Last Updated on May 16, 2022
This easy rhubarb crisp recipe will become your go-to when you need a quick and easy — dare I say fail-proof? — late spring or summer dessert. The tartness of the rhubarb is set off perfectly with the lightly sweet oat topping, and it’s even reasonably healthy. Rhubarb is a vegetable, after all!
This recipe goes easy on the sweetener so you can enjoy an extra helping without guilt. And since you can probably get most of your rhubarb for free, it’s an inexpensive but crowd-pleasing dish for your next summer gathering.
Everyone will LOVE this Easy Rhubarb Crisp Recipe!
Another rhubarb season is upon us — woooohooo!
Yes, for real, I get SUPER excited about rhubarb season! I am, admittedly, a card-carrying garden geek who lives in a climate not really suited to garden geeks, card-carrying or otherwise.
Winter is seriously 6 months long here, people. The growing season is May-October and that’s it.
And rhubarb is one of the first things to poke out of the ground around here, um, in mid-APRIL if we’re lucky enough that our five feet of snow has melted.
Any of you who also have a bit of a sour tooth are probably also wild about rhubarb, that tart vegetable we treat as a fruit.
Fruit leather made with rhubarb is the big draw of rhubarb in this household, but there’s usually plenty left to make this easy rhubarb crisp recipe a few times.
Homemade fruit leather made with rhubarb is unbelievably delicious, so go check out the recipe and you’ll become a rhubarb superfan also, I promise! Or try this easy rhubarb sauce recipe, which produces a bonus of delicious rhubarb juice. If you have a bumper crop of rhubarb try out some of these other delicious uses for rhubarb as well.
Celebrate Rhubarb with this Easy Rhubarb Crisp Recipe!
Since we don’t often have dessert, this rhubarb crisp usually results from an invitation to a potluck, which we tend to have lots of in our precious few months of warm weather. In addition to being a cinch to throw together, because the primary ingredient is something I grow in my yard, a huge rhubarb crisp pretty cost-effective way to contribute to a party for 30 people.
Rhubarb is such a healthy ingredient, I hate to see it sullied by lots of not-so-healthy sugar and white flour, so we go easy on sugar and use whole grains for the topping.
–> Here’s the surprising truth about how much sugar per day experts recommend.
While rhubarb pie might be one of the better-known things to do with rhubarb, I’ve never been a big fan of pie crust and oversweetened filling, and you probably know that pie is waaaaaaay too complicated for this simple cook.
So let’s keep it healthy-ish and super-simple, just the way we like it.
This easy rhubarb crisp recipe takes less than 10 minutes to prep and in my opinion tastes so much better than any pie. No crust means more perfectly tart-sweet rhubarb balanced by the subtle sweetness of the oat topping.
Crisp, Crumble, or Cobbler?
As far as I can tell, whether you call this a rhubarb crisp or a rhubarb crumble is mostly about where you live, but technically a crisp contains oats and a crumble uses only flour. In my opinion, crisp wins, making a chewier, whole-grain topping.
Cobbler is another beast altogether. It has a biscuit topping, and I much prefer to keep this a fruit-focused dessert than a bread-focused one. Apparently there are also versions of this dessert called buckle and Betty, but that’s way above my pay grade, which pretty much ends at crisp. This post will explain those to you if you’re curious.
This easy rhubarb crisp is the perfect summer dessert. As someone who doesn’t make desserts often, it’s also my go-to for an easy dish to bring to summer picnics and potlucks. It’s always popular, and the pan empties out pretty quickly. You might want to make two if you’re feeding a crowd!
You could absolutely add a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream, but I find that completely unnecessary. I want pure, unadulterated, rhubarb crisp goodness! Possibly several servings of it. And leftovers the next day!
This easy rhubarb crisp is
- The perfect blend of tart and sweet
- Covered with crunchy, sweet oat topping
- Quick to make — just a few minutes to throw together
- Simple enough for beginner cooks to get right
- Has a serving of vegetables — woot!
- Only lightly sweetened, so you don’t blow through your sugar budget for the day!
- A crowd-pleaser. Watch how fast it disappears at your next potluck!
Got extra rhubarb? Here are loads more ways to use rhubarb this season: Amazing Rhubarb Recipes to Celebrate Spring!
Sourcing Your Rhubarb for Rhubarb Crisp
You’ll find rhubarb at grocery stores for a couple months starting in May. But rhubarb is so easy to grow and so nice to have huge quantities of, I highly recommend planting your own. Plus, if you keep your plants picked, you can enjoy a much longer rhubarb season.
Here’s how to grow rhubarb, so you can enjoy your own bountiful supply of this awesome veggie!
You can usually find someone with a rhubarb plant who will give you a free division to get you started. Here’s what to know about scoring free plants for your garden!
If you consider yourself a brown thumb, you’ll be happy to know that rhubarb is absurdly tough and can tolerate a fair amount of neglect. It’s also one of the vegetables that grow in shade if your yard doesn’t get much sun. You’ll get a bit less rhubarb, but some rhubarb is way better than none, right?
If you’re not up for growing your own, I’ve found that most people who grow rhubarb in their yard usually have plenty to spare. Ask around, or post an “ISO” on Freecycle or your neighborhood networks.
**Don’t forget that rhubarb leaves are poisonous — we only eat the stalks.** To find out more about rhubarb leaves and how to use them in the garden, check out the post ‘Are Rhubarb Leaves Poisonous?‘
Can You Use Frozen Rhubarb to Make this Rhubarb Crisp Recipe?
Yes, frozen rhubarb works well in rhubarb crisp, pretty indistinguishable from fresh if you’ve stored it correctly. Here’s what you need to know about how to freeze rhubarb so it’s as delicious as fresh in your next rhubarb crisp.
Rhubarb Crisp Recipe Ingredients
Whenever possible, choose organic ingredients, preferably not packaged in plastic.
I pick up my flour, oats, cinnamon, and nuts using mason jars at my local food co-op. You can do the same to start heading your shopping toward zero waste.
You’ll save money as well! (My organic oats and flour cost $1.69/lb, and I can fill up my cinnamon jar for about 50 cents, waaaaay less than buying packaged versions.)
Now on to the main event: Making your own delicious rhubarb crisp!
If you try this easy rhubarb crisp recipe, leave a comment and let me know how it was:)
- 6 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (12-15 medium stalks)
- scant 1/4 cup coconut sugar or sweetener of choice
- 1 tablespoon orange or lemon juice (optional)
- 3/4 cup brown or coconut sugar, loosely packed
- 4 tbl butter
- 1/2 cup flour (I like to use ivory wheat, a whole-grain flour that's not as dense as regular whole wheat; if you're gluten-free you can try other flours as well)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup rolled oats (I use thick rolled oats)
- 1/2 cup walnuts (can be omitted for nut allergies)
- Toss rhubarb with 1/4 cup coconut sugar and (juice if using) and spread in a greased 9-inch square baking dish. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
- Put butter, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a food processor and pulse 20-30 seconds, till it forms little balls. Add oats and nuts and pulse a few times to combine.
- Crumble the topping over rhubarb and bake until golden, about 45 minutes.
I always recommend using organic ingredients when possible.
Omit nuts for nut allergies.
Can use coconut oil in place of butter for vegan.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1/12 of pan
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 365Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 41mgCarbohydrates: 64gFiber: 7gSugar: 17gProtein: 10g
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Rhubarb crisp recipe photo credits: Amanda Slater, Katherine, Helena Jacoba, Ulleo
Susannah is a proud garden geek and energy nerd who loves healthy food and natural remedies. Her work has appeared in Mother Earth Living, Ensia, Northern Gardener, Sierra, and on numerous websites. Her first book, Everything Elderberry, released in September 2020 and has been a #1 new release in holistic medicine, naturopathy, herb gardening, and other categories. Find out more and grab your copy here.