Make the most of cherry season with a delicious and easy cherry crumble! This fresh cherry crumble recipe is a tasty combination of sweet cherries and hazelnut streusel baked to crunchy perfection. Served with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream, it’s the perfect summer dessert!
Homemade cherry crumble
This homemade cherry crumble is a much-loved favorite family recipe. A simple, juice cherry layer and crispy hazelnut streusel make a delicious dessert that you just can’t resist!
Rather than using traditional crumbs, I like making a hazelnut cinnamon streusel instead. Hazelnut and cherries complement each other perfectly. I also like to precook the cherries over the stove with some sugar and cornstarch (cornflour) to thicken the filling. This way, you’re guaranteed soft fruits and a wonderfully thick sauce.
This easy cherry crumble is perfect for all sorts of holidays, or just potlucks and family get-togethers when you want to serve comfort food. It’s great to make ahead because the filling and streusel can be made in advance and baked before you want to serve it.
When summer rolls around, we also love these other fruit desserts using the fresh produce that is in season: cherry strudel, strawberry banana cheesecake salad, raspberry tiramisu, Irena’s rhubarb coffee cake, or this no-bake cherry cheesecake from Simply Stacie.
What is cherry crumble?
If you never had cherry crumble, you’re in for a treat! Cherry crumble is a fruit dessert consisting of a layer of cooked cherries, similar to pie filling, baked with a crumb or streusel topping. It’s like a cherry crumb pie but without the pie crust.
While the crumble bakes, some of the streusel sink into the cherry layer and create a texture similar to cookie dough. The crumbs above become crispy and tender.
Cherry crumble ingredients
The ingredients for this cherry crumble are easy to find, and you probably already have them at hand. As with any simple dessert recipe, it’s essential that you use high-quality ingredients. Every ingredient will affect the taste of the finished cherry crumble.
- Cherries: You need 6 cups of cherries. You can use sweet or sour cherries, fresh or frozen. I talk more about cherries and other fruit options in the FAQ section.
- Butter: You need good butter for the delicious, melt-in-your-mouth streusel topping. I usually use salted butter in my baking, but unsalted butter + 1/4 tsp fine sea salt will do the trick as well.
- Brown sugar: I love the slight toffee note brown sugar provides to the cherry filling and crumbs, but you can also use regular granulated sugar (white sugar).
- All-purpose flour: Use all-purpose flour for the best crumble topping.
- Ground hazelnuts are my favorite part of the streusel. I love the toasty aroma in the crumbs.
- Cinnamon: Ground cinnamon adds warmth and depth to the crumble topping.
- Cornstarch (cornflour): We need a little cornstarch/cornflour to thicken the cherry filling because no one likes a watery fruit crumble.
The cherry filling tastes delicious as is. But if you’re looking for some exciting flavor variations, add the finely ground zest of one organic lemon, 1 tsp vanilla extract or 1/4 tsp almond extract, or 1/2 cup / 100 g / 3.5 oz semisweet chocolate chips after cooking the fruits. Almond, in particular, pairs beautifully with cherries.
I also like to dust my cherry crumble with a wee bit powdered (confectioners’/icing) sugar before serving, but that’s entirely optional.
You can find the ingredient amounts in the recipe card at the end of the post.
How to make cherry crumble
The steps for how to make cherry crumble from scratch couldn’t be easier. First, you’ll cook a pie-like cherry filling, and then mix a quick hazelnut streusel. Here’s a breakdown of each step:
Step 1: Prep work
- Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C /gas mark 4. Line a baking sheet (tray) with parchment (baking) paper. We line the baking sheet (tray) to make cleaning up easy in case the cherry filling bubbles over.
- Grease the ramekins or pie dish with butter.
Step 2: Cook the cherry filling
- Add the cherries, brown sugar, and cornstarch (cornflour) into a heavy bottom saucepan and stir until well combined.
- Let the cherries macerate for 20 minutes to 1 hour, so the fruits soften and draw juice.
- If the cherries don’t draw a lot of moisture, add 3/4 – 1 cup / 175 – 230 ml water or cherry juice.
- Then cook the cherries for 10 to 15 minutes, until the cherries soften and the mixture thickens. Stir constantly, so the fruits don’t burn at the bottom of the saucepan.
Step 3: Make the hazelnut streusel
- Add the all-purpose flour, brown sugar, hazelnuts, cinnamon, and cold butter cubes into a large mixing bowl.
- Knead into a crumbly mixture. Use your fingertips to squeeze together handfuls of dough to form large clumps.
Step 4: Bake the crumble
- Spoon the cherry mixture into the prepared baking dish(es) and top with the streusel. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes.
Step 5: Serve
- Dust with powdered (confectioners’/icing) sugar and serve warm or cold, with whipped cream or ice cream.
Tips for the best cherry crumble
This cherry crumble recipe is super simple, and my tricks will guarantee you perfectly juice fruit crumble with crispy streusel:
- Use all of the crumb topping. When you first add the streusel topping, you may think that it’s way too much. But the crumbs sink into the fruit layer as the cherry dessert bakes, so it works out perfectly.
- Bake the cherry crumble on a baking pan or cookie sheet. That way, you can catch any spills, and it won’t stick to the bottom of the oven.
- Get the baking time right. With cherry crumble, there’s a fine line between undercooked and overbaked. The sweet cherry crumble recipe should take about 20 to 25 minutes to bake. You’ll know it’s done when the streusel looks golden brown and you see cherry filling peek through.
How to serve cherry crumble
Want to bring your black cherry crumble to the next level? I love eating warm cherry crumble with a good helping of homemade whipped cream or a big scoop of vanilla ice cream and a generous drizzle of caramel sauce. The mix of sweet cream combined with juicy cherries and a crunchy streusel topping is pure heaven.
Cherry crumble FAQ
How many servings does the crumble recipe yield?
The recipe makes 4 to 6 servings. If you bake the fruit crumble in a single large dish, you might even get 8 portions out of the recipe.
What baking dish sizes do I need?
You can bake the cherry crumble in:
- 4 to 6 individual ramekins or mini pie dishes
- 1 x 8 in / 20 cm or 9 in / 23 cm round or square baking dish
Can I double the recipe?
Of course! This fresh cherry crumble recipe can be doubled easily. If you need to cater to a large crowd, simply double the ingredient amounts and bake in a 9 in × 13 in / 23 cm x 33 cm baking dish.
Is cherry crumble the same as cherry crisp?
Crisp and crumbles are pretty similar. Both are made with a pie-like fruit filling and buttery topping. The difference is that cherry crumble is made with large streusel clumps, whereas a cherry crisp is baked with a finer topping that includes add-ins such as chopped nuts, sliced almonds, or oats.
But that’s just my interpretation, you might very well use these terms differently.
Can I use other nuts?
Yes, ground walnuts, pecans, or almond flour are excellent substitutes for hazelnuts.
Can I make the cherry crumple without nuts?
Absolutely. Simply add an additional 1/2 cup / 60 g / 2 oz all-purpose flour when making the streusel topping.
Should I use sweet or sour cherries for crumble?
Like cherry pie, cherry crumble can be made with sweet and sour cherries or even a mix of the two.
I prepared the cherry streusel crumble you see on the photos with sweet cherries, but I’ve also successfully made tart cherry crumble with sour cherries. Depending on the type of cherry you choose, consider these adjustments:
- Black cherry crumble with sweet cherries: Add the juice of 1/2 lemon to the cherry filling to make it tangier.
- Sour cherry crumble: Feel free to mix extra sugar into the cherry pie filling if your cherries are very tart.
Can I use frozen cherries?
Yes, this easy cherry crumble can be made with fresh or frozen cherries. Frozen fruit is cheaper and available year-round, whereas fresh cherries have the best flavor. You don’t have to thaw frozen cherries but be sure to add a little water when cooking the filling.
Can I use canned cherries for cherry crumble?
Yes, you have that option. We are cooking a cherry pie filling, so you can swap in canned cherry pie filling without issue. You need approx. 3 cups cherry pie filling. The baking time remains the same.
Can I use other fruit?
Good news! If cherries aren’t your thing or not available, make this easy crumble recipe with another fruit. The easy streusel crumble recipe also works with peach slices, nectarines, blackberries, pears, apples, and mangos.
Gluten-free cherry crumble
This easy cherry crumble is super easy to make gluten-free, and it tastes pretty much the same without gluten. To make a gluten-free cherry crumble recipe, substitute the all-purpose flour with a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend.
How to store leftover cherry crumble
Store leftover cherry crumble with streusel topping well covered in the fridge for up to 4 days.
To reheat, scoop cherry crumble into a bowl and reheat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, depending on the size of the serving and how warm you want it.
How long does cherry crumble last?
You can store homemade cherry crumble refrigerated for up to 4 days.
Can you freeze cherry crumble?
Yes, you can freeze cherry crumble. The cherry recipe can last for 3 – 4 months in the freezer if stored correctly. Here are some tips:
- Baked cherry crumble: Place the dish in an airtight container and freeze. I like to use these glass containers because you can bake, store, and freeze the crumble recipe in them.
- Unbaked cherry crumble: You have 2 options: Either freeze the whole cherry crumble in a freezer-safe baking dish, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap/cling film. Or freeze the cherry crumble filling and crumb topping separately in freezer-safe food containers.
How to thaw cherry crumble
Thaw the cherry crumble in the fridge overnight, regardless of whether the dessert is baked or unbaked. Then simply bake/reheat the cherry crumble, following the same baking instructions below. You may need less time for baked cherry crumble, so check in at 15 minutes.
More delicious baking recipes
Do you enjoy baking – and let’s be real eating – muffins and cupcakes as much as we do? Then also check out these cupcake and muffins recipes! From chocolate to caramel and fruits, we have a treat for every taste:
- Fudgy Almond Brownies
- Walnut Chocolate Chip Brownies
- Blackberry Muffins
- Butterfly Cupcakes
- Chocolate Mousse Tart
This cherry crumble recipe was first published in 2018. I’ve updated the post in July 2021 to add more helpful tips, step-by-step photos, and new images. You can see how the previous photos looked here:
The cherry recipe was part of a summer dessert collaboration with our friends our friends Carol and Nik from Weekend at the Cottage and Alicia of Best Bites Forever. Nik and Carol made a delicious Harvey Wallbanger Cake, and Alicia prepared an amazing Peach Custard Tart with Blueberries.
Their recipes are perfect for entertaining a party crowd or finishing a summer dinner. Make sure to check out their video tutorials and subscribe to YouTube channels for more tasty ideas!