Gluten Free Rhubarb Crisp with Cardamom and Vanilla ~ I hate to sound bossy but you just have to make this rhubarb crisp at least once this spring, it’s too good to miss out on. Your reward will be a mouthwatering flavor and drop dead gorgeous color that only rhubarb can give you.
Once you’ve made one batch for yourself you might consider making one for mom this Mother’s Day, and then you will certainly want to make it every time you’re asked to bring something to a potluck this spring, it’s the kind of recipe that just makes you look good 🙂
If you’ve always been a little rhubarb-phobic and hesitate to cook with this gorgeous perennial, or been afraid to bake with rhubarb alone, I hope I can convince you to give it a try. Yes it’s technically a vegetable, yes, it looks like red celery, and yes, it’s famously tart, but omg, cook it with a touch of sugar and rhubarb is out of this world amazing. And like I always say, when you have an ingredient that’s only available for a short time each year, the payoff is so much greater than it is with stuff you can always find at the grocery store.
Rhubarb crisp is the first thing I make with the season’s first rhubarb. I love it because it showcases all that is special about this wonderful veggie aka fruit and it takes just minutes to throw together.
The next time you see fresh rhubarb, grab it and make it the star of your recipe. Most people mix it up with strawberries, and I get that, I’ve done it myself in my STRAWBERRY RHUBARB COBBLER, but if you haven’t tried rhubarb all by itself, you really should. The flavor of berries tones down what is so unique about rhubarb. Sugar does a perfect job of sweetening rhubarb, so ditch the strawberries, at least for this recipe.
I buy vanilla beans in bulk so I never have to feel stingy about using them. A vanilla bean is an easy way to take so many recipes to the next level, I think they’re worth the price.
The color, the flavor, the aroma of this rhubarb crisp is so good, I’m not sure I’ll do anything else with my rhubarb for the rest of the season. Be sure to freeze some fruit so you can enjoy this dessert all year long.
How to freeze rhubarb ~
- Wash and dry your fruit. Slice it in 1 inch slices.
- Place the slices in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet and put the whole pan in the freezer until the fruit is frozen solid.
- Put the rhubarb in a heavy duty zip lock freezer bag. Press the excess air out and seal. Keep in the freezer for up to a year.
- In most cases you’ll use your frozen rhubarb right from the freezer, no need to thaw.
Just look at that color, and seriously…how can you not fall in love?
Rhubarb Crisp with Cardamom and Vanilla
- 1 and 1/2 pounds rhubarb, trimmed and rinsed
- 4 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1 vanilla bean
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, not packed
- 1/2 cup oat flour, you can use almond or regular flour as well, or a good gluten free baking mix
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp cardamom, sub cinnamon if you like
- 5 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut in pieces
- 1/3 cup walnuts, or pecans
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Slice the rhubarb into small slices and add them to a bowl. If your rhubarb is very stringy, remove the tough outer fibers before slicing.
- Toss the rhubarb with the lemon juice, sugar, and cornstarch and then scrape the seeds of the vanilla bean in, too. Stir to combine, then cover and set aside to allow the juices to start to flow.
- Make the crisp topping by putting all the ingredients in a food processor and pulsing until the mixture is crumbly.
- Put the rhubarb in the bottom of a medium size oval gratin dish (mine is 8x10) or a 9x9 square baking dish. Top liberally with the crisp topping ~ you might not need all the topping if using a square pan. Bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until the rhubarb is bubbling and the topping is golden.
- Dig in right away, with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream if you like.
- Despite what I recommend above, you can absolutely mix strawberries with your rhubarb if you like. Raspberries or peaches also work.
- Swap out the cardamom for cinnamon.
- It's no problem to omit the nuts, but you might add some rolled oats for texture.
- If your rhubarb is not super red, don't worry, the flavor will be the same, and as long as there is some pink you will get a subtle but pretty color to your crisp.
Questions and Reviews
I made this tonight, and used half rhubarb/half blueberries, and omitted the lemon juice because I didn’t have any. It was delicious! Not too runny, but just the right consistency. The crumb top was the best gluten free topping I’ve made. Definitely will make again!
I just took my rhubarb crisp out of the oven. Seems very liquid-y. I added the liquid that leached out of the rhubarb mixture. Was that a mistake? Should I have left the liquid out? It certainly smells wonderful, but is still too hot to eat.
Crisps and crumbles tend to be juicy, but this will thicken up as it cools.
I have to say this was way too sour… I used more sugar than asked for, about 1/2 cup (and skipped the lemon juice), but this was my first time cooking rhubarb myself and I should’ve listened to the recipes that use 1 cup sugar for 4 cups rhubarb…. we love sweet and sour but this was like eating a raw lemon wedge. On the plus side, the crumble was delicious (used almond flour) so I’d try this again but with 1 cup sugar… I guess our rhubarb is much more tart…
Made this recipe (gluten free) and added some pecans and oatmeal. My family gave it five stars and I brought a warm bowl over with ice cream to my neighbor who now wants the recipe. Yummy!
Mine turned out super runny. Do you think it will set?
Rhubarb is quite juicy, you can see mine was runny, too, but I don’t mind that in a crisp. And yes, it will thicken as it cools, so if you can avoid cutting into it right away, that will help. I have found a really great product called Instant ClearJel, which you can get online, and it’s basically a super duper baking thickener which works like a charm if you love your fillings to be thick and set.
It will thicken as it cools Tiff.
I’ll ask again, as an earlier post did not receive a reply. How does a pound of rhubarb come out in cups?
Hey Donna, sorry you didn’t get a reply ~ it’s a little hard to guesstimate because it depends on how the rhubarb is cut, but about 3-4 cups.
Hi Sue, this recipe sounds divine and I would like to make it for a gluten free friend this weekend. Couple of questions: how much is 1 1/2 pounds of rhubarb in cups? Also, I will be using frozen rhubarb and you know how much water it will release, so should I up the amount of cornstarch to compensate for the extra liquid that will result? If so, by how much? Should I also increase the flour? Again, by how much? Maybe I should increase both? I would sure appreciate your advice and help on this one. Thank you so much!!
It will be about 4 cups Rose. With frozen rhubarb you might add an extra tablespoon of cornstarch, or use a new product that I love called Instant Clearjel, which is an extra strength thickener for desserts like this. You can find it here.
It will be about 4 cups.
A great Sunday dinner dessert with rhubarb from our garden, supplemented by some from the grocery store. I substituted Earth Balance for the butter and potato starch for the cornstarch due to family dietary restrictions, and it worked out very well. Served with coconut based non dairy ice cream. I loved the cardamom in the crisp. What a great idea. Next time I may add some grated orange zest to the filling, just to try a variation. (I can never just leave a great recipe alone!). Thanks for a great recipe!
Yay Vivian, your version sounds wonderful, I just happen to have coconut milk ice cream in the freezer right now, it’s one of my new faves.
We love rhubarb! And we like it on the tart side, so I don’t usually add more sugar than I usually would for a crisp. I have some rhubarb begging to be used, but since I don’t have quite enough, I’m pairing it with apples. Thanks for the inspiration!
I bet it’s really nice with apples, Karla, which gives me the idea to make a simple rhubarb apple sauce or butter 🙂
Such a dreamy crisp, please pass me a big bowl and the vanilla ice cream!