As the title implies, this is a simple, quick-to-assemble, delicious dessert ready in under an hour. It's a layer of juicy blueberries with a crisp crumb topping that you can make ahead. I added a variation with coconut and pecans too. You can't go wrong with this easy recipe!
Desserts with crisp crumble toppings are a favorite here (peach crumble anyone?); I make them year-round, using fresh fruit when in season and frozen when it's not.
Most fruit can be used frozen, especially berries. There are exceptions, like apples, but they're also available year-round.
Difference between crumbles and crisps
This gets asked a lot! And the difference depends on whether you use rolled or old-fashioned oats in the topping.
Now, I grew up eating an apple crisp with no oats.
But years later, when Google came around, it turned out that a crisp recipe uses oats and a crumble doesn't. Well, what do I do now?
The truth is that both are used interchangeably around the globe.
We can also call it blueberry crisp and roll with it. It will still be the same delicious fruity dessert. So let's not get too picky and enjoy them!
About this recipe
- Quick & easy: dump the blueberries in the dish, add a few ingredients, mix, top with the frozen (or cold from the refrigerator) crumble, and pop in the oven.
- Make ahead: you can freeze the baked dessert in the dish or the crumble and the blueberries separately and put them together an hour before eating. It'll be ready when you're done.
- Dessert for a crowd: this is the perfect dessert to make for a barbecue, a picnic, a birthday lunch, or any similar celebration, especially during good weather months.
- Serving it: though this crumble is great served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, it's amazing plain, at room temperature.
- Blueberries: I recommend fresh blueberries whenever you can, but know that frozen ones work just as well.
- Sugar: I like the mix of white sugar for the topping (crunchiness) and brown sugar for the filling, giving it a caramel undertone. But you can use only one type for both layers (I tend to favor brown sugar).
- Lemon: lemon zest and fresh lemon juice are used. You can't go wrong with this combination of flavors.
- Unsalted butter.
- All-purpose flour.
- Salt: I like using kosher salt when baking. But regular table salt works just fine.
- Vanilla: I use pure vanilla extract or pure vanilla paste when available, but a good vanilla essence (artificially flavored) also works and is infinitely cheaper.
- Cinnamon: any ground cinnamon you typically use works fine. I like Frontier Vietnamese cinnamon and Simply Organic Ceylon cinnamon.
How to make a blueberry crumble
Crumbles are super easy to make.
You can use the food processor, a medium bowl and a fork or pastry cutter, or your hands (my favorite, always) and a large bowl because it's a little messier.
It's a simple method: we stir the dry ingredients together, which include the flour mixture (all-purpose flour and salt) and the sugar. Then we add the cold butter (I use it cut in small pieces, but it can also be made with melted butter, similar to the Blueberry Dump Cake recipe) and mix everything until crumbly. That's it!
Watch our step-by-step videos
- Organization: read the recipe first and ensure you have ingredients at the correct temperature, equipment, and enough workspace. This will make the process so much easier.
- Baking time: consider that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look similar. The baking time in my recipes is as accurate as it can be, but it might take you more or less time. You can use a thermometer(like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that your oven is at the right temperature. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you might need to adjust.
- Fruit filling: use fresh or frozen berries, both work well. Following some comments on similar recipes (Blueberry Dump Cake and Blueberry Cobbler recipe), you can add a teaspoon or two of cornstarch to the blueberry mixture, especially if using frozen berries that usually release more liquid. Some readers felt that the blueberry filling was not firm enough without a thickening agent. All variations are in the Notes section of the recipe card.
- Lemon: the amounts of juice and zest are easily customizable. Lemon zest is stronger and makes desserts more bitter, so you can use an extra squeeze of fresh lemon juice and reduce the zest, for example. Just follow your taste buds.
- Crumble: this is very versatile, and you can play around with brown sugar instead of white or add some sliced almonds. There's a coconut variation below if you like that combination (hint: it's so good!).
- Ratio: these types of desserts can be adjusted to your taste regarding the proportion of fruit and topping you use. I like more fruit and a crisper topping, but for example, my father likes a more floury topping (I know!), so I use less butter when he's coming over. Play around until you find what works for you and your family.
- Flavorings: vanilla extract or paste and ground cinnamon enhance the lemon flavor and add a unique touch. But feel free to omit them if that suits you.
Frequently asked questions
I like to add cornstarch when I want the filling to be thicker. Fruit releases juice while baking, so it's sometimes a good idea to add a thickener.
You probably need to use more butter. The right amount of butter (and to some degree sugar) is what crisps up the topping during baking, as opposed to a more floury one if you use the wrong amount of butter. This recipe here produces a crisp topping.
I recommend you keep leftovers in the fridge and covered to avoid dryness. Fruit will start to ferment or macerate in its juices after a while, which will ruin the dessert.
- Coconut crumble: I used to make the topping with coconut and pecans. Very unique and delicious. The variation can be found in the Notes section of the recipe card below.
- Blueberry pie: if you add a pie crust, you can easily make a blueberry crumble pie with this recipe. I like the Perfect Flaky Pie Crust recipe (with shortening and barely sweet) or the Sweet Shortcrust Pastry recipe if you want a more French-style, all-butter version.
- Blueberry bars: add a shortcrust dough or graham cracker crust layer and make blueberry crumble bars with this recipe if you add a base layer. This can be a shortbread base (like the one in the Apple Pie Crumb Bars) or a cookie crust base like we use in the Baked Cheesecake recipe.
Related recipes you might like:
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For the crumble:
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup butter, cold
For the blueberries:
- 4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Large pinch of ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C
For the blueberries:
- Have ready an oven-proof glass or ceramic dish (I use an 8x11-inch oval one, but a 9-inch round or square baking dish also works).
- Scatter blueberries in the dish and sprinkle with brown sugar.
- Grate zest over them, drizzle the lemon juice mixed with the vanilla and sprinkle with cinnamon.
- Mix lightly with a spoon.
For the crumble:
- Mix flour, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
- Add cold butter in pieces and integrate with your hands until grainy and the butter is the size of peas. You can do this in a food processor; make sure you stop processing when it still has butter bits. Don’t turn it into a paste.
- If not used immediately, cover and keep refrigerated for up to a week. Or frozen for a month.
- Top the blueberries with this mixture. It will cover the surface irregularly and the edges will not have much. That’s fine.
- Bake for about 40 minutes, until dry, golden, and the blueberry juices are bubbling.
- Let cool on a wire rack until warm and eat with some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
- Keep leftovers refrigerated, covered in plastic wrap, and warm slightly before eating.
always read the recipe first and make sure you have all the ingredients, at the right temperatures, and also the rest of the equipment and space to make it. This will make the process so much easier!
Thicker fruit filling: following some comments on similar recipes (Blueberry Dump Cake and Blueberry Cobbler recipe) you can add a teaspoon or two of cornstarch to the blueberry mixture, especially if using frozen berries which tend to release more liquid. Some of my readers felt that without a thickening agent the blueberry filling was not firm enough.
Lemon: the amounts of juice and zest are easily customizable. Lemon zest is stronger and makes desserts more bitter, so you can use an extra squeeze of fresh lemon juice and reduce the zest, for example. Just follow your taste buds.
Coconut crumble: mix ½ cup flour with ¾ cup shredded unsweetened coconut, ½ cup light brown sugar, and ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add 4oz (120g) of cold butter, in pieces, and work with your hands or a pastry cutter until it's the size of peas. Sprinkle on top of the blueberries and bake as instructed above.
Ratio: these types of desserts can be adjusted to your personal taste when it comes to the proportion of fruit and topping you use. I like more fruit and a crisper topping, but for example, my father likes a more floury topping (I know!) so I use less butter when he's coming over. Play around until you find what works for you and your family.
Pie: if you add a pie crust you can easily make a fantastic blueberry crumble pie with this recipe. I like the Perfect Flaky Pie Crust recipe (with shortening and barely sweet), or the Sweet Shortcrust Pastry recipe if you want a more French-style, all-butter version.
Bars: you can easily make blueberry crumble bars with this recipe if you add a base layer. This can be a shortbread base (like the one in the Apple Pie Crumb Bars) or a cookie crust base like we use in the Baked Cheesecake recipe.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Category: Desserts
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: International
Keywords: blueberry crumble