Rhubarb crisp is one of my favorite fruit desserts! This classic dessert is a perfect balance of tart rhubarb in a sweet fruit filling with a signature brown sugar oat crumble topping. Assemble, bake, and enjoy with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped cream.
While I love baking with seasonal fruit, sometimes I just can’t bake enough with the amount of rhubarb that my garden produces. If you also find yourself with an abundance of rhubarb then you’ll be relieved to know that it can be prepared and then frozen for later use!
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More Recipes that Use Fresh Fruits
- Key Lime Pie
- Apricot Pie
- Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
- Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies
- Easy Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Baked desserts are a great option when thinking of ways to use tart rhubarb. It’s an extremely easy dessert made with simple ingredients and is loved by most, making it an ideal option as a midweek dessert for the family or for your next potluck.
- 4 cups rhubarb, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (or water)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
Crisp Topping Ingredients
- ⅔ cup flour
- ⅔ cup old fashioned oats
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- 8 tablespoons butter, cold
- ⅔ cup light brown sugar, packed
How to Make this Delicious Dessert:
A crisp is similar to a cobbler but with a crispy sugar streusel topping rather than a breaded topping. The bottom layer is a sweetened fruit mixture much like a pie filling.
The filling ingredients are so simple for this crisp recipe – rhubarb and vanilla for flavor, sweetener, lemon juice and our thickening agent – cornstarch. We simply mix up the filling and pour it into a baking dish.
We make the topping easily by combining flour, oats, and sugars and then we cut in the butter. Sprinkle the streusel over the top and it’s ready to pop in the oven. That’s all there is to it.
The History Of Cooking With Rhubarb
While there are countless recipes involving the use of rhubarb today, you may not know that it’s actually a relatively new addition to baked goods and even to some savory dishes too.
Since rhubarb is naturally tart, it only started making an appearance when affordable sugar became more available during the 18th and 19th century which helped to then balance out the tartness with added sweetness. The first recorded usage of rhubarb in recipes originates in Europe, although, like all good things, the rest of the world quickly followed suit.
How Should I Store Rhubarb Crisp?
Rhubarb Crisp can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap for 3-4 days whether you decide to make it ahead of time or are storing leftovers.
Crisps, much like pies, can sit at room temperature for a short time although if you anticipate it sitting out for longer then storing it in the refrigerator till ready to serve is advised.
Freezing Rhubarb Crisp or Excess Rhubarb
In case you didn’t know, the stalks freeze extremely well which is great if you have too much rhubarb from your garden or you have leftover stalks from other recipes that you don’t intend using up immediately.
Simply wash the rhubarb stalks, slice them and store them in an airtight freezer bag for up to 3 months. When ready to use your excess rhubarb for this crisp or any other recipe, add them directly to the recipe from frozen (although you may need to increase overall baking time).
This rhubarb crisp can also be baked and stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to enjoy, thaw your crisp overnight in the refrigerator and then heat up in the oven around 350℉ for 15 minutes or until warm throughout.
Can Rhubarb Crisp Be Made In Advance?
Absolutely! Either freeze your fully baked crisp once cool for up to 3 months or prepare and freeze the crisp filling for baking later on with the rest of the recipe ingredients.
If you opt to freeze your crisp filling, place it in a Ziploc bag for easy storage and then when you’re ready to use it simply add it to a baking dish, allowing it to defrost before assembling the crisp to bake.
How To Prepare Your Rhubarb
If baking with rhubarb is new to you then you may be wondering how to go about preparing it for recipes such as this rhubarb crisp. Here are some easy steps and tips to follow:
- If you’re using homegrown rhubarb then you’ll need to pull the stalks out close to the roots as well as removing and discarding the leaves (which are poisonous to humans and animals).
- Wash your rhubarb well. You can then opt to peel thicker stalks with tougher exteriors, but peeling is optional and not always necessary for using rhubarb in recipes.
- Slice or chop your rhubarb stalks as directed by the recipe used or you can freeze prepared rhubarb for future recipes.
When Is Rhubarb Season?
If you prefer eating with seasonal produce then it’s good to keep in mind that rhubarb is in season from late winter to early summer. I typically see it in grocery stores in the spring and summer.
Of course, if you have an excess amount grown during the season then you can freeze it for making delicious fall recipes or crisps any time of year.
My rhubarb here in Northern California seems to grow year round, so you might have a longer growing season if you live in a more temperate climate.
Tips For Making Fruit Crisp
- This Rhubarb Crisp is great for serving with a scoop of ice cream or freshly whipped cream. It is also as delicious if eaten by itself.
- Don’t worry if your rhubarb stalks are different in color from those seen in this recipe. Rhubarb stalks can vary in color due to their variety. A green stalk versus different shades or red is not indicative of ripeness.
- Rhubarb is naturally tart and just slightly sweet which is why most recipes include the use of sugar; we used white sugar as a way to balance this dessert.
- For variety, you can add fresh strawberries to the filling and make this perfect combination into a Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp.
- For a gluten free dessert, be sure to use gluten-free oats and then substitute the all purpose flour with a gluten free flour.
- 4 cups rhubarb cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice or water
- 2 tablespoon cornstarch
- ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup rolled oats
- ⅔ cup light brown sugar packed
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter cold
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a large bowl, combine the rhubarb, sugar, and vanilla extract. Stir until combined evenly.
- Dissolve the cornstarch by stirring into the lemon juice and pour over fruit mixture. Toss to combine.
- Spread the fruit mixture evenly into a 9×13 baking dish.
- Prepare the topping by combining flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt in a medium mixing bowl. Cut cold butter into flour/sugar mixture using a pastry blender until the mixture clumps together into small crumbly pieces.
- Spread the streusel topping over the rhubarb mixture in the baking dish.
- Bake for about 45 minutes or until the filling is bubbly and the crisp topping is golden brown.
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