A crunchy crumb crust (AKA crumble crust) is a cooking technique that I use for a lot of my recipes. It is super versatile and useful in pie recipes, bar recipes and so much more.
This delicious crust can form the bottom layer of bar and cheesecake recipes and can take the place of a pie crust anytime you don’t want a double pie crust dessert.
Crumb crusts are also MUCH easier to make than a standard pie crust. If you have a food processor and a few ingredients, you can make a crumble crust in just seconds.
Keep reading to find out how to make the versatile crumb crust.
If you don’t have a food processor, a heavy marble rolling pin also works well.
Just put the dry ingredients in a zip lock baggie and crush them by rolling the pin over the top until you have a crumb like texture. Then melt the butter and combine with the crumbs in a mixing bowl.
A food processor is my first choice of tool for this crumble crust project since you can put the butter in with the flour and sugar so it saves the step of mixing.
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What is a crumble crust?
A crumb crust recipeuses existing food items in your pantry that are mixed with fat to turn into a crumb mixture.
Once you have the mixture made, it is pressed into a pie pan or baking dish to form a shell for dessert toppings.
Basically a crumb crust (or crumble crust) is made from three ingredients: butter, some type of sugar, and one other ingredient.
The beauty of a crumb crust is that you can decide what that third ingredient is depending on what else you want to put on top of the crust.
Variations on a crumble crust
Crumble crusts are very adaptable to other ingredients. Here are a few ideas for changing the basic crumb crust recipe into a more creative crust.
- Will you have chocolate chips swimming in the topping? Try an Oreo Cookie based crust like one for these Oreo Mint Cheesecake bars.
- Crumb crusts pair really well with a streusel topping. Use flour in your crumb crust for this pairing.
- Will your toppings have a salty taste? Try making the crust with pretzels. These no bake peanut butter pretzel bars show how great it tastes.
- Want a traditional crumb crust? Use Graham crackers. I love the way it is used with these mini cherry cheesecakes!
- Want something the kids can’t wait to dig into? Try an animal cracker crust. (My lemon cheesecake bars uses one.)
- Use oatmeal for a hearty crust. It goes great with these caramel apple bars.
Let’s make a simple crumb crust!
For a crumble crust, use a mixture of the following: (I am showing both white sugar and brown, you can use either in the recipe.)
- 1/2 cup of brown sugar or 1/2 cup or white sugar
- 1 cup of unsalted butter
- 2 cups of all purpose flour
Want to see how easy it is to make a crumble crust recipe? Just dump all of the ingredients into a food processor.
Cut your room temperature butter into cubes .
Give the ingredients a few pulses with the pulse button and, a few seconds later, the flour and brown sugar combine to make a wonderful mixture that is just perfect to use in bars or under pie filling.
Butter at room temperature will be easily incorporated into the brown sugar and flour making a coarse corn meal type of texture with a few larger clumps in it.
The big problem is trying not to taste it when it is done, Now THAT is a challenge!
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How do I use a crumble crust in desserts?
This crust can be used in all sorts of desserts from bars and cheesecakes to pies and mini desserts. With Thanksgiving coming up think of the variations you could use for a pumpkin pie made with fresh pumpkin purée!)
A ginger Graham cracker crumb crust, buttery oat crust, or gingersnap crumb crust would all taste great!
Making a bar crumb crust
Press the mixture into a square pan that is lined with parchment paper and sprayed with some non stick cooking spray. I use Misto sprayer.
Using a sprayer like this allows me to add whatever oil I would like and it is SO much cheaper than buying a store bought non stick spray.
The parchment paper will make it easier to remove the crust after it is cooked and topped. You don’t even need to trim the parchment paper.
The bottom of a small measuring cup will press the mixture down evenly.
All that is left to do is the cook the crumb crust in a 350 º oven for 20 minutes.
The crust puffs up a little and turns a light golden brown. Once it has cooled, you can add whatever you would like to for toppings.
This type of crust is perfect for fruit desserts but can also be used in lots of other ways.
My latest crumb crust got a layer of cheesecake as well as some cinnamon apples and a streusel topping and they were amazing! See the apple cheesecake bars recipe here.
How to make a cheesecake crumb crust
Use a spring form pan and trace a circle the size of your pan on some parchment paper. Cut the paper and place the circle in the bottom of the pan.
Add your filling mixture over the paper and press it down with a smooth surface like a measuring cup.
The cheesecake crumb crust is perfect for either no bake cheesecake or baked cheesecakes.
Making a crumble pie crust
Generously grease your pie dish or flan plate and add the crumb mixture along the bottom and sides of the dish. Press firmly.
Add your filling mixture over the top and bake until done. Super easy and if you use it only on the bottom of the pie, it has far less calories than a pie with a double crust!
Another way to use a crumble crust on a pie, is to bake it in a normal pie crust on the bottom and add a crumble topping to the top layer.
How to make mini crumb crust tarts or cupcakes
Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Add a few tablespoons of the crumb mixture into the bottom of the liner. Press firmly.
Add your fillings to the top and bake. You can make cheesecake desserts, lemon desserts, even Easter themed crumble crust desserts this way.
TADA! Individual mini sized crumb crust desserts in just minutes.
Now it’s your turn
How will you adapt your crumb crust today? Tell us in the comments below.
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Pin this post for making a crumble crust recipe for later
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Admin note: this post for making a crumble crust first appeared on the blog in January of 2017. I have updated the post to add new photos, a printable recipe card with nutritional information, ways to use a crumb crust, and a video for you to enjoy.
- 2 cups of all purpose flour
- 1 cup of unsalted butter, cubed
- 1/2 cup of packed brown sugar or white sugar
- Add all of the ingredients in a food processor.
- Pulse for a few seconds until the mixture resembles coarse corn meal.
- Press the crust mixture into the bottom of a 9 x 13" pan.
- Bake for 20 minutes in a preheated 350º oven.
- Add any toppings you would like to finish the crust.
Note: The photos in the tutorial show both white and brown sugar. You can use 1/2 cup of either.
Serving Size:1/10th of the crust
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 290Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 6mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 1gSugar: 9gProtein: 3g
Nutritional information is approximate due to natural variation in ingredients and the cook-at-home nature of our meals.