Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars are such a delicious summertime treat! They are so easy to make and loaded with sweet strawberries, brown sugar, oats, and fresh rhubarb - it will be hard to stop at just one.
I’m going to be completely honest - rhubarb is a little intimidating. It sounds kind of scary, looks like a strange fusion of celery and swiss chard, and if not cooked right, it can taste… not awesome. Until I learned to cook it properly, I was not a fan of rhubarb. I tried it when I was a kid (when it was not cooked properly, so, of course, I didn't like it) and I never tried it again.
When I saw it recently at the farmers market, it grabbed my attention and I decided to give it another try. Everyone always pairs it with berries, so that seemed like a safe place to start.
I decided to try making Strawberry Rhubarb Bars because strawberries are always delicious. Well, once I made them, my opinion changed on rhubarb. Whether you like rhubarb or not, or have never tried it, I highly suggest making this recipe!
- Fresh Rhubarb
- Fresh Strawberries
- Lemon Juice
- All-purpose Flour
- Old Fashioned Oats
- Brown Sugar
- Butter - softened
- Baking Soda
- Powdered Sugar
Can You Use Frozen Fruit in Strawberry Rhubarb Bars?
Yes, you absolutely can. Since the fruit in this recipe is being cooked, it will be delicious whether it is fresh or frozen. We love to freeze fresh fruit to be able to enjoy it when it is out of season.
What is Rhubarb?
That is the question my 9-year-old asked me when I told her I was going to make these bars. And I had to think about it...really, what is rhubarb? Is it a fruit or a vegetable? I had to look it up!
Rhubarb is actually a vegetable, but it is usually combined or prepared with fruit in desserts like pie. It has a very tart flavor, so eating it plain is not recommended. It tastes much better once combined with fruit and/or sugar. (Most things are better with sugar.)
Important Rhubarb Tip: You should only eat the stems - rhubarb leaves are not safe to eat.
Where can you find rhubarb? You can find fresh rhubarb at your local farmer's market or at most grocery stores in the produce department when it is in season.
When is rhubarb in season? Depending on your location, rhubarb can be found throughout the summer, from the end of March through August. Some people grow it in a greenhouse, so you can get an early crop and in places where summer doesn’t really start until August, rhubarb starts coming around in July.
Rhubarb stems have a beautiful look to them. To me, they look like they were painted with watercolors.
How to Make Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars:
First, Prepare the Fruit:
This recipe is like most of the recipes I love to make, quick and easy.
Wash the strawberries and pat them dry or let them sit on a towel to dry. Wash the rhubarb and dry with a towel.
To wash the strawberries and rhubarb, you can just run them under warm water and give them a gentle rub to rinse off the dirt, etc.
Slice up the rhubarb into ½" slices and set them aside. Slice up the strawberries into thin slices and discard the stems. Set the sliced strawberries aside along with the rhubarb.
Once you have your strawberries and rhubarb washed and cut up, mix them together with the lemon juice in a medium-sized pot. Cover and cook on medium heat on the stovetop for 8-12 minutes or until the fruit is tender. Stir occasionally.
Then mix together the granulated sugar and cornstarch in a bowl. Add that to the fruit mixture. Stir constantly and bring the fruit mixture to a boil. The cornstarch will thicken up the fruit mixture.
Once it reaches a boil, cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and set aside.
Preheat your oven to 350°F and grease your 13 x 9 pan with butter.
How to Assemble Strawberry Rhubarb Bars:
Place all the crust ingredients into a bowl. Using a pastry blender or the back of a fork, combine the ingredients until they resemble coarse crumbs.
Recipe tip: It is really important to have softened butter for this step. If the butter is still hard, it will be tough to combine it with the other ingredients and make the crumbs.
Take out 1 ½ cups of the crumb mixture out and place it into a small bowl. Set that aside for later.
Press the rest of the crumb mixture into your greased 13 x 9 baking pan. Use a spatula or the back of a fork to gently press the crumbs down into the pan.
Pour the fruit mixture over the crust. Spread the mixture evenly over the crust.
Now grab those crumbs you set aside and sprinkle them over the top, covering the entire fruit mixture.
Bake at 350°F for 30 - 35 minutes until golden brown. Let the bars cool completely. If you are adding the glaze, make sure the bars are cooled before adding it.
The glaze is optional. I have made it with and without the glaze and both ways it was delicious. The glaze adds a little more sweetness to the dessert.
How to make the glaze:
If you decide to add the glaze, just mix the powdered sugar and milk until you have a good frosting consistency.
Start with one tablespoon of milk. We like to have the glaze a little thicker so we use just one tablespoon. If you like it thinner, you can add a little more milk at a time to get the consistency you prefer.
Drizzle the glaze over the bars evenly.
If you have Pyrex measuring cups or a bowl with a spout then that would be helpful for this step. Then you can easily drizzle the glaze over the bars right from there.
Recipe tip: If you don't have a bowl or measuring cup with a spout, then you can use a pastry bag to drizzle the glaze. You can also use a plastic sandwich bag for this step. Simply cut off a small corner of the bag, pour the glaze in it, seal up the bag and drizzle away.
Make sure to only cut off a small corner of the bag. If too much is cut off, the glaze might come out too fast and make a mess. Also, remember to seal the bag so it doesn't drip out all over your hands!
This is one of our favorite strawberry recipes to make. My family and I love these bars! My daughter told me they were so good we could sell them!
Frequently Asked Questions
If the butter is right out of the refrigerator it will be too hard and won't combine easily with the other ingredients.
A good way to tell when the butter is softened enough is to gently press down on the butter. If you make a slight indent on the butter, it is good to use for the crumbs. If you are short on time to soften the butter, don't worry. You can find how to soften it quickly here.
The stems of rhubarb are the only safe part of the rhubarb plant to eat - the leaves are toxic to humans. I would also recommend cooking the stems before eating them. They don’t taste that great on their own (but they are great when combined with fruit and sugar!)
Craving more strawberry recipes?
One of my favorite strawberry recipes is this Strawberry Spinach Salad. Made with fresh strawberries and topped with a delicious and easy-to-make homemade dressing. So good and a great side dish recipe! We also love making Strawberry Shortcake with Angel Food Cake. It is so easy to make and it is so good.
This recipe for Strawberry Pineapple Smoothies is also so refreshing - and nutritious too!
Looking for more easy dessert recipes?
I love making quick and easy desserts, that are delicious but don't keep you in the kitchen all day! Here are a few of my favorites that I like to make... No-Bake Eclair Cake, Puff Pastry Dessert Hearts, and Homemade Brownies.
Did you make this recipe? If so, please leave a comment and rating below. I love hearing from you.
Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars
- 1½ cups fresh rhubarb cut into ½ inch pieces
- 1 ½ cups sliced fresh strawberries
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups old fashioned oats
- 1 cup brown sugar firmly packed
- ¾ cup butter softened
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons milk
- Combine the rhubarb, strawberries, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Cover and cook on medium heat for 8 - 12 minutes or until fruit is tender, stirring occasionally.1½ cups fresh rhubarb, 1 ½ cups sliced fresh strawberries, 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Mix together the ½ cup granulated sugar and cornstarch in a bowl. Stir into the fruit mixture. Continue cooking, stirring constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. Continue boiling one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and set aside.½ cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease your 13 x 9 baking pan with butter.
- Combine all crust ingredients in a bowl. Using a pastry blender or the back of a fork, combine the ingredients until they resemble coarse crumbs.1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, 1 ½ cups old fashioned oats, 1 cup brown sugar, ¾ cup butter, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ¼ teaspoon salt
- Reserve 1 ½ cups crumb mixture. Press the remaining crumb mixture into a greased 13x9 baking pan using a spatula or the back of a fork. Spread filling over the crust. Sprinkle with the reserved crumb mixture.
- Bake 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely.
How to make the glaze (optional):
- Whisk together one tablespoon of milk with the powdered sugar until you have a good frosting consistency. If you prefer a thicker glaze, add another tablespoon. (My family likes it thicker so we make it with one tablespoons.)1-2 tablespoons milk, ½ cup powdered sugar
- Drizzle over the cooled bars.
Update Note: This recipe was originally posted in 2016, but was published again in 2022 to include step-by-step directions and new photos.