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What’s the Difference Between Crisps, Crumbles, Cobblers, and Buckles?

A trawberry crumble by Belly Full, a berry cobbler by Sally's Baking Addiction, and an apple crisp by The Chunky Chef.
Belly Full/Sally’s Baking Addiction/The Chunky Chef

You’ve likely enjoyed streusel-topped crisps and crumbles or savored fruity cobblers and cakey buckles. So what exactly are these delicious treats, and how can you tell them apart?

Let’s delve into the main differences between these baked goods, as well as some recipes you can try this summer. There’s no better way to celebrate summer’s sweet harvest than by baking a warm, fruity dessert!

What Do These Sweet Treats Have in Common?

Crisps, crumbles, cobblers, and buckles all share one significant detail: They’re all scrumptious desserts that consist of fresh fruit. When done right, one bite will give you all the warm fuzzies.

Like many recipes, you’ll also find that there are several regional differences, and the names of these are often used interchangeably, but, we’ll also give you general details. So, let’s jump in!

What’s a Crisp?

A crisp is a fruity baked dessert topped with a streusel containing oats. Streusel is a crumbly topping typically made with butter, flour, and sugar, and usually cinnamon. However, some recipes forgo the cinnamon.

What makes a crisp unique is the oats added in the streusel topping. Once baked, the oat-filled streusel topping crisps up, hence the name.

Make an Old-Fashioned Apple Crisp

Two images: The left image is of a bowl of apple crisp topped with ice-cream and a caramel drizzle. The right image is of a casserole dish of apple crisp.
The Chunky Chef

Apple crisp tends to fall under that autumn recipe category when apples are abundant and in season, but there’s no reason you can’t make it any time of year.

You’ll love this classic recipe passed down by a few generations, just the way Grandma used to make it, as Amanda (creator of The Chunky Chef) claims.

The brown sugar, flour, butter, oats, and cinnamon create the perfect streusel topping that you’ll find in a traditional crisp dish. This comforting dish will give you all the warm feels, especially once finished with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

Get the Recipe: The Chunky Chef

What’s a Crumble?

Crumbles are very similar to crisps, but they contain no oats in the streusel topping. As a result, while the top still provides a crunchy texture, it’s a tad denser (sometimes cakey) and doesn’t boast the same crisp factor as one made with oats.

Just like a baked crisp dessert, the buttery-sweet streusel pairs flawlessly with warm fruit. It’s an excellent way to celebrate ripe berries, apples, peaches, and more during the bright days of summer.

Give a Strawberry Crumble a Go

Two images: The left image is of a strawberry crumble in a baking dish, and the right image is of a bowl of strawberry crumble with icecream.
Belly Full

Loaded with plump strawberries and tart rhubarb, this baked dessert delivers flavorful results you and others will adore. Aside from tasting delicious, this strawberry crumble recipe is super quick and easy to throw together.

You just prep and bake, then let it rest before plopping a large spoonful into your dessert bowl.

Get the Recipe: Belly Full

What’s a Cobbler?

Cobblers are baked fruit desserts, too, rather topped with biscuits dropped over the top in several sections. Once baked, the fruit juices bubble up through the cracks of the baked biscuit dough, forming a cobblestone-like appearance. Stilling wondering where the name came from?

You’ll also find several recipes that use cookie dough or cake batter plopped over the fruit before the dish is baked. Some recipes guide you through adding the fruit last so that the batter comes up and bakes over.

Whether your cobbler recipe includes a few drops of buttery biscuit dough or a rich cake batter, you are in for a treat.

Berry Cobbler Is Always a Hit

Two images: the left image is of a bowl of berry cobbler with melty ice-cream, and the right image is of a baked berry cobbler fresh out of the oven.
Sally’s Baking Addiction

You’ll love the way sweet berries meet buttery biscuits in this simple berry cobbler recipe. The berries burst with sweet juices in every bite, only to be followed by a rich crust topping.

Raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries all work in this recipe, whether fresh or frozen. Go homestyle by baking this up in a baking dish, or follow the instructions for individual cobblers to keep things fancy fresh.

Get the Recipe: Sally’s Baking Addiction

A Southern Classic Peach Cobbler

Two images: The left image is of peach cobbler in a baking dish, and the right image is of a bowl of peach cobbler with a spoon.
Tastes Better from Scratch

Peach cobbler is a southern classic, and this recipe uses the cakey rendition we talked about, which pairs excellently with the peach filling.

You’ll first learn to blanch the peaches for easy peeling, then move on to cooking them and making a batter. Sprinkle on a little cinnamon; then, in the oven, it goes before indulging in a warm summer treat worth every bite.

Get the Recipe: Tastes Better from Scratch

What’s a Buckle?

We’ve discussed crisps and crumbles and talked about the variations of cobblers, which leads us to another fan favorite; a baked buckle. A buckle is an old-fashioned cake-like dessert speckled with fruit and topped with streusel.

It gets its iconic name from the unique buckled appearance caused by spreading the fruit between the batter and streusel topping, which causes the batter to sink and the fruit to buckle. Some recipes call for simply mixing the fruit throughout the batter, too.

Blueberry Buckle for the Win

Two images of blueberry buckle, topped with streusel. The left image is of buckle on a white plate, and the right image is of a piece of buckle being removed from a baking pan.
Spend with Pennies

Here’s a delicious blueberry buckle recipe topped with buttery-sweet streusel that’s simple to make and tastes amazing.

Never mind dessert; this buckle makes the perfect sweet breakfast to munch on throughout the week, especially because it takes just right with hot coffee. So, be sure to give this one a go and stick to fresh blueberries to avoid a blue batter.

Get the Recipe: Spend with Pennies

Now that you know all about these delicious treats, the real question is which one do you plan to make first? And if you need more delicious ways to use up all those berries, we got ’em!

Emilee Unterkoefler Emilee Unterkoefler
Emilee Unterkoefler is a freelance food writer, hiking enthusiast, and mama with over ten years of experience working in the food industry. Read Full Bio »
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