Made with sweet fresh local strawberries, vanilla extract, sugar and topped with a buttery brown sugar crumble this Strawberry Crumble is a favorite dessert in my house. It takes minutes to prepare the filling, the crumble topping, and then your house is filled with the smell of strawberries as it bakes in the oven. This fruit crumble is the perfect summer dessert that will have you savoring every bite.
You all, I'm so excited to share this delicious strawberry crumble recipe with you and I think you'll love it too. This recipe is all about the strawberries which is why I recommend using local in-season strawberries for the best flavor.
This dessert one half delicious strawberry filling and one half sweet brown sugar crumble. I tested the recipe 4 times to get the flavors and the strawberry, crumble ratio just right, so I would love to hear what you think.
Strawberry Crumble Ingredients
Here is what you’ll need for this perfect summer treat:
- Fresh Strawberries: Fresh local strawberries are the best option for this recipe. Use strawberries that are naturally sweet and mostly red in the center for the best flavor.
- Granulated Sugar: Also known as white sugar, adds sweetness and helps thicken the fruit juices when the dessert is baked. Since the sweetness of fruit can vary, make sure to taste the fruit after adding the initial amount of sugar and add more sugar if needed
- Tapioca Flour: The tapioca flour thickens the strawberry filling and keeps it from being too watery. I recommend Bob’s Red Mill Tapioca Flour. If you can’t find tapioca flour you can use cornstarch. See the recipe notes for the substitution amounts.
- Vanilla Bean Paste: The combination of strawberries and vanilla is wonderful. If you don't have vanilla bean paste you can use pure vanilla extract.
- Lemon Juice: Lemon juice accentuates the natural flavor and slight acidity of the strawberries.
- Unbleached All-Purpose Flour: The flour is necessary for the crumbly texture and for the crumble to hold its shape during baking:
- Unsalted Butter: Butter holds all the other ingredients together. Using cold butter ensures that the crumble holds its shape when baked and helps maintain the crispy texture.
- Light Brown Sugar: The brown sugar adds, sweetness, and crunch to the crumble. I tested this recipe with both light and dark brown sugar and the recipe works with both, so you can use either in the recipe.
- Ground Cinnamon: The cinnamon adds a nice warm woodsy flavor to the crumble
- Kosher Salt: The kosher salt compliments the sweetness of the crumble and
- Almonds: The almonds add a nice crunch to the topping and almond is delicious flavor combination with strawberries. If you're allergic to nuts you can leave out the almonds.
Full ingredients, measurements, and instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
How to Make Strawberry Crumble
You’re going to love this amazing strawberry crumble. And if you use fresh local strawberries it will be the best strawberry crumble you’ve ever had especially in terms of taste and texture.
Strawberries give off a lot of liquid when they’re cooked. As a result, it’s important to have the right amount of thickener and the right amount of strawberries in relation to the crumble topping.
I tested the recipe multiple times and found that using a single layer of strawberries in the baking dish will produce the best crumble with the right amount of strawberry syrup in the bottom of the pan. The first time I made this recipe I used too many strawberries (the more the better right?) and ended up with a strawberry crumble that sloshed in the baking dish.
So let’s get started with this most amazing dessert. This recipe calls for a 2.5-quart baking dish, which is 8x10-inches. You can also use a 9x9-inch square baking dish.
Step 1: Cube the butter into 1/2-inch squares, place the butter in a bowl and put it in the refrigerator to keep the butter cold. Do not freeze it. It will be harder to work frozen butter into the dry ingredients.
Step 2: Place the flour, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a medium-sized bowl and whisk together. Use your fingers to break up any brown sugar clumps.
Step 3: Add the butter and use your hands to smush the butter into the flour mixture. You can also use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the dry ingredients.
Step 4: The butter should be about the size of peas when done. Place the bowl in the refrigerator to keep the crumble cold while you prep the strawberries.
Step 5: Prep your strawberries. Rinse them off under a spray of water. Do not submerge your berries in water. Strawberries are notorious for soaking up water and we don’t want waterlogged strawberries. That will make your crumble soupy. Chop off the green stem - this step is called hulling.
If your strawberries are on the small size (about 1-inch) simply cut them in half. If they are super large, i.e., closer to 2-inches cut them into 4 pieces. We’re leaving the strawberries in large pieces because they cook down a lot once in the oven.
Step 6: Place the strawberries in large mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice and vanilla paste (vanilla extract if you don’t have the paste) and use a spatula to toss the berries with the lemon juice and vanilla extract.
Step 7: Sprinkle the tapioca and sugar mixture over the berries. Fold the dry ingredients into the strawberries until there are no white bits left.
NOTE: At this point add more sugar if the strawberry filling is not sweet enough, but I recommend not adding more than 1/4 cup of additional sugar. You want the filling to be a little tart to contrast with the sweet crumble topping.
Step 8: Spoon the strawberry mixture into the baking dish, then add the crumble mixture.
Step 9: Bake the crumble until the edges are bubbly, popping with big and small bubbles. The bake time will vary so your visual cues are the bubbly filling and the light browning of the crumble.
Remove the crumble from the oven, place it on a wire rack and let it cool for about 30 minutes before digging it, but if you’re like me you may taste it while it’s still hot and bubbly just to make sure it’s okay.
How to Serve The Crumble
My favorite way to eat the strawberry crumble is warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. It also tastes great plain topped with fresh strawberries. If there is any syrup in the bottom of the baking dish spoon that over the ice cream.
How to Store the Fruit Crumble
Store leftover strawberry crumble at room temperature for 1 day covered with plastic wrap unless your house is really warm. In that case store it in the refrigerator covered tightly with plastic wrap or in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Simply reheat it in the microwave or a 350ºF oven when ready to eat, or enjoy it chilled.
What Is The Difference Between a Crumble and a Crisp
I see recipes for fruit crisps and crumbles all the time and have often ask, what is the difference. Growing up, my family called it a crisp, as in apple crisp, etc., but we never put oats in it. So I did a little research.
Well, crumbles and crisps are very similar. Both start out with fruit topped with a mixture of flour, sugar, and butter. But here is the main difference: while both have a topping of flour, sugar, and butter, crisps, traditionally have whole oats added to the topping (which "crisped" when they baked) while crumbles only used flour. And this is why this recipe is called a strawberry crumble and not a strawberry crisp.
Pro Tips for Making This Recipe
- Use great tasting strawberries. If your strawberries don’t taste good the crumble will be bland tasting and not have that amazing strawberry flavor
- For the crumble use a food scale to weigh the flour and butter for best results. If you use too much flour, the crumble will be dry and not hold it’s shape.
- It’s important to wait until you see the strawberry juices bubbling around the edge of the pan before you pull it from the oven. That’s how you know it’s done.
- Let the crumble sit for 30 minutes before serving. It will still be warm, but it will have time to finish setting up and the strawberry syrup will be a little thicker
Recipe - Frequently Asked Questions
Yes the crumble needs to be refrigerated after 1 day of sitting at room temperature. Store the crumble in its original baking pan covered with plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator.
The crumble tastes best the first two days after it's made. You can make the crumble up to a week in advance and store it in the refrigerator. Wash and slice the strawberries the night before and store them in an airtight container, in the refrigerator.
I have not made the crumble with gluten free flour, so I can't guarantee the results if you make it with gluten-free flour. The Bob's Red Mill tapioca used in this recipe is gluten free.
If you make this delicious strawberry crumble please leave a rating and a comment below.
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If You Like This Recipe, Try These Recipes
- 1-1/2 cup (188 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) light brown sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 12 tablespoons (169 grams) unsalted butter cold plus extra to butter the baking pan
- 1/3 cup (40 grams) chopped toasted almonds
- 5 cups (625 grams) fresh strawberries
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar plus extra if strawberries aren’t sweet enough
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 5 tablespoons (40 grams) Bob's Red Mill tapioca flour
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly butter the sides and bottom of the baking dish.
- Cut the cold butter into 1/2-inch cubes and place it back in the refrigerator so it stays cold while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Place the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a medium size bowl. Whisk until well combined. Add the butter to the dry ingredients and toss the butter into the flour mixture with your hands until all the butter is well coated.
- Use the pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour mixture, until the butter is pea sized. You can also you use your hands if you don’t have a pastry blender. To mix it with your hands take each piece of butter and smash it flat between your index finger and thumb. Continue to do this until the butter is pea sized. Add the chopped almonds and use a spoon or your hands to toss into the mixture until they are well distributed.
- Place the crumble in the refrigerator to keep it cold until ready to use. The crumble can be made up to one week in advance and stored in an airtight container.
- Taste the strawberries before adding the additional ingredients. If the berries are sweet, 3/4 cup of sugar should be enough. If they are a little tart, start with the 3/4 cup, taste the berries after all the other ingredients are added and add additional sugar 1 tablespoon at a time to taste.
- Whisk together the tapioca, sugar, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
- Wash the strawberries by spraying them with water in a colander. Do not submerge the berries as strawberries can absorb a lot of water when submerged. Place them on a baking sheet or board lined with paper towels and dry off the berries. Cut off the green stem (this step is called hulling) and cut each berry in half. If the strawberries are large, i.e., 2-inches in length cut them into quarters.
- Place the berries in a bowl. Add the lemon juice and vanilla bean paste and use a silicone spatula to toss the ingredients together. Sprinkle the tapioca-sugar mixture over the strawberries and fold the dry ingredients into the berries until there are no white flecks left. Let the strawberries sit for 5 minutes and then taste them. If the berries aren’t sweet enough add 2 more tablespoons of sugar and taste again.
- Let the strawberries sit for 5 minutes and then taste them. If the berries aren’t sweet enough add 2 more tablespoons of sugar and taste again. I recommend not adding more than 4 tablespoons of additional sugar because you want the fruit to be slightly tart.
- Let the strawberries sit for another 5 minutes to let the sugar and tapioca finish dissolving. Spoon the strawberries into the prepared baking dish and use the back of the spoon to make an even layer. Spread the crumble over the berries by taking a small handful of the crumble, squeezing it together then breaking it into small chunks over the berries. Do this step until most or all the crumble is used up. Leave the edges exposed so you can see the strawberry juices bubbling up as they crumble bakes.
Bake the Strawberry Crumble
- Bake the strawberry crumble for 30-35 minutes until you see the strawberry juices bubbling up all the way around the baking dish and the crumble is lightly browned.
- Remove the crumble from the oven, set it on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes to allow the juices to set up. It will still be warm.
- Serve it plain, or with fresh strawberries, or with vanilla ice cream with some of the strawberry juices from the pan spooned over the top.
Storing the Crumble
- The crumble can be stored at room temperature for 1 day unless it is very warm in your house (over 75 degrees F). In that case I recommend storing it in the refrigerator at the end of day covered with plastic wrap. The crumble is good in the refrigerator for up to 4 days stored in an airtight container.