The Easiest Rhubarb Dessert You’ll Ever Make: Rhubarb Strawberry Crumble

My mom is the kind of person who, after an extended weekend away in Wisconsin, returns home with gifts – individually wrapped caramels thrown in a white paper bag, a matching sugar bowl and creamer set to go with your favorite teapot, a cookbook, and a bunch of rhubarb, picked fresh from the garden.

Two parfait glasses of rhubarb strawberry crumble dessert with silver spoons stuck into the cups and scattered whole strawberries, on a gray marble surface.

For this and many other reasons, I love this woman.

The closest I’ve come to growing my own rhubarb – beyond, I suppose, the minimal green thumb required for growing tomato plants –is pulling the leafy stalks out of the ground in someone else’s yard, while being told exactly how not to use the “fruit” that is actually a vegetable.

Two parfait glasses of strawberry rhubarb crumble topped with vanilla ice cream with spoons stuck into the glasses, on a marble surface with scattered whole strawberries.

The leafy parts are poisonous, but the reddish-pink stalks are tall and celery-like, easy to chop and turn into filling for pies, yeast breads, and crisps.

Combined with enough sugar to balance its strong tartness, rhubarb is absolutely delicious.

I love it. In fact, if you ask me to come over for a slice of fresh rhubarb anything, anytime, the answer will always be yes.

Top-down view of two parfait glasses of rhubarb strawberry crumble topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, with a filled spoonful resting on the rim of the glass in the foreground, with three whole strawberries and a white cloth on a gray marble slab.

In a good slice of pie, a compote, or a pastry, the tangy flavor is something I’m powerless against. Hot and fragrant, pulled fresh from the oven, sliced and topped with vanilla ice cream, rhubarb desserts are one of the best and most delicious things that I like to eat.

And that’s essentially what I was after with the berry crumble I made last weekend. But something was missing…

An adaptation of a recipe from Jamie Oliver, this rhubarb crumble is simple – combine your ingredients, some over the stove and some in a bowl, layer them together, and bake.

Top-down view of two glasses dishes of rhubarb strawberry crumble topped with scoops of vanilla ice cream, with a spoon stuck into the dish on the right, on a gray marble surface with scattered whole strawberries and a white cloth.

It’s supposed to emerge golden and crisp, but this didn’t exactly work with mine (it never quite browned on top). But the flavorful underlying fruit mixture made up for that.

On the stovetop and then in the oven, the berries and rhubarb become softer, more compote-like, the perfect complement to the crunchier oatmeal-based topping.

Rhubarb strawberry crumble in two parfait glasses, topped with vanilla ice cream with silver spoon, on a gray piece of marble with scattered whole strawberries and a white cloth.

The day after I made this, I came home from a morning comprised of brunch, a doctor’s appointment, antiquing, and a stop at the thrift store. I fixed myself a big bowl of rhubarb crumble, reheated quickly in the microwave and topped with vanilla ice cream.

After this, I pulled last year’s swimsuit out of storage, grabbed a beach towel and a book, walked out onto a grassy space, and soaked up the sunshine, with fluffy clouds rolling by overhead.

It was pure bliss.

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Rhubarb strawberry crumble in two parfait glasses, topped with vanilla ice cream with silver spoon, on a gray piece of marble with scattered whole strawberries and a white cloth.

The Best Rhubarb Strawberry Crumble


  • Author: Shanna Mallon
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings

Description

Enjoy rhubarb paired with fresh strawberries in this easy-to-make crumble, the perfect homemade spring or summer dessert.


Ingredients

  • 1 pound rhubarb, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar, divided
  • pinch salt
  • 1 small orange, (about 1 tbsp zest and 3 tbsp juice)
  • 1 pound strawberries, halved
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into chunks
  • 1 1/3 cup rolled oats

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine chopped rhubarb, ½ cup packed brown sugar, a pinch of salt, and the orange zest and juice. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for five minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the strawberries.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, butter, and remaining brown sugar. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the butter into the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the oats and toss with your fingers to distribute evenly.
  4. Spoon the rhubarb mixture into the bottom of an 8×8″ baking dish. Sprinkle the oatmeal mixture over the rhubarb. Bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the topping is brown and fragrant.
  5. Serve straight from the oven with vanilla ice cream on top.

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Prep and Measure Ingredients

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Rinse the rhubarb well and pat it dry with paper towels. Using a sturdy cutting board and a sharp chef’s knife, trim the ends and discard them. Chop the rhubarb and set it aside.

Pink chopped rhubarb in a large glass bowl in the foreground, and halved strawberries in a small glass bowl in the background, on a gray marble surface.

Cut off the tops of the strawberries and discard. Halve all of the strawberries and set aside.

Zest the orange with a zester or microplane, and then cut it in half and juice it. Make sure you remove or strain out any seeds!

Cut the chilled butter into small 1/2-inch cubes, and keep cold in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Measure out the remaining ingredients so you will have them ready once you start assembling the crumble.

Step 2 – Cook the Filling

Add all of the filling ingredients except the strawberries to a medium saucepan.

Top-down view of a nonstick saucepan

Over medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Top-down view of a nonstick saucepan filled with cooked rhubarb, red syrup, and halved strawberries on a white and gray marble surface.

Remove from heat and stir in the strawberries. Set aside.

Step 3 – Make the Crumble Topping

Add all of the crumble topping ingredients to a large bowl.

Top-down view of a stainless steel mixing bowl of brown sugar, cubed butter, and flour, on a gray marble background.

Cut the butter into the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.

Top-down view of a stainless steel mixing bowl filled with a crumbly mixture of flour, butter, sugar, and oats, on a gray and white marble surface.

You can do this with a pastry cutter, but if you don’t have one, simply use two knives to cut the butter in.

Step 4 – Assemble the Crumble

Carefully pour the filling into an 8-by-8-inch baking dish.

Top-down view of a square metal baking pan filled with cooked rhubarb, red syrup, and halved fresh strawberries, on a white and gray marble surface.

Sprinkle the oatmeal mixture over the top.

Top-down view of a square metal baking dish of a dessert that is ready to bake, with a flour and oat crumble topping, on a gray and white marble background.

Make sure to spread it evenly, so you’ll get to enjoy some of the crunchy topping with every bite.

Step 5 – Bake

Bake the crumble for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking.

A baking sheet placed beneath the pan can help to catch any, drips, if your crumble bubbles over.

If you notice the topping is browning too much in one area, you can cover that part with a bit of foil for the remainder of the bake time. But rotating should help to prevent this.

Top-down view of a square metal baking pan of red fruit crumble, on a gray and white marble slab.

Once the sauce is bubbling and the topping is browned, it’s ready to serve.

Remove from the oven. Serve in bowls with a scoop of classic vanilla ice cream on top for added creamy richness.

Celebrating Seasonal Produce

Rhubarb is one of those produce items that we seem to wait all year for, and the window of time in which it is in season is extremely short in comparison to other members of the produce world.

When it’s cooked, the stalky vegetable becomes tender, tart, tangy, and slightly sweet, making it an excellent base for this crumble when combined with strawberries. The flavors of each lend themselves naturally to each other, and strawberries are one of the best fruits to combine with rhubarb to really bring out its natural flavors.

Two parfait glasses of cooked rhubarb and strawberries with a brown sugar and oat crumble topping, with a spoon and three whole strawberries on a marble slab.

If you love this combination, be sure to check out this Strawberry Rhubarb Pie for a made-from-scratch dessert that would make even Grandma jealous. The homemade pie crust base, the fresh fruit filling, and the stunning lattice top make it a fantastic dessert for a picnic, or whenever you really want to impress your friends and family.

What’s your favorite way to use rhubarb when it’s in season? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to rate this recipe when you make it.


Don’t forget to Pin It!

A collage of photos showing different views a a rhubarb strawberry crumble recipe.

Photos by Meghan Bassett, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on June 1st, 2009. Last updated: May 20, 2018 at 16:19 pm with additional writing by Meghan Bassett.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

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About Shanna Mallon

Shanna holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her mantra? Restoring order and celebrating beauty through creative content, photography, and food. Shanna's work has been featured in Bon Appetit, The Kitchn, MSN.com, Everyday Health, Better Homes & Gardens, Houzz.com, Food News Journal, Food52, Zeit Magazine, Chew the World, Mom.me, Babble, Delish.com, Parade, Foodista, Entrepreneur and Ragan PR.

16 thoughts on “The Easiest Rhubarb Dessert You’ll Ever Make: Rhubarb Strawberry Crumble

  1. mmm rhubarb crumble + ice cream sounds delicious! i’ve been thinking about trying rhubarb. but all the recipes i find involving rhubarb are sweet, and i have no sugar in my apartment. that’s right, no sugar. and not because i ran out, but because i never have sugar on hand.

    don’t hesitate to think i’m a weirdo. it’s the standard reaction.

  2. Oh dear, you posted about one of my weaknesses! What now?? I guess bake it myself??
    Look what you’ve done to me! Hahahaha

    Gabi.

  3. My boyfriend’s mother apparently makes the most wonderful rhubarb pie. I really want to give it a shot, and I’m going to have to try your recipe!

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Wow, so you are one of three bloggers I read that posted about strawberry-rhubarb crumble/pie/sauce today! Must be rhubarb season 🙂

  5. oooooh!! Love strawberry rhubarb…my friend in Michigan makes these wonderful pies..I need some right now!!! Just finished Homeade Life…Molly Wizenberg is a marvelous weaver of stories and the recipes in the book sound outrageously delicious and intriguing!! Thanks for the recommendation!

  6. I made a strawberry-rhubarb pie this weekend. I’d invite you over if there was any left. I too was the beneficiary of someone else’s fresh rhubarb. I did opt for the refrigerated crust, though. Baby steps 🙂

  7. Jacqui – Let’s talk about this sugar situation. When you say “no sugar,” do you really mean NO SUGAR? How do you live? How do you sweeten your coffee? What do you sprinkle on your toast in the morning? All of these are good questions, but the most important one is: What are you waiting for?! (PS: I saw, recently, a recipe for cold rhubarb soup – I think it was at Lottie + Doof, which might not be as dessert-like?)

    Gabi – Yes! Bake it yourself! And then have me over. What time?

    EP – I hope you do, and I’d love to hear about how it goes! (I’d also love to hear about your boyfriend’s mom’s recipe!)

    postcollegecook – I know, I’ve seen the same thing. It is the season all right. (PS: Sorry you’ll be out of town Thursday! Next time a great food-documentary comes to Milwaukee, we’ll have to meet up.)

    Donna – I’m so glad you liked it! I couldn’t put it down from the moment I started it, and I love Molly.

    Wendi – I’m still just as disappointed as I was this afternoon to know your pie is all gone. At least I still have crumble left, or we’d have a problem on our hands. And no shame in refrigerated crust!

    Lan – We have to make a deal with each other that I’ll try something I’ve never had before, and you’ll try rhubarb. What do you think? Tell me my mission; I’m ready! And this way, you know, we won’t have to stop being friends.

  8. {confession} i’ve never had rhubarb anything before. until i discovered food blogs, i’d never even heard of the thing. and because i have selective attention spans and sight, i never see it at the markets or grocery store. that.is.how.freaked.out.i.am.about.this.fruit/vegetable. and while i completely trust your culinary skills and adore your passionate words for this fruit/veggie, i am still unable to bring myself to try it. this is just not found in vietnamese cooking. i will however, add this to my growing list of things that i must try.

    eventually. after you either kick my ass or threaten to not be friends with me anymore. seriously tho, can we still be friends?

  9. I didn’t grow up eating rhubarb either. Two summers back I’d got a taste of it while visiting a quaint Florida cake shop….in the form of a rich chocolate tart topped with a rhubarb compote!
    Your crumble looks gorgeous and love the idea of adding strawberries to it!

  10. NO SUGAR. NO COFFEE MAKER. i only drink coffee at work. i sprinkle my toast with a fatty fried egg in the mornings. i guess i’m just waiting for a sugary recipe that i absolutely can’t pass up (and that doesn’t involve baking — you know how i am with baking…) i bought honey last week at the farmer’s market, though. that’s a step in the right direction, right?

  11. Oh my goodness… I cannot WAIT to try that with my rhubarb! That looks wonderful. Rhubarb has such a strange, but addicting flavor 🙂 YUM.

  12. I LOVE rhubarb. I remember my mom’s best friend making this amazing dessert with strawberries and rhubarb one time when I visited and she sent this rather large portion home with me and my mom. Yeah it didn’t even make it til the next morning. We just kept having millions of “just a small piece”

  13. Hi Shannalee — I can’t believe I haven’t seen this before! Thanks for the great link. What’s funny is that I grew up in Wisconsin — but as you said, never had rhubarb growing up. I’m glad we’ve both discovered it. 🙂 Also, I’m with you — I almost never measure the rhubarb; usually I just go by the number of stalks at hand, usually 2-3. That’s what’s great about this recipe — flexibility!

  14. Sheryl – Just returned from Wisconsin after a nice extended weekend away – it is GORGEOUS this time of year! I also pulled a whole bunch of rhubarb out of the yard – we’re talking 20 stalks or so. What to do with them!? Can’t wait to find new ideas. 🙂 (And thanks again for this recipe!)

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