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This blackberry crisp recipe (aka blackberry crumble) has a crunchy oat topping and sweet berry filling. It’s the best way to end a summer meal!

Blackberry crisp
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What’s better than a sweet berry crisp on a summer evening? There’s something this simple dessert that’s quintessential summer, the perfect ending to a shrimp boil or grilled meal. Here’s our best nostalgic Blackberry Crisp recipe, aka the Blackberry Crumble! It’s just sweet enough, filled with sweet berries with a hint of orange and vanilla, and a crunchy oat crumble topping. Even better: you can make it with fresh or frozen berries! Use it with fresh summer berries from the market, or try it with the frozen variety. Ready to get baking?

Elements in this blackberry crisp (aka crumble)

This blackberry crisp (aka blackberry crumble) is easy to make, and it has several great features that take it from good to great. Here’s what to know about baking up this sweet berry dessert:

  • You can use fresh or frozen berries! Fresh blackberries can be expensive, so frozen is a great economical option. Keep in mind fresh berries are slightly sweeter than frozen.
  • The filling features orange zest and vanilla for next level flavor. These make the berry flavor pop and add nuance! Take one bite and you’ll be amazed.
  • The crumble is easy to customize to various diets. It’s got butter and flour, but there are easy swaps to make it vegan and gluten free (see below).
  • Pecans and cinnamon are a must! These texture and flavor elements round out the crunchy crumble.
Blackberry crisp

What’s the difference between a crisp and crumble, anyway?

Well, it’s matter of terminology. There was originally a difference between a blackberry crisp and a blackberry crumble. A crisp had oats, whereas a crumble did not (per The Kitchn). So, the crisp topping was crunchier because of the oats!

Today sometimes in the US people are specific about terms, but the difference has really faded over time. You can use either one interchangeably! In the UK, Australia and New Zealand, the term “crumble” is used to encompass both types of desserts.

Mix the layers, then bake until golden brown

The great thing about a blackberry crumble or crisp? There’s no technique involved. Mix the berries and filling ingredients, mix the topping, layer and bake! Easy as that. Here are a few tips to this process:

  • Run frozen berries under warm water. If you’re using frozen berries, this partially thaws them. They don’t need to be fully thawed before baking.
  • Bake time varies based on your oven, baking dish, and berries! Simply bake until golden brown. The bake time will be different every time depending on those variables. Our recipe testers had bake times between 30 minutes and 1 hour, though for most it was around 50 minutes.
  • If it’s not golden, keep going! You’re looking for that golden hue. If the oats look pale, keep going.
Blackberry crumble

Make a vegan or gluten free blackberry crisp

This recipe is very customizable to various diets and preferences. Here are a few substitutes that work just as well as the original recipe:

  • Gluten free crisp: use almond flour. Almond flour works perfectly as a substitute for flour in a crisp or crumble recipe. In fact, it becomes even crispier!
  • Vegan crisp: use vegan butter or coconut oil. Vegan butter is best for the crispiest texture; coconut oil also works.
  • Other sugars also work! Prefer coconut sugar? That works too. Using maple syrup makes for a softer crisp topping because it adds liquid. If you’re ok with a softer crisp topping, you can use it: but we prefer sugar here for the correct texture.
  • Use more orange zest. For a blackberry orange crumble, double the orange zest! It’s deliciously citrusy.

Other variations: berry crisp, peach blackberry crisp, etc!

Other ways to vary a blackberry crumble: change up the berries! There are lots of ways to flex this recipe, depending on the fruit you have on hand. Here are some ideas:

  • Mixed berry crisp: Use fresh or frozen mixed berries instead!
  • Raspberry crisp: Use raspberries in place of blackberries
  • Peach blackberry crisp: Use half berries and half peeled sliced peaches
  • Blackberry basil crisp: Add 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil to the filling
  • Blackberry mint crisp: Add 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint to the filling
Blackberry crisp

Toppings for blackberry crumble

You can eat this blackberry crisp plain, but it’s even tastier with a little topping! Here are some of our favorite ideas:

Freeze the leftovers!

Got leftovers? Freeze them! You can freeze this blackberry crisp for up to 3 months in a sealed container. Reheat it in a 350 degree oven until bubbly and the topping is crispy. It’s not quite as good as fresh, but it’s close!

This blackberry crisp recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free, see the recipe below.

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Blackberry crisp

Classic Blackberry Crisp

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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x


This blackberry crisp (aka blackberry crumble) has a crunchy oat topping and sweet berry filling. It’s the best way to end a summer meal!



For the filling

  • 2 pounds blackberries, fresh or frozen: or a mix of blackberries and other berries or peeled sliced peaches (6 cups)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar (or coconut sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch (or arrowroot powder)
  • ¼ teaspoon orange zest* (or ½ teaspoon lemon zest)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the crumble / crisp topping

  • ¾ cup old fashioned oats
  • ½ cup all purpose flour or almond flour
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar (or coconut sugar)
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold salted butter (or coconut oil or vegan butter for vegan)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Make the filling: Or if using frozen, run the berries under warm water for about 1 minute in a strainer (they will still be frozen on the inside but starting to thaw). Then mix with the filling ingredients in a bowl, then pour the filling into a round 9-inch pie pan, 9 x 9 inch baking dish or 7 x 11 baking dish.
  3. Make the topping: In a medium bowl, mix together the oats, flour, sugar, cinnamon, nuts and kosher salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and then use your hands to mix it into the oats until fully distributed and a crumbly dough forms. It may take a while so be patient; you can also use a pastry cutter if you prefer. (If using coconut oil, it can be room temperature; use the same method to add it.) Pour the crumble on top and smooth it into an even layer with your fingers.
  4. Bake: Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until the top is evenly golden brown and the filling is bubbly (this will vary based on your oven and berries: it may be shorter or longer so keep an eye on it). Cool for 30 minutes to 1 hour, then serve warm. If desired, top with whipped cream and mint leaves. You can leave out your crisp on the counter for up to 1 day (covered, at night) so the crisp topping can stay crisp. After 1 day, refrigerate any leftovers. This crumble also freezes well for several months in a sealed container; reheat it in a 350 degree oven until bubbly and the topping is crisp.


*For a very forward orange flavor, use ⅓ to ½ teaspoon orange zest.

  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Natalie Bales says:

    Can this be prepared then frozen

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      This crumble also freezes well for several months in a sealed container; reheat it in a 350 degree oven until bubbly and the topping is crisp.

  2. Monica says:

    I made this for visiting family and it was a smashing hit. Thanks for an easy delicious recipe that feeds a crowd

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      So glad you enjoyed it!