Rhubarb Crumble


Bright pink and fruity rhubarb, baked with sugar, vanilla, and cardamom, with brown sugar, butter, and flour crumble topping.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

When my father was a kid growing up in Minnesota, in the summer he used to love to chew on rhubarb that grew like a weed around there, RAW.

That’s right. Raw. (The stalks, not the leaves which are poisonous.)

Have you ever tried biting into a piece of raw rhubarb stalk? I dare you. It’s like a hundred times more sour than a lemon (okay maybe a little exaggeration here). It’s screaming tart. It’s “what was I thinking?” tart.

Anyway, rhubarb is not safe around this house. The refrigerator half life for rhubarb is a couple hours at best. This last bunch we put to work into this lovely rhubarb crumble!

Rhubarb Crumble

Taking a tip from The Flavor Bible, I added a touch of cardamom to the vanilla and rhubarb in the filling, rhubarb+cardamom+vanilla being one of those match-made-in-heaven flavor combinations.

Another favorite combo with rhubarb that I love is ginger and orange zest, which would also work great with this crumble. Feel free to experiment.

The only thing you need to really keep an eye on is making sure you have enough sugar to balance out the tartness of the rhubarb.

The ratio of rhubarb to sugar in this recipe is perfect for us, but if it ends up being too tart for you, add a little more sugar, or just eat with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or even straight cream.

Rhubarb Crumble Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Cooling time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8



  • 2 lbs rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

Crumble Topping:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick or 4 ounces), cut into cubes


1 Preheat oven to 375°F.

2 Toss rhubarb with sugar, flour, vanilla, cardamom: In a medium sized bowl, mix together the rhubarb, white sugar, 1/4 cup of flour, the vanilla extract, and the ground cardamom.

Spoon into a 9x13-inch baking dish.

3 Make topping: In a food processor, pulse together 1 cup of flour, the salt, and the brown sugar. Add the butter and pulse until the pieces of butter are pea-sized. (Alternatively, mix the dry ingredients together and cut the butter in with two knives or a pastry cutter.)

Spread topping mixture over rhubarb mixture.

4 Bake: Place in oven and bake at 375°F for 35-45 minutes, until the filling is bubbly and the topping is lightly browned. Let cool for at least a half an hour before serving.

Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

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Adapted from Catherine Newman's Rhubarb Crumble in Oprah Magazine, May 2009.

Rhubarb Crumble

Showing 4 of 21 Comments / Reviews

  • Heidi G

    I made this today after reading your Rhubarb Berry Pie recipe… so I decided to add strawberries and blackberries to the crumble. DELICIOUS. The cardamom is amazing. I can see how a bit of orange zest would be great too. I just love your family recipes. They’re all winners!

  • Chris

    I dug this up because I was looking for something to make with rhubarb. Because of another recipe I found I added apple pieces to the mix after cooking. Then – since I had some left over pie crust in the freezer – I made it as a pie topped with the Streusel on top. Like a Rhubarb Crumble & Rhubarb Pie in one fine dish :)
    My husband ate almost half a pie in one go.

  • Jillian

    This looks like such a tasty recipe! I was wondering if you would change anything if you were using frozen rhubarb?

    I would just make sure the rhubarb was well defrosted and drained first. ~Elise

  • Diane Cook

    I totally agree with your use of cardamom and rhubarb together; fantastic flavor combination! With a recent surge of requests at work for my rhubarb crunch, I compared your recipe to mine, which my high school Home Ec teacher gave our senior cooking class back in 1967. Both are essentially the same, but mine has a cup of old-fashioned oats added to the topping. To adjust your recipe, as well as adding the oats, add 1/4 c. (1/2 stick) of additional butter.

    I love the Simply Recipes site. I can’t go more than a couple days without finding something to try!

  • zoemaya

    I made something like this for my partner on his birthday this year. Rather than adding a lot of sugar to the mix, we cut part of it out and added sweet fruits (strawberries and raspberries). We also added some oats to the crumble topping. so delicious! We met a cardamom farmer when we were in central america, we will definitely be using some of his gift to us in the next rhubarb treat. Thanks Elise (and The Flavor Bible!).

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