Cakes & Puddings Sweet

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

The perfect balance of sweet and tart, this quick, flexible dessert embraces locally sourced seasonal fruit.

It’s rhubarb season! I love this time of year; all of the trees have their leaves, the baby birds are starting to hatch, and my rhubarb plant has hit its stride. This plant resembles a hosta with its enormous green leaves, but the not-so-secret magic lies in its bright pink stems. Once the stems are at least ten inches long, one can pull each stem to harvest and bake into a lovely dessert.

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Rhubarb is technically a vegetable, though due to its sweet/tart flavor and its almost exclusive use in desserts, most people (and the court system) consider it a fruit. Some summers, if baking time is sparse, I will chop the rhubarb and store it in the freezer (since there is a singular joy to bake a summery dessert in the depths of winter). But most years, I spend the summer months baking fresh rhubarb into pies, jams, and – you guessed it – crisp.

Strawberry rhubarb crisp is a much beloved dessert in our household. The tart flavor of the rhubarb balances nicely with the sweetness of the strawberries, and the oatmeal-based topping helps hold everything together. It is almost ridiculously easy to make – going from pantry to table in just an hour – and it is a great way to utilize ingredients that are currently on sale or available in our garden. As a bonus, you only need one mixing bowl and one baking dish to prepare this treat, so cleanup is a breeze.

To makes this recipe, you’ll need – suprise! – strawberries and rhubarb. If you don’t grow rhubarb at home and your local grocery doesn’t keep it in stock, I highly recommend visiting your local farmer’s market. (My rhubarb plant produces from late April through mid-summer, but different varieties and climates may produce longer.) In addition to these fruity flavors, you will need some pantry staples to hold things together. The rest of the filling consists of lemon juice, cornstarch, granulated sugar, and kosher salt. For the topping, you will need rolled oats, flour, unsalted butter (either traditional or vegan), brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Since the only animal-based ingredient in this recipe is butter, you can easily make this dessert vegan by using a plant-based butter. I used Earth Balance unsalted vegan butter for the crisp you see in the pictures, and none of my guests noticed a difference.

The gluten-containing ingredients in this recipe are flour and rolled oats. I have not personally made this recipe using gluten-free flour, but since the topping does not need to rise significantly, that substitution should work well. Oats are technically gluten-free, but since most oatmeal is processed in facilities that also handle traditional gluten, you should buy gluten-free rolled oats if making this for friends with Celiac disease or an allergy.

If you’re looking for a recipe that is 100% gluten free and that fits with a low FODMAP diet, my friend over at The Sickly Mama has an excellent recipe for pineapple raspberry crumble that would perfectly suit your needs.

And now, we bake! Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9″ by 13″ baking dish and set it aside.

Next, dice your strawberries and rhubarb. For this recipe, I used last year’s rhubarb from the freezer, which I had frozen pre-diced. Fresh rhubarb would also work well, as the time in the oven will break down the tougher starches in the stalk. (If you needed to use frozen strawberries – due to cost or seasonality – that would also be fine!)

Combine the chopped fruit with your granulated sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, and salt in a large bowl. Once this mixture is completely combined, pour it into your prepared baking dish.

Using the same mixing bowl, combine your brown sugar, flour, rolled oats, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Next, add in cubes of your butter. I used Earth Balance vegan unsalted butter, but traditional butter would also be appropriate (as long as you don’t mind the recipe not being vegan). Use a large fork or a pastry blender to press the cubes of butter into your oatmeal mixture, until the butter has been reduced to small pieces and is evenly distributed throughout the mixture.

Pour the butter/oatmeal mixture atop the fruit filling in your 9″ by 13″ pan. Bake this at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes.

I like to serve this crisp warm, topped with whipped cream or alongside a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. However you serve it, I hope it turns out well! Tag any pictures of your finished crisp with @WhiskAverseBaking, or leave a message in the comments below.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp (with vegan and gluten-free options)

The perfect balance of sweet and tart, this quick, flexible dessert embraces locally sourced seasonal fruit.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12


  • 9”x13” baking dish


Fruit filling

  • 1 cup diced rhubarb
  • 3 ½ cups diced strawberries 1 pint if whole
  • ¾ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt


  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¾ flour
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cold vegan or traditional
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • teaspoon nutmeg


  • Grease a 9” by 13” pan and preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Dice strawberries and rhubarb. Combine with granulated sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, and salt in a large bowl. Pour into prepared baking dish.
  • Combine the brown sugar, flour, rolled oats, cinnamon, and nutmeg in the now-empty bowl.
  • Using a fork or a pastry blender, mix in cubes of butter until the chunks are small and evenly distributed throughout the topping mix. Pour the completed mixture evenly over your fruit filling.
  • Bake at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes. Serve warm, garnished with whipped topping or vanilla ice cream.


  • To make this recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free flour and rolled oats.
Keyword crisp, dessert, fruit, rhubarb, strawberry, vegan, vegan dessert

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