Rhubarb recipes from easy rhubarb cakes, muffins, and scones, to rhubarb jelly, salad dressing, and ice cream!
It’s is one of the culinary joys of springtime ~ but if you’re confused about how to use rhubarb in recipes, you’re not alone. No worries! I’ve got lots of delicious ways to make the most of that beautiful pink color and bright, tangy flavor..
what is rhubarb?
It looks like celery, but we’re supposed to use it in desserts? ~ what exactly is rhubarb, anyway? (If you didn’t grow up with it, rhubarb can be something of a mystery.)
Rhubarb is technically a vegetable, but it’s used as a fruit for culinary purposes. It’s a perennial that is well known for being one of the earliest spring edibles available. On its own, it is very sour. But add some sugar or mix it with other sweet fruits like strawberries, and it’s heavenly!
why is my rhubarb green?
Rhubarb stalks can range in color from pale green to pale pink to deep crimson. The flavor will be the same, though, so no worries.
can I grow rhubarb?
Yes! If you live in a climate where the ground freezes in winter, chances are you can grow rhubarb. Generally rhubarb needs a cold winter where temperatures dip below freezing in order to grow, and is considered hardy in zones 3-8. It’s a perennial, meaning it’ll come back year after year, and is a very tough, hardy plant.
Most rhubarb plants need to be dug up and divided after several years for optimum health. This is a great opportunity to share you plants with friends, or expand your rhubarb plot!
is rhubarb healthy?
Yes! like all fruits and veggies rhubarb has a lot to offer nutritionally, including calcium, Lutein (fights cancer) Vitamin K, and antioxidants.
how to use rhubarb in recipes
We eat just the stalks of rhubarb, the leaves are poisonous, so slice them off.
Because it’s so tart, rhubarb generally needs a significant amount of sugar, or another sweet ingredient paired with it to be palatable. Strawberries are a classic companion with rhubarb, and luckily come into season around the same time.
You can chop the stalks and use them like you would berries or other fruit in baking. You can also stew rhubarb and make a compote, puree, sauce, etc. If the stalks are very large or fibrous, you can peel the stringy outer parts of the stems with a vegetable peeler.
can you freeze rhubarb?
Rhubarb freezes beautifully. Slice it and lay it out on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Put the pan in the freezer and freeze until solid. Then transfer the rhubarb to a freezer style zip lock baggie or airtight container.
do I need to thaw rhubarb before using it in a recipe?
In most cases there’s no need to thaw the rhubarb when you want to use it for cooking, or baking, just use it frozen.
my favorite rhubarb recipes
Rhubarb is really very versatile, it works well in all sorts of recipes, not just desserts! Here are a few delicious examples…
I think the sublime color alone is enough reason to make this jelly, but the fragrant combo of vanilla bean and fruity rhubarb is a close second! It’s so good with scones, and it makes a pretty spectacular pb&j sandwich.
This recipe is the perfect way to welcome rhubarb season with open arms. It’s simple, comforting, and it’s one of those gems of a recipe that works just as well for breakfast, afternoon snacks, or dessert!
Scones are so easy to whip together and will keep you having breakfast in style all week long. These pretty rhubarb-studded ones would be at home on any pretty brunch or afternoon tea spread. I especially love them slathered with homemade clotted cream!
Fruit curd is one of my favorite things to make, and rhubarb’s sharp tang makes it the perfect stand-in for classic lemon. Use your creamy curd on toast, scones, biscuits, swirled into yogurt, or simply eat it with a spoon, it’s that good!
This simple breakfast cake pairs rhubarb and almond, a match made in heaven. It’s another simple cake that works well for so many different kinds of occasions ~ not to fancy to whip up “just because,” but pretty and delicious enough to bring to the table for a special breakfast or brunch.
Crisps are such an easy dessert and lend themselves really well to adapting to gluten free diets. I paired rhubarb with warm vanilla, cardamom and a crunchy, nutty crisp topping for the ultimate springtime dessert.
Somewhere between a curd, a compote, and a jam, this small batch fruit butter is a great way to use up rhubarb and make a versatile ingredient that can be used on toast, added to yogurt, or kept in the freezer for enjoying the bright taste of springtime later in the year.
Rhubarb’s natural tartness makes it an ideal ingredient for a delicious dressing to perk up any veggies you’ve got laying around. I made mine into cute little party-ready cups, but this same formula will make a delicious casual snack platter or tossed salad, too!
My rhubarb crumble tart is a juicy shortbread tart warmed up with vanilla bean and a buttery oatmeal crumble topping.
I love the contrast here between thick, creamy greek yogurt and fruity, tart rhubarb swirled together. Popsicles are such a fun project for the spring and summer, and I love to adapt my flavors all season long with whatever’s fresh!
Tender and fluffy one bowl muffins with a featherweight streusel topping. (If you haven’t baked with rhubarb yet this season, it’s time to get your act together!)
It’s an unusual and exciting combination that works so well in this unique ice cream. This is a flavor you won’t find in the ice cream aisle, and that’s exactly why I love my ice cream maker in the spring and summer months.