First Published: June 4, 2917… Last Updated: April 23, 2020

Mom’s Rhubarb Sauce Recipe is an easy to make 5 ingredient recipe that is sweet and tart all at the same time. We love to enjoy this rhubarb sauce on a slice of toasted Homemade Soft White Bread or on top of a slice of Rustic Pound Cake.

An open jar of rhubarb sauce with a spoon in the jar

What is Rhubarb?

Rhubarb is a perennial plant that literally grows like crazy in the right situation. I felt like there was nothing that could knock that plant down without it coming back up again! It is a sturdy plant that is in the fruit family. However, it’s flavor is super tart with no sweetness at all.

The stalk color can range from green to light red. No matter what the color is, however, it can be used the same. The only difference is the color. Check out this photo of the Rhubarb Pie below, the rhubarb I used for that particular pie was more green than red, but it still was delicious!

Often times, rhubarb will be paired with sweeter fruits, such as strawberries, but there is always an amount of sugar included to sweeten up the pot.

The one part of the rhubarb plant that you do not eat is the leaves. The leaves are actually toxic, so be sure to discard them.

Fresh picked rhubarb

How easy is it to grow your own rhubarb?

Three years I’ve attempted to have my own plants in our new home. Two years we were unsuccessful. However, last year, I put my foot down and told Grumpy he had to listen to me when it came to growing rhubarb.

He had planted it for me twice and insisted I had to tend to it like a garden. He was wrong, and the plant’s lack of survival proved it to me.

I may not know much about growing plants and have a brown thumb for the most part, but you pretty much have to pay no attention to this stuff! Just keep it fertilized and planted where it will get a lot of sunlight.

Rhubarb stalks with the green tops cut off

Tips for growing rhubarb plants

Having said that, however, there are some tips you should consider if you want to grow rhubarb.

  • Plant the rhubarb bulbs as early in the spring as possible. This will depend on the region you live in. In New York State, rhubarb starts to stalk out and grow mid-April.
  • Rhubarb needs sunlight, so be sure to plant your rhubarb where it will get plenty of sun.
  • Be sure to fertilize your plants with organic compost. Don’t use chemical fertilizer.
  • And yes, do keep the weeds out.

My love of the sour plant stalk

I have always been a fan of rhubarb. Once those stalks start poking out of the ground, I am watching and waiting patiently for them to get big enough to use!

The rhubarb stalk itself is extremely tart and not all that tasty standing on its own. But add some other ingredients to it, along with a little sugar, and you have a very tasty treat.

Mom used to make Rhubarb Sauce often when I was growing up. This plant was always plentiful back in those days. More so than it has been for me in recent years (unless I visit home!). However, we finally found some transplants and are now growing our own rhubarb.

If you need to buy it, Rhubarb is a seasonal fruit that can be found on roadside stands and in the produce section grocery stores.

Mom's Rhubarb Sauce in a mason jar with a spoon in the sauce

Ingredient substitutions and adaptations

  • Frozen rhubarb can be substituted for fresh rhubarb.
  • Add strawberries to the sauce. Use 2 cups of strawberries and 2 cups of rhubarb.
  • Eliminate the vanilla and add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or lemon zest.

How to use rhubarb sauce

Mom’s Rhubarb Sauce is a great recipe and is so versatile. It can be eaten on its own by the spoonful if you wish! Here are a few recipes on my website that call for rhubarb sauce that you may want to try.

This Rhubarb Cheese Danish is a quick and easy breakfast or brunch recipe that uses crescent roll dough, cheese and rhubarb sauce filling.

Strawberry Rhubarb Chia Pudding is one of my very favorite treats! It is a layer of rhubarb sauce in the bottom of a parfait dish, topped with chia pudding. So pretty and so delicious.

Sweet and savory go great together in this Bacon Jalapeno Grilled Cheese with Rhubarb Sauce.

Ingredient substitutions and adaptations

  • Frozen rhubarb can be substituted for fresh rhubarb.
  • Add strawberries to the sauce. Use 2 cups of strawberries and 2 cups of rhubarb.
  • Eliminate the vanilla and add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or lemon zest.

Other rhubarb recipes you may like

Rhubarb Crumb Muffins

Rhubarb Lemonade (Sugar-Free)

Sugar-Free Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce

Strawberry Rhubarb Salad

Strawberry Rhubarb Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

*If you made this recipe for Mom’s Rhubarb Sauce, please give it a star rating*

Mom’s Rhubarb Sauce

Mom’s Rhubarb Sauce Recipe is sweet, tangy and perfect for topping buttered toast, served over top of ice cream, or even to top your grilled chicken! This 5 ingredient recipe is so easy to make. It is also great in pastries and muffins. 
4.41 from 40 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Condiments
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Rhubarb Sauce Recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 16
Calories: 43kcal


  • 4 cups rhubarb diced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • [mv_schema_meta name="Cook the rhubarb."]Place Rhubarb, water, salt, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract in heavy bottomed sauce pan over high heat. Bring to a boil and turn down to medium-low heat. Cook for 5-10 minutes.  [mv_img id="24750"]
    Adding the ingredients to the saucepan
  • [mv_schema_meta name="Remove from heat and cool"]Remove from stove top and let cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator up to 1 week. Can freeze for up to 3 months. [mv_img id="24751"]
    Rhubarb simmering and ready to remove from the cooktop


One serving equals 2 tablespoons.


Calories: 43kcal

About the Author: Shelby Law Ruttan

Shelby is the author/owner of Grumpy's Honeybunch. Established in 2007, she shares and preserves family recipes as well as recipes for cooking light and keto. She is an experienced, self-taught home cook who loves to share recipes with others. You can see her work on websites such as Veal Made Easy, Parade, Community Table, SoFab Food, Yummly, and FoodGawker.


  1. Liz June 4, 2017 at 9:22 am - Reply

    Iowa soil was much better than Indiana soil for growing rhubarb. I have two plants that produce about 3 stalks each year! Like you, I loved my mom’s rhubarb creation—and I’d love to make your sauce. How much vanilla do you like to add?

    • Shelby June 4, 2017 at 9:48 am - Reply

      Oops! Looks like I forgot to add the vanilla measurement! I used 1 teaspoon. 🙂

    • Sharon March 24, 2018 at 8:31 pm - Reply

      Last spring I dumped some compost on top of my rhubarb. It loved it and produced a much better crop. Try that to see if it helps your soil.

      • Shelby March 25, 2018 at 1:37 pm - Reply

        Thanks Sharon, I appreciate the tip 🙂

  2. Janet Brown July 10, 2017 at 2:47 pm - Reply

    Do you know if this can be canned? I’d love to make a large batch but don’t have freezer space. Thanks!

    • Shelby July 11, 2017 at 6:31 am - Reply

      Hi Janet, yes, I believe you could can this. I would do a hot pack with it in sterilized hot jars and then let sit until the jar seals. You should hear them pop as they seal.

  3. Lorie anne December 20, 2017 at 5:38 am - Reply

    What type of food can you use this sauce for?

    • Shelby December 20, 2017 at 6:59 pm - Reply

      Hi Lori, I have a couple of recipes on my blog that I incorporated this sauce into. Look for Bacon Jalapeno Grilled Cheese and Rhubarb Cheese Danis.You could also spread it on toast or biscuits, use it as a filling in cookies or even as a filling in sweet rolls!

      • Roseanne Jones May 20, 2018 at 10:57 pm - Reply

        Ice cream

    • DeeDee Driver April 11, 2018 at 9:48 am - Reply

      we like to put it over vanilla ice cream and also over a slice of pound cake.

  4. Carol May 21, 2018 at 10:50 am - Reply

    I grew up putting this sauce over my oatmeal. It’s even good over cold cereal.

    • Shelby May 21, 2018 at 11:00 am - Reply

      Topping your oatmeal is a great idea! Thanks for sharing Carol!

    • Ellen July 31, 2019 at 7:36 pm - Reply

      That sounds wonderful! We usually ate it over ice cream or just by itself.

  5. Robin L May 25, 2018 at 12:43 pm - Reply

    I, also, grew up eating rhubarb sauce, every Spring. My dad’s rhubarb was tucked in a neglected corner of his veggie garden. It totally flourished there! I loved my mom’s sauce! Her recipe was 3 to 4 cups of washed and cut rhubarb (1 inch pieces), 1/2 C. sugar and 1/2 C water. Bring to a boil, cover reduce heat to low and simmer about 5 minutes or until fork tender. Cool before eating, With 4 children, she probably always made a double batch and most of it was probably gone before the next day!

  6. Cookie May 28, 2018 at 6:41 pm - Reply

    add jalapeno and use it as a barque sauce, or basting sauce!

    • Shelby May 28, 2018 at 8:13 pm - Reply

      That’s a totally great idea! I actually have a BBQ Sauce recipe going up very soon for a sponsored post that is Strawberry Rhubarb 🙂

  7. Charlynn May 30, 2018 at 12:11 am - Reply

    My father in law makes the best buttermilk pancakes. A few Summers back he started making strawberry rhubarb sauce to have as a topping for the pancakes. Everyone in the family loves it! I’ve also used the sauce for french toast, biscuits and English muffins.
    I have an huge amount of rhubarb growing this year! I’m going to make the sauce and attempt to can it (I’ve never canned anything ever) for Christmas gifts.

    • Shelby May 30, 2018 at 4:28 am - Reply

      Hi Charlynn! I believe with rhubarb, because it is a high acid food, you should be able to hot pack it for canning, which makes it super easy since you won’t need a pressure cooker! I haven’t canned it myself but if my supply gets larger, then I certainly will! This year I’ve made a lot of Rhubarb recipes and have incorporated some of those with strawberries also. I just love this stuff! Good luck with your canning and thanks for stopping by!

  8. Marlene August 18, 2018 at 10:14 am - Reply

    How would you adjust the amount if using frozen rhubarb?

    • Shelby August 18, 2018 at 12:00 pm - Reply

      Hi Marlene, I would go ahead and use the same amount. You will just cook it down until it is the thickness you want, the water will cook out of the rhubarb. Hope this helps!

  9. Kat June 13, 2019 at 2:08 pm - Reply

    Thanks for this recipe! It is the perfect starter for rhubarb season- Our Rhubarb thrives behind the garage facing northeast. To add more texture to this sauce I added another 4 cups of diced rhubarb to the pot after I let it simmer for the 5-10 minutes described in the recipe- It softened & added a bit more of the squeaky sour flavor that I love about pie-plant! We eat this with yogurt, toast, cottage cheese, or just enjoy a bowl as dessert. This will also make a gorgeous gelatin dessert if you use the sauce in place of the cold water called for on the package (dissolve the Jello mix in a scant cup of boiling water, then let it cool to barely warm and stir in a cup of the rhubarb sauce. . . let set & enjoy.)

    • Shelby Law Ruttan June 14, 2019 at 6:14 am - Reply

      Hi Kat! Thanks for stopping by and for trying the recipe as well as sharing your method and ideas! ~Shelby

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  15. Angela February 3, 2021 at 6:11 pm - Reply

    5 stars
    Look no further as this is 10 star worthy. Perfection has been forever defined in this recipe❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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Shelby Welcome! I'm Shelby, author of Grumpy's Honeybunch. I have been sharing family favorite recipes since 2007. I started the Keto Diet in October 2017 and since then I have been creating Keto ... read more

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