Apple Crisp vs Crumble vs Cobbler

What’s the Difference?

The question has been asked since the creation of these desserts. Many have been confused as to what actually sets them apart, as the differences can be quite subtle. The truth is, they are all really just variations of the beloved, but time-consuming, apple pie.

Apple Crisp

Let’s start off by describing an apple crisp, and what exactly it consists of. It can basically be described as a deep-dish fruit dessert topped with a crispy crust. The topping usually consists of oats, butter and sugar. The crisp is a relatively new invention. In fact, the earliest reference can be traced back to 1924.

Apple Crumble

The only major difference is that it is referred to as an Apple Crumble in the you UK, while in North America, it is called an Apple Crisp. A crumble is nothing more than a crisp, but with a smoother (breadcrumb texture), less chunky topping. Some references also state that a crumble is just like a crisp, except not as rich. A crumble in the UK consists of apples baked with a topping of flour, butter and sugar.

Apple Cobbler

An apple cobbler is quite similar to an apple pie, but lacking the bottom crust. The main differences arrive in the topping once again. It holds a cake or biscuit-like topping. Usually, the biscuit dough is just spooned on and not rolled out. It is thought to be called a cobbler because the spooned out dough looks like cobblestones.


Crisp – Same as a Crumble, except with a chunkier and more coarse topping

Crumble- Same as a Crisp, except with a smoother, more breadcrumb-like topping

Cobbler – Similar to an Apple pie, but without a bottom crust. Has a biscuit-like topping. Biscuit dough looks like cobblestones

There you have it folks! This should finally put an end to generations of bickering and arguments over these fruit-filled desserts…hopefully…