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Crunchy brown sugar oat crisp is the perfect compliment to every spoonful of sweet, tart rhubarb filling in this easy Homemade Rhubarb Crisp. Make it with fresh or frozen rhubarb and serve with a scoop of ice cream for a delicious summertime dessert!

We have an obsession with rhubarb! Some of our other favorite recipes using this unique seasonal ingredient are Rhubarb Crumble Ice Cream, Layered Rhubarb Pudding Dessert, and Homemade Strawberry Rhubarb Pie!

A baking dish with rhubarb crisp and a large serving spoon.

Bring on the rhubarb!

We are so in love with rhubarb that every year in late spring when rhubarb starts to make its appearance on grocery store shelves and at farmer’s markets, we stock up and freeze it to have on hand. Which means we get to enjoy rhubarb crisp year round!

Rhubarb is a “vegetable” that performs best in fruit dessert recipes with the help of a little sugar to balance its tartness! Like carrots, zucchini, and pumpkin, rhubarb is a veggie that everybody loves for dessert!

Often rhubarb is paired with another fruit, particularly strawberries, and they play tag team with your tastebuds. Cherries, raspberries, blueberries, and apples also go well with rhubarb. You could replace half of the rhubarb called for in the recipe below with one of these other fruits if you don’t have enough rhubarb on hand or you want to change things up. Just keep in mind that you may need to decrease the amount of sugar since these other fruits contribute their own natural sweetness.

A bowl of rhubarb crisp with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream and a spoon in it.

But we love a good, old-fashioned rhubarb crisp with nothing more than those vibrant red and green stalks for the filling without any other fruit competing for our attention. It’s tart and sweet and jammy when it bakes down in the oven.

Then we go and top it with the most delicious crunchy oat crisp topping imaginable. Our perfect crisp topping has twice the amount of oats to flour, which makes it extra wonderful because of the added texture. Mix in a little cinnamon and butter using your hands, then sprinkle it over the top and bake until everything is bubbling and golden brown on top.

Serve as is or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a perfectly satisfying summertime dessert!

A glass bowl of fruit crisp with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Rhubarb crisp ingredients

Nothing too crazy here! Aside from the seasonal rhubarb, these are all common ingredients you probably have in your pantry already. Don’t forget the full recipe directions and increments are at the bottom of this post in the printable recipe card.

The ingredients for rhubarb crisp in bowls on a marble surface.
  • fresh or frozen rhubarb, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • granulated sugar
  • cornstarch
  • lemon juice
  • old-fashioned oats
  • all-purpose flour
  • brown sugar
  • butter
  • cinnamon
  • salt

How to make rhubarb crisp

Any type of fruit crisp is a great dessert for beginning bakers or kids to get a little experience since it doesn’t require any special skills or techniques like rolling out a crust.

  1. Wash and chop the rhubarb stalks into bite-size pieces. Rhubarb stalks can be pretty thick sometimes, so you might need to slice them down the middle first, then chop into smaller pieces.
  2. Toss rhubarb with sugar, cornstarch, and a little lemon juice, then dump the filling in a square baking dish or pie plate.
  1. Mix up the crumbly topping by combining oats, flour, brown sugar, a little cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl with softened butter. Sprinkle this over the top of the rhubarb filling.
  2. Bake for about 35-40 minutes until the rhubarb has softened beneath the golden brown oat crisp topping. You can test it by sticking a knife or fork in. If it slides easily in and out, then you know the rhubarb is done.
A square baking dish filled with oat crisp topping next to stalks of fresh rhubarb.
  1. Serve with your favorite ice cream, whipped cream or plain as is! Vanilla is the obvious choice, but rhubarb crisp pairs exceptionally well with coconut macadamia nut ice cream in our book!

The nice thing about rhubarb crisp versus a pie is that you aren’t worrying about whether a bottom crust is done. Since it gets scooped out instead of sliced, even if the filling isn’t as set up (which can be particularly true with frozen rhubarb), it’s not much of a problem.

Also, you don’t have to wait for hours for the rhubarb crisp to cool down before enjoying it. A crisp is a rustic-looking dessert that is best eaten warm!

Bowls of rhubarb crisp with scoops of vanilla ice cream.

Can this be made gluten-free?

Yes, you can make this gluten free! For this Rhubarb Crisp, simply use gluten-free oats and a gluten-free flour, substituting both 1:1 in this recipe. Be sure to read the labels to ensure they are in fact gluten free, especially on the oats.

Make ahead and freezing instructions

It doesn’t take long to throw a rhubarb crisp together and pop it in the oven, but sometimes I want to just be able to have dessert ready beforehand. You can assemble the rhubarb crisp, then wrap well in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months before baking.

Or bake the rhubarb crisp and reheat individual portions in the microwave or place the entire dish in the oven to serve it warm.

Two glass bowls with rhubarb crisp and scoops of ice cream next to an ice cream scoop and rhubarb stalks.

More summer fruit dessert recipes

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Rhubarb Crisp
Yield: 8 servings

Rhubarb Crisp

Crunchy brown sugar oat crisp is the perfect compliment to every spoonful of sweet, tart rhubarb filling in this easy Homemade Rhubarb Crisp. Make it with fresh or frozen rhubarb and serve with a scoop of ice cream for a delicious summertime dessert!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

Filling

  • 5-6 cups chopped rhubarb, fresh or frozen (about 6 stalks)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch*
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Crisp Topping

  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Combine the rhubarb, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice in an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish. Toss to evenly distribute the sugar and cornstarch with the rhubarb.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the butter into the oats, flour, cinnamon, and salt using a fork or your hands until it resembles pea-sized crumbs. Add chopped nuts, if using.
  4. Sprinkle the crisp topping over the rhubarb filling, then bake for 35-40 minutes until the filling is bubbling and the crisp topping is lightly browned.
  5. Cool for at least 15 minutes before serving with vanilla ice cream.

Notes

If using frozen rhubarb, increase the cornstarch to 4 tablespoons.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 477Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 247mgCarbohydrates: 74gFiber: 11gSugar: 35gProtein: 9g

This post first appeared on Best Desserts, where I am a contributor.