Does cookie crumble have gluten-free options?

With the rise in gluten sensitivities and celiac disease diagnoses, many people are looking for tasty gluten-free dessert options. Cookie crumble is a classic dessert that typically contains gluten from wheat flour. However, there are ways to make gluten-free cookie crumbles so those with dietary restrictions don’t have to miss out.

What is cookie crumble?

Cookie crumble is a dessert that consists of a crumbly topping sprinkled over a creamy filling. The crumbly topping is made by combining butter, sugar, and flour into a mixture that resembles wet sand. This mixture is then chilled until firm and crumbled on top of fillings like fruit, pudding, or ice cream. The crumbly texture provides a nice contrast to the smooth, creamy interior.

Some common cookie crumble combinations include:

– Apple crumble – topped with crumbles and baked over sliced apples
– Berry crumble – made with berries like raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, or strawberries
– Rhubarb crumble – with rhubarb and strawberries
– Pumpkin crumble – made with canned pumpkin
– Chocolate crumble – with a chocolate filling or sauce
– Banana crumble – topped with caramelized banana slices

The basic construction is filling on the bottom, crumble mixture on top. The crisp, buttery crumble provides a perfect complement to the sweet and creamy interior.

Does traditional cookie crumble contain gluten?

Yes, traditional cookie crumble recipes do contain gluten. This comes from the wheat flour used to make the crumbly topping.

Wheat flour contains gluten proteins that give the crumble its distinctive sandy texture. When mixed with butter, sugar, and a pinch of salt, the wheat flour forms crumbs that hold together while baking but break apart easily once cooled.

So regular cookie crumbles are off limits for those avoiding gluten. Thankfully, there are several simple substitutions to make gluten-free cookie crumbles that don’t compromise on taste or texture.

Gluten-free flour substitutions

There are a variety of gluten-free flour options that can be used to make cookie crumble topping. Here are some of the most common:

Almond flour

Almond flour has a sweet, nutty flavor that pairs perfectly with fruit crumbles. It contains no gluten and has a similar texture to wheat flour. Replace wheat flour at a 1:1 ratio when using almond flour.

Coconut flour

Coconut flour is made from dried, ground coconut meat. It has a high fiber content and gives the crumble a mildly sweet flavor. Coconut flour absorbs more moisture than wheat flour so only substitute about 1/4 to 1/3 cup coconut flour for every 1 cup of wheat flour.

Oat flour

Oat flour is simply ground oats. Make sure to use certified gluten-free oats, as some oat supplies get cross-contaminated with wheat. Oat flour has a hearty, wholesome taste that works well in crumbles. Substitute oat flour 1:1 for wheat flour.

Brown rice flour

Brown rice flour is a versatile gluten-free option with a mildly nutty flavor. It can be used on its own or along with other flour alternatives. Replace up to 1/2 of the wheat flour with brown rice flour in crumble recipes.

Buckwheat flour

Despite the name, buckwheat is gluten-free and not related to wheat. Buckwheat flour has an earthy, nutty flavor. Use a 1:1 wheat flour to buckwheat flour ratio or combine it with other gluten-free flours for the crumble topping.

Sorghum flour

Sorghum flour is made from ground whole sorghum grains. It has a light color and texture similar to wheat flour. Replace up to 1/2 of the wheat flour called for with sorghum flour.

Bean flours

Flours made from beans like chickpea, lentil and fava bean provide fiber and protein. They work best combined with other gluten-free flours. Replace up to 1/4 of the wheat flour with bean flour.

Tips for gluten-free cookie crumbles

When adapting traditional cookie crumble recipes to be gluten-free, keep these tips in mind:

– Use a flour blend. Combining 2-3 different gluten-free flours creates a mix that mimics the texture and absorbency of wheat flour.

– Add xanthan gum. About 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum per 1 cup of flour blend binds the mixture together.

– Increase butter slightly. A bit more butter compensates for the lack of gluten and keeps the crumble tender.

– Don’t overmix. Once the ingredients come together, avoid kneading too much which can make the crumble tough.

– Make sure baked fruit fillings aren’t too juicy. Drain any excess liquid so the topping stays crispy.

– Sprinkle crumbles over the filled dish instead of pressing down. This ensures the crumb texture remains light.

– Let cool completely before serving. Gluten-free crumbles keep better texture once cooled.

Gluten-Free Cookie Crumble Recipes

Here are some tasty gluten-free cookie crumble recipes to try:

Gluten-Free Apple Crumble

Ingredients Amount
Gluten-free oat flour 1 1/4 cups
Almond flour 1/4 cup
Brown sugar 1/2 cup
Cold butter 1/2 cup
Cinnamon 2 tsp
Nutmeg 1/4 tsp
Apples, cored and sliced 5 cups
Fresh lemon juice 1 Tbsp
Brown sugar 1/4 cup


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish.
  2. In a food processor, mix the oat flour, almond flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pulse in the butter until mixture resembles coarse sand. Refrigerate while preparing apples.
  3. Toss apple slices with lemon juice and 1/4 cup brown sugar. Arrange in prepared baking dish.
  4. Sprinkle oat crumble mixture evenly over the apples. Bake 35-40 minutes until topping is golden brown. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.

Berry Cobbler Crumble

Ingredients Amount
Gluten-free all-purpose flour 1 cup
Oat flour 1/2 cup
Light brown sugar 1/2 cup
Cold butter 1/2 cup
Fresh berries 4 cups
Granulated sugar 1/4 cup
Lemon juice 1 Tbsp
Cornstarch 1 Tbsp


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch square baking dish.
  2. In a food processor, blend together the flours, brown sugar, and butter until mixture resembles wet sand. Refrigerate.
  3. In a bowl, gently toss berries with granulated sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Pour into prepared baking dish.
  4. Crumble the chilled flour mixture over the berries. Bake 35-40 minutes until topping is golden brown. Cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Pumpkin Crumble

Ingredients Amount
Gluten-free all-purpose flour 1/2 cup
Brown rice flour 1/2 cup
Oat flour 1/2 cup
Light brown sugar 1/2 cup
Cold butter 1/2 cup
Pumpkin puree 15 oz
Eggs 2
Milk 1/2 cup
Cinnamon 2 tsp
Ginger 1 tsp
Nutmeg 1/4 tsp


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8×8-inch baking dish.
  2. In a food processor, blend together the flours, brown sugar, and butter until crumbly. Refrigerate.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, eggs, milk, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg until smooth.
  4. Pour the pumpkin mixture into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the chilled flour mixture evenly over the top.
  5. Bake 40-45 minutes until set. Allow to cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Ready-to-use gluten-free crumble mixes

If you want to save time, there are several brands producing gluten-free cookie crumble mixes:

  • Pillsbury Gluten Free Crumble Mix
  • Betty Crocker Gluten Free Cookie & Crumble Mix
  • King Arthur Gluten Free Crumble Topping Mix
  • Bakery on Main Gluten Free Crumble Mix
  • Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Crumble Mix

Be sure to check the ingredients to verify the mix is gluten-free. Many mixes combine gluten-free flours along with xanthan gum and sugar to create an easy crumble topping. Simply add butter and bake over your favorite fillings.

Gluten-Free Crumble Toppings Already Made

For added convenience, you can purchase pre-made gluten-free crumble toppings:

  • Immaculate Baking Company Gluten Free Crumble Topping
  • Miss Roben’s Gluten Free Crumble
  • Analise’s Gluten Free Bakery Classic Crumble
  • Sweet Christine’s Gluten Free Crumble Topping

Check that the facilities are gluten-free to avoid cross-contamination. These ready-made crumble toppings simply need to be sprinkled over filled dishes and baked until heated through and golden.

Common Questions about Gluten-Free Crumble

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about making gluten-free cookie crumbles:

What can I use instead of oats?

Good oat substitutes include almond flour, coconut flour, buckwheat flour, millet flour, and quinoa flour. Always ensure any oat alternatives are certified gluten-free.

Is a crumble the same as a crisp?

Crumble and crisp are very similar desserts. The main difference is that crisps tend to leave the topping in larger chunks rather than breaking it down into fine crumbs. Either way, the dessert contains a delicious fruits and flaky topping combination.

Can I make crumbs ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare homemade gluten-free crumble topping or use a store-bought mix. Store the dry mixture in an airtight container in the fridge up to 5 days or freeze up to 3 months.

What fruit works best?

Apples, pears, peaches, berries, and cherries are classic crumble fruits. Rhubarb, mango, figs, and plums also work well. Just avoid fruits that contain too much moisture, like melons or citrus.

Can I use a food processor?

A food processor easily combines the flour and butter for gluten-free crumble. Just pulse to form crumbs but be careful not to overprocess into a dough.


Cookie crumbles can easily be made gluten-free for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Swapping the wheat flour for gluten-free alternatives like almond, coconut, oat, or rice flours yields a tender, flavorful crumb topping. Combining flours and adding xanthan gum mimics the texture of regular flour. With so many recipes, ready-to-use mixes and pre-made topping options, you don’t have to miss out on this classic comfort dessert. With a few simple substitutions, you can enjoy fruit crumbles, cobblers, crisps, and all kinds of cookie crumble dishes gluten-free.

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