Old Fashioned Rhubarb Crunch

rhubarb crunch dessert in a pan with ice cream

Rhubarb crunch is a warm rhubarb dessert topped with an oatmeal cookie crumble. A scoop of vanilla ice cream is optional (not optional.)

rhubarb crunch in a white bowl with ice cream

rhubarb crunch is a classic country dessert

You can never have too many rhubarb recipes on hand for spring. This one’s a one bowl recipe that is a cinch to do ~ just chop up some fresh rhubarb, toss with sugar and a thickener, and spread it out in your most homey pan. Mix together a crunch topping out of brown sugar, oats, flour, and butter (using your fingers, naturally.) Almond extract and sliced almonds are a little upgrade I brought to the party.

why is it called a rhubarb crunch, rather than a crisp or a crumble?

Good question! This topping is decidedly a little crunchier than it normally is on the other two, so I think that’s the answer. The crunchier topping is a really nice contrast with the warm rhubarb and the cold ice cream (you do plan to put ice cream on yours, right?)

rhubarb crunch with scoops of vanilla ice cream

what you’ll need for rhubarb crunch

  • a big bunch of rhubarb to make 5-6 cups thinly sliced ~ doesn’t matter one bit whether your rhubarb is red or green, both have almost exactly the same flavor.
  • granulated sugar
  • clearjel thickener or cornstarch ~ clearjel is a supercharged thickener (you can find it on Amazon, and a jar will last you a season or two.) It works great for juicy fruits like berries and rhubarb.
  • brown sugar
  • rolled oats
  • flour
  • butter ~ the amount of butter is an open question. I made this crunch with one stick the first time around, and 2 sticks the second time. The first time resulted in a dry crumbly crust, which I liked. The 2 sticks yielded a richer, more cookie-like topping, which I also liked.
  • sliced almonds
  • almond extract
slicing rhubarb for a rhubarb crunch dessert

the one bowl method for rhubarb crunch (details in the recipe below)

  1. Thinly slice the rhubarb and put in a bowl with sugar and thickener. Toss to combine. Turn into a 9×13 baking dish.

mixing rhubarb with sugar

2. In the same bowl mix together the brown sugar, oats, flour, almonds, and butter using your fingers to get all the butter incorporated. The mixture will be lumpy. The topping for rhubarb crunch reminds me of oatmeal cookie dough!

Mixing crunch topping for rhubarb

3. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the rhubarb and bake until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden.

rhubarb crunch in a dish with plaid towel

4. Serve your rhubarb crunch warm with vanilla ice cream. Heaven!

serving a rhubarb crunch from a glass pan

cook’s notes for rhubarb crunch

Don’t skimp on your rhubarb as this recipe makes a large amount of topping and you want enough fruit to balance it out. 5-6 cups is good. If you don’t have enough rhubarb, halve the recipe and bake in a 9×9 square pan.

I like my fruit desserts on the tart side, but if you prefer sweeter, you might want to add a bit more granulated sugar to the sliced rhubarb. I count on the ice cream to add sweetness, so keep that in mind.

If you like you can use half strawberries and half rhubarb for the filling. Peaches or raspberries make a good pairing with rhubarb, too.

If you don’t want to use almonds, leave them out and substitute vanilla extract for the almond flavoring.

Rhubarb crunch is amazing served hot from the oven, but you can reheat, covered in foil, in a 300F oven until hot. Single servings can be microwaved.

serving rhubarb crunch dessert with vanilla ice cream

rhubarb mania

This rhubarb crunch dessert follows in a long line of rhubarb recipes here, have a look!

rhubarb crunch dessert in a pan with ice cream
5 from 7 votes

Rhubarb Crunch

Rhubarb crunch is a warm rhubarb dessert topped with an oatmeal cookie crumble. A scoop of vanilla ice cream is optional (not optional.)
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Yield 12 servings
Calories 376kcal
Author Sue Moran


  • 9×13 pan


  • 5-6 cups thinly sliced rhubarb, red or green rhubarb will work
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp almond or vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp clearjel thickener, or cornstarch Buy clearjel here


  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  • Preheat oven to 375F
  • Toss the rhubarb with the sugar, extract, and thickener, and turn into your pan.
  • In the same bowl, mix the topping ingredients with your fingers until completely combined and crumbly.
  • Sprinkle the topping evenly over the surface of the rhubarb.
  • Bake for about 40 minutes until the rhubarb is bubbling and the topping is golden.
  • Serve your rhubarb crunch warm, in bowls, with ice cream, if desired.

Cook’s notes

Reheat leftovers, covered in foil, in a 300F oven until hot. Single servings can be microwaved.


Calories: 376kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 148mg | Potassium: 285mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 36g | Vitamin A: 406IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 95mg | Iron: 2mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    June 11, 2022 at 4:41 pm

    5 stars
    Wonderful recipe, love the crunch topping!

  • Reply
    June 8, 2022 at 6:03 pm

    5 stars
    ?? added an extra 2 cups of halved strawberries a spritz of lemon juice, and an extra 1/2 Tablespoon flour. My new BEST crisp recipe! I was just looking at my rhubarb thinking I need to pick it and bake something and this was in my email this morning! Thanks Sue!

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