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This easy rhubarb crisp recipe stars a golden oat crumble topping piled onto a juicy, sweet tart filling. It’s perfect for a satisfying and nostalgic treat.

Rhubarb crisp
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Here’s early summer’s best treat, if you can find a bunch of those magical pinkish-green stalks: rhubarb crisp! This homey dessert is absolute summer nostalgia: each bite is a burst of gooey, sweet tart candy topped with a golden oat crumble.

Why we love this recipe: Everything about rhubarb spells classic summer to us (we both grew up with it in our yard). Top this crisp recipe with melty vanilla ice cream, and there’s nothing better. I created this recipe to be a spin on my childhood favorite, and it impresses everyone every time we serve it!

Ingredients in this rhubarb crisp recipe

This rhubarb crisp recipe is just sweet enough, with a hearty oat crumble and a gooey rhubarb filling. A heavy dose of oats keeps the crumble textured and crunchy, and hint of orange zest makes the filling pop. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • Rhubarb: Choose rhubarb with firm, crisp stalks that are brightly colored, avoiding any with blemishes or soft spots.
  • Granulated and brown sugar: Granulated sweetens the crisp filling, while brown sugar sweetens the crisp topping.
  • Cornstarch: This thickens the filling, counteracting the liquid released by the rhubarb. For a substitute, try arrowroot starch.
  • Butter: Butter is the key to the golden crumbles. Substitute vegan butter or coconut oil for vegan.
  • Rolled oats, oats, and flour: Substitute almond flour for gluten-free: it makes for a nice crunchy topping.
  • Vanilla, cinnamon and salt: These flavorings round out the recipe.
  • Orange zest (optional). Acidity in desserts is like salt in savory food: it makes the flavors shine! You can use lemon zest as a substitute, or leave it out.
Rhubarb crisp ingredients

How to make rhubarb crisp: step by step

Making a crisp is simple: it’s one of our favorite easy desserts! It’s such a fun way to incorporate seasonal fruits in summer, fall and winter. Here are the basic steps, or scroll down to the recipe:

Step 1: Preheat to 350°F. Chop the rhubarb and mix it with granulated sugar, cornstarch, orange zest and vanilla extract in a bowl, then pour into a medium baking dish.

Step 2: In a medium bowl, mix together oats, flour, sugar, cinnamon, and kosher salt. Mix in the butter (cut in small pieces) until crumbly dough forms. Pour the crumble on top and smooth it into an even layer with your fingers.

Step 3: Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until the top is evenly golden brown and the filling is bubbly.

Variation: make it a strawberry rhubarb crisp

Want to use that classic combination of sweet red berries and rhubarb? You can do that too! Simply substitute 1 pound of the rhubarb with 1 pound strawberries, or about 3 cups sliced. If you’d like, you can lower the sugar in the filling slightly (we’d try 2/3 cup).

Rhubarb crisp

Storing leftovers and make ahead tips

Often, we’ll make a big pan of rhubarb crisp and save it for a while. It tastes best freshly made, but leftovers store well!

  • The crisp can stand for 1 day at room temperature (covered). The topping stays crunchiest with this method.
  • Refrigerate for up to 3 days. It holds up pretty well in the fridge, and tastes even better when reheated.
  • Freeze up to 3 months. You can freeze this rhubarb crisp for up to 3 months in a sealed container. Reheat it in a 350 degree oven until bubbly and the topping is crisp.
Rhubarb crisp

More rhubarb recipes

You’ve got to enjoy the season when you can find rhubarb! Here are a few rhubarb recipes we love:

Dietary notes

This rhubarb crisp recipe is vegetarian. For gluten free, use almond flour. For dairy-free and vegan, use vegan butter or refined coconut oil.

Frequently asked questions

Where can I find rhubarb?

Rhubarb is a late spring and early summer favorite, most easy to find in May and June. Look for it in the produce section near other seasonal fruits and vegetables.

Can I substitute another fruit for rhubarb?

Absolutely! While rhubarb adds a unique tartness, other fruits like strawberries, cherries, or blueberries work well. You may need to adjust the sugar content depending on the sweetness of your chosen fruit.

My rhubarb crisp is too runny. What can I be done?

There are a few reasons for a runny crisp. Make sure to you use the correct amount of cornstarch or thickener in the filling. If you encounter a runny crisp after baking, letting the crisp cool completely can help it firm up.

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Rhubarb crisp

Classic Rhubarb Crisp


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x

Description

This rhubarb crisp recipe has a golden, crunchy crumble topping and a gooey, sweet tart filling. It’s just the best!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 pounds rhubarb (6 cups chopped)*
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon orange zest (optional; or ½ teaspoon lemon zest)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup Old Fashioned rolled oats
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour (or almond flour for gluten-free)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons cold salted butter (or coconut oil or vegan butter for vegan)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Make the filling: Chop the rhubarb into ½ inch pieces. Mix it with the granulated sugar, cornstarch, orange zest and vanilla extract 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, 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 fork or 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. Cool for 30 minutes to 1 hour, then serve warm. 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°F oven until bubbly and the topping is crisp.

Notes

*For a strawberry rhubarb crisp, simply use 1 pound (3 cups sliced) strawberries with 1 pound (3 cups chopped) rhubarb.

  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Dessert
  • 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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3 Comments

  1. Abby says:

    Easy and delicious – exactly what I was craving for dessert, and even better for breakfast with yogurt the next day!






  2. FloridaGal says:

    Made the half rhubarb/half strawberry version – delicious, but as you suggested it definitely needs a lot less sugar than the all rhubarb. I’d use 1/2 cup next time. Thanks!