Easy Rhubarb Crisp


This easy rhubarb crisp recipe is made with a buttery cinnamon streusel topping—without oats, thank you very much—and beneath it lies just humble rhubarb, sugar, and orange zest. A quintessential spring dessert. Not too sweet. Not too tart. Just right. And superbly simple.

A white baking dish filled with easy rhubarb crisp and a spoon resting in the center.

This easy rhubarb crisp goes beyond being a truly inspired dessert to also being a lovely breakfast dessert—so much so that some of us have been known to wake early and bake a batch, especially for said purpose. (And while it’s perfectly lovely all on its own, we wouldn’t kick it out of bed with a little ice cream, whipped cream, or yogurt. Do with that information what you will.)–David Leite

Rhubarb Crisp FAQs

How do I keep my rhubarb crisp from being runny?

The simple elegance of this rhubarb crisp recipe means that there aren’t a lot of extra ingredients, like flour or cornstarch, to thicken up the juices in the filling. This means that you’re relying on cooking down the fruit to get a good consistency. Don’t overcook the fruit but do let the juice simmer enough to reduce. It should only take 5 minutes and you’re going to want to keep an eye on it. Also, keep in mind that the filling will set up a little bit as it cools, so you might be just fine.

How do I know when rhubarb is ready to be harvested?

Remember that stalk color is not a good indication of readiness so if your stalks aren’t completely red, it’s ok. The best indication of whether your rhubarb is ready to be pied, crisped, or jammed is the length of those stalks. Rhubarb is best when the stalks are between seven and fifteen inches long. The best time to harvest in most of the US is May, June, and even early July.

How do I harvest and prepare fresh rhubarb?

Fresh rhubarb is easy to prepare. Trim the stalks from close to the root and cut away and discard the leaves. While they’re not harmful to touch, rhubarb leaves are toxic when ingested by people and all kinds of animals. If your rhubarb stalks are very thick you can peel the exterior, but it isn’t necessary for young, tender rhubarb. Wash and then slice the rhubarb into small pieces. If you’ve got more than you need for your recipe, toss the extra into a resealable bag and stash it in the freezer until your next rhubarb craving hits.

How should I store leftover rhubarb crisp?

Leftover rhubarb crisp will keep on the counter, covered with plastic wrap, for 1 to 2 days. The streusel topping will soften as it sits.

Easy Rhubarb Crisp

A white baking dish filled with easy rhubarb crisp and a spoon resting in the center.

Leftovers of this easy rhubarb crisp are great for breakfast; just substitute yogurt for the whipped cream.

Peter Berley

Prep 15 mins

Cook 30 mins

Total 45 mins

Make the rhubarb filling

  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425°F (218°C).

  • In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the rhubarb, sugar, and orange zest and simmer until the sugar dissolves into a gooey syrup and the rhubarb is sorta but not totally tender, about 5 minutes.

Make the streusel topping

  • If using a food processor, toss the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in the bowl of the food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles very coarse crumbs containing pea-sized blobs of butter. If not using a food processor, combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Use 2 knives to cut the butter into the flour mixture until what you have in the bowl resembles very coarse crumbs containing pea-sized blobs of butter.

Bake and serve the crisp

  • Dump the rhubarb mixture into a 9-inch pie plate or 10-inch gratin dish and sprinkle the flour mixture evenly over the top. Bake until the topping is golden brown, about 25 minutes.

  • Let the crisp cool ever so slightly. Serve it warm with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream.

Serving: 1servingCalories: 337kcal (17%)Carbohydrates: 51g (17%)Protein: 3g (6%)Fat: 14g (22%)Saturated Fat: 9g (56%)Trans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 37mg (12%)Sodium: 16mg (1%)Potassium: 362mg (10%)Fiber: 3g (13%)Sugar: 35g (39%)Vitamin A: 549IU (11%)Vitamin C: 10mg (12%)Calcium: 114mg (11%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Originally published May 30, 2014

#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


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