Rhubarb Crisp

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If you’re lucky enough to find rhubarb this season, be sure to make this easy Rhubarb Crisp. With a crunchy nut topping and plenty of fresh rhubarb tossed in sugar, it’s a not-too-sweet treat that’s perfect for spring. Or go half-and-half with strawberries!

A fully-baked rhubarb crisp.


 

Rhubarb is an uncommon vegetable with a short season, but it’s delicious to eat if you grow it or are able to track it down. It has long fleshy stalks (I swear, it looks like ruby-red celery) that you can chop up and use for fruity sweets all summer long.

Depending on where you live, rhubarb can show up as early as March and April or as late as May and June. It shows up at farmer’s markets and grocery stores, or you can grow a plant in your old garden if you live in a cooler climate. It’s a perennial, so it will come back year after year, for as long as 10 years or more. Just plant it in a corner of your garden, maybe near your compost bin, and watch it thrive.

The leaves of the rhubarb plant are toxic, so enjoy the stems only. Rhubarb plays well with other fruits too, especially strawberries (such as in Strawberry Rhubarb Pie), so feel free to get creative with your favorite fruit.

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for rhubarb crisp.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Rolled oats: These flat oats are also known as “old-fashioned” oats. Quick-cooking oats can work in a pinch, but do not substitute steel-cut oats.
  • Walnuts: I think the walnuts add a wonderful flavor and crunch to the topping, but it’s okay to omit them. I’ve also tested with raw pecans and raw cashews, and they were both excellent.
  • Rhubarb: Rhubarb looks like bright red stalks of celery, but it has a strong, tart flavor that tastes great in applications where it’s cooked with sugar (think jams, pies, and other fruit desserts).

Step-by-step instructions

  1. To make the topping, in a medium bowl, add flour, oats, brown sugar, walnuts, cinnamon, and salt. Drizzle butter over mixture and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate while preparing the filling.
A bowl of topping for fruit crisp desserts.
  1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray or rub with butter. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add rhubarb and toss well to coat.
A bowl of chopped rhubarb tossed with sugar and spices.
  1. Pour intro prepared baking dish and sprinkle with topping.
An unbaked rhubarb crisp.
  1. Bake until the fruit juices are bubbling and the topping is crisp and golden brown, about 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 15 minutes.
A fully-baked rhubarb crisp.
  1. Serve with vanilla ice cream if desired.
A dish of rhubarb crisp with ice cream.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes about 6 cups of Rhubarb Crisp, enough for 8 servings, ¾ cup each (plus ice cream). 
  • Storage: Cover the Rhubarb Crisp with foil or plastic wrap and store at room temperature for 1 to 2 days or store covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Make ahead: You can make the topping one day in advance. Store covered in the refrigerator until baking time.
  • Freezer: Fully-baked Rhubarb Crisp doesn’t freeze well. Unfortunately, the crunchy topping turns mushy upon thawing.
  • Extra rhubarb: Put your extra rhubarb to work in Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, or add to your next Strawberry Cobbler.
A dish of rhubarb crisp with ice cream.

Recipe FAQs

When is rhubarb in season?

Depending on where you live, rhubarb can be in season as early as March and April or as late as May and June.

How do you keep rhubarb from going limp?

Similar to celery ribs, you can cut rhubarb into pieces (or just trim the ends) and submerge in water, or stand upright in a jar of water in your refrigerator.

More favorite fruit desserts

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A pan of rhubarb crisp with a spoon resting in it.

Rhubarb Crisp

If you're lucky enough to find rhubarb this season, be sure to make this easy Rhubarb Crisp. With a crunchy nut topping and plenty of fresh rhubarb tossed in sugar, it's a not-too-sweet treat that's perfect for spring.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 8 servings (¾ cup each)
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 405
5 from 1 vote

Ingredients 

For the crisp topping:

For the rhubarb crisp:

Instructions 

  • To make the topping, in a medium bowl, add flour, oats, brown sugar, walnuts, cinnamon, and salt. Drizzle butter over mixture and toss to combine. Cover an refrigerate while preparing the filling.
  • Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray or rub with butter.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add rhubarb and toss well to coat. Pour intro prepared baking dish and sprinkle with topping.
  • Bake until the fruit juices are bubbling and the topping is crisp and golden brown, about 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 15 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream if desired.

Notes

  1. Rolled oats: These flat oats are also known as “old-fashioned” oats. Quick-cooking oats can work in a pinch, but do not substitute steel-cut oats.
  2. Walnuts: I think the walnuts add a wonderful flavor and crunch to the topping, but it’s okay to omit them. I’ve also tested with raw pecans and raw cashews, and they were both excellent.
  3. Rhubarb: Rhubarb looks like bright red stalks of celery, but it has a strong, tart flavor that tastes great in applications where it’s cooked with sugar (think jams, pies, and other fruit desserts).
  4. Yield: This recipe makes about 6 cups of Rhubarb Crisp, enough for 8 servings, ¾ cup each (plus ice cream). 
  5. Storage: Cover the Rhubarb Crisp with foil or plastic wrap and store at room temperature for 1 to 2 days or store covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.75cupsCalories: 405kcalCarbohydrates: 62gProtein: 4gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.5gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 206mgPotassium: 186mgFiber: 5gSugar: 43gVitamin A: 417IUVitamin C: 11mgCalcium: 38mgIron: 1mg
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Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

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