Rhubarb Crisp: a quick & easy seasonal dessert that’s perfect for spring or summer! Soft, sweet, & fruity filling, under a buttery, crunchy crumb topping.
I’m so excited to be bringing you this rhubarb crisp recipe today. I only recently discovered rhubarb a few years back, and I love it so much. It’s got such a gorgeous hot pink color, and a fruity, tart, kind of floral flavor that I absolutely adore!
I’ve got a handful of rhubarb recipes on this site, and they are all my favorite, lol! I mean, it’s like picking a favorite child. How can you? Strawberry rhubarb pie is a total classic, rhubarb pistachio baked oatmeal makes a delicious and unique breakfast or brunch, and this rhubarb tart is so eye-catching!
But I figured it was about time I gave rhubarb its due. Rhubarb crisp has got to be the best way to showcase this exceptional, seasonal treat. With soft, sweet ruby rhubarb, nestled under a blanket of crunchy, buttery crumb topping, it’s the perfect dessert for a warm night. Not to mention it’s easy as can be to make!
You can have this rhubarb crisp prepped and ready for the oven in 15 minutes or less.
HOW TO MAKE RHUBARB CRISP
This rhubarb crisp has two basic components: the soft, warm, fruity filling and the crunchy streusel topping. Let’s start with the filling.
- Cornstarch, and
Start with the rhubarb. I’m using fresh rhubarb because it happens to be in season RIGHT NOW where I live. When something is in season, you gotta grab it right on the spot. It will be at its absolute peak of flavor, so don’t pass up the opportunity, or you’ll miss out!
That said, you can use frozen rhubarb in a pinch. Just be aware that it may give off a bit more liquid as it cooks, and it may not take quite as long to bake.
Chop the rhubarb into pieces that are about 3/4-inch, and throw them into a big bowl along with the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Mix it all up so that every piece of rhubarb gets coated.
Cornstarch is the thickener. It will make it so that your rhubarb crisp isn’t runny. Make sure you buy cornstarch, which is a flavorless white powder, and not cornmeal, which is yellow and gritty and tastes like corn chips.
Tip this filling into your baking dish, and then you can get going on the topping.
THE CRUMB TOPPING
This topping is just my Basic Streusel Recipe. It’s perfect on so many things (pies, muffins, coffee cake, you name it), including this rhubarb crisp.
To make it, you’ll need:
- Brown Sugar
- Cinnamon, and
Start by melting the butter in a small pot over low heat, then just toss in the remaining ingredients and mix it all together with a fork.
If you want to leave the oats out, you totally can. Just add an additional 1/4 cup of flour.
When your topping looks well-mixed and crumbly, just layer it right over the filling, and bake!
HOW LONG TO BAKE RHUBARB CRISP
You are going to want to bake this until the juices are bubbling and the rhubarb is soft. In my oven, with the fresh rhubarb, this took about an hour and 15 minutes.
But if your rhubarb stalks are smaller or if you are using frozen rhubarb, it may not take quite as long. You’ll know for sure it’s done by sticking the tip of a sharp knife down in the center of your crisp. If the rhubarb is soft and the knife sinks in easily, you are good to go.
CAN THIS BE MADE GLUTEN-FREE OR VEGAN?
For gluten-free rhubarb crisp, just use a gluten-free flour blend that subs 1:1 for regular flour. Here are a few good options:
- King Arthur Flour Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour
- Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour
- Cup4Cup Multi-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour
If you want to make it vegan, just substitute the butter for your favorite plant-based butter substitute. Coconut oil would be a great choice.
HOW TO STORE RHUBARB CRISP
This dessert can be left out at room temp for a few hours, but if you have any leftovers, it’s best to keep them refrigerated. It will last about a week in the fridge, tightly covered.
Reheat it in a 170 degree F oven, or in the microwave until warmed through.
CAN RHUBARB CRISP BE FROZEN?
This crisp can be frozen either before or after baking.
If you choose to freeze it before baking, it’s a nice idea to prepare it in a foil pan so that your baking dish isn’t tied up in the freezer for weeks or even months.
Regardless of whether you freeze it baked or unbaked, it should last in the freezer for several months. Just make sure it’s wrapped tightly.
TROUBLESHOOTING: WHY IS MY RHUBARB CRISP RUNNY?
It’s pretty typical for any kind of fruit crisp to be a bit liquid-y while it’s still warm. The juices are flowing and they are just thinner because of the warmth. But as long as you used the right amount of cornstarch, it should “gel” quite a lot as it cools down.
HOW TO SERVE
You can serve rhubarb crisp cold, warm, or at room temperature. Personally, I like it best when warm. Especially if there is a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top! I am all about that contrast between warm and cold!
This is also really nice with a little whipped cream on top. Or another great option is creme anglaise, which is a kind of custard sauce. The sweet and creamy pairs so nicely with the slightly tart rhubarb.
Or you can just keep it simple with a little dusting of powdered sugar for garnish. I really love the way that looks!
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For the Rhubarb Filling
To make the Rhubarb Filling
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cut the rhubarb into 3/4-inch pieces and stir together with the sugar, cornstarch, and salt.
- Transfer the mixture to a 1.5-quart baking dish and top with the crumb topping.
- Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until the rhubarb is soft and the juices are bubbling.
To make the Crumb Topping
- Melt the butter in a small pot over low heat.
- Add the flour, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, and salt, and toss together with a fork until combined and crumbly.