How to Make the Perfect Crumble Pie Crust

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One of the best parts of any holiday get-together is the abundance of baked goods. Not only do they tell a rich family history regarding culinary backgrounds, but they’re also simply delicious. Pie is one example of a dessert that only occasionally appears around the holidays, but this doesn’t need to be the case. Plus, we’re sure you won’t want it to be the case once you sink your teeth into this delectable crumble pie crust recipe. 

In our minds, the crumble pie crust just totally beats traditional pastry flour in terms of texture and flavor. At least, with certain recipes, it’s superior. Whether you’re incorporating it into a traditional Dutch apple crumble pie or want to eat it with vanilla ice cream, we won’t judge. We’re just going to let you know how to make it yourself. 

What Is a Crumble Pie Crust?

Simply put, a crumble pie crust is made of ground-up crumbs mixed with sugar and melted butter to form a solid crust. This is then laid on the bottom of a pie pan or pie plate, serving as the base for whatever decadent dessert you have planned, whether that’s Dutch apple pie, blueberry pie, or any berry pie. A crumble pie crust is often paired with a crumb topping for added luxury and an additional sugar overload, but hey – who’s complaining? 

You can make your crumble pie crust out of just about any crumbs, but we would recommend you choose the crumbs of something sweet. Ginger snaps, vanilla wafers, golden Oreos, graham crackers – all of these will work. Just make sure that the flavor profile of the crumbs you want will match whatever your finished product will be. For example, a crumble crust made from chocolate mint cookies might not pair well with your orange creamsicle pie. 

Crumble pie crust with piece cut out an set on silver platter

Getting the Ratio Right

Now that you know what a crumble pie crust is, let’s discuss how to make one. All you really need is to perfect the crumbs, butter, and granulated sugar ratio. Generally speaking, we’d recommend you go with one part melted butter, four parts crumbs, and two parts granulated sugar. The butter will bind everything together, but too much of it will leave you with a soggy crust that won’t bind – and will probably burn as well.

We won’t go over everything that might go wrong if you mess up the ratio, but don’t worry about it – get it right, and you won’t have to stress about what might happen if you mess up. Generally speaking, though, you can feel safe experimenting with this. There’s not all that much that can go wrong. 

Picking Out Your Ingredients

While the ingredients are simple, you must pick out things that make sense. For example, you might want to go with unsalted butter over salted. This lets you choose exactly how much salt goes into your crumble pie crust. However, salted butter might work best if your chosen crumb has no salt in it. This is especially true if you don’t have any fine table salt on hand. You don’t want any big salt chunks in your pie crust. 

For your sugar, we would recommend just going with pure white cane sugar, but anything could work depending on what kind of dessert you’re making. Brown sugar or honey are common substitutes, but you might want to experiment with the ratio if you use them. You want to ensure they jive with the rest of the recipe as a whole.

Finally, there are the crumbs. As we said earlier, this is entirely up to you. Whether you’re going for a sweet crumb for dessert or a savory option for a meat pie, the ball is in your court. Feel free to experiment and get whacky. However, we encourage you to ground the crumb as finely as possible to ensure it binds together nicely in the pie plate. Otherwise, you risk it all falling apart when you go to cut that first slice. 

Pieces of crumble pie crust and filling

The Recipe

This recipe is pretty simple, but we’ll go through it step by step to ensure you’re getting it just right. 

  • Using a food processor, combine your crumbs and sugar. Pulse until they are mixed finely. Alternatively, you can place a rolling pin on the crumbs and sugar in a plastic bag. This will achieve the same goal: crushing the sweet mixture into a crumble worthy of a crust.
  • Slowly add your melted butter – yes, you’ll want to melt your butter – until it is thoroughly combined with your crumble mixture. (You can add other ingredients to the crumble mixture to mix it up at this point, like cinnamon or maple syrup.)
  • Press the mixture into your pie plate with your hands. The mixture should hold firm. 
  • Freeze your crust or place it in the fridge covered with plastic wrap to set if you’re using it immediately.
  • That’s it!

Ingredient Substitutions

Feel free to do so if you have any dietary concerns and want to substitute anything. As we mentioned, you might have to tinker with the ratio we discussed, but otherwise, you’ll likely be fine. The most important part of a crumble pie crust is ensuring it’s firm enough to stay together when cut but soft enough to fall apart in your mouth. After all, it is a crumble pie crust!

While it might take a few tries to get it right, we’re confident you can do it. Also, feel free to add whatever extra ingredients you like. Whether you want to experiment with some out-there flavors or go overboard with the butter, it’s all up to you. 

Good Luck With Your Crumble Pie Crust!

We hope that this crumble crust recipe was helpful to you and that many future desserts of yours will flourish as a result. While it’s a straightforward recipe that only takes a few minutes to complete, it can make a world of difference regarding the overall quality of any pie you create. A crumble crust (or crumble topping) adds a delicious texture and flavor that you wouldn’t get otherwise. We hope your first attempt comes out well, but if it needs some tweaking, it’ll be our little secret. And who knows – maybe you’ll win a pie-baking competition with your apple crumble pie or blueberry crumble pie on your first try.