This easy Rhubarb Crisp is a delicious sweet, tart dessert that’s perfect for entertaining. Serve it up with a scoop of ice cream for an old fashioned summer treat.
You know that summer has officially arrived when you see those first stalks of rhubarb appearing at the grocery store. If you aren’t familiar with this strange fruit that is actually a vegetable (yep!) it’s fun, it’s nostalgic, and as a lover off all things sweet and tart, it is absolutely delicious. Especially when it’s baked with a crumbly oat and almond topping and served with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Easy Rhubarb Dessert Recipe
This Rhubarb Crisp recipe is perfect for beginners. It’s far easier than rhubarb pie and pretty darned foolproof.
- Fruit crisps are very quick and easy to make.
- It can be made hours in advance of your gathering.
- The unique method for the crumbly topping is life changing!
There are few things in this world that evoke an old fashioned summer feel more than this delightful dessert.
For the Crisp Topping
- All-purpose flour
- Old fashioned rolled oats
- Sugar – Both light brown sugar and granulated sugar.
- Cinnamon and salt
- Melted butter – Instead of softened butter, I use melted butter for the crisp topping and let it chill in the freezer for a short time. The result is nothing short of amazing!
- Sliced almonds – I’ve tried this fruit crisp topping with a variety of nuts and sliced almonds add the best crunch factor. Slivered almonds, chopped walnuts or pecans will also work.
For the Rhubarb Filling
- Rhubarb – You’ll need about 2 pounds of fresh rhubarb which is about 6 to 8 stalks. See below for detailed slicing instructions.
- Pure vanilla extract
- Granulated sugar
- All-purpose flour
How to Make Rhubarb Crisp
This is a quick overview of the steps of this recipe. You’ll find detailed instructions and the recipe video in the recipe card at the end of this post.
Make the Rhubarb Crisp Topping
- Combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl.
- Stir in the melted butter and almonds.
- Use your fingers to work the mixture into crumbles.
- Transfer the bowl to the freezer while you make the filling.
In the time it takes to slice the rhubarb and make the filling, the crisp topping will chill and firm up in the freezer. If for some reason it remains in the freezer longer, just let it rest on the kitchen counter for awhile to thaw a bit.
How to Slice Rhubarb
- Trim and discard the ends from the rhubarb. Slice each stalk of rhubarb down the middle, lengthwise. If the stalks are very skinny, you can skip this step.
- Slice the stalks into ½-inch pieces.
- Transfer the chopped rhubarb to a large mixing bowl.
Most rhubarb comes trimmed, but if not, it’s very important to trim and discard the leaves as they are poisonous.
Assemble the Rhubarb Crisp
- Toss the chopped rhubarb with the vanilla. Add the sugar, flour, and salt and toss to combine.
- Transfer the mixture to a 10-inch baking dish that you’ve coated with nonstick cooking spray.
- Remove the topping from the freezer, break it up with your fingers, and scatter it evenly over the top of the rhubarb mixture.
- Bake until golden and bubbly. Allow it to cool for at least 15 to 20 minutes or more before serving.
FAQ and Valerie’s Tips
Yes! Strawberry-rhubarb is one of the most loved variations. You can replace up to half the rhubarb with fresh, sliced strawberries or try it with peeled, sliced apples or pears.
Absolutely. The filling will set up as it rests and it will perfect served in the evening even if baked early in the morning or the day before. It is delicious served cold but if you’d like to warm it, cover the dish with foil and bake for a short time at 300 degrees F. You can also warm individual servings briefly in the microwave.
Yes. Just be sure to thaw it completely in the refrigerator and drain any excess liquid in advance.
For the best result, I recommend freezing unbaked fruit crisps to avoid over-browning the crisp topping. Assemble the crisp as directed in a freezer-safe baking dish then cover it with a layer of plastic wrap and a layer of foil. Label it with the date and freeze it for up to 3 months. Defrost it completely in your refrigerator overnight before baking as directed.
It all comes down to the topping. Crisps and crumbles both have a streusel-like topping made with flour, sugar, butter, and salt. But, the topping for a crisp will usually also contain oats and sometimes nuts, giving it a thicker, crunchier texture than a crumble. Cobblers have a cake or biscuit-like topping with a lot of exposed fruit filling, giving it the appearance of a cobbled road.
Baked Rhubarb Crisp can be stored, covered, at room temperature for up to 3 days. For longer storage, refrigerate it for up to 5 days. See the FAQ section above for freezer details.
More Easy Fruit Desserts
- Fast and Easy Cherry Crisp
- Mixed Berry Shortcakes
- Lemon Raspberry Bundt Cake
- Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- ⅓ cup rolled oats
- ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- ½ cup melted butter
- ⅓ cup sliced almonds, slivered almonds, chopped walnuts or pecans are a good variation
- 1.75 to 2 pounds rhubarb, 6 to 8 stalks (about 5 ½ to 6 cups chopped)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, optional
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 10-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Make the Crisp Topping
- Combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the melted butter and almonds. Use your fingers to work the mixture into crumbles. Transfer the bowl to the freezer while you make the filling.
Make the Rhubarb Filling
- Trim the ends from the rhubarb. Slice each stalk of rhubarb down the middle, lengthwise, and then slice into ½-inch pieces. If stalks are very skinny, you can skip the step of slicing them down the middle.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss the chopped rhubarb with the vanilla. Add the sugar, flour, and salt and toss to combine. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish.
Top and Bake
- Remove the crisp topping from the freezer, break it up with your fingers, and scatter it evenly over the top of the rhubarb mixture. Transfer the baking dish to the oven (if your baking dish is very full, place it on a baking sheet or sheet of foil). Bake for 40 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Check it towards the end of the baking time and if the top is getting too dark, lay a sheet of foil lightly over the top. Remove it from the oven and let it cool for at least 15 to 20 minutes or more.
- Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is an estimate not a guarantee. For more accurate results, please refer to the labels on your ingredients at home.