The sweet tart combo of strawberries and rhubarb with a buttery streusel crust and topping make these Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars so, so, so delicious.
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My parents have a rhubarb plant in their backyard. So when I was visiting a couple of years ago and learned that they never actually do anything with the rhubarb that they grow, I decided that something needed to be done about that and I made a strawberry rhubarb crumble. My dad told me that strawberry rhubarb is one of his favorite flavors, which I never knew about him.
I love knowing little details like this about my dad. Like how I also know that there are two other desserts that he always says are his all-time favorites whenever we make them for him - strawberry shortcake and homemade chocolate cake with seven minute icing.
But first, we definitely need to talk about these strawberry rhubarb crumb bars that are rocking my world.
Since this weekend was Father's Day, and since I finally was able to track down some rhubarb (I don't know why it was so hard to find this year! Every time I went to the store they were out!), I decided to do a variation on the crumble I made for my dad that first time I cooked with rhubarb and I made strawberry rhubarb crumb bars instead.
I lurve adding walnuts to the crumb mixture for these strawberry rhubarb crumb bars even though they are technically optional because 1. I love nuts. I have an entire drawer in my freezer where I keep almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, macadamia nuts, and pecans all for baking. And 2. because walnuts and strawberries are a match made in heaven in my book.
Case in point: my award-winning strawberries & cream pie with a walnut shortbread crust!
If you don't love nuts like I do, it's okay. We can still be friends. These bars are amazing without them, too, so never you fear.
Let the bars cool before you cut into them or you will have a goopy mess from the cooked fruit. But then feel free to heat it back up just a bit and serve with a scoop of ice cream if you want.
Although weirdly, I just can't get enough of these just as they are, no ice cream necessary. Which says a lot about how I feel about these bars.
- Flour - I use unbleached regular all-purpose flour for these bars.
- Butter - If using unsalted butter, add an extra pinch of salt to the recipe.
- Sugar - You will need brown sugar for the oat cookie crumb that provides the base for these bars and some granulated sugar for making the jammy strawberry rhubarb filling.
- Old-fashioned oats - I like the chewier, nuttier texture and flavor of large old-fashioned oats, but you can use quick oats in a pinch.
- Strawberries - You can use fresh or frozen strawberries for this recipe.
- Rhubarb - I always freeze rhubarb so I have some on hand for baking when it's not in season. If using frozen rhubarb, there is no need to thaw before tossing with the filling ingredients and baking, although it might take slightly longer for the bars to bake.
- Lemon juice - Keeps the flavors bright.
- Vanilla extract - I love adding vanilla extract for the complexity and depth it adds to recipes.
- Cornstarch - This will help thicken the fruit filling to a jammy consistency.
- Salt - So the bars don't turn out bland.
- Baking soda - A leavening agent that keeps the cookie layer from being too dense.
How to Make Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars
- Combine dry ingredients. Start off with the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Mix well to combine.
- Add melted butter. Use a fork to stir the melted butter and vanilla extract into the crumb mixture until evenly moistened.
- Press into pan. Use your hands to press about ⅔ of the cookie crumb mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch square baking dish that has been lined with a parchment paper sling for easy removal once the bars are done baking.
- Make filling. Combine chopped strawberries and rhubarb in a large bowl with the granulated sugar and cornstarch. Toss to evenly distribute the ingredients, then spread in an even layer on top of the oat cookie base.
- Top with remaining crumb mixture. Use your hands to sprinkle the remaining ⅓ of the oat crumb mixture loosely over the top of the fruit layer. Don't press down.
- Bake. These bars need to bake for 45 to 50 minutes in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven until golden brown on top and the fruit filling is bubbling around the edges.
- Cool completely. The hardest part is waiting for the bars to completely cool before cutting them into squares. We usually cut 12-16 bars, depending on how large we want them to be.
Absolutely! We love the combination of these two fruits, but you can increase the amount of one or the other to have the same total amount of strawberries or rhubarb (around 3 ½ cups).
Rhubarb is a great compliment to lots of other popular fruits. You could swap out the strawberries for cherries, raspberries, apricots, or peaches for this recipe if you wanted to.
A 1-to-1 gluten-free flour substitute works well with these bars, but make sure that your oats are gluten-free as well since not all oatmeal is gluten-free.
Storage and Freezing Instructions
These bars can be kept at room temperature on the counter in an airtight container for about 3-4 days or in the fridge for up to 1 week.
They freeze well for 2-3 months. Let them thaw completely on the counter for a few hours before enjoying. You can heat individual bars in the microwave for a few seconds if you want to enjoy them warm.
More Rhubarb Recipes
More Strawberry Recipes
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (141g)
- 1 ½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar (100g)
- ¾ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- ¾ cup salted butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups strawberries, chopped
- 1 ½ cups rhubarb, chopped into ½-inch pieces
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a square 9x9" baking dish by lining it with parchment paper so that the bars will be easy to remove and cut once they have cooked and cooled.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, soda, salt, sugars and walnuts, if using. Add to the melted butter and vanilla to the oat mixture and stir to incorporate. When the crumb mixture is evenly moist, press ⅔ of it into the bottom of your prepared baking dish. Set aside the remaining ⅓ of the crumb mixture for the top layer.
- In a separate mixing bowl, combine the chopped strawberries and rhubarb. Toss with the lemon juice, then add the sugar and cornstarch and stir to coat the fruit. Spread the strawberry rhubarb mixture evenly over the the bottom crumb layer, then sprinkle with the remaining ⅓ crumb mixture. Bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.
- Storage: These bars can be kept at room temperature on the counter in an airtight container for about 3-4 days or in the fridge for up to 1 week.
- Freezing: They freeze well for 2-3 months. Let them thaw completely on the counter for a few hours before enjoying. You can heat individual bars in the microwave for a few seconds if you want to enjoy them warm.
- Variations: You can replace all of the rhubarb or strawberries with one or the other for strawberry crumb bars or rhubarb crumb bars. Or replace either type of fruit with another fruit, such as cherries, raspberries, apricots, or peaches.
This post was originally published in June, 2016. The photos and content were updated in April, 2023.