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Easy Rhubarb Recipes for Tasty Desserts

Updated on October 13, 2017
Beth Eaglescliffe profile image

Science graduate and business advisor, health educator and author, Beth writes articles on a wide variety of subjects.

Freshly Cut Rhubarb Stalks


Rhubarb for Tasty Desserts

Rhubarb is a vegetable used mainly in sweet dessert dishes, although it can also be used in savory recipes. It is grown commercially in cooler climates (like the northern states of the USA, Canada, and the United Kingdom). It is often grown in home backyards, as it is easy to harvest and use for baking.

If you have never prepared rhubarb before, make sure you cut off and discard the leaves of the plant. It is only the stalks that are eaten. The younger, thinner stalks taste sweeter. They require less cooking time than the older, tougher stalks.

Rhubarb leaves must not be eaten as they contain high levels of oxalic acid. This makes them poisonous to both humans and animals if consumed. However, the stalks are safe to eat and they are an excellent source of vitamins B1, B2 and C.

Vitamins in Rhubarb

Percent of daily requirement in 100g
A (retinol)
2 %
B1 (thiamine)
20 %
B2 (riboflavin)
20 %
C (ascorbic acid)
25 %
Information calculated from "rhubarb info (dot) com"

Stewed Rhubarb is Delicious With Yogurt, Custard or Cream


How Do You Make Stewed Rhubarb?

If you are in a rush and need a quick and easy dessert, this first recipe is for you. Stewed rhubarb can be prepared in moments and tastes great. It is a firm favorite in my house. It is as simple as wash, chop and go!

1. 1lb rhubarb stalks makes enough for four people. The stalks will be red or greenish-red depending on the variety.

2. Chop them into 1 inch pieces and put in a pan with two tea-spoonfuls of ground cinnamon. (You need a very sharp kitchen knife for this task. I recommend the OXO good grips 6 inch utility kitchen knife. It is multi-purpose and comfortable to use.)

3. Add 3 dessert-spoonfuls of sugar and one dessert spoonful of water.

4. Cover the pan with a lid and stew on a low heat for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure that all the rhubarb is cooked.

And that is it. Summery, sweet and full of vitamins.

I like this fruity dessert served with a dollop of double cream or ice cream. You could also eat it with yogurt or custard instead. A slightly more luscious version of this recipe is rhubarb fool. The video below shows how to make this naughty-but-nice cream laden dish.

Tangy Rhubarb Fool With Farm Fresh Cream

What Else Can You Make With Rhubarb?

A slightly more complicated dessert to make (but only slightly) is a cobbler or crumble. A cobbler dessert is baked in the oven. It is so named because it is something “simply cobbled together” i.e. it is prepared quickly without too much effort. A fruit layer is placed in the bottom of the dish (in this case rhubarb but any fruit can be used). This is then covered with a crunchy topping.

This is a great dish for hungry teenagers. The cobbler or crumble topping is more filling that just the fruit on its own and it is full of all those calories that a growing body needs.

Diced Rhubarb and Sugar Ready to be Topped With Crumble

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Ingredients for Cobbler (Crumble) Crunchy Topping

  • Half a cup of flour
  • Half a cup soft brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoonful ground ginger
  • Half a cup oatmeal

Ingredients for Fruit Filling for Cobbler

  • 2 cups rhubarb (in 1 inch chunks)
  • 2 large apples (choose ones that are not too sweet a variety)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour (optional, for thickening)

Rhubarb Cobbler is Quick and Easy to Prepare


How to Make Fruit Crumble or Cobbler

A variation on using just rhubarb alone is to add another fruit like apples to the recipe. I find the sharpness of a Bramley apple makes a particularly good combination. You can experiment with whatever is in season.


In a large bowl, mix together the diced rhubarb, apples, sugar and flour.

  1. Place the mixed fruit into a greased pie dish.
  2. In your now empty mixing bowl, place all the topping ingredients and blend them together by hand, using the rubbing in method. When the mixture has flakes the size of large breadcrumbs spread the topping over the diced fruit.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 to 45 minutes.
  4. When cooked, the filling should be tender and the topping a light golden color. It should be served warm with hot vanilla custard.

What is the Rubbing In Method?

Rhubarb is 95% Water

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 100g
% Daily Value *
Fat 1 g2%
Sugar 2 g
Fiber 1 g4%
Protein 1 g2%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Rhubarb Pie is Ideal for Picnics

The pie can be eaten hot or cold. It makes a tasty treat for a picnic tea or as a tangy dessert eaten after a long lazy Sunday dinner. The recipe below uses ready-made pastry so is quick to assemble. However, it is even more yummy if you have the time to make your own pastry or pie crust.

This pie can be made either with rhubarb on its own, or in combination with any other fruits that you happen to have. Some fruit pairs that work well together are rhubarb and strawberry, rhubarb and blueberry, and rhubarb and banana.

The best dessert pies still have discernable pieces of fruit within them. Texture is as important as taste and color when making a sweet pie. If you overcook the filling it becomes runny and smooth like jam.

The Fruit Pieces Should be Soft But Still Visible


Ingredients for a Sweet Dessert Pie Using Ready Made Pastry

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup flour (optional, for thickening)
  • 4 cups of fresh diced rhubarb
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • Packet of ready-made pastry

Method for Rhubarb Pie

  1. Roll out the ready-made pastry. Cut the base and top shapes of your pie from the pastry using your pie dish as a template. Place the base pastry shape onto the bottom of a greased pie dish.
  2. Place half of the diced rhubarb evenly on top of the base pastry. In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar, salt, and flour. Sprinkle about half of this sugar mixture over the fruit in the pie dish. Place the remaining rhubarb as a layer on top of sugar. Then sprinkle the rest of the sugar mixture on top. Roughly dice the butter and dot it over the rhubarb and sugar.
  3. With a pastry brush, moisten about half an inch around the edge of the base pastry layer. Then place the top pastry layer over the filling. With finger and thumb, gently pinch around the edge of the pie to hold the two pastry layers together.
  4. With a knife, make three or four 1 inch cuts in the top crust to allow steam to escape during cooking. To give a golden finish brush the top crust with a little milk.
  5. The pie should be baked in hot oven, 425 degrees Fahrenheit for about forty minutes or until the rhubarb is soft and crust is golden.

Basket Weave Pie Crust

If you like the idea of a pie but want something less heavy, make a lattice cover instead. This is my preference as I love the taste of short-crust pastry but do not have the appetite to eat a whole pie crust. Use thin strips of pastry and weave them under and over to make a basket-like pattern.

Lattice Top Pie Crust



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