Classic Rhubarb Crisp – A Couple Cooks

  • Orange zest accentuates the sweetness. Acidity in desserts is like salt in savory food: it makes the flavors shine! Here the citrus zest strikes just the right balance with the sugar. Don’t have it? You can use lemon zest or simply remove.
  • The right ratio of butter to oats makes the crumble topping. A good rhubarb crisp recipe should have a topping that’s crumbly and crisp: not crunchy, soft, or soggy. This one has just the right ratio of butter and oats for that signature texture. (It’s crunchier than the one I grew up with, which didn’t have oats!)
  • Cornstarch helps the filling have a thick texture. We’ve found cornstarch works best to create a gooey texture (versus flour). The rhubarb releases a lot of liquid while baking. Don’t want to use cornstarch? Use arrowroot powder, which works in the same way.

Variations: vegan and gluten-free rhubarb crisp

Want to make a vegan or gluten-free rhubarb crisp? Here are a few easy substitutions that make this recipe work for almost any diet:

  • Substitute almond flour for gluten-free. Crisp recipes are easy to make gluten-free using almond flour! It works well in a crumble topping, especially because it becomes slightly crispy when baked.
  • Substitute vegan butter or coconut oil for gluten-free. Vegan butter is the best option. You can also use room temperature coconut oil, though the topping comes out softer and not quite as crisp. We recommend refined coconut oil, which has a subtler coconut flavor.
Rhubarb crisp