Nutty Streusel Topping for Muffins, Cakes, and Pies

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Streusel Topping is super easy to make. Adding it to your baked goods, elevates muffins, cakes, and pies from ordinary to amazing. See how easy it is!

apple muffins with nutty streusel

We all know that baking is a science. I mean, how many of us have encountered true baking disasters when we messed with the laws of chemistry. Try to bake in too cold an oven? Forget to beat your eggs? Mismeasure your salt?

Yeah, I did that one.

First time I ever attempted homemade pie crust on my own, I read 1/2 cup salt in the recipe instead of 1/2 teaspoon. I was 9 at the time, which means my younger sister Jamie was my nemesis. I assumed that when she criticized my creation, she was exaggerating.

She wasn’t. Bless her.

Yep, you can really jack things up when you bake and don’t follow the directions. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t improvise.

If you’ve watched more than 20 minutes of The Great British Baking Show, you know what I mean. Each week contestants duke it out as they bake cakes, breads, pastries, and desserts — and give new and creative twists to classic recipes.

While you and I may not be competition ready, there are some easy tweaks we can apply at home, to our tried and true recipes as well as to boxed mixes.

I did, indeed say boxed mixes.

One of those magic tweaks? Streusel.

apple pie with streusel topping

Nutty Streusel Topping for Muffins, Cakes, and Pies

Streusel is that sweet, crumbly goodness that tops muffins, cakes, and pies. It adds flavor, crunch, and a delectable lid of pastry to the tops of your favorite baked goods. It can even be layered in your favorite coffee cakes if you so desire.

What is streusel topping made of?

Streusel is a crumb topping made from working together flour, sugar, and butter. Sometimes nuts and spices are added as well. It’s used as a topping for coffeecakes, breads, muffins, cakes, and pies.

Where does streusel come from?

The word streusel is from the German for “to sprinkle or to strew”.

What’s the difference between streusel and strudel?

Both words are baking terms from German. Streusel is a crumb topping, while strudel is a pastry, in and of itself, made from many layers of very thin dough, filled, rolled, and baked until crisp and golden. 

Strudel is delicious, but it’s not the same as streusel.

bowl of streusel topping

How do you make streusel topping?

Streusel topping is super easy to make. It’s just a matter of cutting butter into a mixture of flour and sugar.

Having a food processor makes this recipe come together in a snap, but you could always use a pastry blender or two table knives to cut in the butter.

For nutty streusel, just stir the nuts into the crumbs. You can also add spices and extracts to change up the flavors.

How can you use a crumb topping?

I love to sprinkle streusel on everything. It takes a normal baked good over the top! It’s delicious on Raspberry Muffins, and it is the topping that makes Nanna’s Apple Pie and Slab Apple Pie so great.

Really, you can add this basic streusel to any bread, cake, or muffin recipe that you already love. Try it on Mix and Match Muffins or on Chocolate-Chip Banana Bread. Yummy!

I use cinnamon in this recipe, but feel free to play with the recipe. Try nutmeg or cardamom. Vanilla instead of almond extract. Different nuts or seeds could be added. 

You can add this crumb topping to your regular muffin and cake mixes or even mix up a boxed cake mix and make streusel-topped cupcakes or cakes with very little work. Do you see where I’m going with my improv suggestion? The world is your oyster when it comes to playing with streusel.

unbaked muffins with streusel topping

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Nutty Streusel Topping
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins
 
Streusel Topping is super easy to make. Adding it to your baked goods, elevates muffins, cakes, and pies from ordinary to amazing. See how easy it is!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: crumb top, crumb topping, streusel, streusel topping
Author: Jessica Fisher
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter cubed
  • 1/2 cup chopped or sliced nuts
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in the bowl of food processor. Pulse until coarse crumbs are formed.
  2. Alternatively, combine the flour, sugar, and butter in a mixing bowl with a pastry blender. Stir in the nuts, cinnamon, and extract.
  3. Sprinkle the crumb toping over unbaked pies, muffins, cakes, coffeecakes, or muffins. Bake according to recipe directions.

Nutty Streusel Topping for Muffins, Cakes, and Pies

About Jessica Fisher

I believe great meals don't have to be complicated or expensive. There's a better way, and it won't take all afternoon.

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Comments

  1. It’s been a while since I’ve made it, but this week’s LAM’s post about using nuts made me drag it back out. It’s extremely nutritious and super easy to make. Check it out!

    Kelly

  2. I have been wanting muffins lately. Your streusel looks really good! Nothing beats a great muffin with streusel!
    Thanks so much for hosting another yummy URS!
    ~Liz

  3. Your muffins look great! I love streusel topping! I just posted with my not so healthy Amish Almond Joy bread that was fantastic, thanks!

  4. The nutty streusel topping looks great for some homemade muffins for weekend guests. Thanks!

  5. oh my gosh… I accidentally put the wrong recipe on there! I am so sorry. Feel free to remove it 🙂

  6. Can’t wait to try your recipe and I have my eye on quite a few from the links, thanks for this!

    My very favorite is “Kinder Bueno” 🙂 it’s among the 5 recipes with nuts I bake.

  7. Oh, yum! I love streusel topped cakes and or muffins. YUM! The only thing is my kids aren’t too keen on nuts. 🙁

    • Jessica Fisher says

      Chop the nuts small and they’ll never know amid all that sugar and butter. 😉

  8. I love pecans. I would so make your streusel with pecans. My favorite way to use nuts is definitely in a great homemade chocolate chip cookie. I love the crunch they add.

    • Jessica Fisher says

      Pecans are my fave, too. But, they are also the most expensive in my neck of the woods. An occasional splurge.

  9. Nuts and Seeds is a great idea for the URS. I’m often looking for new ways to incorporate these into our diets. Thank you 🙂

  10. That looks so good!!

  11. Nuts or not, I think streusel topping always looks good!

  12. Sharon says

    I use walnuts in Cranberry Banana Bread and pecans in
    Sausage Cake.

  13. Hattie says

    Below is one of my few recipes containing nuts…I think that the other two that I use I came across on this blog, so I won’t post those!:)

    My hubby doesn’t like to have crunchy nuts “defile”:) foods like brownies, cakes, etc. However, a friend emailed a recipe to me for banana chocolate chip nut cookies, and I tried it anyway. It was a hit! Even with my nut-disliking hubby! Enjoy! (I put in a cup of choc chips and a cup of chopped pecans, even though the recipe says to do one or the other.)

    Banana Chocolate Chip Nut Cookies

    • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 1 cup of sugar
    • 1 egg, room temperature
    • 1 cup of mashed bananas (about 2 ½ large bananas)
    • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
    • 2 cups of flour
    • pinch of salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon of ground mace or nutmeg
    • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
    • 1 cup of pecans (walnuts and chocolate chips are fine alternatives)
    Method
    1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and continue to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
    2 In a bowl, mix the mashed bananas and baking soda. Let sit for 2 minutes. The baking soda will react with the acid in the bananas which in turn will give the cookies their lift and rise.
    3 Mix the banana mixture into the butter mixture. Mix together the flour, salt, and spices and sift into the butter and banana mixture and mix until just combined.
    4 Fold into the batter the pecans or chocolate chips if using. Drop in dollops onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until nicely golden brown. Let cool on wire racks.
    Makes about 30 cookies.

  14. I’m a peanut butter lover, so when I found roasted peanuts at a great price at Kroger, guess what I made? (See umber 41 on the links list)

  15. Laura says

    how long would you bake this topping if you wanted to put it on top of an already baked pumpkin pie?

    • I have no idea. I have never made it that way. Usually I bake the pie with the streusel on top. I think I would just watch it and start with five minutes, but I’m not positive it would work. Let us know how it turns out, though!

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