Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp: A comforting, seasonal dessert that’s so easy to make! Bursting with fresh fruit under a crunchy crumb topping.
It’s rhubarb season! And we’re making strawberry rhubarb crisp!
Every year at this time, rhubarb comes into season. And I always like to celebrate that with some kind of strawberry rhubarb recipe.
Sometimes it’s strawberry rhubarb pie, or a strawberry rhubarb shandy, or even strawberry rhubarb bars.
This year I’m sharing the easiest, most effortless dish I can think of: Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp!
My family LOVES when I bake a crisp. All that jammy sweet fruit, warm and comforting, blanketed under a thick layer of buttery, crunchy crumb topping.
It’s such a homey, old-fashioned dessert, we enjoy it all times of the day and night, sometimes even for breakfast!
What is strawberry rhubarb crisp?
A crisp (aka: crumble) is a baked dessert that typically consists of 2 layers:
- A soft, often fruity filling, and
- a crunchy, cookie-like topping.
I love making crisps because they’re so easy! You don’t have to fuss around with rolling out dough or anything like that.
And they showcase seasonal fruit in the most delicious way.
Plus they feed a crowd and can be served warm, at room temperature, or cold. Endlessly versatile!
This one features strawberries and rhubarb, which are a match made in heaven.
Rhubarb is tart like a sour candy, but when sweetened with sugar and combined with strawberries, the result is truly magical. The two components compliment each other in the most incredible way! The result is sweet & summery, fruity and floral, and you just won’t believe how insanely good it tastes!
The topping has brown sugar, oats, and just a hint of cinnamon. It’s like an oatmeal cookie!
Together, the soft filling and crunchy topping work so well together. The contrast of flavors and textures will really wow you!
What does it taste like?
This strawberry rhubarb crisp recipe has tart, fruity, and slightly floral tasting filling with a hint of sweet vanilla.
There’s also a buttery, brown sugar and cinnamon streusel on top that contrasts beautifully with the flavors of the filling.
It’s very old-fashioned and nostalgic, not to mention perfect for this time of year!
Strawberry rhubarb crisp ingredients
Here’s a quick rundown of what you’ll need to make this dessert, along with options for substitutions:
I used fresh for the crisp that’s pictured here, but frozen will work well too! You might just want to thaw and drain the frozen berries first. You’ll need two 16-ounce containers. This recipe is very generous!
Stalks only! The leaves are poisonous. Rhubarb is actually a vegetable! But the color and flavor make it seem more like a fruit. I find fresh rhubarb stalks in my grocery store’s produce department every year in late spring/early summer (I’m in the northeast US). Frozen rhubarb works fine too, if you can find it!
Regular white sugar is fine, or sub for another type of sweetener if you like. As long as it swaps 1:1 for granulated sugar it should work just fine. I know 2 cups sounds like a lot, but this is a big dish that can serve a lot of people. And the fruit can be very tart so you need it to mellow it out. It will also help to gel up the juices and make the filling nice and thick.
Cornstarch is a colorless, flavorless, and odorless thickening agent. It looks like a white powder. Make sure you use cornstarch and not cornmeal. Cornmeal is yellow and gritty and it tastes like tortilla chips.
Vanilla extract brings out the sweetness of the fruit and adds the most delicate flavor! But if you don’t have it or don’t want to use it, you can either leave it out or substitute with another extract. Rosewater, orange blossom water, lemon extract, or almond extract would all be nice alternatives.
I like to use unsalted butter because it lets me control the amount of salt in the dish. For a vegan or dairy free strawberry rhubarb crisp, use a plant-based butter that can substitute for dairy butter 1:1.
All-purpose flour is my go-to, but you can swap it out for any kind of whole-grain option if you like. You may need slightly less if you go that route. A gluten-free flour blend that can sub 1:1 for regular flour should also work just fine, if you’d like to make a gluten-free strawberry rhubarb crisp.
Light brown sugar is my favorite for this recipe, but dark brown will work too if that’s what you’ve got! The end result will just look a little darker (obvs) and the flavor will be a little more earthy. White sugar will work too, or any other sweetener that swaps 1:1 for brown sugar. No need to jam it into the measuring cup. Just a loose pack will do!
Oatmeal adds a pleasantly chewy texture to the topping. I like to use old-fashioned oats because they are so hearty. But use whatever you’ve got! Or substitute chopped nuts such as almonds, pistachios, pecans, or walnuts.
This recipe has just a hint of ground cinnamon. I don’t like it to overpower the fruit filling. But it does add such a comforting warmth to this crisp recipe! Leave it out if you prefer, or add more if you’re a real cinnamon lover.
Salt carries the flavors and intensifies them. The end result won’t taste salty, but it will make everything so much more flavorful! I like kosher salt best because it doesn’t have any additives (table salt usually contains iodine and that can leave a bitter taste) so the flavor is pure, and it’s very inexpensive and easy to find.
How to make rhubarb strawberry crisp
This recipe comes together really quickly and easily.
- The Filling
- The Topping
Let’s start with the filling.
Strawberry Rhubarb Filling
All you need to do is combine the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, and salt in a big bowl.
Then just stir/toss it all together so that every piece of fruit gets coated.
Transfer it to your 3-quart baking dish, then get going on the topping.
To the melted butter, add flour, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, and salt.
Mix it all together with a fork.
At first it will seem kinda doughy but as it cools it will become more crumbly. It will also crisp up a ton in the oven!
Layer it over the filling.
Then bake the whole thing in the oven until the juices are thick and bubbly and the topping is browned and crunchy!
Pro Tip: Place the dish on a foil-lined baking sheet. It’s highly likely that the juices will bubble over and make a big mess! This way, you can just remove the foil and throw it away. No scrubbing necessary!
How to serve it
I don’t think this dessert needs anything additional at all, but it does look extra pretty with a dusting of powdered sugar!
You could also top it with a dollop of whipped cream, or if you really want to go all out, a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
Serve it warm from the oven, or at room temperature, or cold. You just can’t go wrong here!
Can this be made ahead?
It’s a good idea to make this dish at least an hour or so before you plan to serve it. It’s really got a ton of fruit in it so it will take a while for it to cool down enough for you to eat it.
If you’d like to get the prep out of the way early, you can do everything but bake this dish up to a few hours ahead of time.
Or you can freeze it! Baked, it will last for a couple of months in the freezer. Thaw in the fridge and reheat in the microwave or a low oven until warmed through.
Unbaked, it will also last a few months, frozen. And you don’t even need to thaw it. It can go straight into a preheated oven to bake. But you may need to extend the bake time slightly. You’ll know it’s done when the juices are bubbly and thickened, and the topping is browned slightly and crunchy.
If you’d like to freeze your unbaked crisp, I would suggest prepping it in a foil pan. This way, your nice baking dish isn’t tied up in the freezer for months on end.
A few more of my favorite strawberry recipes
- Strawberry Bars
- Strawberry Cake
- Strawberry Daiquiri
- Strawberry Jam
- Strawberry Ice Cream
- Strawberry Shortcake
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Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
For the Strawberry Rhubarb Filling:
- 32 ounces (907.19 g) strawberries, hulled and quartered
- 2 pounds (907.18 g) rhubarb, diced
- 2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (32 g) cornstarch
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (6 g) vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoons (1.5 g) kosher salt
For the Crumb Topping:
- 1/2 cup (113.5 g) unsalted butter,, melted
- 1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup (165 g) light brown sugar, loosely packed
- 1/3 cup (27 g) old-fashioned oats
- 1/2 teaspoon (1 g) ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon (1.5 g) kosher salt
- powdered sugar, (optional garnish)
To Make the Strawberry Rhubarb Filling:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl and toss together until evenly coated.
- Transfer the mixture to a 3-quart baking dish.
To Make the Crumb Topping:
- Toss the melted butter, flour, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, and salt together until combined.
- Crumble the mixture over the filling and bake until the juices are bubbling and thickened (approx. 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes).*
- Dust with powdered sugar to garnish (optional).