Food Tips

What’s The Difference Between A Crisp, Crumble & Cobbler?

What’s The Difference Between A Crisp, Crumble, and Cobbler?


Food Tips

What’s The Difference Between A Crisp, Crumble & Cobbler?

There's nothing quite like a crispy fruit dessert.

Among the many fruit-based desserts, three of the most beloved are crisps, crumbles and cobblers—and everyone seems to think their recipe is the best. While they may seem similar at a glance—crispy, crumbly toppings atop gooey fruit—each has distinct characteristics that set them apart. 

So, what’s the difference between a crisp, crumble and cobbler?

1. Crisp

Definition: A crisp, also known in some regions as a fruit crisp, features a fruit base topped with a streusel-like mixture that becomes crisp and crunchy when baked.

Ingredients and Texture: The topping of a crisp is typically made from a combination of flour, butter, sugar and oats. The oats are what primarily give a crisp its signature crunchy texture. Some variations may include nuts or spices for added flavour and crunch.


  • Fruit Base: Fresh or frozen fruits are used, often mixed with sugar, lemon juice and sometimes a thickener like cornstarch.
  • Topping: The topping mixture is sprinkled generously over the fruit base.
  • Baking: It is baked until the fruit is bubbly and the topping is golden brown and crisp.

Common Fruits: Apples, berries, peaches and rhubarb are popular choices for crisps.

Try it: Pear and banana crisp


2. Crumble

Definition: A crumble is very similar to a crisp but is typically made without oats in the topping. It has a finer, more crumbly texture.

Ingredients and Texture: The topping for a crumble consists of flour, butter and sugar, sometimes with the addition of nuts for a bit of crunch. The lack of oats means the topping is more delicate and crumbles more easily when baked.


  • Fruit Base: Similar to crisps, crumbles use fresh or frozen fruits mixed with sugar and a thickener.
  • Topping: The flour, butter and sugar mixture is crumbled over the fruit.
  • Baking: Baked until the fruit is tender and the topping is lightly browned and crumbly.

Common Fruits: Apples, berries and stone fruits like plums are commonly used in crumbles.

Try it: Plum and nectarine crumble


3. Cobbler

Definition: A cobbler is a fruit dessert that is more distinct than the other two, with a topping that resembles a biscuit, scone, or cake. The name "cobbler" comes from the topping's appearance, which looks like a cobbled road.

Ingredients and Texture: Cobblers have a more substantial topping than crisps and crumbles. Some cobblers use a drop-biscuit dough, while others use a batter.


  • Fruit Base: The fruit mixture is similar to that used in crisps and crumbles, often sweetened and sometimes thickened.
  • Topping: The topping is spooned or dropped over the fruit. As it bakes, the topping spreads and puffs up, creating a thick, hearty layer.
  • Baking: Baked until the fruit is tender and the topping is golden and cooked through.

Common Fruits: Peaches, berries, cherries, and apples are frequently used in cobblers.

Try it: Saskatoon Berry Cobbler 


The Key Differences between a crisp, crumble & cobbler

  • Crisp: Characterized by a crunchy topping made with oats.
  • Crumble: Similar to a crisp but without oats, resulting in a finer, crumbly texture.
  • Cobbler: Features a biscuit or cake-like topping that is more substantial than the toppings of crisps and crumbles.

Each of these desserts is a delicious way to enjoy the season’s bounty of fruits. Which one is your favourite?





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Food Tips

What’s The Difference Between A Crisp, Crumble & Cobbler?