Last Updated on March 12, 2023
This easy recipe for rhubarb sauce will become a standby for all you rhubarb lovers, and it may convert some of the uninitiated into the ever-growing rhubarb fan club. This rhubarb sauce recipe is quick & easy, deliciously tart and sweet, and lets you enjoy an extra serving of veggies for dessert. Add rhubarb sauce to your roster of healthy treats!
WHY MAKE A RECIPE FOR RHUBARB SAUCE?
I’ve become a bit obsessed with rhubarb over the years. Recently I’ve been wondering whether I should rename this site Rhubarb and Elderberries.
First, it was piles of homemade fruit leather made from rhubarb. Then it was rhubarb as a permaculture plant. Since we had so much rhubarb growing, there were also lots and lots of rhubarb crisps.
Over time, our rhubarb plants have multiplied, and our harvests have gotten bigger and bigger. I’ve made plenty of rhubarb muffins, rhubarb baked oatmeal, and rhubarb lemonade, a best-seller at my first grader’s lemonade stand last summer.
I also gobble up plenty of this low-sugar rhubarb sauce when the rhubarb is coming in.
I’m always looking for new ways to use our bountiful rhubarb, many of which you’ll find in my post about ways to use rhubarb. If you need more ideas, check out my Pinterest board devoted to all things rhubarb.
Why all the fuss about rhubarb? I hear you asking.
Well, to start off, rhubarb is a vegetable, so all these sweet treats are actually working a serving of veggies into your dessert. How cool is that?
It’s also extremely nutritious, a good source of vitamin K, potassium, and manganese (source), as well as a number of other health-supporting compounds called polyphenols that we get from plants.
I’m also one of those people who absolutely loves tart foods, so the sweet-tart combination in many of these concoctions hits the spot.
Rhubarb is also absurdly easy to grow, a fantastic perennial plant that comes back year after year with virtually no work at all, a natural for the permaculture garden. And it’s easy to get your first plant for free. Here’s how to grow rhubarb so you can always have plenty on hand for sauce, leather, crisps, and more!
WHAT TO DO WITH RHUBARB SAUCE?
This easy rhubarb sauce recipe is delicious on its own. You can also swirl it into yogurt (homemade yogurt is surprisingly simple to make, btw), put it on ice cream or waffles, or serve it alongside roast pork or turkey in place of apple sauce. Or create parfaits layering rhubarb sauce with yogurt and homemade granola.
Rhubarb sauce is also the basis of a stunning homemade fruit leather, if you want to give that a try. (You do, trust me!) I usually make a huge batch of rhubarb sauce, turn most of it into leather, and nibble the leftover sauce while we wait for the leather to dry.
This addictive rhubarb sauce is
- The perfect blend of tart and sweet
- A sneaky way to get a serving of veggies
- Flexible, for whatever amount of rhubarb you have
STREAMLINED RECIPE FOR RHUBARB SAUCE
Most rhubarb sauce recipes use a very small amount of water and simmer the fruit. I’ve found that covering the rhubarb with boiled water and returning to a boil before cutting the heat is all you need to cook a huge pot of rhubarb.
This method accomplishes a few things:
- You save energy by using the stove less. I use an electric kettle, more efficient than heating a stock pot on the stovetop.
- You don’t have to tend the pot long or worry about the bottom burning while the top stays uncooked.
- You get the bonus of an amazing pink liquid that can be used to make delicious drinks.
The bright pink rhubarb “juice” you drain off before making your sauce is great sweetened and diluted with still or sparkling water served over ice. It’s also a fantastic addition to lemonade. Look at that color! Here’s more info on making rhubarb juice.
HOW TO MAKE RHUBARB SAUCE WITH DIFFERENT FLAVORS
Rhubarb sauce flavored with nothing more than the rhubarb itself is truly delicious. But you can also customize your rhubarb sauce, adding spices or other fruits according to your preferences. I usually swirl in some all-fruit jam to cut down on the sugar needed, but I like to keep the focus on the rhubarb flavor rather than adding spices.
Some flavor options to consider:
I recommend starting simple, using just rhubarb, water, and sweetener. But then try out other flavors when you feel like it, adding a small amount of spice or other fruit and tasting.
Note that you can blend your sauce for a smooth puree, or skip blending for a delicious chunky compote.
CAN YOU USE FROZEN RHUBARB TO MAKE RHUBARB SAUCE?
Absolutely! Rhubarb starts to get tough when summer heats up, so you can harvest far more than you need at once and freeze the cut chunks until you need them.
As with many other frozen vegetables, frozen rhubarb will lose a lot of liquid when it thaws, so if you’re making this recipe with frozen rhubarb, you don’t need to add water. Here’s what you need to know about how to freeze rhubarb.
Thaw your frozen rhubarb before using to save a little energy and time, or just cook it from frozen.
You can also freeze extra rhubarb sauce if you make a big batch.
CHOOSING SWEETENER FOR THIS RHUBARB SAUCE RECIPE
Refined white sugar is the traditional sweetener for most rhubarb sauce, but I try to steer clear of it when possible. I’ve tried this sauce with stevia only, but the stevia flavor isn’t my favorite. I tend to add a bit of stevia and then use coconut sugar together with jam, but you could also use monk fruit, honey, or maple syrup if you’d rather.
*Remember, we only eat rhubarb stalks, as the leaves have toxic amounts of oxalic acid.**
To find out more about rhubarb leaves, read ‘Are Rhubarb Leaves Poisonous?‘ which includes ways to use the leaves in the garden.
Easy Rhubarb Sauce Recipe
This simple rhubarb sauce has only a few ingredients and makes a wonderfully sweet-tart spring treat.
- 4 cups chopped rhubarb stalks
- 2 tablespoons all-fruit berry jam
- 1/4 cup sugar, honey, or other sweetener to taste
- Gather up a big basket of rhubarb stalks. **Rhubarb leaves are poisonous and should be completely removed from the stalks.**
- Cut rhubarb into 1-inch pieces and place in a large saucepan.
- Cover with boiled filtered water and return to a boil, then immediately turn off the heat. You can also heat cold water in the pot, bringing to a boil and turning off the heat.
- Let sit roughly an hour, when the rhubarb should be quite soft.
- Drain most of the liquid, reserving to make a refreshing drink to serve over ice. You can sweeten it with a little stevia if it's too tart for you.
- While the rhubarb is still warm, add a big dollop (around 2 tablespoons) of all-fruit jam, then add sugar, honey, stevia, or other sweetener to taste. If you have extra strawberries, they could be added for sweetening also.
- Blend well with an immersion blender and taste. Add more sweetener if desired.
- Serve plain or over yogurt or ice cream. Enjoy!
Many different flavors of jam can work in this recipe. Strawberry, raspberry, or blackberry all work well. We often use a blend called "superfruit" that adds a nice color as well as flavor.
If you don't have jam, no worries! Just go a little heavier on the sweetener and enjoy that pure rhubarb flavor!
If you prefer a chunkier sauce, you can reserve some of cooked rhubarb before blending and add it back once the rest of rhubarb and sweetener have been blended well. Or skip the blending altogether for a tasty fruit compote.
If you don't have an immersion blender, you can use a food processor or blender, but if the bowl is plastic, you should allow the rhubarb to cool somewhat. Add any non-liquid sweetener before it has cooled to ensure it dissolves
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 72Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 5mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 2gSugar: 14gProtein: 1g
Nutritional information was auto-generated based on serving size, number of servings, and typical information for the ingredients listed. To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, please calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients and amounts used, using your preferred nutrition calculator. Under no circumstances shall this website or author be responsible for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on the given nutritional information. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate and complete.
I hope you love this rhubarb sauce recipe! What are your favorite ways to use rhubarb?
Pin to save this rhubarb sauce recipe for later!
Susannah is a proud garden geek and energy nerd who loves healthy food and natural remedies. Her work has appeared in Mother Earth Living, Ensia, Northern Gardener, Sierra, and on numerous websites. Her first book, Everything Elderberry, released in September 2020 and has been a #1 new release in holistic medicine, naturopathy, herb gardening, and other categories. Find out more and grab your copy here.
Stef Williams says
My family has grown Rhubarb for generations and our sauce is also different. We cut into 1 inch pieces and add a small amount of water and cook while constantly stirring until Rhubarb becomes stringy, wait till cool enough to touch. Add I box of Jello and stir to mix then refrigerate and enjoy. Keeps for weeks in the fridge. We find that Strawberry and Cherry are the best but grape gives it a different taste. It can be sweetened with each persons taste. Us kids liked it with sugar added and most of the adults liked it with very little sugar. It becomes an applesauce to pudding style dessert. It’s amazing what the gelatin does to it.
Hello, what is “all fruit jam” is that like pectin?
No, it’s a fruit jam made without added sugar. I usually use Crofter’s raspberry or superfruit “Just Fruit Spread,” but there are other options on the market. Really, any jam would work. It’s just to sweeten and temper the tart flavor.