That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Easy Rhubarb Crisp on a white dessert plate with a scoop of ice cream

Easy Rhubarb Crisp

The perfect balance of sweet from the sugar and tart from the rhubarb makes this Easy Rhubarb Crisp an irresistible spring dessert!

When I spotted the first fresh rhubarb of the season at the farmers’ market, I knew I’d make a simple rhubarb dessert. This crisp featuring seasonal rhubarb took me back to the Iowa kitchen where my mom cooked up delicious treats from our backyard rhubarb patch.

Overhead view of easy rhubarb crisp in a white casserole dish

Easy Rhubarb Crisp

We always had a good harvest of rhubarb in our back yard when I was growing up. Rhubarb pies and sauce were some of my mom’s specialties, but I don’t remember her making a rhubarb crisp.

Crisps, crumbles and cobblers are my go-to summer desserts as they’re super simple. It’s no fun rolling out a pie crust on a sweltering day….or any other day, as a matter of fact! These alternative fruit desserts are much easier than messing with a double crust pie!

Close up view of easy rhubarb crisp on a white dessert plate

When Is Rhubarb in Season?

Though you can usually find frozen rhubarb throughout the year, fresh rhubarb’s season is April through June. A rule of thumb is to pick your rhubarb crop before the 4th of July to ensure the plant will store up enough energy to survive the winter. Note that rhubarb should be about 10-inches tall before cutting.

Can Frozen Rhubarb Be Used for Baking?

Yes, you can use frozen rhubarb when it’s off season or hard to locate in your area. There is conflicting information on exactly how to use frozen rhubarb in your recipes. Some resources say to defrost it first and drain some of the excess liquid off and others advise to use it frozen. It often depends on the recipe.

For this crisp, pies, cobblers, etc., you do not want too much juice as it can make the crust and toppings soggy. Plus you’ll want the cornstarch in the recipe to thicken up the exuded juice a bit. You may need extra cornstarch or thickener if you use defrosted rhubarb without removing the excess juice. I’d recommend thawing your rhubarb and draining off 2/3 to 3/4 of the juice. Place the frozen rhubarb in a sieve over a bowl and let it defrost. Note that I have only made this recipe with fresh rhubarb.

If you’re cooking your rhubarb for stewed rhubarb or a rhubarb sauce, using frozen rhubarb will work fine. For other baked goods, like muffins and cake, the jury is still out. I wouldn’t hesitate using frozen, undefrosted rhubarb in these recipes, though other sources worry about too much liquid forming as they bakes. Since rhubarb gets very soft after it’s frozen, I find it difficult to combine the thawed rhubarb with the a thick batter.  Whatever form of rhubarb you decide to use, I think your results will be delicious!

A serving of Easy Rhubarb Crisp on a white octagonal plate

Do Rhubarb Pies and Crisps Need to Be Refrigerated?

This rhubarb crisp will be fine sitting out at room temperature for about 24 hours. After that, the crisp topping can start to get soggy and if it’s really hot and humid, there is even the risk of mold developing after a number of days. Play it safe and park your crisp in the refrigerator the day after you bake it.

To serve, gently warm a serving in the microwave and then top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The warmed rhubarb crisp will taste like you’re eating it hot out of the oven. And who doesn’t love their ice cream getting a bit melty?!

Close view of rhubarb crisp topping

Tips for Making an Easy Rhubarb Crisp

This rhubarb dessert is a simple, classic recipe, but I have a few tips to make the process go smoothly.

  • If your rhubarb has woody or fibrous stems, peel off the tough layer with a vegetable peeler.
  • Wash your rhubarb, then cut into 1-1 1/2 inch chunks so it cooks evenly. You can do this the day before to streamline the process on baking day. Just refrigerate cut rhubarb in a covered container.
  • I like to use my hands to make the crumbly crisp topping, but you can also use your food processor. If you use a food processor, make sure to mix in the oatmeal by hand to keep its integrity.
  • Watch for your filling to start bubbling before you pull it out of the oven. Cornstarch needs to come to a boil to thicken, so if your topping is brown, but the juices aren’t bubbling, feel free to over the crisp with foil and bake another 5-10 minutes.
  • If you like more cinnamon flavor in your rhubarb crisp, feel free to up the amount to 1/2 teaspoon.
  • If you’d like a blueberry rhubarb crisp, strawberry rhubarb crisp or a raspberry rhubarb crisp try these measurements of fruit: 5 cups of blueberries and 2 cups of rhubarb, 3 cups of sliced strawberries and 3 cups of rhubarb, or 1 quart of raspberries and 3 cups of rhubarb.

More Fruit Dessert Recipes for Spring and Summer Entertaining

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Easy Rhubarb Crisp on a white dessert plate with a scoop of ice cream

Easy Rhubarb Crisp

A simple rhubarb dessert with an oatmeal crumble topping!

  • Author: Liz Berg
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Mixing, Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small cubes, plus more to grease baking dish

2 1/23 pounds fresh rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 56 cups of rhubarb)

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon lemon zest

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 2-2 1/2 quart baking dish with butter and set aside.

In a large bowl, toss the rhubarb with the sugar, cornstarch and lemon zest. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Pinch and squeeze the butter pieces with your fingers until the butter is the size of small peas. Add the oats and mix to combine. The mixture should be crumbly and will clump together when squeezed.

Evenly place the rhubarb in the baking dish, then crumble the topping over the rhubarb. Bake until topping is golden and filling is bubbling, about 45-50 minutes.

Serve slightly warm or at room temperature with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Notes

You can make the crumble using your food processor. Mix in the oats by hand.

Recipe adapted from the New York Times.

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21 comments on “Easy Rhubarb Crisp”

  1. Save me a huge portion with an extra scoop of ice cream, please 🙂 The crisp looks absolutely droolworthy, Liz.

  2. Rhubarb is actually on the menu for Sunday dinner this week! I’m headed over to Jay’s yard to pick some… And might see if I can find a few stray strawberries too:@) Your crisp looks great!

  3. My mom had a rhubarb patch too. We used to try to eat it right from the garden…. not so good! Much better in a beautiful crisp like this, my very favorite kind of dessert! 

  4. Just wondering approximately how many cups or stalks “2 1/2–3 pounds fresh rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces” would be. This looks so good!

  5. I’m in love with that buttery oatmeal topping. I could have this for breakfast or dessert any day! And recipes with rhubarb are so pretty. 🙂

  6. I don’t think I’ve ever made anything with rhubarb, not sure why. Your crisp looks delicious. Maybe it is time… 🙂
    Amalia
    xo

  7. I’ve never heard of this, Liz. Would definitely love to try! xoxo 

  8. This is totally irresistible! It was a huge hit with my family!

  9. For my first time baking with rhubarb, this turned out amazing! Thanks for the recipe!

  10. This is a mouth watering dessert that everyone can enjoy after a meal!!!! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  11. I also love making crisps and cobblers in the summer. They are the perfect dessert, and this does not disappoint. It’s a great flavor.

  12. Sounds and looks great, Liz! What a delectable dessert for us rhubarb lovers. Bet it’s good for breakfast too if it lasts that long! Take care

  13. I love how easy and simple is this recipe Liz and yest so delicious…thanks for sharing it…have a fabulous weekend!

  14. The best treat on a lazy weekend morning. Can’t imagine a better way to use all the rhubarb in abundance.

  15. OH YUM!!! Recipe is printed and I will be making this!

  16. We bought rhubarb at the farmers market last week and made jam. Can’t wait to go back this morning and get another batch to make your easy rhubarb crisp. So delicious, especially with a dollop of ice cream on top. Wishing you a super weekend Liz.

  17. This crisp is my summer time favorite! Love it when it’s fresh out of the oven.

  18. Love how easy this was to make! Such a delicious way to use my fresh rhubarb!

  19. I had rhubarb once when I was in elementary school and ate it raw. My adult palate is ready to try it again but baked inside a beautiful crisp.

  20. Such a gorgeous crisp, I love your golden crumble topping!

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