Old-Fashioned Rhubarb Crisp, Reimagined

Rhubarb crisp in a bowl topped with ice cream with a napkin on the side

This Old-Fashioned Rhubarb Crisp is a classic American crisp with a few twists inspired by our neighbors across the pond. It is lower in sugar and has a soft, gooey, and crunchy texture all at the same time. A quintessential spring dessert.



For the rhubarb layer:

  • 1 lb (460g) rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces, about 4 cups
  • 1/4 cup (50g) white granulated sugar*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For the streusel topping:

  • 1 cup (100g) old fashioned oats, divided
  • 3/4 cup (96g) whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons (88g) brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 1/2 tablespoons (91g) unsalted butter


  1. Preheat. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). 
  2. Make the rhubarb mixture. In a large bowl, toss together the rhubarb, sugar, and vanilla until evenly combined. Tip the mixture into an 8×8″ square baking dish or a 9″ round cake pan. Spread the rhubarb mixture evenly across the bottom of the pan.
  3. Make the topping. In the same bowl, whisk together the flour, 3/4 cup (75g) oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Reserve 1/4 cup (25g) oats for sprinkling on top of the crumble mixture. Add the butter, and using your hands or a pastry blender (affiliate link), break up the butter in the mixture until a crumbly mixture forms resembling breadcrumbs, about 5 minutes. A mix of large and small clumps is perfect. Spread the crumble topping evenly over the top of the rhubarb mixture. Sprinkle reserved oats over the crumble mixture. 
  4. Bake. Place the rhubarb crumble in the oven and bake until the topping is crisp and the rhubarb is bubbling underneath, about 35-40 minutes. If the rhubarb starts bubbling before the topping is crisp, place the crumble under a broiler for 3-4 minutes until the topping is golden brown and crisp.
  5. Serve. Let the rhubarb crumble cool for 5-10 minutes in the pan set on a wire rack before serving. Serve alone or with vanilla ice cream, if desired.



SUGAR. If you desire a sweeter rhubarb crumble, increase the sugar up to 1/2 cup (100g). 

USING FROZEN RHUBARB? Defrost rhubarb at room temperature and let the juices drain in a colander. Do not push the rhubarb down to release juices. Add 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour to the rhubarb mixture. 

DO AHEAD. The crumble mixture freezes wonderfully so is worth doubling. To freeze, place the crumble (step 4) in a freezer zip-lock bag. Spread the crumble evenly in the bag so it lays flat. Seal the bag, making sure there are no air pockets in the bag. Place the bag flat in the freezer. Alternatively, freeze the crumble in a freezer-safe, air-tight container with a lid, such as a glass food storage container (affiliate link)


Keywords: rhubarb crisp, rhubarb crumble, rhubarb recipes