Mom loves rhubarbMom loves rhubarb

I arrived home the other night to find a lovely bundle of rhubarb sitting on my porch, courtesy of a kind neighbor. I don’t think anything tastes more like spring to me than the first rhubarb of the season, even more so than asparagus. We love tart things in our house and don’t have the need to adulterate our rhubarb with strawberries, blackberries, or any other fruit to make it more palatable; we like it fine just the way it is (baked into pies, crisps, and cobblers, I mean).

I’m reprinting my rhubarb crisp recipe from last spring, so long-time readers, you may feel free to click over to another blog, but for new readers, this is a great recipe, and the key to a perfect topping is to melt the butter. I know most crisp and crumble recipes call for cutting in cold butter until crumbs form, much like making pastry dough, but in my experience this does not result in a crisp topping, but a rather soft one, which I don’t like. Also, if you have quick-cooking (not instant) oatmeal, it’s actually better here than the old-fashioned; I used that kind once and my oldest son asked me if I had topped the crisp with Honey Bunches of Oats.

I did briefly consider flavoring the dessert with some rosemary since I seem to be reading about rhubarb and rosemary everywhere these days, but rejected the idea for two reasons; one being that I only had the dried herb and somehow didn’t think that would produce the same effect as the fresh, and the second, and more important, being the fact that I was going to be feeding three teenage boys and they tend to be a conservative lot when it comes to food, not caring for flavor innovations. The innovation I did incorporate successfully, which I cribbed from Anita of the charming blog Married with Dinner was to bake the crisp on top of a parchment-lined baking sheet, thus catching any stray drips before they could burn on my oven floor. Such a simple, yet brilliant idea!

I’m including a photo of the filling before sprinkling with the topping, so those of you who are unfamiliar with rhubarb can see what it looked like.

Rhubarb Crisp

Makes 8 servings

  • 8 cups rhubarb, sliced
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon


  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups quick oat meal
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine rhubarb, brown sugar, butter, flour and cinnamon. Spoon into a buttered 9X12” casserole dish.

For topping: Combine the topping ingredients in a bowl. Sprinkle evenly over rhubarb mixture. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Test center to make sure rhubarb is cooked.


I’m a huge fan of rhubarb and I completely agree – no need to mix it with other stuff. I’m working on a rhubarb thing myself, but now I’m feeling like just chucking it to make (and eat) your recipe instead.

I wish I could take credit for the sheet pan idea, but I actually learned it at a seasonal fruits class taught by Shuna Fish Lydon of eggbeater fame. (Shuna’s a big fan of rhubarb, too, and like you doesn’t care for it mixed with other fruits. So many coincidences!)

I think you did the right thing holding off on using dried rosemary, although — at least in fresh form — it’s a very subtle, complementary flavor that I don’t think would trouble the less-adventurous eaters at your table.

Last but not least — thanks for the link, and the compliment. It’s so much fun to have found another blog where two authors take turns posting.

I’m a rhubarb novice, at home in any case. How much rhubarb do I need to get 8 cups?

Mary, IMO you can never have too many posts involving rhubarb so I hope you will soldier on.

Anita, perhaps I will try the rosemary next time, or definitely if and when it’s included in my CSA farm box.

Hi, Stefanie! I wish I would have weighed my rhubarb; that big bunch I had measured exactly 8 cups. Sometimes if I’m a little short I will augment with some sliced strawberries. But unless you are making this crisp for a big family or potluck, I would recommend scaling back the proportions, anyway, and using about 6 cups of rhubarb with about 2/3 of the remaining ingredients. Maybe another reader will be able to tell us how many pounds of rhubarb you need to equal 8 cups sliced.

I just asked a pastry chef, and she guesses about four pounds of rhubarb would leave you with eight cups.

I just weighed the beautiful bunch of rhubarb I got from my CSA. It’s almost exactly 1 pound, and I’m guessing it would yield 3 cups chopped. Maybe I don’t chop my as fine as the pastry chef.

p.s. My rhubarb crisp recipe is pretty much the same as yours, and I think old-fashioned oats are fine. I might not be as fussy as your boys, though!

I just made my first rhubarb pie of the season, using Wafa’s recipe. Yummy! The crisp sounds lovely, but you know Dad and pie.

Thanks for the info, Janet!

Hi, Mom! What makes Wafa’s recipe special? Does she do anything different? Is that the open-face pie you used to make with the stewed rhubarb and whipped cream topping? I need to get that recipe.

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