Rhubarb Sauce

fresh rhubarb sauce over vanilla ice cream in a bowl
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The Editors
Stella Van Vloten, North Easton, Massachusetts
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This old-fashioned rhubarb sauce is wonderful when spread on toast or English muffins, but it’s just as good drizzled on ice cream or yellow cake. Importantly, it’s an easy way to use and freeze rhubarb.

“I remember so well the time in the early 1920s spent with my aunt and two cousins in Salem Depot, New Hampshire, every summer. My aunt was a wonderful cook, and one of the things I remember most is the rhubarb sauce she made. After I was married in 1936, she gave me her recipe for “Rhubarb Sauce.” I have shared it with many friends, and everyone agrees: Follow the recipe to a T, and you will have the most delicious rhubarb sauce you have ever tasted.” 
—Stella Van Vloten, North Easton, Massachusetts

A few notes:

  • There are many varieties of rhubarb, and Victoria Cherry Rhubarb is one of the best, with deep red stalks.
  • You can try the recipe with less sugar or substitute an artificial sweetener if you wish, but we like the original recipe. 
  • If you over-sweeten your rhubarb you can counteract it by adding 1/2 tsp or more citric acid.
  • Some people used to enjoy rhubarb sauce, much like applesauce! You can add nutmeg to the top if you like.
  • You can store it in the freezer if you wish, and it’s convenient to have it on hand for unexpected coffee guests.
  • Otherwise, keep the rhubarb sauce in the fridge. It won’t last long!

For more rhubarb dishes, see our Best Rhubarb Recipes!

2 cups water
2 even cups sugar
3 pounds rhubarb cut into 1-inch pieces
  1. Make a syrup with the water and sugar. Boil together a few minutes.
  2. Add rhubarb to syrup. Then, when it starts boiling in the center, watch closely and let boil just 1 minute.
  3. Now here is the trick that makes ordinary rhubarb sauce a Sauce Deluxe: Pour into a bowl or pan with a tight cover. Leave tightly covered until cold, and you will find a sauce very different from any you have ever eaten.
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