cover image for an apple crumble recipe to make with kids

Apple crumble is a classic for a reason - it's delicious and it's easy to make. You can make crumble with almost any fruit, but some fruits need a little pre-cooking before adding the topping, and some don't. Sharper, crisp apples and firm cooking apples will benefit from a few minutes cooking before adding the crumble, softer or sweeter eating apples will not need this step and can go straight into the baking dish.

The quickest way to make a crumble topping is in a food processor. However this skill of rubbing in butter and flour is a really useful one to learn, so we have given those instructions. If your children can already rub in butter and flour, you could speed this recipe up using a processor.


500g apples

1 tablespoon sugar

150g plain flour

100g sugar

100g butter

pinch salt

100g oats


Peeler, safe but sharp enough knife for cutting apple, board

(optional corer/peeler if you have one and want them to learn how to use it)

Big bowl for mixing crumble

Measuring spoons

A pan for softening apples if they are not a soft variety

A wooden spoon

An oven safe dish to cook the crumble

Instructions for children:

Get your apples ready.

Use your peeler to safely take the skin off your apples. Ask a grown up to help you use the peeler safely.

Here is a good video showing you how to peel safely, in the second half of the video they show you an apple being peeled. If you find it hard to peel while holding it, you can put it on the board and peel small bits at a time and then turn it over and do the other side. It doesn't matter how long it takes, if it is safe and you get to the end result of having it peeled.

Next cut up your apples. A grown up might help you with this.

Place it down on the board, stem end down. Carefully cut it downwards, just to the side of the middle. This is the trickiest part especially when it is peeled and a bit slippy, so you can ask an adult to help you keep it still while you slice it down, or do this cut for you and you can cut the rest.

Then you will have a big half with the core in it, and a smaller half with no core in it. 

Place the bigger half, flat side down, and do the same again, cutting just to the side of the middle. Turn it on its side and do the same again. Then turn it again and cut the core off.

You will now have five pieces - four pieces of apple, each slightly smaller than the next one, and one square core.

In case you can't understand this from the instructions, here is a very clear video showing you how.

Note for parents: If you want to use an apple slicer and corer like the one in the picture, here is a great article about how to use Montessori methods while helping your child learn to use one.

apple corer and slicer with an apple in the middle having been sliced already

Now chop your apples in to pieces that are all about the same size.

If your apples are really soft, sweet apples, they won't need to be softened in a pan. Just put them straight into the oven dish. Sprinkle over a tablespoon of sugar.

If your apples are really crispy and sharp tasting, you will need to soften them first. Put them in a pan with a splash of water and your tablespoon of sugar and put them on a medium heat for about 5-8 minutes. With a grown up, stir them every few minutes. When they have softened a bit, ask a grown up to hold the hot pan over the oven dish and use a big wooden spoon to pull the pieces out of the pan and into the dish.

You could also put them in a microwave for five minutes instead of using a pan on the stove.

Next make your crumble topping.

Measure your flour into the big bowl.

Chop up your butter into little pieces on a board, using a butter knife. It doesn't matter if the pieces are all different shapes. Put them in the big bowl.

Put a sprinkle of salt in the bowl - only as much as you can pick up with your thumb and first two fingers.

Mix everything together a little bit.

Then you need to do something called rubbing in, to make the crumble into a texture that looks like breadcrumbs.

Rubbing in means putting your hands into the mixture and rubbing your fingers and thumbs together with some of the mixture in between. The mixture will get rubbed and squashed between your fingers and mix together and the butter will get squashed and mix with the flour, which might feel strange at first because of the oily and dry textures mixing together. The video below will show you what you need to copy. Keep doing it until it looks a bit like golden crumbs and there are no obvious bits of butter or streaks of white flour left.

When you have got your big lumps of butter all rubbed in, you can add your sugar to the bowl and mix it in.

Then measure and add your oats and mix those in too.

Now you can get a big spoon and put the mixture all over the top of your apples in the dish. Spread it around so the apples are all covered up.

Ask a grown up to put it in the oven and put the timer on for minutes.

After that it should look really golden on top and you will be able to see the juices underneath all bubbling. A grown up will take it out of the oven and put it somewhere to cool down for a while before you eat it. You can't eat it straight away because the sugars and the juices would burn your tongue!

When it's cool enough you can eat it on its own, with ice cream or with custard.

We also like this cheat version by Picklebums where she melts the butter and adds the other toppings to the melted butter, so no need for rubbing in the mixture. 

This version from Renil's kitchen is flour free so just uses oats as a topping, if you used certified gluten free oats you could make it gluten free easily.

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