Rhubarb crumble is a timeless dessert that combines the tartness of rhubarb with a sweet and buttery crumbly topping. This delightful treat has been enjoyed for generations, and its popularity has not waned over time. 

Rhubarb crumble can trace its roots back to England, where rhubarb has been cultivated since the 17th century, but it also grows very well in Ireland and is a firm favorite during the summer months. Initially, rhubarb was used primarily for medicinal purposes due to its purgative properties. However, its unique flavor and vibrant color soon caught the attention of chefs and home cooks, leading to the development of various rhubarb-based recipes, including the beloved rhubarb crumble.

Here are some fun facts about the highly underused, easy-to-grow plant:

- Although rhubarb is usually used in sweet dishes it is actually a vegetable.

- It grows very easily in Ireland and is a feature of backyards across the country.

- Earliest records date back to 2700 BC in China where rhubarb was cultivated for medicinal purposes (it has purgative qualities).

- A New York court decided in 1947 that since it was used in the United States as a fruit, it counted as a fruit for the purposes of regulations and duties.

- The pinkest stalks are the tenderest.

Rhubarb crumble recipe

Here’s the recipe:

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: Serves 4


- 12 stalks of fresh rhubarb, washed, cut into 5cm/ 2" pieces
- 4 tbsp water
- 8 tbsp fine sugar
- 110g/ 4oz butter, cut into small cubes
- 110g/ 4 oz fine sugar
- 180g/6oz plain flour


Heat the oven to 180° C/350° F/Gas 4.

Place the rhubarb, water, and sugar into a 4cm/1½in deep ovenproof dish.

In a baking bowl rub the butter, sugar, and flour together until it resembles fine sand, then sprinkle over the rhubarb.

Bake in the oven until light brown on the surface, approx 45 mins - 1 hour.

Serve piping hot from the oven with custard or ice cream.