What is rhubarb?Rhubarb is a perennial plant with long pink/red stems (petioles) and large green leaves. The stems are used in a variety of culinary executions but the leaves contain oxalic acid and are thus inedible. Nearly half of all rhubarb grown in the United States hails from the Pacific Northwest, where is is harvested in late spring and early summer. Around the world it is a common produce item in heated greenhouses.
What does rhubarb taste like?Rhubarb has as astringent, tart, and vegetal taste. For this reason, it is often stewed with sugar to sweeten. The texture of the stalks is similar to a fibrous celery, though it is more dense. I do not recommend eating rhubarb raw as it is very tough.
Is rhubarb a fruit or a vegetable?Though technically a vegetable, rhubarb is often treated like a fruit in recipes. Its most common culinary use is in strawberry-rhubarb pie. However, it can also be pickled, mixed with fruit juice, and added in cocktails.
What is the difference between a rhubarb crisp, crumble, and cobbler?Rhubarb crumbles and crisps both have a cooked & sweetened fruit base and a streusel topping made of flour, sugar and butter. Some people say that a crisp topping contains oats and a crumble topping does not, but in many instances the terms crisp and crumble are used interchangeably. Cobblers have a similar fruity base to crisps and crumbles but instead have a formed biscuit topping.
How to Make Brown Butter Rhubarb Crumble
- Add sliced rhubarb to a large bowl and combine with lemon juice, lemon zest, cane sugar, and vanilla extract. Add into a glass pie pan or 8 x 8 glass dish and set a timer to bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F.
- Brown your butter on the stovetop.
- While butter is browning, combine rolled oats, flour, cinnamon, cardamom (if using), salt, and chopped walnuts in a medium-sized bowl.
- When butter has finished browning, immediately add to bowl with oat mixture. Stir to combine.
- When rhubarb is finished softening in the oven, remove and add crumble topping. Bake for 25-30 more minutes, until bubbling and golden brown on top. Remove from oven and enjoy with vanilla ice cream.
How to Stew RhubarbTo stew rhubarb, place it in an oven at 350 degrees F and let cook for 20-25 minutes. “Stewing” in this instance means that we are slowly cooking the rhubarb to soften it by letting it release juices. Since it is very tough while raw, baking the rhubarb for 20 minutes before adding our crumble topping allows it to soften and create a jam-like base for this dessert.
Can you freeze cooked rhubarb crumble or make it ahead?Yes! To prep this recipe ahead, you have a few options:
- Prep the browned butter crumble topping and rhubarb filling separately (without baking) and refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze each until ready to use. Thaw topping at room temperature, spread in a pan, and add oat mixture as usual.
- Wrap the cooked crumble (once cooled) and freeze whole. Reheat in a 350 degree F oven for 10 minutes, until bubbling.
Substitution Options for this Brown Butter Rhubarb Crumble Recipe
- Quick oats can be used in place of whole rolled oats.
- If you’d like to skip browning the butter, feel free to simply melt it or substitute canola oil (it will have a less rich taste this way but will still be good).
- The walnuts can be left out of the crumble topping or replaced with slivered almonds or pistachios.
- Any kind of traditional “pie” fruit can be used in place of the rhubarb as the base! You may want to slightly adjust the level of sugar, but I recommend trying strawberries, blueberries, peaches, or apples.
Other Fruit and Oat DessertsGrilled Peaches with Cinnamon Sugar Crispies Cranberry Crumble Pie Cranberry Cornbread Crisp
More Rhubarb RecipesRhubarb Shrub Roasted Rhubarb Sandwich Tessellated Rhubarb Almond Cake Strawberry Rhubarb Margaritas Print
Brown Butter Rhubarb Crumble
- Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
- Diet: Vegan
This recipe for Brown Butter Rhubarb Crumble is tart, sweet, and slightly spiced with notes of cinnamon and cardamom. Flexible enough for a weeknight dessert, this customizable crisp recipe is a guaranteed crowd pleaser! A dish that is naturally vegan with gluten-free options.
- 6 large stalks rhubarb, sliced into 1/4 inch-wide half moon shapes (6–7 cups once sliced)
- 1 cup sliced strawberries (optional)
- Juice from 1/2 large lemon (2–3 TBS), + 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
- 1 TBS vanilla extract
For crumble topping:
- 6 TBS butter (vegan as needed)
- 1 cup rolled oats
- Scant 1/2 cup all purpose flour (or oat flour if GF)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom (or more cinnamon)
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup maple syrup, optional
Vanilla ice cream, for serving
- Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F. You will be par-cooking the rhubarb to soften it before adding the crumble topping. Add sliced rhubarb and optional strawberries to a large bowl and combine with lemon juice, lemon zest, cornstarch, cane sugar, and vanilla extract. Add into a glass pie pan or 8 x 8 glass dish and set a timer to bake for 20-25 minutes, until some juices have released from the rhubarb.
- While rhubarb is softening, begin browning butter by adding it to a skillet over medium heat on the stovetop. Stir consistently to melt and let it take on some color. Actually getting the butter to the “browned” state should take around 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring intermittently. It is finished when it smells nutty and has darkened in color. You will know that it’s burned if it starts giving off an acrid smell (try to avoid this by keeping an eye on it).
- While butter is browning, combine rolled oats, flour, cinnamon, cardamom (if using), salt, chopped walnuts, and optional maple syrup in a medium-sized bowl.
- When butter has finished browning, immediately add to bowl with oat mixture. Use a spatula to stir together to combine. It should have a texture similar to wet sand.
- When rhubarb is finished softening in the oven, remove and add crumble topping (spreading across the entire surface in clumps). Place baking dish on a cookie sheet (to catch any overflow juices). Bake for 25-30 more minutes, until bubbling and golden brown on top. Remove from oven and enjoy with vanilla ice cream.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Category: Dessert
- Serving Size: 1/8 of recipe
- Calories: 229 calories
- Sugar: 13.4 grams
- Sodium: 124 milligrams
- Fat: 12.8 grams
- Saturated Fat: 6.5 grams
- Unsaturated Fat: 6.3 grams
- Trans Fat: 0 grams
- Carbohydrates: 26.6 grams
- Fiber: 2.5 grams
- Protein: 3.3 grams
- Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
Keywords: rhubarb, crumble, crisp, brown butter
Perfect way to use my young rhubarb!
I hope you like it!!!
Britta Handyside says
In the oven and the smell is tantalizing!
Thank you for leaving a comment, Britta!!
I’ve been craving a fruit dessert, so pulled strawberries and last summer’s rhubarb out of the freezer – delicious with this crispy brown butter topping. Love it!
plus its such a good idea to thaw the frozen fruit in the oven while mixing up the topping…why did I never think of that??
Yum, my favorite!!
Susannah Weis says
This recipe never disappoints!
One of my favorites too – thank you for rating!!