Simple Rhubarb Crisp

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 There are some people that prefer Rhubarb Crisp made with only rhubarb. No strawberries, just plain rhubarb straight from your spring garden. While I do love a good strawberry rhubarb combination, there is nothing like a purely rhubarb crisp first thing in the summer. 

Rhubarb Crisp on a pink ruffle plate with vanilla ice cream on top
Rhubarb Crisp

Simple & Easy Rhubarb Crisp

Rhubarb has a special place in our household come springtime, it’s a childhood favorite of mine – raw dipped in sugar to take the edge off- and it is my husbands number one pie is my Strawberry Rhubarb Pie and he loves my Strawberry Rhubarb Upside Down Cake. My children really don’t care what I bake, as long as it’s sweet, comes covered in ice cream and they get to have it after supper.The kids always love helping me harvest the rhubarb, running amok playing with the elephant ear leaves, whacking each other with them of course and every year, still trying bites of the stalks even though they were warned how sour it is.

How to Prepare Rhubarb

First, rhubarb leaves are poisonous for humans AND animals. They are not poisonous to the touch, just when eaten, so don’t worry about cleaning them.

  • Cut the rhubarb at the bottom of the stalk when removing from the plant
  • Wash and then slice the rhubarb 
  • Use in your recipe


Rhubarb stalks on a turquoise wood board

Ingredients in Rhubarb Crisp

The ingredients in rhubarb crisp are all things you should have on hand – especially if you have rhubarb in your garden!

  • Rhubarb – medium sized stalks that are all the same width are the best to use, large ones get woody
  • White Sugar – you need white sugar with the rhubarb to cut the sourness
  • Cornstarch- this is used to thicken up the liquids released from the rhubarb when it’s cooked
  • Brown Sugar –  Brown sugar is the best tasting in the crumbly crisp topping
  • Rolled Oats – You don’t want quick cooking oats, they will fall apart in this!
  • All Purpose Flour –  you could use whole wheat but it would be a different nuttier texture
  • Salted Butter –  the salt gives the topping an extra level of flavor
  • Cinnamon –  a little secret spice in the topping makes all the difference!


Rhubarb crisp with melting vanilla ice cream on top
Rhubarb crisp with melting vanilla ice cream on top

Can I make rhubarb crisp with frozen rhubarb?

For my recipe, you bet! Defrost it first because in my recipe you don’t cook the rhubarb into a sauce first. In order for the rhubarb to cook and break down properly it will definitely have to be at room temperature when you place it into the dish.

How To Freeze Fresh Rhubarb

The best way to freeze rhubarb?

  • Cut it into 1 inch pieces and place them in one layer on a parchment lined baking tray.
  • Freeze them solid – this can take a good 3-4 hours- and then place them all together in a large sealing freezer safe bag.
  • They will keep for months and you can have rhubarb crisps in the middle of winter!
Close up of rhubarb crisp & vanilla ice cream with a spoon digging into it
Close up of rhubarb crisp & vanilla ice cream with a spoon digging into it

Karlynn’s Baking Tips & Tricks for Making a Great Rhubarb Crisp

  • Use salted butter in the topping! Oh, what a taste difference it makes when you add in that salt. You all should know by know how I preach the virtues of using salted butter in topping and sauces to cut the sweetness and add depth of flavour. The topping here is no different!
  • Cut your rhubarb into ½ inch pieces, this is a great size that will break down nicely in the crisp.
  • I don’t cook the rhubarb beforehand as I like to have some pieces that are a little “together” in the mix. They hold their shape slightly and it’s a better texture AND presentation.
  • It doesn’t matter if your rhubarb is red or green they are both ripe and the same. Read my Rhubarb 101: How to Grow Rhubarb, Cook with Rhubarb and Rhubarb Recipes. That post is chock full of great rhubarb information!

More Rhubarb Recipes For You To Try:

  1. Strawberry Rhubarb Upside Down Cake
  2. Coconut Rhubarb Scones
  3. Strawberry Rhubarb Fruit Leather

Happy baking everyone!



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Rhubarb Crisp is the best way to use up springtime rhubarb! This recipe is my family's favorite and you do not cook the filling ahead of time with this recipe! #rhubarb #recipe #baking #sweet #dessert #recipes #crisp #spring #summer

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Rhubarb Crisp

Rhubarb Crisp is the best way to use up springtime rhubarb! This recipe is my family's favorite and you do not cook the filling ahead of time with this recipe!
4.95 from 20 votes
Prep Time
15 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
Total Time
1 hour 15 minutes
North American
Karlynn Johnston



  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup melted salted butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Rhubarb Filling

  • 4 cups diced rhubarb
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch


  • Preheat your oven to 350 °F. Grease a 9x9-inch baking dish and set aside. ( 9x9 makes a much better crisp, nice and thick!)
  • Mix the flour, brown sugar, oats, butter, and cinnamon together in a bowl until crumbly. Press half of the oat mixture into the bottom of the 9x9 pan.
  • Add the sugar and cornstarch to the rhubarb, toss to coat evenly. Place on top of the oats in the bottom of the pan, making sure that the sugar is dispersed evenly throughout so it's not all in one place.
  • Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture over the rhubarb.
  • Bake in the preheated oven until crisp is lightly brown and bubbling, about 1 hour. You might have to cover the pan with tinfoil if your topping starts to brown too quickly, simply remove the last 10 minutes and make sure that the topping crisps up at the end.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

You might have to cover the pan with tinfoil if your topping starts to brown too quickly, simply remove the last 10 minutes and make sure that the topping crisps up at the end.

Tips and Tricks

  • Use salted butter in the topping!  
  • Cut your rhubarb into ½ inch pieces, this is a great size that will break down nicely in the crisp.
  • Don't cook the rhubarb beforehand as they hold their shape slightly and it's a better texture AND presentation.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 409kcal, Carbohydrates: 73g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 30mg, Sodium: 112mg, Potassium: 256mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 52g, Vitamin A: 415IU, Vitamin C: 4.9mg, Calcium: 87mg, Iron: 1.4mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

Learn more about me

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Reader Interactions

Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Jill says

    Amazing recipe! My mom actually just made it for me. Yes parents can still make their 35 year old daughters desserts. It was deeeeelicious and I told her she needs to add this to her little recipe box of recipes that we have all loved over the years, made over and over and this one fits that bill for me 100%.5 stars

  2. Vicki says

    PLEASE DO NOT CUT THE RHUBARB! When you pull and twist and the rhubarb stalk comes off the plant, the plant knows to send out a message to produce more stalks! This does not happen when the stalks are cut!

    • Ursula says

      Actually that’s not correct, I use to pull and twist my rhubarb, but I now cut it and the rhubarb keeps growing!

  3. Rosemalr says

    You should never cut rhubarb,you should always pull it from plant. Cutting stops the plant from regrowing more stalks

  4. Geraldine Graham says

    Just make this tonight with fresh picked rhubarb from my backyard. Was so good my family really enjoyed it. Will be making this again for sure.

    • Matthew R. says

      I cut my Rhubarb shorter to keep fiber pieces from sticking in teeth. Fiber good, picking teeth no.(Candy is dandy… but fruit will make you poop.)

      Pulling does encourage growth, but also keeps the rotting stem pieces from allowing root devastating diseases in spread by pests like spider mites and japanese beetles – who are also attracted to the weakened plant flesh.4 stars

  5. Elsie Ellingson says

    Sound great , l will make it for sure , l have a friend who always brings me rhubarb every year 💕love your recipes thank you for sharing

  6. Dawn says

    This is the best possible use of rhubarb! So easy, delicious and perfect everytime. I have a big rhubarb patch and have tried quite a few recipes but today will mark the 4th or 5th time making this, this season alone. Thank you 😊5 stars

  7. Kay says

    Thank you very much for the user friendly printing of your recipe, I got 25 extra pages that are nothing but ads, color pictures and comments from others. So sad when all I wanted was the recipe.

  8. Pat says

    Hi Karlynn,
    I have a big rhubarb patch and make a lot of crisps. I made your receipe today, and it is the best version I have found. Perfect amount of sugar and fruit and cinnamon.
    PS. I enjoy your ancillary comments. I read a lot of food blogs and your receipes are clear, fun to read, and obviously the product of a professional and conscientious cook.

    Pat5 stars

  9. D says

    Gosh. Just get to the recipe. Geez. All the ancillary recap is not necessary.

    • Karlynn says

      Bahaha I LOVE THIS. The very definition of ancillary is :

      “providing NECESSARY support to the primary activities or operation of an organization, institution, industry, or system”

      Next time you try to use big words to be a troll make sure you understand them ???5 stars

  10. Jaimie says

    Can this be made and the frozen, to be enjoyed later? My mother will be visiting in July and I would love to surprise her with her favorite dessert.

  11. Kendyl says

    Growing up on the farm we had two 150-ft rows of the stuff…I think I’ve had rhubarb every possible way, and it’s a great treat. When I lived up north, I’d bring the local restaurant a huge garbage bag full, and in return they’d give me a few free glasses of juice (if I remember correctly they’d even add sparkling water to make it fizzy). We also used to make rhubarb upside down cake. Good memories.

    5 stars

    • Karlynn says

      Rhubarb upside down cake sounds phenomenal Kendyl, do you have a recipe you can share? I swear, growing up in the country means that rhubarb is a prevalent food whether you want it to be or not!

      5 stars

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