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Rhubarb crisp in a skillet with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a spoon

Old-Fashioned Rhubarb Vanilla Crisp

This Old Fashioned Rhubarb Vanilla Crisp is here to celebrate the start of rhubarb season! Think of stewed rhubarb (with a touch of vanilla) and a buttery oatmeal cookie coming together to form a wholehearted dessert.

  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6-8 1x



For the crisp topping

1 and ¾ cups (150 g) of rolled oats (also called old-fashion oats)

¾ cup (175 g) of light brown sugar

1 and ¼ cups (150 g) of all-purpose flour

1 scant cup (200 g) of cold butter, cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) cubes (scant meaning just a little less than a whole cup)

¼ teaspoon of flaky sea salt

For the rhubarb filling

35.5 ounces (1 kg) of rhubarb, cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces

2 tablespoons (25 g) of light brown sugar

½ teaspoon of vanilla powder

3 and ½ tablespoons (50 g) of cold unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch (1 cm) cubes


Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).

Make the crisp topping:

Note: you can either use your hands (my preferred choice here) or the flat beater of your stand mixer to combine the ingredients together. 

  1. In a mixing bowl, add flour, light brown sugar, rolled oats, and salt. Stir until well combined.
  2. Add the cold butter cubes and combine the ingredients until they resemble chunky breadcrumbs. I like keeping some bigger chunks to create an extra layer of crispiness.
  3. Set aside.

Make the rhubarb filling:

  1. Wash the rhubarb stalks thoroughly and cut them into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces.
  2. Transfer the rhubarb pieces to a 10-inch (26 cm) skillet or 11×7 inch (28×18 cm) rectangular baking pan.
  3. Sprinkle light brown sugar, and vanilla powder on top of the rhubarb.
  4. Add the cold butter cubes, and spread evenly.

Assemble and bake the rhubarb crisp:

  1. Add the crisp topping on top of the filling. Spread until the rhubarb filling is evenly covered.
  2. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the crisp topping is golden brown and the rhubarb soft and bubbling beneath.
  3. Let it cool down and enjoy slightly warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of clotted cream!

Nim Keys

  1. In a vast majority of cases (when the rhubarb is store-bought), no need to peel it. However, in some instances (mostly for home-grown rhubarb), the skin can be pretty thick. In this case, you can peel the tougher parts for a smoother result.
  2. If you don’t have vanilla powder on hand: substitute the light brown sugar and vanilla powder with 2 tablespoons (12 g) of vanilla sugar. The vanilla flavor will be more subtle but it does the trick!
  3. If you wish to veganize this Old-Fashioned Rhubarb Vanilla Crisp, just replace the unsalted cultured butter with the plant-based unsalted butter of your choice.
  4. The proportions of this recipe are for a 10-inch skillet (26 cm) or 11×7 inch (28×18 cm) rectangular baking pan and serve 6-8 servings. Feel free to divide the recipe in half if you are having a date night or a smaller crowd over.
  • Author: Ninon
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven Baked

Keywords: rhubarb crisp, rhubarb crumble, rhubarb dessert, rhubarb vanilla crisp, crisp topping with oats, rolled oats