Rhubarb Vanilla Bean Jelly

Rhubarb jelly with small spoon

My Rhubarb Vanilla Bean Jelly is a rosy sweet/tart rhubarb jelly flecked with vanilla bean seeds that turns morning toast or a pb&j sandwich into a gourmet treat. Be sure to stash some away for holiday gifts!

Rhubarb jelly in a small pot with spoon

rhubarb jelly is a fun (and easy!) project

Jelly making is one of my most favorite things to do in the kitchen. I never get tired of the magical transformation of fresh juice into a sparkling jelly. Part of the fun is dreaming up new recipes since almost any fruit or vegetable can be jellied, and it’s especially satisfying when things turn out vibrant and bursting with flavor like this one. Rhubarb is ideal for jelly making because it has a super tart flavor to begin with and can handle all the extra sugar.

filling canning jars with rhubarb vanilla bean jelly

what you’ll need to make rhubarb jelly

  • fresh rhubarb stalks, thick or thin, and any color
  • pectin
  • a high speed blender like Vitamix, or a food processor
  • a muslin jelly or nut milk bag. If you like to make jellies it pays to get an inexpensive jelly strainer, pictured below to make the process easy and hands free.
  • A large saucepan, stainless steel is best.
  • If you want to can your jelly you’ll need a  water bath canner or a deep cooking pot with a rack that fits in the bottom. Be sure the pot has a close-fitting lid. Alternatively you can skip the canning and freeze your jelly for longer storage.jelly making tools

where to find rhubarb

If you’ve got rhubarb growing in your yard this is an ideal project. Rhubarb has a relatively short season, but backyard rhubarb can keep producing right through the summer. It’s available in the produce section of many stores from about April through the end of summer. Consider freezing it for later use, just wash and dry the stalks, then slice. Arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer and freeze until solid, then fill heavy duty freezer bags and force out any excess air before sealing.

I love to fill small Weck canning jars with this jelly

They’d make beautiful and unexpected gifts for the holidays down the road. And the jar is just as pretty as the jelly!

weck canning jelly jars

a small jar of rhubarb vanilla bean jelly

does the color of rhubarb affect its flavor?

Rhubarb comes in many shades, from palest green to deep crimson, but the flavor will be consistent, so no worries. Your jelly will vary in color depending on your rhubarb, but it will definitely be pretty in any event 🙂  The vanilla beans add a subtle depth to the flavor.

almond butter rhubarb jelly sandwich

This could make the best pb& j sandwich of your life! Actually I made mine an almond butter and rhubarb jelly sandwich, even better 🙂

Rhubarb Vanilla Bean Jelly in small pots

Jelly making basics ~

  • Jelly is made by cooking fruit juice with sugar, and adding pectin.
  • Pectin is added to create the gelled consistency.
  • Sugar also helps the gelling process.
  • If you’re planning to can your jelly it’s important to follow a trusted recipe exactly, any changes can affect the safety of the finished product.
  • If you’d like to play with a recipe, consider making a small batch and keeping it in the refrigerator or freezing it for longer storage.
rhubarb jelly in a small jar with spoon

How to can jellies

  • To can your homemade jelly,  ladle or pour the boiling liquid directly into your hot sterilized canning jars, and be sure to leave 1/4 free space at the top. Wipe down the rims of the jars, and close up your jars securely but not super tightly.
  • Place on a rack in a canner filled with boiling water. The water should cover the jars by at least one inch. Cover the canner.
  • Bring the water back to a boil; boil gently for the number of minutes specified in your recipe. Add 1 minute of processing and sterilizing time for each 1000 feet of additional altitude.
  • Remove the jars to a protected surface and cool, away from drafts, undisturbed for 12 hours.
Pink rhubarb jelly with vanilla beans

About sugar and canning ~

  • This recipe contains a lot of sugar, although it’s not sweeter than other jellies I’ve had. I used a classic, tried and true recipe because when it comes to canning, it’s not advisable to play around with proportions if you want to have a safe product.
  • However there has been new research that proves that sugar does not play a role in canning safety, as has been previously believed.
  • Sugar does play a roll in helping a jam or jelly ‘gel’, so if you want to reduce the sugar you’ll need to use a “no or low sugar’ pectin, like this one.  I’ve used this for many of my lower sugar recipes and it works great. Note that you should not try to develop your own canning recipe for safety reasons. If you want to play, plan to refrigerate or freeze your recipes.
rhubarb vanilla bean jelly in small pots with spreading knife

Reader Rave ~

“Thanks for a beautiful rhubarb recipe! I just wanted you to know that I made this for my local county fair & it won BOTH 1st place and Best of Show! It is delicious!”  ~ Melissa

a jar of rhubarb vanilla bean jelly
4.1 from 123 votes

Rhubarb Vanilla Bean Jelly

Rhubarb Vanilla Bean Jelly ~ this rosy rhubarb jelly is sweet/tart and flecked with vanilla bean seeds.  It turns morning toast or a pb&j sandwich into a gourmet treat.  Be sure to can some for holiday gifts!
Course Jelly
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Yield 4 cups
Calories 89kcal
Author Sue Moran


  • 2 1/2 lbs rhubarb washed, trimmed, and sliced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 7 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • seeds of 1 vanilla bean
  • 6 ounces liquid pectin


  • Puree the rhubarb in your Vitamix blender or food processor, along with the water to get it started. You may need to do this in 2 batches.
  • Put the rhubarb puree into a clean jelly or nut bag, and let it hang over a large bowl to allow the juice to drip out. Don’t press or squeeze the bag aggressively or the pulp may come through and this will make your jelly cloudy. I do squeeze it a little bit, though, to move it along. It can help to have a jelly strainer, which is made for this purpose. You want to end up with 3 1/2 cups liquid.
  • Put the rhubarb juice in a large stainless steel pot or saucepan. Stir in the sugar, the lemon juice, and the vanilla bean seeds. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring almost constantly.
  • Once the mixture has reached a full rolling boil, let it fully boil for 3 minutes. It may foam up so stay right by it. Stirring is ok.
  • After 3 minutes, stir in the pectin, and bring it back to a full, rolling boil. Boil 1 minute. Again it may foam up so be careful.
  • Take the jelly off the heat and skim off any foam that is on the surface. Fill your sterilized jars to within 1/4 inch of the top.

If you are canning

  • Wipe down the rims of the jars to remove any spilled jelly, then attach the lids and screw them, but don’t over-tighten.
  • Process for 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner.

If you aren’t canning

  • Let cool and then cap and refrigerate.


Cook’s notes

If you want to use powdered pectin ~

  • Use 4 tablespoons of powdered pectin in place of the 2 pouches of liquid. Instead of adding the pectin at the end, you can whisk the powdered pectin into the sugar before you combine it with the juice.


Serving: 1Tbsp | Calories: 89kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 52mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 18IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 1mg
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.
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  • Reply
    Trudy Gendreau
    January 26, 2020 at 11:45 am

    Haven’t made this yet but am planning too… wonder if I could also add strawberry (my husbands fave, strawberry-rhubarb) ? Also wonder if I could seal jars with a layer of wax, or better to just freeze for longer keeping?

    • Reply
      January 26, 2020 at 11:56 am

      If you don’t want to hot water can this, you could freeze it, I don’t think the layer of wax would be safe. As for strawberry, it would be a delicious addition!

  • Reply
    January 22, 2020 at 7:09 pm

    Will try your recipe this next summer. I have red et green rhubarb. I’ve made jelly for many years. I never use the boiling bath. Just pour the jelly in hot jars, wipe the rims, put on the lid that has been in boiling water. Screw in the rim Flip the jar upside down for 5-10 minutes. Flip upright snd wait for the “pop”. Perfect every time and so easy. ?

    • Reply
      January 23, 2020 at 7:51 am

      It would be interesting to make a green rhubarb jelly!

      • Reply
        May 8, 2020 at 8:11 am

        Katie I thought the same as you.. i have never used the hot bath on most of my canning and I have never had an issue!

  • Reply
    September 2, 2019 at 6:53 am

    5 stars
    Thanks for a beautiful rhubarb recipe! I just wanted you to know that I made this for my local county fair & it won BOTH 1st place and Best of Show! It is delicious!

    • Reply
      September 2, 2019 at 7:11 am

      Wow that’s so exciting!

  • Reply
    Angela Tarkowski
    July 28, 2019 at 3:16 pm

    5 stars
    This is AMAZING!!!! I love rhubarb, and this is another way to use my bumper crop. This will be going into my Christmas gift baskets this year.

  • Reply
    July 18, 2019 at 7:56 am

    Could I cook the rhubarb to get the juice out? That is what I do with most Jelly recipes.

    • Reply
      July 18, 2019 at 8:07 am

      Yes, any way you want to extract the juice is fine.

  • Reply
    Kathy Paulson
    July 12, 2019 at 1:28 pm

    Hi Sue-can you use frozen rhubarb to result in the pure pink color? Our rhubarb is the green!?

    • Reply
      July 12, 2019 at 1:41 pm

      Yes, you can make this with any rhubarb, just defrost and save any liquid before you puree.

  • Reply
    July 4, 2019 at 12:40 pm

    5 stars
    Hello! I’m so excited! I made this and absolutely love the flavor. However, I’ve only had reddish green rhubarb here in Minnesota, which has resulted in a murky swamp green-brown jelly. It’s not the prettiest, but if no one else wants it, there’s more for me! Thank you!

    • Reply
      July 4, 2019 at 1:08 pm

      It does help to use red rhubarb for this, to be sure…but I’ll bet yours is delish!

  • Reply
    Morgan lindsay
    July 1, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    5 stars
    This jelly is heaven!! I have a giant rhubarb plant and make rhubarb jam all the time but am not a fan of the consistency. The taste and color of this jelly is like cotton candy in a jar. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Reply
      July 1, 2019 at 8:09 pm

      First I’m so jealous of your plant, and second, I’m so glad you loved this jelly. We’ve just dug into our last jar :/

  • Reply
    June 17, 2019 at 10:55 am

    5 stars
    Just made a batch. Lovely jelly. I needed about 3 lbs. of rhubarb to yield 3 1/2 cups of juice without squeezing. BTW, your recipe says it makes 8 and 1/2 pints or 4 cups. One pint is 1 cup so that would be more like 8 cups or so. Mine yielded 7 1/2 cups.

  • Reply
    John / Kitchen Riffs
    June 12, 2019 at 7:42 am

    Love the color of this! I’ll bet the flavor is awesome, too. I’ve not used rhubarb in jelly (or jam) — really like the idea. I’m a refrigerator canner — don’t want to bother with the heavy duty water bath and such. Anyway, super recipe — thanks.

    • Reply
      June 12, 2019 at 9:11 am

      I’m usually the small batch type too, this was a new thing for me, but boy, what great gifts these would be come the winter holidays.

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