What's the difference between a crisp, crumble, cobbler, slump and buckle?

Blueberry Cobbler
Photo: Lisa Hubbard; Styling: Sara Quessenberry

The colorful names given to these fruit desserts are almost as much fun as eating them. Some of these terms are more universal than others, but here are the most generally accepted definitions:

Crisp : baked fruit topped with a mixture of some combination of flour, nuts, cereal (especially oatmeal), butter, and sugar. The topping ranges in texture from streusel to granola, and generally completely covers the fruit. Also sometimes called a crumble.

Cobbler : baked fruit topped with a batter or biscuit crust. The topping is often "cobbled" rather than smooth; the topping is generally dropped or spooned in small clumps over the fruit, allowing bits of the filling to show through.

Grunt or Slump: as the biscuit-topped fruit cooks on the stove, it supposedly makes a grunting noise—likely the result of the steam from simmering fruit escaping through the vents between the biscuits.

Buckle : The streusel topping on this moist fruit cake (usually made with blueberries) makes the top look buckled. As with the crisp, this coffee cake-like dessert is also sometimes called a crumble.

If you're looking for recipes for these yummy fruit desserts, see our collection of Cobblers and Crisps.

Recipe: Blueberry Cobbler, Real Simple

Marge Perry
Jul, 2010
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