Rhubarb Crisp. A Recipe for Summer’s Sweet Tart Delight.

Rhubarb Crisp with a crumble topping made with oats, brown sugar and butter.  A healthy, refreshing fruit dessert!  O.K. it’s basically a bowl of sugar and butter with rhubarb throw in for colour. And to be perfectly  honest I’m not even sure that it’s a fruit.  But still …

Rhubarb crips surrounded by heavy cream in an antique flow blue bowl.


You’ve gotta love an edible plant that comes up year after year no matter how much attention you do or don’t give it.

Rhubarb.  It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

And giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving and giving.  And if you look at it with even half a smile  … it jumps right up in your lap and gives some more.  It’s the Golden Retriever of the vegetable world.

Rhubarb stalks and other rhubarb crips ingredients on butcher block countertop.

I’m not certain, but I’m pretty sure there’s nothing you could do to discourage Rhubarb.  It’s the first to pop up in the garden, the last to go away and pretty much puts up with every kind of neglect you can throw at it.

And prolific.  Wow.  It never ends.  It’s like those stupid orchids you bring home from Costco or Ikea that live for months on end and you wish would die already.

The best way to deal with a mass of anything you don’t need is to give it away. That way it appears you’re the generous one by giving it away, when in truth … the real gift is getting rid of this massive, relentless, pathologically prolific plant.

If you don’t have this problem with your rhubarb growing like crazy, you might need to split it.  Rhubarb plants should be split (like I show you in this post) every few years to keep them invigorated. 

My favourite thing to do with Rhubarb is make a Rhubarb Crisp.  Otherwise known as a Rhubarb Crumble.  Otherwise known as the easiest dessert on earth, unless you consider sucking on an ice cube to be dessert.  ‘Cause that’s pretty easy too.

Rhubarb, cinnamon and sugar being mixed with antique wood spoon in ironstone bowl.

For the guts of the crisp you basically just mix up some sugar, cinnamon, rhubarb and water.  For the top it’s some melted butter, quick rolled oats and brown sugar.

What follows is my Rhubarb Crisp recipe. I make it several times in the spring, then I get sick of it.  Once I get “crisp sick”, … I’ll start gifting it.  ‘Cause I’m kind and generous and I have a shitload of rhubarb.  Only I probably wouldn’t use that actual phrase on the gift card.

Rhubarb Crisp Recipe

Rhubarb Crisp

A sweet/tart early summer classic made with fresh rhubarb, brown sugar and a crispy, crumble topping.
4.6 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Baking, Dessert
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 406kcal


Rhubarb Crisp Filling

  • 4 Cups Rhubarb cut into 1 inch lengths
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Flour all purpose
  • 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup Water

Rhubarb Crisp Topping

  • 1 cup Flour all purpose
  • 1/2 cup Quick-cooking Rolled Oats
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar packed
  • 1/2 cup Butter melted


  • Heat oven to 375°F.
  • Butter a square 8x8x2 baking dish.
  • Combine rhubarb, sugar, 1/4 cup flour, and cinnamon  in prepared baking dish.
  • Pour water over all of it.

For Topping

  • Combine 1 cup flour, rolled oats, brown sugar and butter.  Mix with fork.
  • Sprinkle topping over rhubarb mixturte.  Bake 35 minutes.
  • Serve warm with cream.


Calories: 406kcal | Carbohydrates: 73g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 113mg | Potassium: 247mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 52g | Vitamin A: 415IU | Vitamin C: 4.9mg | Calcium: 87mg | Iron: 1.5mg

If you plan on giving the gift of Rhubarb Crisp just pack the dry ingredients into mason jars and attach a tag or two with the instructions.


One jar for the filling and one for the crumble topping.

If you decide to make this for yourself as opposed to giving it away, because you’re very, very selfish … you might want to consider topping it with some cream. Either regular old coffee cream, like I’ve used in the photo, or a dollop of whipped cream.  Isn’t dollop the best word ever?
And by the way, this dessert is actually a tad too sweet for my tastes.  I really like it, but if it were just for me I’d cut down on the sugar a bit.   I’m not what you’d call a dessert lover, so I’m really not the best judge of whether something is too sweet or not. I’ve been known to throw my arms up in protest over lemons being too sweet.
As you know I’m more of a potato chip expert.
So … take that as you will.  You can add a little less sugar if you like.  Or … you can forget the recipe entirely, and just eat a bowl of potato chips.


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Rhubarb Crisp. A Recipe for Summer\'s Sweet Tart Delight.


  1. Sande Arundale says:

    What a fun coincidence to have TAODS rhubarb cake (June 21, 2015) baking away as I received this post.

    • Karen says:

      That *is* a coincidence! (also it’s reader Mindy’s recipe) I just finished eating an entire pan of rhubarb crisp this week. Is should make her cake next. ~ karen!

  2. Sandra says:

    Mmmm, no I haven’t split it; we moved it to it’s place in the garden 11 years ago – I didn’t think that was too long ago, but I’ll think consider it in the fall. Thanks!

  3. Sandra says:

    My rhubarb came from my grandmother’s garden in Star City, SK. My dad took a piece and tried to grow it in the sand at the campsite (he had some in his garden in Calgary, too). It didn’t take at the campsite so I took it home with me and have had it since then (that was probably 15 years ago). I think of that story every time I see my patch.

  4. susan says:

    I just made some rhubarb/strawberry/apple crisp last weekend. With ginger honey ice cream. Mmmmmmmm

  5. DIY Hermene says:

    I love rhubarb!
    Greetings from Germany, the land of rhubarb pie.

  6. kelliblue says:

    Ah memories…grew up in Wisc. with grandparents who had a HUGE garden, which of course, included rhubarb. We had rhubarb/strawberry jam, rhubarb sauce for ice cream, rhubarb crisp, rhubarb crumble, rhubarb cake (to die for – like a moist spice cake with tart chunks of rhubarb), rhubarb pie…funny how one doesn’t appreciate all of that till it can’t be had at all.

    That and kohlrabi. :)

  7. Mary Kate says:

    I love stewed rhubarb! I just cut it up, toss it in a sauce pan on the stove, and stir it until it is a stewy treat. I add some sugar, as little as I can get away with, and my kids love it straight. I like on my breakfast oatmeal in the morning. Yummy!

  8. karenagain says:

    LOL rhubarb! I was planting my back-close-to-the house-row-garden-thing a couple days ago. There’s a big rhubarb that is probably older than me living in the middle. A famous hockey player grew up in this tiny house and I think his Mom planted it. So I kept it…cause I am Canadian. The biggest beetle I have ever seen tried to kill me so I threw it in the rhubarb. Then it’s mate came after me. I threw it in the rhubarb too. Then I went to bed and dreamed that my man’s sister that is a nurse gave me a non-sexual breast exam. So now I have booked a mammogram. Weird right?

  9. Jake says:

    Codswallop is the best word ever.

    • Jacquie Gariano says:

      Love that word, use it as a replacement word for swear words whrn I need it…..all the time. LOL

  10. Carole says:

    Just picked the first of our rhubarb but because I didn’t have quie enough for a pie I added apples as well, wow, it was soooo good. Tart and sweet.

  11. Debbie from Illinois says:

    We ate at a little diner for breakfast in the north woods of Wisconsin this past weekend. We had the most amazing Strawberry rhubarb stuffed french-toast. Oh my gee!!!! It was delicious.

  12. Karol says:

    hmmm… Dollop is a good word, but I love “tada!” because it is always followed by an exclamation point and you HAVE to say it with waving hands.

    Is that what I got from your blog, you ask? Yup, hate rhubarb, but love a good word.

  13. JebberA says:

    Mmmmmmm. Rhubarb.

    … that is all.

  14. Ann says:

    We have a hard time growing it in south central Tennessee. But I have 4 plants, that mostly get shade that haven’t quite died yet. The last 3 years I usually get 2 small pickings and we make the most of that.

    I love the rhubarb syrup idea and hope I can remember it next spring.

  15. Shauna says:

    Darn it, I was really hoping Cubits was going to have rhubarb seeds.

  16. Evalyn says:

    I love rhubarb, and mine is doing beautifully. If anyone has a Fanny Farmer cookbook, the rhubarb pie reciepe in it is to die for.

    Another fav of mine: rhubarb jam. Blue Ball (cough) canning book.

    • Jacquie Gariano says:

      Love Rhubarb-strawberry pie, My recipe comes from the “Complete Pie Cookbook” by Farm Journal…the books falls open to that recipe page. I do have Fanny Farmer and will try your idea, thanks.

  17. Susan says:

    I LOVE rhubarb too – so much so that we now grow it commercially and sell it to local restaurants, 2 grocery stores and a Pie shop! It makes me so happy to see those huge leaves and to be able to make some actual money from something!

    Try your pie mixture next time using raspberries instead of strawberries…divine!! xoxox

  18. Nancy says:

    I love rhubarb but haven’t had any for many years..mostly because it takes so much sugar to sweeten it..Now I am wondering if sweetener would work..

    • Jude says:

      I have used monk fruit in baking as in cookies and crisps and you wouldn’t notice the difference. I get it from the Health Store. You use same measurement as for sugar. More expensive but healthier.

  19. Jane C. says:

    One person asked about other foods to combine with rhubarb. Two of my favourites are fresh oranges (pulp, juice and rind) and pineapple (canned tidbits work best). I also do a chicken recipe that combines rhubarb, cinnamon, onions and brown sugar to make a sauce to put over the chicken while it cooks.

  20. Shauna says:

    Yummy! This reminds me of my Nana’s rhubarb pie made with the rhubarb from the garden. Popop was a pie lover – only ate pie on his birthday, so whatever was in season, my Nana would make pie. Rhubarb was one of my favorites – tart, yet sweet. And, despite what the fella’s Dad says, rhubarb, most definitely is a real pie. Any fruit in season made into a pie out of your own garden was considered a real pie in Nana & Popop’s house;)

    Now, I want to plant rhubarb; sounds perfect for my brown thumb.

  21. Larraine Murphy says:

    Your description of rhubarb reminded me of Al Capp’s shmoos, but I know most of your readers will be too young to know about this marvelous gentle critter that “loved humans, laid eggs and Grade A milk in an instant, and would gladly die and change itself into a sizzling steak if its owner merely looked hungry… its skin was fine leather, its eyes made perfect buttons and even its whiskers made excellent toothpicks. Shmoos multiplied much faster than rabbits, so owning a pair of shmoos meant that any family was self-sufficient.” They were completely charming!

  22. jojo says:

    Rhubarb & horseradish — these were the 2 loyal & dependable “vegetables” in our garden growing up. Impossible to kill either one… and impossible to use either entire crop!

  23. Clare says:

    Mmm rhubarb crumble *drools*

    Nearly as good as my Rhubarb and Ginger cake …

  24. I’m with you on the potato chips. Salty always wins over sweet for me. Love the way you package the filling and the topping along with the rhubarb. In my family, we’re more apt to hand someone a bunch of rhubarb and say, “Here. You figure out what to do with it.”

  25. Renate says:

    I have a so easy the kids can do it rhubarb cobbler recipe…add then they eat it too!

    grease 9×13 pan, add 4Cups rhubarb cut into 1″ chunks, top with 1/3 cup sugar, top with 1 pkg raspberry or cherry jello powder. Sprinkle 1box dry cake mix (yellow or white)over top, pour in 1 Cup water, drizzle with 1/3cup melted butter. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

  26. Linda says:

    I wish rhubarb would grow in So Georgia…we have to hound the produce guy at Food Lion to find out when it’s coming in and get him to save some for us. Mama usually makes several pies (just rhubarb…no strawberries!) and freezes them! I grew up in Indiana, where it DOES grow and we used to go out & break a stalk off, sprinkle it with salt & eat it raw…ummmm! Parents always saying it would give us a belly-ache…but we ate it anyway.

    • Karen says:

      Sprinkle it with salt? Really? I remember licking the end and pushing it into a bowl of sugar. ~ karen

      • Linda says:

        Try it! If you like salty & tart…very tart, it’s good!

      • martina says:

        Actually, that may be why you find the crisp recipe too sweet, you don’t have any salt in it! Just a 1/4-1/2 tsp in both the filling and the topping should round out the flavor a lot. Just two cents from a pastry chef.

        • Karen says:

          Good catch. Salt always helps. (I always sprinkle a bit on top of cookies if I’m baking them) ~ karen!

  27. Susan Sutherland says:

    Just cooked my first batch of stewed rhubarb. I add a shot of rum after it’s cooked. The rum gives a wonderful flavour to the stewed rhubarb.

  28. Chris says:

    You are so right about rhubarb! But I am glad it is hard to get rid of because I was removing sumac suckers this spring and accidently cut into the rhubarb bulb. I forgot where I transplanted it. The darn thing came back to life! I have made crisp with it but my guy prefers my rhubarb pie but he is English so anything sweet is ok.
    Which brings me to a suggestion you could send out to all your readers. It is similar to the post with mailboxes around the world but this time with potato chips. I was dumbfounded when I was in England for the first time and wanted a bag of chips and all they had were tiny bags like the ones we give at Halloween. They were jaw breakers and in every known flavour to man!

  29. Gayla T says:

    I just had my first batch of it last week. I truely love it as sauce, pie filling or crisp. It does take a lot of sugar to make it edible but I eat it such a short time of year…..rationalization going on here. LOL Would you like a start of pseudo rhubarb for a lovely flower bed plant. If the answer is yes I’ll know you’ve never seen it before. Makes an even larger plant than the real rhubarb but has green stems instead of red and the leaves are not shiny. It sends underground runners out to start new plants and it’s impossible to get rid of. When I moved in here last April you could not set your foot off the side walk w/o stepping on a plant and the older ones get to be 3 ft high and across. I started by chopping off the tops and digging the roots. It was slow going and by the time I’d get a couple of yards away a new plant would be popping up behind me. After talking to every gardener I know and the county extension agent no one knew how to get rid of it other than by spraying with round up. I spent the 60’s being an earth mother hippie so spraying was so hard for me but I finally did it as it would be a one time only deal and surely the planer would forgive me that one time. More rationalizing! So I did and now this year, what do you suppose is coming up every where? Yep. No more huge ones the size of my body but nice healthy youngsters. So, I’ll take all the real stuff you want to send my way but don’t ever say yes to the fake stuff.

  30. Talk about simple! I may actually try this one. Hubby really only likes apple pie (any apple pie, a true pie or not)but I’d bet he’d like this. Since there is tons of rhubarb right beside the barn’s manure pile (don’t tell hubby that!) talk about easy.
    Can you use the pre-packaged Quaker breakfast oatmeal like the Maple and Brown Sugar type? I’ve got lots of that kicking around the kitchen. We aren’t really breakfast people either. :-/

    • Bedalia says:

      I’ve used that pre-packaged stuff in a pinch – just mixed with butter to form a crumble topping. Someone gave us a box of those single-serving packets; nobody wanted to eat it for breakfast (we usually cook oatmeal from scratch), so it was a good way to use them up.

      • Thanks Bedalia! I would not want to wreck yet another project. If I were on a pro sports team now, they’d be justified in firing me as a big loser. Not one of my projects has turned out this week! Lets hope my salmon dinner turns out tonight!

  31. Melissa says:

    I was on the fence about planting rhubarb (although I thought about having it just because I love the sound of the word)… but between your offering and some weird (but very good) cake my mom makes, I think having this prolific plant around would be a good idea, especially with being able to “gift” it away. :D

  32. AmieM says:

    Ha! Golden Retriever of the vegetable world!

    • Patricia says:

      I thought that line was so funny too. I stopped and read it aloud to my husband! I so enjoy this blog. I am new to it, so I have lots of catch up reading, learning and laughing to do.

  33. Barbie says:

    My Rhubarb did not do well last year…to close to the water we have on our property (at least that is what I “thought”) until I saw it growing WILD down by the river yesterday!! So now I’m really confused as to why it’s not doing well. WEIRD.
    Anywho, I love the idea of your give away and I am totally going to COPY that idea if I EVER get my rhubarb growing good again. I do make that same crumble, but like you am no expert on the “sweet” HOWEVER am a kindred soul with you on the art of knowing the perfect potato chip when I munch it!

  34. marilyn says:

    my bro and his wife make a wicked rhubarb chutney..has raisins in it and is excellent with pork or chicken. i am always begging them for a jar..should just make my own, hmmm wonder where i could get some rhubarb?

  35. Langela says:

    I’ll tell you what inhibits rhubarb growth…roosters! I had to buy new plants this year because our old rooster apparently loved the stuff, too. I wonder if your hens “will eat it”?

  36. Laura Bee says:

    A friend gave me a sad looking chunk of rhubarb from his garden last year & I didn’t think it would survive the winter. But it did & I was so excited this spring to see it coming up. Now I know I probably could have thrown it in a corner & it would have survived. Thanks for bursting my bubble. Luckily, rhubarb is my fella’s favourite pie. Oh wait..rhubarb isn’t a true pie, is it?

  37. Trish says:

    I’m going to try this recipe asap. I like how dollop rhymes with wallop. :p.

  38. Laurel says:

    With you on the sweet thing – I have even subbed in some stevia on occasion with good results!

  39. Leslie says:

    Last fall my well-meaning uncle was helping me clean up my yard in my new house. There was a pile of old brick he wanted to stack up by the side of the house. I said great, anywhere but the rhubarb plant. Well, I went out this spring to check out my plant and sure enough the pile of bricks was directly on the rhubarb. Cursing a bit, I pulled the stack off, shocked to find the rhubarb growing under there! It was massive! Pale and gnarly looking, but that wasn’t surprising. It was a huge stack of bricks! Amazing! Can’t wait to make some crisp. And pie. And strudel. Mmm… Wonder if albino rhubarb is safe to eat?

  40. Denise says:

    First I want to thank you for all the laughs and inspiration I’ve gotten from reading your blog Karen. I’m so glad my sister told me about you last fall.

    I’ve never made rhubarb crisp but I do love making (and eating) crisps with blueberries, peaches or apples. My recipe uses a 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of flour, 1 cup of oats and veg oil instead of butter. I usually throw in some ground flax and ginger (in addition to the cinnamon) plus either pecans or walnuts if I’ve got them on hand. Its very yummy served with a dollop (yes thats a great word!) of plain yogurt… and I probably eat it for breakfast more often than dessert!

    On a separate note does rhubarb go well with any fruit other than strawberry?

    • zippy says:

      I don’t have a rhubarb plant myself, but it isn’t hard to find someone with extra around here… and my favourite rhubarb crisp has 2 mangoes in it – the mango adds such nice colour to the rhubarb. (and the crisp part includes crushed amaretti cookies – though you could also use gingersnaps)

    • lisamc says:

      Yes! Raspberries. I used to let so much rhubarb go to compost until my son grabbed a bag of the last year’s slightly sad looking raspberries out of the freezer and subbed it for strawberries. (That’s what they usually used on the farm/school he lived at.) We made the crisp and it became a new favorite. Strawberries are so delicate and I never get enough of them before the chipmunks, squirrels and other assorted tiny creatures in my garden. The zing of raspberries is the perfect complement.
      My 85 year old dad, who rarely gets on the phone, always makes sure to ask how the rhubarb is doing……and when am I visiting again? : )

  41. Deborah says:

    I LOVE RHUBARB! and of course, I too have my very own plant at the cottage, which is happily sprouting alongside the crocuses, daffodils and hyacinths at the moment. Not even -3 to -5C nightly temps seem to be doing anything to discourage it from popping up. I love to keep it growing along with the daffodils as it keeps the deer from trying to forage for anything edible in my garden. Deer will not eat rhubarb leaves (they are poisonous along with the daffodils), but they still trample through the garden almost nightly… I think they do this just to thumb their hooves at me… :P Thanks for the crisp recipe, I have a family favorite as well as a killer strawberry/rhubarb pie recipe that I make a few time each June once our berries come out. (I refuse to use the *imposter berries* from the U.S., those are nothing more than red painted cardboard cutouts…. blech…)

  42. Hi Karen, I love rhubarb and rhubarb crisp. Hubby found this idea for rhubarb compote. Two ingredients: rhubarb and sugar. Delicious on yogurt, pound cake and tastier than an ice cube.

    Love you photos today!
    Happy Monday

  43. Anita says:

    Rhubarb was never a fave of mine until I discovered Rhubarb syrup. I make the most delicicous drink. Spme bourbon, some rhubarb syrup and a splash of club soda. Try that with Rhubarb Crisp. YUMMMYYYYYY!

    • Kim from Milwaukee says:

      Oooo Anita, please share the syrup recipe!! I always have tons of rhubarb, I’d love to make something different with it.

      • Anita says:

        My recipe is not exact- more of an eyeball thing. Dice up the rhubarb, whatever you have. Put it in a pot and cover it with water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 45mins to an hour. Strain it. Pretty much the steps that you take to make jelly. In the mean time make simple syrup as your sweetener- I like to add some lemon juice. Once you have the strained rhubarb juice add equal parts soda to the rhubarb syrup, simple syrup to taste, a little bit of mint for garnish and as much bourbon as you like. We call it a mint rulep.

  44. Jen says:

    I just planted Rhubarb here two years ago, and I am still so smitten with my Rhubarb Patch. It was my first gardening I did….and it brings me joy each spring. (I was just out yesterdaybtaking pictures of it…..this is starting to sound a bit sad…).

  45. Amanda says:

    this sounds delicious!! I wish I still had my rhubarb muffin recipe :( I miss those tart sugary pieces of heaven :,(

  46. Carly Mae says:

    Ugh, I LOVE rubarb, my grandmother used to make the most amazing pie with it ever. But since I don’t have her recipe, I’ll use yours, and plant some rubarb in our freshly planted garden! :) I had no idea they were such a hardy plant

  47. Oh I love rhubarb too! Last year we moved ours “up” as we made a raised bed where it was. A chunk came off so we planted it in the other raised bed. Sure enough…..we have 2 rhubarb plants starting to come up. Double the pleasure, Double the fun!! I’m in Calgary so they are just nubs but holy moly I cannot wait to bake, bake, bake with it.

  48. pve says:

    I agree with you cut down on the sugar and have it after inhaling said bag of chips.
    Is this a give away….I’d like to win this….ha!

  49. Julie says:

    Sadly it doesn’t grow in the south. I love rhubarb and dream about it! I grew up with it and the only thing we get imported here (NC) is old woody stalks.

    • Amber says:

      That’s sad to know. I live in NC, too. When we lived in Boston I used to see it in the produce section all the time, but I didn’t know what to do with it, so I never bought any. Guess I’ll just have to settle with asparagus (the other thing that grows and grows this year, and every year forever after).

  50. Slim Paley says:

    I happen to adore everything rhubarb, the tarter the better, so I would definitely take your advice and cut down on the sugar- or use agave syrup, although I have no idea how to convert from dry to liquid measurements.
    Have you ever tried using cardamon instead of cinnamon? It adds a slightly more exotic edge… If rhubarb crumble can ever be considered ‘edgy’ or ‘exotic’ :)

    From a fellow potato chip EXPERT

    • Karen says:

      Slim – I *do* love cardamon. Haven’t tried to “exotic-up” the rhubarb crisp with it though, LOL. Maybe next time I make it. ~ karen!

    • carswell says:

      I use cardamom with my rhubarb all the time, and a bit of vanilla to take the edge off the tartness.

      I have some rhubarb in the freezer that needs using up before I replenish with this season’s crop.

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