Favorite Rhubarb Recipes

Rhubarb Pie, Bread, Sauce, and More!

April 27, 2020
Rhubarb Coffee Cake
Sam Jones/Quinn Brein

Ready for rhubarb recipes? In pioneer days, rhubarb was literally called the “pie plant” (for obvious reasons). The tart flavor bakes nicely into pies, crumbles, breads and cakes, and also adds a tangy flavor to savory dishes. You can also try making a rhubarb julep! See 15 ways to use rhubarb. 

Rhubarb is a perennial plant with stalks that resemble celery. But here, the difference ends. The tart, sour flavor of rhubarb is like nothing else.  In the garden, rhubarb is an ornamental vegetable, however it’s cooked and eaten as a fruit in the kitchen thanks to how well it works as a complement to sweet ingredients.

Many folks combine rhubarb with strawberries, blueberries, or other fruits to balance its tartness. However, there are some of us rhubarb fanatics who prefer the unadultrated wonderful sour taste of pure rhubarb. Don’t oversugar if you don’t want to hide it’s tart spirit!

Rhubarb Pies

Latticed-Topped Rhubarb Pe

Rhubarb pie is often welcomed as the first fruit pie of spring. Here is a straight-up rhubarb pie recipe—especially for those who simply want that unique tart rhubarb flavor to come through strong!

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Photo: Tammy Venezia/Shutterstock

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

Strawberries and rhubarb are a classic combination. The sweet and sour fruit flavors compliment each other.

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Photo: Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Raspberry-Rhubarb Pie

Although we adore the combination of rhubarb and strawberries, we have found one that may be even better: raspberries and rhubarb!

Raspberry-Rhubarb Pie. Photo by Sam Jones/Quinn Brein
Photo: Sam Jones/Quinn Brein

Rhubarb Breads

Rhubarb Bread

A very moist quick bread best suited for breakfast or tea time. After baking, let loaf sit for 10 to 15 minutes before turning it out of the pan. Cool completely—preferably overnight—before slicing.

Rhubarb bread
Photo by Timolina/Shutterstock.

Rhubarb Muffins

These pack ‘n go rhubarb muffins will make your day a little brighter!

Rhubarb muffins
Photo by Brooke Becker/Shutterstock.

Rhubarb Cakes

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

What better way to start the morning than with a steaming mug of coffee and a generous slice of tangy rhubarb coffee cake with cinnamon-sugar topping?

Rhubarb coffee cake
Photo by Sam Jones/Quinn Brein.

Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

Rows of rosy rhubarb, glistening with reduced orange juice, make this Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake particularly beautiful.

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Photo: Anna Witkiewicz/shutterstock

Rhubarb Crunches

Cherry-Rhubarb Crunch

Even if you don’t usually pair rhubarb, we’d recommend this cherry/rhubarb crunch! Cherry isn’t too sweet and this makes a wonderfully flavorful dessert!

Rhubarb crunch
Photo by Sam Jones/Quinn Brein.

Apple-Rhubarb Crunch

See our video on how to make this delicious Apple-Rhubarb Crunch! Or, go straight to the recipe.

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Soups

Strawberry-Rhubarb Soup

This special blend of flavors works as well in soup as it does in pie.

Rhubarb soup
Photo by Lesya Dolyuk/Shutterstock.

Rhubarb Drinks

Rhubarb Punch

This refreshing Rhubarb Punch is cheering and unexpected, and gets such a pretty pink hue from the rhubarb. 

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Rhubarb Julep

Make a Rhubarb Julep! It’s a creative way to use fresh spring rhubarb—plus, it’s something a little different for julep fans!

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Rhubarb Jam, Chutney, Sauce

Blueberry-Rhubarb Jam

Rhubarb adds a pleasant tartness to this jam, and the blueberries provide color and texture.

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Photo: Torok-Bognar Renata/Shutterstock.

Rhubarb Sauce

We love this rhubarb sauce!!! Put it on ice cream, oatmeal, anything!

Rhubarb Sauce
Photo by Shutterstock.

Rhubarb Chutney

Serve this tangy condiment alongside chicken or turkey. Or, spread on bread or crackers as an appetizer with goat cheese and apples.

Rhubarb Chutney. Photo by Sam Jones/Quinn Brein

Rhubarb Sauce for Savory Dishes

Rhubarb sauce works in savory dishes, too, adding a wonderfully tangy flavor to chicken, pork, lamb, or game. Here is a simple sauce to heat up:

  • Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauce pan. Add a ½ cup of chopped onion and 1 minced garlic clove. Cook for a minute. Stir in 1 cup of chicken broth. Then add 2 cups of chopped rhubarb, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried). Simmer 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Optional: Stir in a tablespoon or two of melted butter for a more buttery sauce. 

Rhubarb Trivia

Did you know that the word “rhubarb” has other meanings?

  • It’s known that mumbling “rhubarb, rhubarb” when you have nothing else to say at parties will get you by (it closely mimics background chatter).
  • “Rhubarb!” is also an expression of exasperation used especially on the baseball field.
  • Perhaps you’ve seen “Rhubarb,” the 1951 film starring a cat that inherits a baseball team?
  • Rhubarb is an ancient plant traced back to China in 2700 BC. It was used for medicinal purposes—as a laxative, to reduce fever and cleanse the body. 
  • Rhubarb leaves are mildly poisonous, so ONLY use the stalks in recipes. 
  • Try growing rhubarb in your garden! See our Growing Guide for Rhubarb.
  • Did you know that you can lighten hair naturally rhubarb? See how.

Reader Comments

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Savory Rhubarb

I had so much rhubarb last year I chopped it up and froze it in zip lock bags. Just on a lark, I pulled it out and added it to a stir fry and, wow, was that good. It added a nice tart, tangy addition to spark up the usual. I have since added it to soups and stews and now love it in savory dishes. Rhubarb ...not just for pie!

Rhubarb Recipe from "OldenDays"

Looking for the recipe for stovetop rhubarb 1/2 hour pudding, like my mother made years ago. It starts out by cooking rhubarb in a saucepan, with sugar & cinnamon. THen adding a flour mixture, covering with a lid and removing from the burner.

another option

The Editors's picture

Love raspberries? Rhubarb does too! Try substituting raspberries in a crisp! It’s delish!