Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

The Spring Song in Vermont!

When the rhubarb hits the farm stands, you know the first strawberries will be close behind. The two spring treasures are a perfect balancing act – the berries sweet and vibrant, the rhubarb tart and sour. The good news is that both the strawberries and the rhubarb freeze beautifully, so there is no excuse not to serve local all winter long.

Tart or sweet, your choice 

            Rhubarb is in full swing, and our first strawberries have appeared. What a treasure, especially since we had a hard freeze last week. The apple and peach trees were in blossom and thus hit hard by the 20-degree temperatures, so fingers crossed as to the resulting damage to the harvest. It’s always a balancing act, the fruit trees flower, and a threat of frost or freeze in the north is always there.

This recipe is on the tart side, with minimal sugar. That’s how I like it, but if you want things sweeter, add an additional quarter cup to the fruits, and a few extra tablespoons to the topping. This dish has abundant topping, most people’s favorite part of a crisp!

A perennial friend

            Rhubarb is a perennial in northern gardens, sending up its leafy stalks in May. The leaves are not good to eat, but the stalks are a wonderful sour that can be use in both sweet and savory dishes. Filled with antioxidants and vitamins, used medicinally in China, it is a handy plant to have growing in the garden. To harvest, just pull out the stalk you want, cut off below the leaf part, and enjoy the harvest! 

The occasional treat

            This recipe is pure dessert and has a lot of sugar, so it is an occasional treat for a special gathering, and I didn’t even try to make a healthful version. Swapping out the butter for vegan butter is easy, and quite delicious served with a non-dairy vanilla ice cream, shown here. To make this gluten free, simply use your favorite gluten-free baking mix in place of the flour. Everyone can be happy.

Swap a different fruit if you like

This is also the basic recipe I use for any fruit crisp, especially my apple crisp. Although these desserts are easy, there are a few things you should remember. First of all, always place the baking dish on a baking sheet because they often bubble over. Also, bubbling is a good thing. As with making fruit pies, if the filling does not hit the bubbling point, the cornstarch will not activate and you will have very wet crisp, so don’t take it out of the oven if you don’t see the little bubbles on the side. If it is browned but not bubbling, cover with foil and give it a little more time. When you remove it from the oven, resist the urge to dive in. The longer it sits, the more it will firm up.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

For the Filling:

  • 1 quart of sliced rhubarb, ½-inch cuts
  • 1 quart of strawberries, cleaned, sliced
  • ½ cup of white sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • A large pinch of salt
  • The zest of one lemon
  • The juice of one large lemon, about ¼ cup
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the Topping:

  • 1 cup of old-fashioned oats
  • 1 ½ cups unbleached white flour
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • A large pinch of salt
  • 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, or vegan butter
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

            Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter a large baking dish, the 8” X 13” Pyrex dish I stole from my mother’s kitchen is perfect (you probably have one).

            Place the fruits in the baking dish and add the other filling ingredients. Mix well. Use your fingers. This is about as simple as it gets.

            With a wooden spoon, or in the bowl of a mixer with the paddle attachment (easiest), combine the topping ingredients and mix until it becomes a unified mass. Most recipes for toppings for a crisp tell you to just barely mix the topping ingredients with the butter until it looks like coarse meal or peas, and sprinkle over all. But if you do this, the topping won’t get really crispy. You need the butter to marry with all the other ingredients. You want it to look like stiff cookie dough.

            Drop by heaping fingers-full on top of the fruit, trying to cover most of it, but breaking it up so it is not uniform. There will and should be clumps. Bake for about an hour, check at 50 minutes and rotate the pan, front to back, if it is browning unevenly.

            Let cool to barely warm before serving, so that the juices can firm up, if you can wait that long. Top with ice cream, or dairy-free ice cream if desired. If you have your grandmother’s dessert dishes from the Depression, use those of course!

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86 Comments Add yours

  1. This sounds delicious, Dorothy. Thank you for the recipe.

    1. Thanks Robbie! I hope you can enjoy it, in the right season of course!

  2. Americaoncoffee says:

    Your choiced recipe shares are always perfect for each season. Strawberries and Rhubarb sounds deliciously distinctive. ❤️

    1. The flavors are definitely a heavenly match!

  3. Rhubarb is one of my favourite fruits and this sounds gorgeous!

    1. Thank you! It’s really tasty, and says SPRING!

  4. lisinmayenne says:

    A delightful combination of two seasonal fruits! 😊 I’ve been eating gooseberries and strawberries together, now I need to try with rhubarb instead! I don’t have a sweet tooth so love how the strawberries do the job without any need for sugar. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for your apple and peach harvest. 🤞

    1. Thank you lis, we are all crossing fingers as well. My crabapple tree had more than half of its blossoms killed, but it is in an unprotected spot, so I’m hoping that other trees in my area will do better.
      Love gooseberries! Perfect with strawberries.

      1. lisinmayenne says:

        Those late frosts are a nightmare, so much damage in a single night. 😥 Yes, I’m a huge gooseberry fan, too! I’ve just found a recipe for using them raw and unsweetened with lettuce as a salad, marinating the crushed berries in a simple vinaigrette first. Have you done anything similar in your inspiring kitchen?

      2. I haven’t, but it sounds delightful! I will definitely keep this in mind when they are in season.

  5. Sherry Mackay says:

    this sounds delightful.

    1. Thank you! We all love it, except for husband who doesn’t care for rhubarb at all.

  6. Rhubarb and strawberries with ice cream, what could be more delightful!

    1. It’s a like a tasty spring reward after a long winter, isn’t it?

  7. Sheree says:

    Rhubarb and strawberries are a marriage made in heaven

    1. They are indeed perfect together!

  8. Rhubarb in the garden, strawberries in the frig, I’m thinking I’ll try this out this afternoon. Thank you!

    1. Who could ask for anything more on a glorious spring day?

  9. Gail says:

    Oh. My. Gosh!!!! 🍃🍓😍

    1. My grandson’s favorite!

  10. Nancy says:

    I have enough rhubarb to make this!
    I need to harvest it and I’m off to get some strawberries! Thanks Dorothy!

    1. Enjoy this lovely celebration of the season!

  11. NativeNM says:

    Your summer crisp looks so tasty! It’s one of our favorite combinations!

    1. Thank you Jan! It’s a lovely spring treat, a little tart and a little sweet.

  12. Did somebody say “crisp”? I’m all in!

  13. Beautiful time of year when all these delicious fruits and vegetables come to market. Love your crisp recipoe.

    1. Thank you Jovina! Yes, it is beginning!

  14. Suzassippi says:

    This is so beautiful, and sounds wonderful with the ice cream! I loved your closing line about using your Grandmother’s dessert dishes from the Depression–how perfect!

    1. They really were perfect, not too big a dessert fits in, just right.

  15. Oh, my mouth was watering as I read this post. Looks utterly delicious and could easily be made as a vegan version. To my way of thinking, since desserts are a special treat, there’s no need to worry about them being healthy. After all…

    1. I actually used vegan butter in this one, and the ice cream was a vanilla oat ice cream which is now our basic house ice cream since my husband’s heart attack. Sorry Ben and Jerry!

      1. Sounds like my kind of dessert. Hope your husband is feeling well.

      2. There have been challenges, but he’s on the right track! Thanks!

      3. Oh, good!

      4. P.S. You’ve given me the courage to make apple crisp, which we are crazy about, with vegan butter. Dare I call it margarine, as it was referred to in the dinosaur days of my youth? 😉

      5. It will come out great! Just be patient about letting it cool!
        My mom used to call it oleo!

      6. Yes, oleo! My father called it axle grease. 😉

  16. Jenna says:

    this sounds like heaven!

    1. Thank you! it was really delicious.

  17. TaMara says:

    Yum, sharing with a friends who have a huge rhubarb planting, hoping in turn they’ll “share” with me. LOL

    1. I’m sure they will!

  18. Ronit says:

    How tempting! Love such seasonal crisps.
    I found some beautiful fresh rhubarb yesterday, along with Meyer lemons (finally!), so will start playing with it soon. 🙂

    1. I am clapping that you found your Meyers Ronit! It’s been a long search.

  19. AJ Schenkman says:

    One of my favs I used to grow Rhubarb in my garden. I love crisps more than pie.

    1. Crisps are so good, people usually adore the topping best!

      1. AJ Schenkman says:

        That would be me! Always make extra topping and fresh whipped cream.

      2. The whipped cream or ice cream is a must!

  20. Eva Saxell says:

    My friend has a bumper crop of rhubarb this year. I did not think of making a crisp! You came just in time! Thanks Dorothy! 🔆

    1. Wonderful! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

  21. This looks amazing Dorothy, I’m a big fan of crisps, with lots of ice cream and toppings. It just screams summer! Thanks for sharing your recipe. Hugs, C

    1. Thanks so much Cheryl! The ice cream is required around here!

  22. Christy B says:

    My mom makes this one every summer from the huge rhubarb plant that grows in her yard. It’s sooooo good! Love your recipe too

    1. Thank you Christy! It’s definitely something to look forward to every spring.

  23. nancyc says:

    This dessert looks so juicy and yummy! I would probably go for the option that’s a little tart! 🙂

  24. terrie gura says:

    Oh yes, yes! Love this flavor combination so much. When I was a kid, I remember my aunt making strawberry-rhubarb jam and I’ve been hooked ever since!

    1. It’s one of the best, and I don’t care if it is a cliche to use them together!

  25. The strawberry rhubarb crisp from Vintage Kitchen is a delightful and comforting dessert that showcases the natural sweetness of strawberries and the tangy tartness of rhubarb, all topped with a crispy, buttery crumble that adds the perfect texture to each bite. With its nostalgic flavors and simple preparation, this dessert is a must-try for enjoying the delightful flavors of spring and summer.

    1. Thank you Madalaine! It’s definitely a favorite we make every year when the stars align just right.

  26. Ally Bean says:

    This could be my all-time favorite dessert. It is lovely served with a glass of Aperol + soda on the rocks. Just to zhoosh up the rhubarb-ness.

    1. Yum! A perfect pairing!

  27. Julia says:

    This is Bruce’s favorite spring combo. He would eat this completely up in two to three days!

    1. It’s a flavor one either really loves or can do without!

      1. Julia says:

        I had never had strawberries and rhubarb until after I met Bruce. Every spring, he wants strawberries and rhubarb pie.

      2. Sounds like my grandson, who absolutely craves these two flavors together when they are in season, and even when they are not. It’s the pie he requests for Thanksgiving!

  28. Averyl says:

    Your photos capture your recipe so well that my taste buds are watering!

    1. Thank you Averyl! It was tasty indeed!

  29. Wow Dorothy, this is a dessert right up my street, lots of fruit not too sweet with a creamy ice cream… sounds delicious.. ♥

    1. It’s really good, and I’m not much of a dessert eater. Once a year, the flavor of spring!

      1. We don’t eat many either but this needs to be added to the list.. ♥

  30. This is almost exactly the dessert my Swedish friend Tina made for us when were visiting. Brings back memories.

    1. That’s what I love about these fruit desserts, they are filled with nostalgia for so many. Our favorite when I was a kid was the apple crisp.

  31. It’s strawberry-rhubarb season, Dorothy. That’s for sure. Thanks for the delicious recipe!

    1. Thank you! They make a great combination.

      1. I’ve also been making strawberry rhubarb mojitos. Lol. Those are delicious too!

      2. Oh, that sounds good!

  32. You better believe I saved this recipe!!

    1. I think you’ll like it Liz. Except for my husband, who doesn’t like even hearing the word rhubarb, it’s a family favorite.

      1. I make strawberry rhubarb sauce every year. It doesn’t last long.

  33. This Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp recipe from Vintage Kitchen sounds absolutely amazing! The combination of sweet strawberries and tart rhubarb creates a perfect balance of flavors. The presentation is mouthwatering, with the bubbling fruit filling peeking through the crispy, golden-brown topping. The preparation process appears to be straightforward, making it a delightful dessert to showcase the fresh flavors of the season. It’s a recipe that promises a delightful combination of sweetness and tanginess, and a warm, comforting treat that will surely satisfy any dessert lover.

    1. Thank you for these kind words and a true appreciation of this recipe! It’s one of our favorites, and is a delight to please the eyes first!

  34. I love a tart dessert 😋

    1. They are the best Ribana!

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