Gluten Free Rhubarb Crisp with Cardamom and Vanilla

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Rhubarb Crisp just out of the oven, with large spoon

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.

rhubarb crisp just out of the oven, with a large spoon

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.

stalks of fresh rhubarb ready to be chopped for a rhubarb crisp

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.

Sliced rhubarb macerating for rhubarb crisp

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.

Chopped rhubarb mascerating in a bowl for a rhubarb crisp

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.

Rhubarb Crisp, hot out of the oven, with big spoon

Just look at that color, and seriously…how can you not fall in love?


Rhubarb Crisp with Cardamom and Vanilla
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73 ratings

Servings: serves 4-6

Rhubarb Crisp just out of the oven, with large spoon


  • 1 and 1/2 pounds rhubarb, trimmed and rinsed
  • 4 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
    crisp topping
  • 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)


  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Make the crisp topping by putting all the ingredients in a food processor and pulsing until the mixture is crumbly.
  5. 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.
  6. Dig in right away, with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream if you like.

Make this Rhubarb Crisp Your Own ~

  • 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.


don’t forget to pin this gluten free rhubarb crisp

Rhubarb Crisp with Cardamom and Vanilla ~ I hate to sound bossy but you just have to make this gluten free rhubarb crisp at least once this spring, it's too good to miss out on. #rhubarb #dessert #rhubarbdessert #crisp #rhubarbcrumble #crumble #springdessert #cardamom #glutenfree #glutenfreedessert #mothersday #brunch #breakfast


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    Leave a Reply

  • Reply
    July 11, 2019 at 3:27 pm

    I’ll ask again, as an earlier post did not receive a reply. How does a pound of rhubarb come out in cups?

    • Reply
      July 11, 2019 at 3:40 pm

      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.

  • Reply
    April 14, 2019 at 9:48 am

    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!!

  • Reply
    June 10, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    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!

    • Reply
      June 10, 2018 at 7:56 pm

      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.

  • Reply
    April 18, 2018 at 11:17 am

    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!

    • Reply
      April 18, 2018 at 11:50 am

      I bet it’s really nice with apples, Karla, which gives me the idea to make a simple rhubarb apple sauce or butter :)

  • Reply
    Laura | Tutti Dolci
    April 15, 2018 at 9:23 pm

    Such a dreamy crisp, please pass me a big bowl and the vanilla ice cream!

  • Reply
    joan nass
    April 13, 2018 at 7:33 pm

    This looks fantastically yummy. I do not have vanilla bean can you use vanilla extract or just leave it out?
    How long is the rhubarb season in southern California were I live??

    • Reply
      April 13, 2018 at 7:42 pm

      For sure I would use the extract, the flavor works so well with rhubarb.

  • Reply
    Lynn A
    April 13, 2018 at 10:37 am

    I absolutely love rhubarb! Every place I have ever lived, I’ve started a patch. Sadly, only once was I there long enough to actually harvest it! I’m kind of like the Johnny Appleseed of rhubarb! This looks like a wonderful, simple to make, little bit of heaven!!

    • Reply
      April 13, 2018 at 11:41 am

      Love this Lynn! Leaving a great garden can be heartbreaking. I hope you’ve got some rhubarb in the ground right now :)

  • Reply
    April 13, 2018 at 8:53 am

    I absolutely love rhubarb and usually make a rhubarb crisp! I just purchased some cardamom, I have never used it before. I’m intrigued, though! I think your crisp is the first thing I will make with it!

    • Reply
      April 13, 2018 at 9:43 am

      I use cardamom all the time, Beth, it’s more subtle than cinnamon, and I love it.

  • Reply
    Zuzana Paar
    April 13, 2018 at 8:23 am

    Rhubarb is my favorite, so this is a must even without your ordering. ;)

    • Reply
      April 13, 2018 at 8:35 am

      haha, I’m glad. My mouth waters just looking at it, I wish it was in season longer.

  • Reply
    April 13, 2018 at 8:22 am

    This takes me back to my childhood when my Nan would make amazing rhubarb desserts. This cardamom version sounds anazing.

  • Reply
    Dawn - Girl Heart Food
    April 13, 2018 at 8:15 am

    We grow rhubarb in our garden and I look forward to it every year! This looks delicious Sue! Love the touch of cardamom :)

    • Reply
      April 13, 2018 at 8:18 am

      I’m not sure I can grow rhubarb here in southern California, I’d love to try!

  • Reply
    April 13, 2018 at 8:05 am

    This looks wonderful. A perfect taste of spring!

  • Reply
    Camilla Hawkins
    April 13, 2018 at 7:57 am

    This looks very similar to what we call crumble in the UK. I adore rhubarb so would love to try this variation:-)

    • Reply
      April 13, 2018 at 7:59 am

      The names are interchangeable here, Camilla, but I prefer ‘crisp’ because it sounds so good!

  • Reply
    April 13, 2018 at 7:46 am

    wow! this crisp looks delicious! I bet the cardamom & vanilla pair well with rhubarb. YUM!

  • Reply
    Angie@Angie's Recipes
    April 13, 2018 at 3:49 am

    The ruby rhubarb you have here looks so beautiful….bet the crisp taste heavenly!