Rhubarb Crisp

May 29, 2019

Rhubarb Crisp is one of our family’s favorite springtime desserts.  Ruby red chunks of fresh rhubarb are combined with Maine maple syrup, covered with a topping of rolled oats, coconut, brown sugar and butter, and baked until the filling is set and the top is golden brown and crunchy.  The flavor is first tart and then sweet, that finishes with a generous, satisfying crunch.

Simpler to prepare than a pie, this one dish treat is an easy dessert to whip up for a crowd.

Doubling the recipe so that it fits in a 9 by 13 inch pan easily feeds 16 or more folks.

Rhubarb Crisp travels well to a potluck supper or picnic, and is delicious as a morning or afternoon snack.  My daughter Laurel even enjoys it for breakfast!

There are many recipes for crisps, cobblers and crumbles…all delectable…with similar components of fruit, grains, sweeteners, and fat.  While cobblers feature a biscuit-like topping, crisps and crumbles combine butter, sugar and grains or nuts with spices to produce the textured topping we all enjoy.

The crisp is a fairly modern dessert that became mainstream in American cuisine in the 1930’s.  Like many regional recipes, the formula for Rhubarb Crisp is merely a guide.  I have prepared this dish with a combination of many fruits: apples and rhubarb, strawberries and rhubarb, peaches and apples, even wild blueberries and rhubarb. Be adventuresome!

I like the flavor of maple syrup with my fruit, but cane sugar works just as well.  By thickening the fruit with cornstarch and preparing the topping with oatmeal and coconut, this dessert contains no wheat products.

Enjoy nuts?  Try using almonds or walnuts instead of unsweetened coconut flakes.  Cooking for vegans?  Substitute coconut oil for the butter.  Be sure to adjust the amount of sweetener depending upon the sweetness of the fruit, and bake your crisp, aka work-of-art, long enough for the juices to bubble and the dessert to set-up.


Cheryl Wixson
Too tart for your taste? Try a mixture of apples or strawberries with the rhubarb


  • 5 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 2/3 cup Maine maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 cup oatmeal (rolled oats not quick cooking)
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg


  • Generously butter a 10-inch round pan or an 8-inch square pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Wash and chop the rhubarb.
  • In a large bowl, combine the rhubarb with the Maine maple syrup and cornstarch.
  • Add the oatmeal, coconut flakes, brown sugar, butter and spices to the bowl of your food processor. Process until the mixture is crumbly.
  • Add the chopped rhubarb to the baking pan. Spread the topping evenly over the rhubarb mixture.
  • Bake until the crisp is bubbly and the juices have turned clear, about 50 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool.
  • Serve with a dollop of whipped cream, ice cream, or yogurt.

Cheryl's Notes

Makes 8 generous servings.
Nutritional analysis per serving: 230 calories, 2.5 grams protein, 40 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams fat, 25 mg. sodium, 3 grams fiber.

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