What do you do with an abundance of rhubarb?

So you planted too much rhubarb this year and now have a bumper crop on your hands. What on earth are you going to do with all of that tart, red stalked vegetable? Have no fear – there are plenty of delicious ways to use up a rhubarb surplus!

Rhubarb is one of the first fruits of the season, usually ready to harvest in spring. The red stalks have an intensely tart, fruity flavor that sings when paired with sweetness. The leaves are toxic, so only the stems are edible. Rhubarb is nutritious too – it’s high in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, and manganese.

An abundance of rhubarb is a good problem to have. With a little creativity, you can turn your bumper crop into all sorts of mouthwatering treats. From savory dishes to sweet baked goods, jams, sauces, and more, rhubarb is versatile. Read on to discover over 25 ideas for using up extra rhubarb.

How Much Rhubarb Do You Have?

First, assess how much extra rhubarb you are working with. A few pounds can easily be used up with some of the suggestions in this article. But if you have 10 pounds or more, you’ll need to get creative and plan on preservation methods like freezing, canning, or drying.

Here are some estimates for how much rhubarb you’ll need for different recipes:

Dish Amount of Rhubarb Needed
Rhubarb upside down cake (9 inch pan) 1 1/2 to 2 pounds
Rhubarb crisp or cobbler (8 inch pan) 1 1/2 to 2 pounds
Rhubarb muffins (1 dozen) 1 to 1 1/2 pounds
Rhubarb pie (9 inch) 1 1/2 to 2 pounds
Rhubarb sauce (2 cups) 1/2 pound
Rhubarb jam (1 pint) 1 1/2 to 2 pounds
Rhubarb chutney (1 pint) 1 1/2 pounds

As you can see, rhubarb baked goods tend to require 1 1/2 to 2 pounds per recipe. Sauces and jams require about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds per pint. Give yourself an idea of how many total pounds you have available. Then you can plan what types of items to make and how much to preserve.

Preservation Options for Rhubarb

If you have more than 5 pounds or so of rhubarb, you’ll want to preserve some for enjoyment later in the year. Here are some easy ways to keep rhubarb around longer:


One of the simplest ways to preserve a large rhubarb harvest is by freezing it. Here’s how:

– Wash, trim, and chop rhubarb into 1/2 to 1 inch pieces.
– Lay pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze until solid, about 2 hours.
– Transfer frozen pieces to freezer bags or containers. Squeeze out air and seal.
– Frozen rhubarb will keep for up to one year.

You can use frozen rhubarb any time a recipe calls for fresh rhubarb. The freezing process helps retain flavor and texture.


For shelf-stable preservation, canning is a great option. Try these recipes:

Rhubarb Sauce – Cook chopped rhubarb with sugar, water, and spice. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
Rhubarb Jam – Cook rhubarb with sugar, lemon, and pectin. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Rhubarb Relish – Mix rhubarb with onion, sugar, vinegar, and spices. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

Canned rhubarb will keep for over a year on the shelf. It’s delicious spread on toast, stirred into oatmeal, or used in baking.


For concentrated rhubarb flavor, you can dehydrate it. Here’s how:

– Wash, trim, and slice rhubarb 1/4 inch thick.
– Arrange in a single layer on dehydrator trays. Dehydrate at 135°F for 6 to 8 hours, until completely dried.
– Store dried slices in an airtight container. To rehydrate, soak in water for 30 minutes before using.

Dried rhubarb can be enjoyed as a snack or added to baked goods, oatmeal, salads, and more for a flavor punch.

Top Uses for Fresh Rhubarb

Of course, fresh rhubarb has the best texture and signature tangy taste. Prioritize using up fresh rhubarb as soon as possible after harvesting. Here are some stellar ways to enjoy rhubarb while it’s prime:

Rhubarb Muffins

Rhubarb’s tartness is excellent paired with sweet muffins. Swirl rhubarb into banana streusel muffins, zucchini muffins, or use it in straightforward rhubarb muffins. The pretty pink color will delight.

Rhubarb Cream Cheese Hand Pies

Buttery pie crust stuffed with tangy rhubarb and rich cream cheese makes a fabulous hand pie. Brush the tops with egg wash and sprinkle sugar for crunch.

Rhubarb Sauce

Simmer chopped rhubarb with a little water, orange juice, honey, and vanilla to make a vibrant sauce. Use as a topping for yogurt, oatmeal, or ice cream.

Rhubarb Crumble

For a simple, cozy dessert, layer sliced rhubarb in a baking dish and top with a crumble mixture of flour, oats, brown sugar, butter, and spices. Bake until the fruit is bubbling and top is crispy.

Rhubarb Limeade

Puree cooked rhubarb and stir into limeade for added tangy flavor. Strain if you want a smoother drink.

Rhubarb Chutney

Cook rhubarb with onions, brown sugar, vinegar, ginger, and spices to make a chunky chutney. Spoon onto meats or sandwiches.

Rhubarb Tea Punch

Steep rhubarb chunks in hot tea, along with citrus slices and any desired herbs. Strain, then chill for a refreshing summer punch.

Rhubarb Mojito

Muddle rhubarb and mint with sugar to create a fun twist on the mojito cocktail. Mix with rum, lime juice, soda water, and ice.

Baked Goods Using Rhubarb

Rhubarb is a rock star when it comes to baked goods. Its tartness offsets the sweetness perfectly. Here are some must-try recipes:

Rhubarb Pie

No pie says “summer” quite like rhubarb pie! Flaky pie crust cradling roasted pink rhubarb with strawberries or raspberries is divine. Make it a lattice top for maximum gorgeousness.

Rhubarb Squares

For rhubarb baked into a perfect square, make rhubarb blondies or bars. Cut into squares to show off the pretty pink filling.

Rhubarb Crisp

As mentioned earlier, rhubarb baked under a crispy oat topping is so delectable. Rhubarb crisp is easier than pie and just as tasty.

Rhubarb Cake

Sweet cake with tart rhubarb baked right in is a stellar combo. Some favorite options are rhubarb snacking cake, rhubarb upside-down cake, and rhubarb poppy seed bundt cake.

Rhubarb Bread

Quick breads like muffins, loaf breads, and coffee cakes are a delicious way to use up rhubarb. Zucchini rhubarb bread and rhubarb scones are amazing.

Rhubarb Turnovers

Buttery puff pastry wrapped around rhubarb filling shapes up into a fabulous dessert. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle sugar on top.

Rhubarb Cobbler

Similar to a crisp, a rhubarb cobbler has sweet biscuits baked on top of fruit. The biscuits soak up the rhubarb juice and get deliciously soft.

Jams, Sauces, and Spreads

When life gives you rhubarb, make jam! Here are easy recipe ideas:

Rhubarb Jam

This classic is made by cooking rhubarb and sugar together until thickened. Add pectin for an ideal jammy texture. Spread on toast or in peanut butter sandwiches.

Rhubarb Chutney

Cook rhubarb with vinegar, onion, spices, ginger, and brown sugar. The tangy, chunky chutney can be served with curry dishes, sandwiches, cheese, or crackers.

Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce

Puree cooked rhubarb and mix with ketchup, brown sugar, garlic, onion, and spices to make a unique barbecue sauce for meats or veggies.

Rhubarb Jelly

Strained rhubarb juice produces a brilliantly clear and colorful jelly. It’s gorgeous swirled into yogurt!

Rhubarb Butter

For an herbal rhubarb butter, simmer chopped rhubarb, rosemary, thyme, ginger, and vanilla until thick. Blend smooth.

Rhubarb Relish

Mix chopped rhubarb with red onion, white sugar, cider vinegar, salt, and pepper. Spoon onto hot dogs, burgers, or tacos for a pop of flavor.

Savory Rhubarb Dishes

While most often thought of as a fruit for desserts, rhubarb can also be used in main and side dishes. Here are some savory ways to cook with rhubarb:

Rhubarb Glazed Salmon

Brush slices of salmon fillet with a tangy rhubarb glaze. Bake until the fish flakes easily.

Rhubarb Chutney Pork Chops

Top boneless pork chops with rhubarb chutney and bake until the pork is cooked through.

Rhubarb Sauce Chicken

Saute chicken breasts or thighs in a pan until browned, then simmer in a sweet and tangy rhubarb sauce.

Rhubarb Pulled Pork

Add rhubarb chunks to pulled pork in the slow cooker. The rhubarb breaks down and adds sweetness.

Rhubarb Quinoa Salad

Chopped rhubarb along with diced cucumber and onion makes a phenomenal quinoa salad.

Rhubarb Gazpacho

For a unique twist on gazpacho, blend some chopped rhubarb into the vegetable soup along with tomato, cucumber, and red pepper.

Rhubarb Tacos

Roast rhubarb, shallots, and red peppers. Stuff into warmed corn tortillas for mouthwatering veggie tacos.

Fun Rhubarb Drinks

Juicy, tangy rhubarb can enliven all sorts of beverages from cocktails to juices and lemonades:

Rhubarb Moscow Mule

Muddle rhubarb and ginger, then mix with vodka, lime juice and ginger beer over ice for the perfect spring mule drink.

Rhubarb Sangria

Chopped rhubarb is fantastic in white or red wine sangrias. Let it infuse overnight for the best flavor.

Rhubarb Apple Cider

Simmer rhubarb and apple slices in apple cider on the stovetop. Strain and serve warm.

Rhubarb Spritzer

Puree cooked rhubarb and mix into sparkling water or prosecco for an easy alcohol-free spritzer.

Rhubarb Lemonade

For lemony sweet-tart refreshment, blend cooked rhubarb into classic or strawberry lemonade.

Rhubarb Iced Tea

Steep rhubarb chunks in unsweetened tea, then discard solids. Sweeten to taste for tasty iced tea.

DIY Rhubarb Skincare

Not only is rhubarb delicious, but it can also nourish your skin! Whip up these beauty treatments:

Rhubarb and Yogurt Face Mask

Puree cooked rhubarb and mix with Greek yogurt. Apply to clean skin and leave for 10-15 minutes before rinsing.

Rhubarb Body Scrub

Mix cooked rhubarb, brown sugar, and coconut or olive oil. Gently scrub skin in the shower for softness.

Rhubarb Hydrating Toner

Simmer rhubarb and chamomile tea to extract benefits. Strain, cool, and pat on skin. Store refrigerated.

Rhubarb Lip Scrub

Blend cooked rhubarb and sugar to gently exfoliate and soften lips. Wipe off with a warm cloth.

Rhubarb Hand Soak

Steep rhubarb chunks in a basin of warm water for a soothing skin treat.

Creative Rhubarb Uses

Outside the kitchen, rhubarb can be used in these ingenious ways:

Natural Food Coloring

Cook rhubarb leaves (not the stalks) to extract a natural green coloring. Strain out the leaves then use the liquid to dye baked goods, frostings, etc.

Plant Fertilizer

Chop up rhubarb leaves, stalks, and ends. Dig them a few inches down around the base of plants as an organic fertilizer full of nutrients.

Compost Addition

Don’t toss those rhubarb leaves – put them in the compost! The leaves contain calcium and other minerals that are beneficial additions.

Bird Treats

Hang strings of rhubarb chunks outside as treats for birds. They’ll gobble up this fruit.

Candle Dye

For an earthy green candle color, simmer rhubarb leaves to extract dye. Strain and mix the liquid into melted wax.


As you can see, the possibilities are endless when you have abundant fresh rhubarb on hand! From sweet pies and crisps to jams and chutneys, there are so many ways to put those ruby red stalks to use.

Get creative in the kitchen with muffins, cakes, drinks, and more. Grill or roast rhubarb as a delicious veggie side. And don’t forget to preserve extras via freezing, canning, or drying. That way you can enjoy rhubarb’s unique tart flavor all year round.

No matter how much rhubarb your garden gifted you this season, you now have plenty of ideas for dealing with the surplus. Get ready to turn all that tangy rhubarb into amazing dishes your whole family will relish!

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