Rhubarb: Our Best Sweet and Savory Recipes for This Spring Treat
Wondering what to do with all that rhubarb popping up in your garden or at the farmers' market? Fans of the spring vegetable eagerly await the arrival of rhubarb season each year—if you love it too, consider planting rhubarb at home; an easy-to-grow perennial, sow the crowns once (you typically don't start rhubarb from seeds) and it'll come up year after year. Lucky for you, we're also rhubarb connoisseurs, and that means that we have a collection of recipes that'll help you make the most of this tasty, colorful spring crop.
Rhubarb, either in the garden or in the market, is a delicious sign that the start of spring is officially here; soon there will be asparagus and other seasonal treats, but because rhubarb season is relatively short, you'll want to make the most of its fleeting time. Bakers everywhere love the rosy hue and tart taste of rhubarb, and they use it in pies, crisps, and cakes. Beyond baking, roast rhubarb with rosé wine for an elegant spring dessert or make rhubarb custards or a most refreshing Chilled Rhubarb and Raspberry Soup.
But don't think rhubarb recipes are all desserts; botanically rhubarb is a vegetable, but one that we treat as a fruit. It has a very tart flavor and is always cooked with a sweetener, even when used for savory recipes. Try it in a rhubarb-cherry sauce served with meat or a spring salad with goat cheese.
Here's what you need to know to make the most of rhubarb: Look for thin, red-pink crisp stalks, as these will have the best texture. If the stalks are floppy, this is a good indication that they were picked too long ago; you'll want to leave those behind. When you get home, wrap the rhubarb stalks in plastic and refrigerate for up to one week. You can also freeze rhubarb and enjoy it for months to come. To use rhubarb, rinse it well then trim the bottoms and tops of the stalks. If there are any leaves, slice off and discard (the leaves are toxic). If the stalks are stringy, remove with a small paring knife, as you would for celery.
Now the fun part: There are so many ways to cook rhubarb. Be sure to try rhubarb as a compote or a refreshing drink as well as baked in muffins. And don't forget how it's sweet-tart flavor pairs with savory foods, how about some rhubarb chutney with that bacon at your next brunch?
Rhubarb Crumb Cake
Vibrant stalks of rhubarb and an irresistible streusel topping crown this moist sour-cream cake.
Rhubarb-Strawberry Lattice Pie
Here we have the classic rhubarb pairing, made with a top crust that shows off the glorious fruit filling. This pie can also be made with a mix of rhubarb and raspberries.
Rosy Rhubarb-Meringue Cake
Seeking an over-the-top Easter or spring party dessert? Look no further than this sky-high meringue cake topped with fresh whipped cream and homemade rhubarb compote.
Rhubarb and strawberries are enhanced with sugar and fresh lemon juice and thickened with cornstarch for the filling in this showstopping tart.
Rhubarb and Beets
Toss rhubarb and baby beets with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast until tender. Scatter some toasted walnuts on top for crunch before serving.
Pavlova with Rhubarb and Pistachios
Here's a recipe that's as delicious as it is beautiful! The sweet-tart baked rhubarb contrasts with crunchy pistachios and the crispy yet soft and sugary meringue.
Pistachio-Rhubarb Yogurt Cake
Sweet and moist, with just the right amounts of roasted rhubarb and ground pistachios throughout, this cake makes a spectacular spring dessert. Serve with more roasted rhubarb swirled into yogurt.
Rhubarb-Raspberry Cheesecake Squares
A ruby-red gelée of rhubarb and raspberries tops the creamy filling and graham-cracker crust in this easy cheesecake.
You can make these cake squares dotted with rhubarb and topped with a crunchy crumb topping up to a day in advance.
Rhubarb Custard Pie
A simple custard pie becomes way more special when studded with bright pink pieces of lightly sweetened rhubarb.
Homemade rhubarb syrup, gin, Prosecco, and lemons are all you need to make this pretty-in-pink beverage. Try it at your next brunch or outdoor party.
We love the eye-catching chunks of tart rhubarb in these sweet, moist buttermilk muffins. They'll be the first to go at your spring brunch.
Simmer rhubarb with rosé wine and a trio of spices—vanilla bean, cinnamon, and star anise—then serve with vanilla ice cream or Greek yogurt for an elegant spring dessert.
Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake
Whether you put it on a pedestal or not, this pretty cake with a delicate crumb base is a winner—it's one of Martha's favorite recipes.
Rhubarb Meringue Pie
Better than lemon? We think so; the classic meringue pie is certainly prettier when made with a rhubarb curd.
Pork Chops with Rhubarb-Cherry Sauce
One for the savory side, this lively sauce matches rhubarb with dried cherries, onion, and a splash of balsamic. It pairs well with pork chops or chicken; also try it spread on a slice of goat-cheese-topped bread for a genius crostini.
Bubbly, fruity, and altogether festive, this fresh take on sangria is made with sparkling wine, orange juice, cooked rhubarb, and strawberries.
Baked Thick-Cut Bacon with Rhubarb Chutney
Chutney is a versatile fruity condiment adds another dimension to all kinds of dishes, like cheese, cured meats, and roast chicken or pork. When paired with bacon, it takes brunch to the next level.
As in rhubarb crumb pie; some fruit fillings might be a tad sweet for the crumble topping, but not this one that's all rhubarb.
Rhubarb Salad with Goat Cheese
Fast, delicious, and different, this simple salad combines roasted rhubarb with arugula, fennel, and walnuts in a light balsamic dressing.
Easier than pie and just as tasty (even tastier?) is this crisp. Our recipe calls for rhubarb and strawberries under a crunchy oat topping. Finish with fresh basil leaves.
Poached Rhubarb with Elderflower Sabayon
Simmer rhubarb with water, sugar, vanilla bean, and lemon zest until tender, then finish with a warm, frothy St-Germain-spiked sabayon.
Our most spectacular rhubarb recipe, this gorgeous tart calls for arranging short pieces of rhubarb in a herringbone pattern but it would be just as delicious without the careful arrangement. The combination of tart rhubarb with fragrant vanilla bean is one we're going to try again and again.
Chilled Rhubarb and Raspberry Soup
So refreshing, this sweet-tart dessert soup takes rhubarb far from its usual pie-cake-crisp territory.
Rhubarb Crumb Bars
Going to the sweet—and buttery—side, these streusel bars are an irresistible teatime treat.
Another classic pairing for rhubarb: Here, the plant's sweet-tart flavor shines through in a creamy custard. Our recipe simplifies the technique—no water bath required—but doesn't compromise on taste.
Just three ingredients—lots of rhubarb, some sugar, and a little fresh ginger—create this compote that goes so well with yogurt, ice cream, pound cake, and lots more.
For breakfast, brunch, or an afternoon snack, these glorious rhubarb scones are just the thing. Just a little buckwheat flour added to the all-purpose flour makes them super flavorful. They're especially delicious when served with our pretty Strawberry Butter.
Classic Rhubarb Fool with Farm-Fresh Cream
This classic warm-weather English dessert is light and sweet with the contrasting tartness of rhubarb. And with only three ingredients—rhubarb, cream, and sugar—making it is simplicity itself.