Crumb Bun Recipe

World Famous Crumb Buns

The world famous crumb bun recipe!

I guess it’s a New Jersey thing, since Crumb Buns are basically unfamiliar in every other place!

Most people will think of “crumb cake” but don’t be fooled because this is not that!

World Famous Crumb Buns

No cake here!

This is a light and airy yeast bun topped with tons of buttery streusel and a hint of cinnamon!

This is a lengthy recipe, as with any yeast baked good- you just can’t rush perfection!

It can be done from start to finish in just about 3-4 hours so be sure to give yourself the time you need to get it all done.

However this recipe can actually be done in installments…..meaning: prepare everything as listed below, but instead of baking right away, you can stall the yeast development by placing the entire pan in the refrigerator overnight for a really long “proof” to develop really nice intense “bakery style” flavors  and have fresh baked buns in the morning!

I have also prepared just the bun dough part ahead of time, placed it into the pan and then froze it for up to a week with no trouble.

This way when you want fresh baked crumb buns, you only have to prepare the streusel part of the recipe, pile it high and then bake!  Fresh buns in about an hour!

So whatever way you decide to do it, fast and efficient or take your time on a rainy Saturday afternoon~ just be sure to put this recipe on your “recipe bucket list” at some point in your life!

Another variation that I LOVE LOVE LOVE is to add a thin layer of canned fruit topping or preserves between the bun dough and the struesel.

Now you all know me, I am not one to say “take it easy” on anything~ I like to load and overload my fillings and icings for sure, but this is one place you will NOT want to do that.

If you put too much of a moist filling (like fruit topping or nutella or even cheese filling) it will not allow the bun dough to bake properly and you will have a gooey raw doughy bun! Yuck!

So if you decide to go for the filled crumb bun, no more than 1½ cups spread very thin and evenly over the bun dough then pile the streusel!

I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Ok, now I think I have to go make some BLUEBERRY CRUMB BUNS!!


5.0 from 2 reviews
Crumb Bun Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Prepare a 9X13" Cake Pan with Pan Grease or Spray and line with parchment
Author:
Serves: 15 Buns
Ingredients
  • Water warm ½cup (120ml)
  • Dry Instant Yeast 2¼ teaspoons (10g)
  • Whole Milk warm to 100°F ⅓ cup (80ml)
  • Granulated Sugar ¼ cup (50g)
  • Unsalted Butter Softened 6 Tablespoons (84g)
  • Salt ¾ teaspoon
  • Eggs Large 1 (50g)
  • All Purpose Flour 2 ½ cups (315g)
Instructions
  1. First prepare the bun dough by combining the yeast and warm water with a pinch of sugar
  2. After 5 minutes it should be frothy and that proves it is alive and working, so you can proceed to mix the recipe
  3. Combine all of the ingredients into the work bowl of your stand mixer with the dough hook attachment and mix for 2 minutes on low speed. Stop the mixer to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to help the dough incorporate evenly.
  4. If the dough looks particularly sticky you can add another tablespoon or 2 of flour (*see video where I did exactly that)
  5. Mix for another 4 minutes then turn the dough out onto a generously floured surface and knead for 20 strokes until it forms a smooth ball of dough.
  6. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl cover and allow to rest for about 1 hour at room temperature.
  7. In the meantime prepare the streusel topping as listed below.
  8. After 1 hour or resting the dough, begin preheating your oven to 375° F. (I also like to use a pizza stone for baking crumb buns, if you have one, Great! Use it!)
  9. remove the dough from teh oiled bowl onto a lightly floured work surface and gently press the dough to release the gasses and and shape into a rectangle shape the size of your pan (9" X 13")
  10. Dock the dough with a fork or a chocolate chipper
  11. At this point you will spread with fruit filling if you are using a filling (*see note above), otherwise keep them to the original recipe like I did, and pile on the streusel topping.
  12. Cover the entire bun with streusel topping but do not use too much pressure to push the streusel into the pan, but rather use a fluffing motion and gently spread the streusel around the dough covering the entire dough
  13. Bake on the center rack in on the pizza stone in a preheated 375°F oven for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 325°F and bake for another 35 to 45 minutes or until the streusel is no longer doughy. (You can check this simply by moving a larger piece of streusel to the side with a fork or spatula to see if the center is still raw)
  14. Cool to warm before serving, cut into desired portions and sprinkle powdered sugar over the top of the buns.
Notes
Crumb Buns, like any yeast baked good is best when served as soon as they are done baking. They start to go stale after the first day.

You may store Crumb Buns in the freezer in a ziploc bag or individually wrapped in plastic for up to 1 month.


To serve after freezing: Unwrap each bun from its plastic wrapping then thaw completely on the counter, then wrap each bun in a damp paper towel and microwave for 15-25 seconds
 
5.0 from 2 reviews
Streusel Topping
 
The butter in this recipe is not softened, however I did take it out of the refrigerator 20 minutes before mixing, you want the butter to be cold, just not hard
Author:
Serves: 5 cups for 1 9" x 13" Crumb Bun
Ingredients
  • Light Brown Sugar Packed ¾ cup (150g)
  • Granulated Sugar 1 cup (200g)
  • Salt 1 teaspoon (6g)
  • Ground Cinnamon ½ teaspoon
  • *Unsalted Butter 3 sticks (340g)
  • Cake Flour 3¼ cups (390g)
Instructions
  1. Cream the cold butter with both sugars - about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the cinnamon, salt and flour and mix just until combined
 

 

 

 

 

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74 Comments

  1. I was born in Brooklyn, don’t live there any more but growing up as a young kid, I remember my dad going to a German Bakery ever Sunday. Top of the list was there crumb buns. They were the best, only wish I could get them again, but I was on the Internet and saw your recipe, and low and behold, this looks perfect to me. I will try it soon.
    Thank you for posting it, I’m sure it’s a perfect crumb bun.

  2. Thanks for reposting this Gretchen.
    I have been around since the ‘Crumb Boss’ days and have made these several times! They are ahhhhh-mazing! I do like to put some blueberry jam on top of dough before putting crumb topping on, but I have a very productive blueberry bush that requires me to come up with new ways to use them all!
    Seriously people, you have to make these!

  3. Hey Gretchen! Quick question. I tried to make these buns last week. They turned out so dry and felt very heavy and dense . NOT your fault my fault of course. I over cooked the buns because I would stick my knife in to see if it was crumb free but I kept getting a wet gloop. I realized at this point that this was actually the streusel topping and that it was okay. Even though I overcooked slightly I think my dough didn’t rise enough. I am not sure. I wrapped it in clear wrap and put it in a safe place in my very warm garage but it only rose about a quarter or so now that I think about it. I guess what I would really like to know is what is a good rising temp? Also does this sound like a problem derived from not enough rising? Thanks.

    1. I know this is an old post, but Im thinking it was old yeast. Is that possible? You know your product. But Ive found that most yeast issues come from stale yeast.

  4. Hi! I was wondering that if I want to make the dough and then bake it in the morning, do i refrigerate the dough before rising and let it rise in the morning, or do I let it rise, punch down the dough, then bake the bun?

    1. I wold freeze it in the pan. it is so thin that it will thaw by the time you get the streusel prepared and topped, oven preheated – I never let the dough prrof a second time once the streusel goes on. the bun dough is meant to be thin

  5. Hi there,
    This looks fantastic, and may be the sweet yeast bread by German Grandmother used to make, with crumbs on top. I’m thrown, though. Why is it called “buns”? It looks like a 9 x 13 size cake or bread.
    My relatives used to make something like this, it was quite yeasty, and a bit sweet, but not like a cake, more like a bread, slightly sweet, with crumbs on top. It was always served for Christmas morning breakfast.
    I can’t find the right recipe. They are all cake.
    I would appreciate any info you may have.

  6. Nothing about this recipe worked for me. The dough was thin and runny, even after kneading forever, it never set. I decided to bake it anyway, to see what happened. The streusel topping made waaaay too much and was over mixed (even though I only did the recommended 5 minutes and quick mix of flour/cinnamon). If you’re a novice at all, I don’t recommend this recipe.

  7. Hi Gretchen,

    You have a bulk Streusel topping recipe that I keep in the freezer – can I use this Streusel topping it is as follows: Or should I use this specific one that it different in this recipe above?
    3 3/4 Cups All purpose flour
    3 Cups light brown sugar
    2 Tsp salt
    3 Tsp ground cinnamon
    24 TBL cold unsalted butter

    Thank you!

    1. The streusel you have listed here is more for crispy crunchy toppings for muffins and such. Use the one listed here for Crumb Bun if you are making the crumb bun (it is different)

  8. Gretchen: You are a godsend! Would loved to have worked for you in your bakery. Your presentation is always personable and easy to follow. You are The Best! Many years of videos ahead from you, please. C. Buddington in SC.

  9. Ok this has absolutely nnnnothing to do with this recipe….I made your caramel recipe and the lemon made taste burnt. I made it twice and thought I burnt it the first time. Didn’t cook it as long the second time and it still tasted burnt. I then realized it was the lemon. My question is, why the lemon, do you add it as a preservative?

  10. I am SO EXCITED you posted this video to watch!! I was following you when you were “Crumbboss”. I use alot of your recipes-it all started with your swiss buttercream -strawberry layer cake and that killer German Chocolate cake recipe in 2012 for me. :o)

    I have wanted to make these crumb buns for 4 years. I lost the original recipe you had that I printed but now I am excited to see the video, I love your videos, soo helpful!! I will be making them soon now. I grew up in NY and my dad use to take us to the bakery every sunday and get this. I have not found any in Virginia now that are at all like I remember. Your recipe looks just like it! Now I will eat them and remember him. Thank you so much for your inspiration and all you give us.

  11. Hi Gretchen…what are your thoughts on putting your streusel topping on vanilla cake batter…hoping it turns out like a coffee cake??? Do you think that would work? If so, if you have any input on that, that would be great!
    Thanks!

  12. Hi Gretchen,
    Hope Florida agrees with you, and all is well.
    I never thought you’d share this recipe. I can’t w as it yo try it.
    Thanks
    Steve Sclafani

  13. I was born in LI, NY and we moved away when I was 5. I grew up visiting LI and always looked forward to Crumb Buns while visiting. My dad would get up at the crack of dawn and go to the bakery and bring back Crumb Buns, Bagels and Hard rolls! We always got extra to take home and freeze too.
    When I opened your email I couldn’t get to the recipe fast enough! Lol! I can’t wait to make them now! Thank you so much for sharing your recipe Gretchen! I’ll be forever grateful to you now!

  14. Thanks for answering the freezing question. I host a family

    Thanks for answering the question about freezing. To be clear, if I freeze the dough I don’t need to thaw it before putting on the crumbs and baking? I host a family brunch every Spring and since it usually ends up being about 50 people I look for do ahead items. These, along with scones and your amazing English muffins (now a required staple in my house) I think I will be set for bread items on the buffet.

  15. Gretchen….these look fantastic! I’m originally from New York, so I’m totally into the “crumb buns”! I’m wondering if you could clarify something for me. If I want to get started the day before serving these…….are you saying to make the dough, let it rise in the bowl, as stated in the recipe, and then, after putting in the 9×13 pan, place in the fridge overnight? Then, in the morning, add the streusel and bake? Do you have to take the pan out of the fridge a certain amount of time before baking? I was thinking of sending these into work with the hubby on Friday morning, but wanted to get them started on Thursday.

  16. HI Gretchen,

    Thanks for sharing this recipe! A quick question for you…..Since you said this is best served the day it’s baked, can you prepare everything the night before, store in the refrigerator, and then bake in the morning to have for breakfast?

    Thanks!

  17. Hi Gretchen… Ive made dis recipe before n turned out very well n truly amazing. This time m planning to prove the dough overnight in the refrigerator as u said it develops nice bakery style taste n flavours. So i wanna ask u is after the overnight refrigeration i should directly put it into a preheated oven or i should keep it out for some more time n then bake?? Pleas reply asap.. Can’t wait to bake it!!
    Thanks in advance

  18. I can’t wait to try this! I have seen other recipes for Crumb Buns but they used cake scraps as the crumb topping and that just didn’t sound good to me. I’ll have to share this with the neighbors as it’s just my husband and me at home. Thanks Gretchen!

  19. Can’t wait to try the crumb cake! Your American butter cream calls for butter extract. Can’t find any, however I found “butter vanilla bakery emultion” from Loranñ Professional Kitchen. Is this the same? Thanks, Rick

  20. I can’t believe you have recipe for Jersey crumb cake! My aunt lived in Jersey City and always brought crumb cake with her to all family get togethers. When we moved to Florida, she would buy it, freeze and and bring it with her on the plane! I can’t wait to try it. My daughters are equally excited because it it part of their fond memories of childhood!

  21. I am from the Philly area and cannot wait to give this a try. I did watch the video and it did give some really great information.

  22. Ahh. Gretchen, you are something else…(that’s good). My sister and I just love your great personality and your fabulous recipes. We were born and raised in Vancouver on the West coast of Canada. Many many years ago I had a slice of cake in a bakery that I never forgot. I just don’t know what it was. I think it might have been Austrian. It had firm cake in layers with what I thought was pastry and maybe buttercream. All I know for sure is that it was amazing.
    You’ve gotta give me a break here, I’m old. Any ideas what it might be?
    Love love love your buttercream and your coconut layer cake. I have to go now this is all making me too hungry. Keep up your good work…please. It’s a good thing we didn’t have your recipes when we were younger or we’d both weigh a ton instead of the 6 to 800 lbs we weigh now. Thanks for making our lives so “rich”. From your biggest Canadian fans, Bonnie and Barbara

    1. awe thanks! Well what you describe could be hundreds of things, its so hard to say, especially because most bakeries will invent their own signature cakes and combos.

  23. Hi, I love every recipe you make. My question is can the crumb cake be made with bread flour? Would texture chg . The cake? Next can I make this in my bread machine ( zhruskl brd machine)

    1. Bred flour will make it a bit too tough (we dont want bread- we want light airy) Im not familiar with how bread machines work, Im sorry I do everything with stand mixer or by hand

  24. This looks just like the crumb cake my grandma made. Except she didn’t measure..can you double the crumb topping or will it be too heavy. Love you we sit and recipes..make the lemon bars all the time. Bring them to my Doctor appointments! Gail

  25. Dear Gretchen today is my granddaughter’s seventh birthday. She fell in love with you several years ago when I started showing her YouTube videos and the first one we watched of you she couldn’t get enough of. Back in the day whenyou end another lady she was filming. Olivia would know her name I don’t. I lost my house in Super Storm Sandy and lived in a trailer for several years. (Still no house) So I’m sad to say we lost touch with you. I had no idea that you sold your bakery. Wednesday of this week when I asked her what she wanted for her birthday without a moments hesitation she said ” Nanny please take me to Crumb Boss” I told her absolutely I would drive her up to your bakery and try and see when you would be were there. After I said that she said she wanted to make a video with you as well. LOL. I just found out this morning that you sold the bakery and are doing many wonderful things online. However now I’m in a dilemma. Help….. Are you still in the area by any chance. Is there any chance that I could bring her to meet you . I’ll be honest I feel like I’m stalking a superstar. But in her eyes you are. Which honestly makes me happy.
    Hope we can bring the seven-year-old her birthday wish.
    Nanny. 609-970-2160

    1. Hi Peggy! WOW thanks for catching up with me here, and Im sorry to hear of your losses! How awful!
      Tell Olivia thank you for watching to come see ME for her birthday! Im HONORED!! But I moved to Florida in July! That would be quite the trip!
      Thank you so much for the support and tell her maybe one day we can meet! You just never know where the wind will take me next!

  26. There is a difference in temperatures between the video and the written recipe. Which is correct…turn the oven down to 350 or 325?

  27. Thank you Gretchen. Baked it tonight at 325 and it came out perfect (we’re night shifters). We also tried the Blueberry rendition and we’re in love=D

  28. Gretchen, you never seize to amaze me! This looks like the Crumb Cakes from way back, not the Crumb Cake (from a box) of today. My Granny and Great-Granny would be so proud to see a lot of your recipes. You make it like it should be. Thanks again, and I loved your massive dough and muscle picture. 😉

  29. I made these yesterday and they came out looking great and tasting even better. Three of my teenage grandchildren stopped by and needless to say, they pretty much wiped out the pan. Thanks for sharing your fantastic recipes with us.

  30. Hi Gretchen,
    My recipe that was posted awhile back and called for 3 lg.eggs. I see in this video calls for only 1 egg. Which is it.? Please let me know, or is this a smaller bun recipe? Let me know as I am making these this a.m.
    Thanks
    Carole

  31. Gretchen, I was wondering is it okay to double the Bun Dough portion of this recipe then cut in half for two separate pans, or should it be made individualy. I ask because I know there are some recipes that cannot be doubled. Thanks for everything.

  32. Hi Gretchen,
    I enjoy your recipes & great tips so much. Thank you.
    How do I get the rich dark chocolate color & flavor frosting?
    Mine always come out light chocolate.
    Thanks again

  33. Hi Gretchen! I cant tell you how much i adore you and love that you share your recipes! Its a piece of home for me! I was born and raised in Brooklyn NY and now live in the midwest with NO BAKERYS outside of the supermarket! Can I make this recipe ahead of time and stick in the the fridge before baking? I want to make it for Easter Breakfast but I go to sunrise services while my hubby and 4 kiddos sleep in! I would love to have it ready for them to just put in the oven!

    Thanks!
    Jenny

    1. HI Thanks! Yes you will make the bun dough place in the pan and then FREEZE IT.
      Make the streusel ahead of time and leave out at room temperature (overnight is fine)
      then just pop the streusel on top of the bun dough while the oven is preheating (no need to thaw the dough either! )
      Bake as proceeded in the video

  34. Hi Gretchen! I have been on a mission to find a recipe for my favorite crumb buns that I get down the Jersey Shore each summer. The bakery is Colonial Bakery in Lavallette, yes, not Muellers! Their crumb buns don’t stand a chance to Colonials! I tried your recipe and they are delicious. Not the same tasting but similar. that being said, I broke the cardinal rule! I was rushing and used all purpose vs cake flour, urr! and I made the dough, let it rise all day because I ran out of time to finish and had to run out! Once I got back home the dough was HUGE and I had a lot more than needed so I made edges thicker. Do you think my mistakes did make a big difference in the outcome? Don’t get me wrong, they were good and the middle was much better than the edges! Thanks!!!!

    1. Hey! Im not sure whether you mean in the crumb or the bun? But AP is for the Bun and CakeFlour is for the Topping, so Ill assume you used AP in the topping? Not the greatest idea, since AP will absorb more liquid (moisture) in the recipe leaving you with a more dry outcome, versus cake flour that will keep everything more moist in a recipe like this. But it’s not the end of the world either.
      Next you talk about it was huge and more than needed? So Im thinking we are talking about bun DOUGH again? Im just confused what you are asking! LOL
      At any rate, I think you are already answering your own questions, as the edges seemed to dry more than the middle, the overproofing of the bun dough will cause a more airy dough than what I go for, and why I do not proof the dough again after topping it with streusel, I prefer to have a more dense bun dough and piles of streusel topping! 😛

    2. Thanks! You are correct in all aspects! Now I can’t wait to make this again with the cake flour – that I did have but didn’t use. And with only an hour rise time. It was still good with AP so I can’t wait to try it again. I work with a semi-pro baker and I’m always asking her for help but now that I found you, she’s always hearing, well Gretchen does or says this!! PS – how do you stay so thin? I’ve gained 5 lbs since discovering Gretchen’s Bakery!!

      1. hahah! Omg she must HATE me now! LOL She gonna say “then why dont you go work with Gretchen!” LOL Thanks- I stopped eating the cake at the end of the videos, I was eating waaaaay too much of it!

  35. Thank you for all your great recipes. I am wondering if you have a “hard roll” recipe. I remember going to the bakery on Sunday mornings with my dad when I was little, (about 50 or so years ago), it was “tradition” to get fresh baked pastries and hard rolls for Sunday breakfast, we would take all them home and have a Sunday feast. My best pastry liking at that time was the poppy seed Danish. Hope your able to post these at some time in the future. In the mean time, I will enjoy the crumb bun, as I rememberd it as a child.

    1. Hi Thanks and you are welcome too! I too LOVE the poppy seed danish although it was probably the least popular one! Yumm, I could eat the poppyspread right out of the jar!
      I do not have a hard roll recipe Im sorry!

  36. Hi Gretchen,
    Love your videos and recipes! I am going to make these crumb buns but I was wondering if you think it’d be okay to make a cake flour substitute (for the crumb topping) using flour and cornstarch. Thanks! -Beth

  37. Can you use pan grease to grease the pans instead of parchment paper…or should parchment paper be used absolutely?

  38. Hi Gretchen. I made the crumb cake today but the cake was so thin. I used a half sheet pan. Do you think that the pan was too big?

  39. Thank you so much Gretchen! I lived in Yonkers, NY for a very short time, a very long time ago (I was very young). I’ve never forgotten what I thought was Coffee Cake, and how good it was in that area. As an adult in Florida I’ve tried many recipes to replicate that memory but somehow the “cake” part just didn’t match up to what I remembered. I had no idea that it was a yeast bread under all that crumb! Thank you so much for enlightening me! I made this yesterday and it is so, so good. Even better, it brought back old memories of my Aunt who was very special to me and shared my love of crumb cakes. The only question I have is in regards to the fruit layer. I have some great blueberry preserves and spread a thin layer as instructed but found that I could not taste it at all in the finished product. I can’t say exactly how much I used but it was thick enough so that I couldn’t see the dough through it. Might I use more without issues? After looking at my jar I see that I used about 6 oz. of preserves. Can you tell me how much you use in yours? Thanks again, I can’t even express how much I appreciate this “just right” recipe. Guess I was looking for Crumb Buns all along when I thought I needed a better Crumb Cake recipe.

    1. Hi Great! Im so glad you found the “Secret!”
      If you put enough so the bun dough wasnt showing it seems to be a good amount to me, as I never really measured it in the bakery we would just plop it on and spread, but I think I mentioned too much will cause a soggy un-bakeable layer between crumbs and bun.
      I prefer to use Pie & Pastry filling like a blueberry compote for example not preserves. Preserves is nothing but sugar not alot of flavor and probably why you couldnt taste it

  40. Hi Gretchen,

    can you clarify how much yeast to use? The recipe says 2 1/4 teaspoons or 10 grams, but the packets I have are 7 grams and contain 2 1/4 teaspoons.

  41. Thank you for posting. I have not had a decent crumb bun since I moved away from New Jersey. I am looking forward to trying the recipe.

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