This easy streusel topping is crumbly, crunchy, sweet, and perfect for topping muffins and quick breads.
A good streusel recipe immediately improves anything you sprinkle it over.
It adds texture, crunch, and a buttery sweetness that can take a boring old muffin or loaf of quick bread and make it feel like a total treat.
Today I’m sharing my favorite streusel recipe with you. I’ve used it on a few recipes here in the past, on pumpkin bread, donuts, and muffins, but it’s so good I figured it was time to give it a stand-alone recipe.
The Ideal Streusel Recipe
Where some streusel recipes use melted butter, this recipe uses softened room temperature butter, which creates more tender crumbles that almost melt in your mouth.
They’re the perfect combo of crunchy/crumbly and buttery/sweet, and you’ll probably be tempted to add a little streusel to every muffin that comes out of your kitchen for the rest of forever.
Tool and Ingredient Notes
- A medium to large bowl: When making the streusel, use a slightly larger bowl than you think you’ll need. It helps to have extra room when mixing so you don’t have to worry about getting flour and sugar all over.
- Cool room temperature butter: Your butter should be softened to cool room temperature. If your kitchen is warm, keep a close eye on the butter and don’t let it get too soft or it will be difficult to work with. You should just be able to press an indentation into it with a little force. It should not be greasy or at all melty. The recipe is written using unsalted butter, but if all you have is salted, simply omit the extra salt called for in the recipe.
How to Make Streusel Topping
1. Mix ingredients: Combine all your ingredients and use a fork or clean hands (I always use my hands) to mix until crumbles form and no dry flour remains in the bowl.
2. Refrigerate or freeze: Chill for at least an hour in the refrigerator or 15 to 20 minutes in the freezer. Cold streusel maintains its shape better when it hits the heat of the oven.
3. Bake: Prep the batter for your muffins or favorite quick bread recipe and transfer to the baking pan. If this is your first time making this particular recipe with streusel, be sure to fill the tin no more than ⅔ full. If the pan is overfull and rises too high too quickly, it can cause some of the streusel to overflow, which is never fun.
Once your batter is ready, drop streusel over the top in crumbles, gently breaking up pieces if they are too large or squeezing small sandy bits together to form larger pieces.
Bake according to batter recipe instructions. If at any time the streusel begins to get too dark in the oven, you can tent it with foil to protect it from burning.
- Cinnamon sugar streusel: Add ½ teaspoon of cinnamon to the full batch of streusel, ¼ to the half batch.
- Pumpkin spice streusel: Add ½ teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice to the full batch of streusel, ¼ to the half batch
Recipes to top with Streusel
How much streusel does this make?
A full batch will make enough streusel to generously top a dozen muffins or a loaf baked in a standard 1-pound loaf pan.
The half batch will cover 6 to 8 muffins and makes a little too much for a mini loaf pan, so if you’re using it on one of my mini breads, you’ll have a little extra leftover.
If you would like to top a pie or an 8×8 or 9×9-inch dish, double the recipe.
I have leftover streusel. What can I do with it?
Freeze it! Leftover streusel can be frozen for up to two months. When you’re ready to use it, no need to defrost, sprinkle the frozen streusel over whatever you’re making and bake.
How long can you keep streusel in the fridge?
You can keep streusel in the fridge, tightly covered for up to 4 days.
What is streusel topping made of?
Streusel topping is made with flour, sugar, butter, and sometimes nuts, oats, and additional spices.
My streusel is too sandy/the pieces are too small. / My streusel is just one big clump.
This is a really easy fix. After refrigeration, if your streusel is too sandy, simply pick up a small handful and squeeze it like clay until it clumps into larger pieces.
If your streusel clusters are too large, gently break them apart into smaller pieces.
How do I keep streusel from burning in the oven?
If your streusel is burning, tent a piece of foil over the top. This will protect it from the heat of the oven and keep the streusel from burning/getting too dark.
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- When making quick bread loaves with streusel, it’s best to use a parchment paper sling, even if you normally don’t for that particular recipe. A sling will allow you to lift the bread out of the pan without needing to flip it over for removal, which would dislodge some of the streusel.
My Favorite Streusel Recipe
- ½ cup (65g) all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons (75g) lightly packed brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons (56g) unsalted butter cut into 1-inch cubes and softened to cool room temperature*
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup (33g) all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons (38g) lightly packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter cut into 1-inch cubes and softened to cool room temperature
- Pinch of salt
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, and softened butter. Use a fork or your fingers to mix until crumbles form and no dry flour remains in the bowl.
- Chill for at least an hour in the refrigerator or 15 to 20 minutes in the freezer.
- When you’re ready to use, drop streusel in crumbles over your batter*, gently breaking up pieces if they are too large or squeezing small sandy bits together to form larger pieces. Bake according to batter recipe instructions. If at any time the streusel begins to get too dark in the oven, you can tent it with foil to protect it from burning.
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