This easy Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp recipe features fresh strawberries, tart rhubarb, and a rustic oatmeal topping. Serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a spectacular seasonal treat!
One of the best things about living on the East Coast is the abundant crops that we see arrive at Farmer's markets from the early Spring right through to the late Fall. While some warmer areas (like California) have the benefit of being able to grow year-round, there is something special about a four-season climate.
I really enjoy eating seasonally and relishing each new fruit or vegetable to its fullness. You really learn how to appreciate those first few strawberries, or how the early Fall frosts erase the bitterness from a sturdy head of kale.
Once the snow begins to melt and the crocuses pop up from the earth, I know we will soon be on the cusp of the growing season. And one of the first arrivals here in the Northeast is rhubarb.
The Best Way to Enjoy Rhubarb
Rhubarb is most often paired with its seasonal cousin: strawberries. The common phrase "If it grows together, it goes together" perfectly encapsulates the idea of strawberry and rhubarb as a timeless flavor combination.
You will spot rhubarb several weeks before strawberries (at least!), so many will pick from their rhubarb plants early in the season, chopping, freezing, and saving them for strawberry season.
This easy Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp is one of the first recipes made in my home, and that's in part because of how simple it is.
Reasons to Love It:
- It's a delicious way to make the most of seasonal fruits.
- Easy to make - just mix up the fruit filling, spread on the crisp topping, and bake until golden brown and bubbly.
- Perfect with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
- A great way to use up rhubarb from your garden, roadside stand, or Farmer's market.
- Strawberries: You will need 3 cups of sliced fresh strawberries, which is about 1 ½ quarts (6 cups) of whole strawberries.
- Rhubarb: You'll also need 3 cups of chopped rhubarb which was a little less than a bunch from my local Farmers market. Make sure to remove the poisonous leaves and trim the ends from the rhubarb stalks before washing and chopping.
- Sugar: For the fruit mixture I like to use white sugar since it has the most neutral sweetness. Don't worry - the brown sugar will come into play in the topping and make for the perfect balance.
- Flour: In order to help thicken the juices from the sweet strawberries and fresh rhubarb you need to add a little flour (2 tablespoons) or cornstarch (1 tablespoon).
- Vanilla: Some people enjoy the taste of lemon juice with rhubarb but I think vanilla really rounds out the flavors a lot better. Try it, I know you'll love it!
Crisp Topping ingredients:
- Oats: I recommend using rolled oats (sometimes called old-fashioned oats). These provide the best texture and are a traditional ingredient in most crisp recipes.
- Flour: This combines with the oats to make a crispy topping. You can try swapping it for almond flour or a gluten-free flour blend if you have dietary restrictions.
- Butter: I recommend unsalted butter. Either cut in cold, cubed butter or mix it in melted - totally up to you!
- Brown sugar: This really compliments the sweetness of the strawberries and the tartness of the fresh rhubarb.
- Pantry staples: You'll also need cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda.
Check the recipe card for a full list of ingredients and the quantities needed.
How to Make Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
Step one: Add the sliced strawberries and chopped rhubarb to a large bowl.
Step two: Add the sugar, vanilla extract, and flour (or cornstarch) to the bowl of prepared fruit.
Step three: Use a silicone spatula to combine the flour and sugar mixture with the strawberries and rhubarb until well coated. Set aside.
Step four: Add the oats, ¾ cup of flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon to a separate medium-sized bowl.
Step five: Whisk together the dry ingredients until well combined.
Step six: Pour in the melted butter, OR if you prefer a crispier topping cut in cold, cubed butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Step seven: Mix to combine.
Step eight: Add the strawberry and rhubarb filling to a lightly greased 9X13" baking dish.
Step nine: Add the crisp topping to the baking dish, spreading it out in an even layer.
Step ten: Bake in a 350ºF (177ºC) oven for 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly.
Serving Rhubarb Crisp
Allow the freshly baked strawberry rhubarb crisp to cool for about 10-15 minutes - this will help thicken the fruit filling but will still be nice and warm for eating.
All fruit crisps (and especially rhubarb crisps) are traditionally served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, but you can enjoy them on their own OR add a nice dollop of fresh whipped cream.
Storing and Reheating Leftovers
Allow the baking dish to cool to room temperature before wrapping it in plastic wrap or foil.
- Store in the fridge for up to 5 days
- OR transfer to a freezer-safe container and store frozen for up to 3 months.
To reheat: Scoop portions into bowls and reheat in the microwave in 30-second intervals until warmed through. To reheat in the oven add 2 tablespoons of water to the dish and bake covered at 350ºF for 15-30 minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Rhubarb can be made with either frozen or fresh rhubarb. Rhubarb does not hold a lot of water when freezing, so there won't be a lot of excess liquid when using frozen versus fresh. It is recommended to thaw the rhubarb first so the cooking time is not affected.
If your strawberry and rhubarb crisp has a runny filling, you may not have included a thickening agent like flour or cornstarch in the fruit filling. OR, you may have used frozen strawberries, which release a lot of excess liquid. To help thicken the filling allow it to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Strawberries and rhubarb are often featured in recipes together not only because they tend to be in season at the same time, but also because the flavors complement each other perfectly. Rhubarb is tart and can be sour, while strawberries are very sweet and release a lot of juices. This timeless flavor combination is used to make crisp, strawberry rhubarb pie, strawberry rhubarb cobbler, and more!
- Should butter be melted, cold, or at room temperature?
- Crisp with a fruit filling can be made in several ways, but it almost always includes oats and butter.
- Butter can be melted and combined with oats, flour, and sugar to make a spreadable topping, OR it can be cut in with a pastry blender for a crispier, more rustic result.
- I like to use melted butter because it's a bit easier to put together, but if I have some extra time it's worth cutting in some cold, cubed butter for that yummy texture variation.
- Ensuring your filling is thick enough.
- If you want the best strawberry rhubarb crisp you want to make sure your filling is thick so that it is like a yummy compote, rather than runny.
- Make sure you use either 2 tablespoons of flour OR 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in the fruit filling to help thicken it.
- Allow the crisp to cool for at least 10-15 minutes before scooping and serving - this will give the filling a chance to thicken up.
- By nature, crisps are a little sloppy, so don't expect portions to stand up! They are a rustic dessert that is meant to be messy (and delicious).
- Using vanilla extract instead of lemon juice.
- Most of my favorite rhubarb recipes call for lemon juice, and for years I had zero questions about this addition.
- Recently I've been trying out vanilla extract with my rhubarb recipes and I have to say it's really a game-changer!
- Adding vanilla extract really adds a depth of flavor and minimizes the "tart" and "sour" flavors we already get from rhubarb.
- Gluten free: Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp can easily be made gluten-free with just a few adjustments. Instead of using 2 tablespoons of flour to thicken the fruit filling, opt for 1 tablespoon of cornstarch instead. Then swap out the flour for your favorite 1:1 baking mix (we like Bob's Red Mill Gluten-free Baking Flour) and make sure to use certified gluten-free rolled oats.
- Without oats: If you want to make strawberry rhubarb crisp without oats you can omit the oats and use additional all-purpose flour (or almond flour) in its place. I haven't personally tried this out, but I've heard that it works really well for those who can't eat oats.
Any fruit crisp: Substitute the strawberries and rhubarb for 6 cups of any fresh fruit of your choice. For sweeter fruits (like apples, blueberries, etc) use a little less sugar than called for. Feel free to add your own flavorings like lemon juice, orange juice, or some citrus zest (lemon or orange zest work well for most fruits).
With quick oats: If you don't have rolled oats on hand you can substitute them for quick oats. Since quick oats are a little more densely packed, use a scant ¾ cup (or a mounded ⅔ cup) in place of old-fashioned oats.
If you loved this recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp, let me know by leaving a 5-star review in the recipe card, OR tag me on Instagram @maritimecountrykitchen!
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
- 9 X 13" Baking Dish (23 X 33 cm)
- 3 cups sliced strawberries
- 3 cups diced rhubarb leaves and ends removed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons flour or 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup rolled oats
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ cup salted butter* cubed OR melted
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF and lightly grease a 9X13 (23 X 33 cm) baking dish. Set aside
- Add the strawberries, rhubarb, vanilla extract, sugar, and 2 tablespoons of flour (or 1 tablespoon of cornstarch) into a large bowl. Mix well to combine.
- Transfer the strawberry rhubarb fruit filling to the prepared baking dish, spreading it into an even layer.
- Combine the flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda in a separate large bowl. Whisk well.
- Add the melted butter to the oatmeal mixture and stir well to coat everything well. Alternatively, If you prefer a crunchier topping, use cold cubed butter and cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Transfer the oatmeal topping to the baking dish, spreading it in an even layer over the fruit filling.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until bubbly and browned.
- Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving.
- Scoop into bowls and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.