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I don’t think you could possibly imagine how I agonized over what to do with my little bag of rhubarb from the farmer’s market this week.  I went back and forth looking at endless recipes, I scoured the internet,  even started a RHUBARB  board on Pinterest…it was insane.   The thing about rhubarb is that it has a wonderful tangy flavor,  different from any other fruit (possibly because it’s actually a veg) and a drop dead gorgeous color that makes me crazy.  But it’s not just me, rhubarb inspires passion in a lot of people.  It’s  is a true harbinger of spring, being one of the first crops to be harvested as the weather warms, and the season starts right about now.  You’ll see hot house crops come first to market, followed by the regular harvest soon after.   A lot of recipes combine rhubarb with other fruits like strawberries or peaches, but  I like to use it all by itself to get the full rhubarb experience.  Why mess with a great thing?

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I love love love love love these bars.  I know I make a lot of this type of thing on the blog and I tried to resist, I really did.  And I know you see through my ruses when I call them by various names like squares, bars, snack cakes, crumble this’ and crumble thats.    My only defense is that these are Faaaaah.   Buuuuu.    Lous.    They were so good I had to break my only taste one serving of whatever I’m photographing rule.  I had two.  Before lunch.

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These bars are lighter and more bar-like than my regular crumble squares.   The rosy pink filling is flavored with vanilla…it’s basically a quick rhubarb jam.  The color of your jam will vary depending on the depth of color of your rhubarb stalks,  Some are green or pale pink.  I always choose the deepest red stalks I can find for best color, no matter what I’m making.  The simple dough is spiced with cardamom.  I didn’t put that in the title because some of you are starting to think of me as the crazy cardamom blogger.  That’s fair.  I try not to go overboard, but it’s so hard.  (I have a Cardamom board on Pinterest, too :)

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This recipe is inspired by a combination of this recipe from Table for Two, this one from Kitchen Vignettes and this one from Rachel Cooks.  Each one has a slightly different ‘take’ on the concept.  I say give them all a try!

Rhubarb Crumb Bars


    rhubarb filling
  • 1 lb rhubarb
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • for the crust
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom (you can substitute cinnamon)
  • 3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) butter. cut in pieces


  1. Set oven to 350F
  2. Rinse and trim the ends off the rhubarb stalks. Slice them in 1 inch pieces and put in a heavy pot. Toss with the sugar, lemon juice, and water. Stirring constantly, bring the mix to a boil and cook until the rhubarb has broken down and the mixture is thick. Add a little more water if needed as it cooks if it gets too thick. This will take about 20 minutes or so. You can puree it if you want a smooth texture, I used an immersion blender and pulsed a few times to get any larger lumps, but some texture is fine. Stir in the vanilla and set aside to cool.
  3. To make the crust, put the dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add in the butter and pulse until the mix has a texture of coarse crumbs.
  4. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the mixture and press the rest into a buttered 9x13 baking pan. Pat down the crust and level it out.
  5. Spread the filling evenly over the crust, and then crumble the remaining dough over the filling.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes until golden.
  7. Cool before cutting.

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Love rhubarb?  Come check out my PINTEREST board and follow along, I’ve got the definitive collection of rhubarb recipes…everything from classic jam and pie to rhubarb cocktails, salsa, and barbecue sauce.  (I’m obsessed)  And feel free to leave your favorite rhubarb recipe link in the comments!


*I’m sharing this recipe with Lavender and Lovage and Farmersgirl Kitchen for their Great British Rhubarb Recipe Round-Up

great british rhubarb roundup

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38 Responses to Rhubarb Crumb Bars

  1. luscious says:

    made this today and its awesome! will surely make his again.

  2. Heather says:

    Wow these crumb bars look sooo tasty. I must have a go at making them!

  3. Janice says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this lovely recipe and linking up to the Great British Rhubarb Recipe Round Up. I have long been a fan of your blog and it was a bit of a thrill for me to see your recipe on the linky. I’m sure you will get lots of inspiration from all the recipes that are building in this Rhubarb-fest!

  4. Crystal N. says:

    Sue, I come to to your site by way of Trish and have a question…Can the rhubarb “jam” be made ahead of time and refrigerated for a few days before making the rest of the bar? It doesn’t look like any of the ingredients would spoil or taste differently, but I thought I would ask! Thanks.

  5. Meaghan says:

    I just made these and they are divine, thanks for the easy recipe :)

  6. You are the crumb or crumble queen in my book. The color is amazing and I’m sure it was totally worth the extra taste, before lunch, even before breakfast! You always write the most interesting posts – very nice!

  7. Joanne says:

    I can never resist rhubarb either, so I totally understand. Just seeing the stalks at the store make me giddy, let alone EATING THEM. What gorgeous bars! I can’t get enough of that pretty-in-pink filling!

  8. I cannot wait to get my hands on some rhubarb! These crumb bars look fantastic!

  9. truly they are breathtaking. I mean the color is perfect- spot on and i love the texture with the crumb topping and crust!

    • Sue says:

      I love to see the different shades of pink that different recipes get from rhubarb. For this one I picked out the reddest stalks I could find, but other times I’m not so lucky to find deeply colored stalks and the color is very pale. I love it all!

  10. Mmmmm…so jealous that you have rhubarb available. I’ve actually only eaten rhubarb a handful of times and it was divine each time! I’m going to be on the lookout around here…

    • Sue says:

      Thanks Sarah, I’m a relative newcomer to it, too. It looks pretty easy to grow, I may try sometime. How nice would it be to walk out the door and snip what you need on the spur of the moment.

  11. Rachel says:

    I get bunches of rhubarb from a coworker (or, at least I will once winter decides to exit South Dakota!), and I know these bars would be much appreciated!

  12. I could eat crumb bars everyday of my life. These look heavenly!

  13. where did you find rhubarb?
    you most live on the west coast?
    I can’t wait for summer and rhubarb to come; although I truly think summer is not coming, this winter is never ending.

    • Sue says:

      I do live in Los Angeles, but I hear that rhubarb doesn’t grow very well in warm climates, it needs a cold winter to really get it going, so hold on!!

  14. Your crumb bars look so inviting! I must try some!

  15. cheri says:

    These look amazing, I will be making this soon. Lovely pics Sue!

  16. I think you made an excellent choice Sue! Your rhubarb crumb bars look so pretty and I will check out your pinterest board. An entire pinterest board devoted to rhubarb….love your passion!

  17. Monique says:

    I love Rhubarb..the color..the taste.. it’s not here yet of course..but as soon as it is..i’ll be making crumb bars..I also love strawberries and rhubarb together..

  18. Sue, your rhubarb-crumb-bars look so very pretty and delicious – I am quite obsessed with rhubarb myself and always looking for more wonderful recipes using rhubarb and I will definitely have to give these a try as I cannot, not make a new recipe using these lovely vegetables – just in case you do find the time, here is my link from this year http://kitchenlioness.blogspot.de/2014/03/spring-rhubarb-tart-fruhlings.html and here is my link from last year http://kitchenlioness.blogspot.de/2013/04/rhubarb-cordial-and-rhubarb-almond-bundt.html.
    Love your blog – amazing photography and wonderful recipes!
    Have a great week,

  19. CakePants says:

    Such a beautiful color! Rhubarb has never been one of my favorites (as a child, it bore too much resemblance to celery for me to accept any of it in my desserts), but these pictures even have me salivating for some rhubarb-y tanginess!

  20. Eileen says:

    Oh man, these bars look spectacular! I haven’t managed to get my hands on any rhubarb yet, but when I do…oh yes. They will be mine. :)

  21. Dom says:

    this is the problem with rhubarb… it has so many options but there are only so many hours in the day… your bars look beautiful and perfect I think for something nice and original.. My neighbours plant is slowly maturing and will be ready for the thieving pretty soon… ha ha!… lovely pretty pics, I can just taste the wonderful sweet sourness x

  22. This looks divine, Sue. We love the streusel and this is a perfect afternoon tea accompaniment!

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