This rhubarb crisp recipe has a golden, crunchy crumble topping and a gooey, sweet tart filling. It’s just the best!

Rhubarb crisp

Here’s spring and summer’s best treat, if you can find a bunch of those magical pinkish-green stalks: Rhubarb Crisp! This homey dessert is absolute summer nostalgia: each bite is a burst of gooey, sweet tart candy topped with a golden oat crumble. Top it with melty vanilla ice cream, and there’s nothing better than scooping up heaping mouthfuls on a summer’s evening. Here’s our favorite rhubarb crisp recipe that will wow everyone.

Ingredients in this rhubarb crisp recipe

This rhubarb crisp recipe is just sweet enough, with a hearty oat crumble and a gooey rhubarb filling. A couple secrets? A heavy dose of oats keeps the crumble textured and crunchy, and hint of orange zest makes the filling pop. It’s not required, but it adds just the right subtle sophistication. Serve with vanilla ice cream or silky crème anglaise and it’s stunning. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Rhubarb
  • Granulated sugar
  • Cornstarch (or arrowroot starch)
  • Orange zest (optional)
  • Vanilla extract
  • Old Fashioned rolled oats
  • All purpose flour
  • Brown sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Butter
  • Salt
Rhubarb crisp

Keys to the flavor and texture

This apple crisp recipe with oats is pristine: it’s just what you’d expect in a classic, but a little bit elevated. Here are a few notes on what makes it so divine:

  • Orange zest accentuates the sweetness. Acidity in desserts is like salt in savory food: it makes the flavors shine! Here the citrus zest strikes just the right balance with the sugar. Don’t have it? You can use lemon zest or simply remove.
  • The right ratio of butter to oats makes the crumble topping. A good rhubarb crisp recipe should have a topping that’s crumbly and crisp: not crunchy, soft, or soggy. This one has just the right ratio of butter and oats for that signature texture. (It’s crunchier than the one I grew up with, which didn’t have oats!)
  • Cornstarch helps the filling have a thick texture. We’ve found cornstarch works best to create a gooey texture (versus flour). The rhubarb releases a lot of liquid while baking. Don’t want to use cornstarch? Use arrowroot powder, which works in the same way.

Variations: vegan and gluten-free rhubarb crisp

Want to make a vegan or gluten-free rhubarb crisp? Here are a few easy substitutions that make this recipe work for almost any diet:

  • Substitute almond flour for gluten-free. Crisp recipes are easy to make gluten-free using almond flour! It works well in a crumble topping, especially because it becomes slightly crispy when baked.
  • Substitute vegan butter or coconut oil for vegan. Vegan butter is the best option. You can also use room temperature coconut oil, though the topping comes out softer and not quite as crisp. We recommend refined coconut oil, which has a subtler coconut flavor.
Rhubarb crisp

Make it a strawberry rhubarb crisp

Want to use that classic combination of sweet red berries and rhubarb? You can do that too! Simply substitute 1 pound of the rhubarb with 1 pound strawberries, or about 3 cups sliced. If you’d like, you can lower the sugar in the filling slightly (we’d try 2/3 cup).

Leftover storage info

Want to save rhubarb crisp leftovers? Here’s what to do:

  • It can stand for 1 day at room temperature (covered). The topping stays crisp with this method.
  • Refrigerate for up to 3 days. It holds up pretty well in the fridge, and tastes even better when reheated.
  • Freeze up to 3 months. You can freeze this rhubarb crisp for up to 3 months in a sealed container. Reheat it in a 350 degree oven until bubbly and the topping is crisp.
Rhubarb crisp

More rhubarb recipes

You’ve got to capitalize on the season when you can find rhubarb! Here are a few recipes we love:

This rhubarb crisp recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free and vegan, see the substitutes in the recipe below.

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Rhubarb crisp

Classic Rhubarb Crisp

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x


This rhubarb crisp recipe has a golden, crunchy crumble topping and a gooey, sweet tart filling. It’s just the best!


  • 2 pounds rhubarb (6 cups chopped)*
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon orange zest (optional; or ½ teaspoon lemon zest)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup Old Fashioned rolled oats
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour (or almond flour for gluten-free)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons cold salted butter (or coconut oil or vegan butter for vegan)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Make the filling: Chop the rhubarb into ½ inch pieces. Mix it with the granulated sugar, cornstarch, orange zest and vanilla extract in a bowl, then pour the filling into a round 9-inch pie pan, 9 x 9 inch baking dish or 7 x 11 baking dish.
  3. Make the topping: In a medium bowl, mix together the oats, flour, sugar, cinnamon, and kosher salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and then use your hands to mix it into the oats until fully distributed and a crumbly dough forms. It may take a while so be patient; you can also use a fork or pastry cutter if you prefer. (If using coconut oil, it can be room temperature; use the same method to add it.) Pour the crumble on top and smooth it into an even layer with your fingers.
  4. Bake: Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until the top is evenly golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Cool for 30 minutes to 1 hour, then serve warm. You can leave out your crisp on the counter for up to 1 day (covered, at night) so the crisp topping can stay crisp. After 1 day, refrigerate any leftovers. This crumble also freezes well for several months in a sealed container; reheat it in a 350 degree oven until bubbly and the topping is crisp.


*For a strawberry rhubarb crisp, simply use 1 pound (3 cups sliced) strawberries with 1 pound (3 cups chopped) rhubarb.

  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Dessert
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Rhubarb crisp, rhubarb crisp recipe, rhubarb crumble

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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1 Comment

  1. Made the half rhubarb/half strawberry version – delicious, but as you suggested it definitely needs a lot less sugar than the all rhubarb. I’d use 1/2 cup next time. Thanks!