Homemade Rhubarb Ice Cream

Homemade rhubarb ice cream in small glass dishes

Rhubarb Ice Cream is a throwback to simpler times when you made your own frozen treats every summer with ingredients you grew yourself. But even if you don’t have a backyard patch or a rhubarb sharing neighbor, grab yours from the produce aisle, this is too good to miss!

rhubarb ice cream in a small ice cream dish

Rhubarb makes a fabulous ice cream flavor because of its natural tartness.

Rhubarb is famously tangy, and that actually helps the flavor shine through in this creamy ice cream (you can taste a similar effect in my fresh lemon ice cream). The perfect soft pink color comes from several stalks of rhubarb sliced and cooked down into a thick compote, it takes just a few minutes on the stove. After chilling I fold into a classic vanilla custard ice cream base. It churns up into the prettiest summer ice cream you’ve ever seen. Oh, and definitely steal a taste while it’s churning, that’s one of the best perks of making your own.

rhubarb stalks

My rhubarb ice cream recipe starts with a few cups of sliced rhubarb.

It’s actually a vegetable, but we tend to use it as a fruit in cooking. You can see it looks like celery, even though the two aren’t related at all. You can eat the stalks raw, but they’re suuuuuper tart (not recommended,) so most of the time we cook it with sugar and make it into amazing desserts. Rhubarb’s a hardy perennial that grows almost like a weed in many parts of the country, so you might well have some growing nearby.

You can use red, pink, or green rhubarb in this recipe, it won’t matter for the flavor, but the darker your rhubarb, the prettier your ice cream will be.

Homemade Rhubarb Ice Cream in a class pan

How to make old fashioned rhubarb ice cream

  • It starts with cooking the rhubarb.  Why do I cook it? Because cooking it down enhances flavor and reduces the moisture in the fruit. Water is the enemy when it comes to ice cream because water creates ice crystals when it freezes.
  • Next make a custard base with eggs, sugar, milk, and heavy cream. This makes the ice cream extra rich and creamy. And don’t stress about cooking up a custard, you’ll give it a quick strain through a sieve so we’ll catch any stray ‘scrambled’ eggs!
  • Chill both mixtures until cold. I often do this the day before. Your ice cream base needs to be perfectly cold before adding it to your ice cream machine or it won’t churn as well.
  • Churn the ice cream in your machine. Mine takes under 20 minutes.
  • Spread the soft ice cream into a freezer container and freeze until scoop-able.

Scooping rhubarb ice cream

We get into a bit of a rhubarb mania every spring and summer here at the Great Island kitchen ~

a scoop of pretty pink rhubarb ice cream

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Homemade rhubarb ice cream in small glass dishes
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4.91 from 22 votes

Rhubarb Ice Cream

Homemade Rhubarb Ice Cream an old time ice cream recipe made with fresh rhubarb for a sweet and tangy dessert you don't want to miss this summer!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 50 minutes
Yield 1 quart
Author Sue Moran

Ingredients

compote

  • 13 ounces chopped rhubarb (369 grams or about 4 cups)
  • 1/4 cup sugar (52 grams)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice (more to taste)

custard

  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup sugar (135 grams)
  • 1 cup whole milk (250 ml)
  • 2 cups heavy cream (480 ml)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (you can also use a vanilla bean)

Instructions

  • Stir together the rhubarb, sugar, lemon juice, and a splash of water in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Let cook for about 15 minutes, stirring often, until some of the liquid has evaporated and the rhubarb is thick and soft. Be careful not to let it scorch on the bottom of your pan.
  • Let the compote cool slightly then puree in a blender or food processor until completely smooth. Chill until cold.
  • Meanwhile make the custard. Whisk the egg, yolks, sugar, and milk, making sure to break up the eggs completely. Heat the cream in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan until it starts to steam and gets little bubbles around the edge. Drizzle the hot cream into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the whole thing back into the pan and heat on medium, stirring constantly, until the mixture just starts to thicken. Do not bring it to a boil.
  • Strain the mixture through a sieve, stir in the vanilla, and let cool. Chill until cold.
  • Mix the cold rhubarb with the cold custard sauce and thoroughly blend. Pour into your ice cream maker and churn according to the instructions. Spread the soft ice cream into a container and freeze until scoopable.

Cook's notes

This recipe is a little larger than others on my blog, and may be a little too much volume for smaller ice cream machines.  If you have a smaller 1 quart machine, you may want to reduce the milk or cream by 1/2 cup.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

rhubarb ice cream pin

 

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27 Comments

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  • Reply
    Annie
    July 2, 2022 at 10:12 pm

    5 stars
    Delicious! I made it with last year’s rhubarb that was still in my freezer. My rhubarb is mostly green but it still gave a beautiful sweet ice cream. Will make it again!

  • Reply
    Chelsea
    June 27, 2022 at 4:23 pm

    5 stars
    This is fantastic! Recipe was easy to follow, I really appreciate having the weights listed for things like rhubarb, since it really depends how you chop it, etc. I used the ice-cream attachment for my KitchenAid mixer, and it churned up great in about 15 minutes. A tiny bit much for the bowl, it climbed the paddles a bit, but not to a problematic degree. I served it with some ginger oat cookies and my husband thought it might be the most delicious ice-cream he’s ever tasted!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      June 27, 2022 at 5:26 pm

      We love it too, Chelsea 🙂 And glad it worked in your KitchenAid!

  • Reply
    Rey
    June 7, 2022 at 10:16 pm

    Sounds yummy! About how long does it take to chill before freezing? And how long should it freeze after churning before I serve it?

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      June 8, 2022 at 6:22 am

      Plan on several hours for the hot custard to chill. And ice cream can be eaten right away after churning, but it will be like soft serve consistency. It is scoop-able after several hours in the freezer.

  • Reply
    Alain
    January 7, 2022 at 2:34 pm

    5 stars
    Utterly delicious!

  • Reply
    Larry
    July 12, 2021 at 5:24 pm

    5 stars
    This is absolutely delicious. We made ice cream sandwiches with this and some oat shortbread cookies and it was like eating a frozen rhubarb pie.

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