small bowl combine the flour, sugar, and salt and use a fork to whisk it together.
Drizzle the melted butter over the flour mixture and use a fork to combine it into a coarse crumb.
As the streusel sits it will stiffen up and be easy to crumble with your fingers. If it's too soft, pop it in the fridge for 5 minutes.
Generously pile the crumble topping on top of the muffins, cake, or quick bread. It may seem like a lot, but it will a bit into the batter as it bakes.
Freezing streusel topping
Streusel topping freezes well. Simply mix it together, then add it to a freezer bag or airtight container. It can be frozen for up to 3 months. It will stay fairly crumbly as it freezes and can be used without thawing first.
Recipes using streusel
- 45g (3 Tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 63g (½ cup) all-purpose flour
- 100g (½ cup) granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
- Melt the butter and let it slightly cool.
- In a small bowl combine the flour, sugar, and salt and use a fork to whisk it together.
- Drizzle the melted butter over the flour mixture and use a fork to combine it into a coarse crumb.
- As the streusel sits it will stiffen up and be easy to crumble with your fingers. If it's too soft, pop it in the fridge for 5 minutes.
- Generously pile the crumble topping on top of the muffins, cake, or quick bread.
Oat streusel - For an oat streusel, 20g (¼ cup) rolled or whole oats can be added to the mixture and the butter increased to 4 Tbsp.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 48Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 19mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 1g
This is an informational estimate only. I am not a certified Dietitian or Nutritionist