Crumble, Cobbler, Crisp, Buckle, Betty: What's The Difference?

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If there's one thing dessert folks have trouble with, it's understanding the difference between a crumble, crisp, cobbler, buckle and brown betty. It's nothing to be ashamed of, there are a lot of similarities between these fruit-filled, butter topped dessert -- so it's easy to understand why. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't set the record straight once and for all -- if for no other reason than to give you an excuse to try them all. (Psst, we have just the recipes to help you do that below.)

So, without further ado, here it is: your guide to the line-up of beloved fruit-baked desserts.


A crumble is a dish made of baked, sweetened fruit topped with an oat, flour, butter, sugar mixture that gets baked on top. It's what most people think of when they hear any of the dessert names mentioned above. Ice cream isn't a must, but it is a wise choice.


A crisp is a dessert made with baked fruit and a topping of oats, flour and butter. Or at least, some of the time. Yes, we know that sounds just like a crumble and the truth is there is a lot of confusion in the food world as to the difference between the two (if there even is any). Some folks say crumbles should never contain oats, others think it doesn't make a difference. We say, just eat them all. Also, ice cream is a good idea here too.


A cobbler is very similar to the two aforementioned desserts, only it's most commonly accepted that it comes with dropped biscuits on top rather than that crumbly mixture. When it comes out of the oven, it has a cobblestone look to it, which is how it got its name.


Buckles are what happens when cake and crumbles unite. It's a cake baked with loads of fruit and a crumble topping (oats optional). It got its name because the weight of the fruit can sometimes make the cake appear to buckle. Bettys are less cake, more bread crumb, and just as delicious.

Now that that's (kind of) cleared up, it's time to make these glorious (albeit confusing) desserts. These are the recipes you need:

Crisps, crumbles and cobblers

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