This easy stewed rhubarb is deliciously simple to make and come together is about 10 minutes! Crimson red rhubarb stalks are simmered in maple syrup and spices until they are soft and jammy in a bright and tartly sweet syrup, which is perfect for spooning over yogurt or ice cream. Or serve it with pound cake or sweet shortcakes with whipped cream for a delicious dessert that’s perfect for spring.
A Delicious Sign of Spring
Rhubarb plants are one of the first signs of spring in the garden and I love using their tart crimson stalks in the kitchen this time of year. It usually starts to become available at grocery stores in late winter/early spring and I can never resist buying some after a long cold winter. The rhubarb plants in our garden aren’t ready until late May and early June.
Table of contents
Rhubarb – Look for vibrant dark red stalks for the best color. Some varieties f rhubarb have green stalks, which will taste the same but won’t give you that pretty pink color. Thinner stalks will be more tender and less fibrous and will cook faster than fatter more mature stalks. Cut thick rhubarb stalks in half down the center of the stalk. Substitutions: Rhubarb is a unquie vegetable with a very tart flavor that is hard to replicate with another ingredient. That said, rhubarb can be swapped with semi-tart fruits like raspberries, strawberries, sour cherries, currants or gooseberries to make a similar tasting compote. Add more lemon to adjust the tartness level to your liking.
Maple Syrup – Sweet dark maple syrup balances out the tart flavor of the rhubarb and is an unrefined sugar option. Substitutions: Use regular granulated sugar, which will preserve the bright red color of the rhubarb best.
Vanilla Bean – Vanilla brings out the sweetness of desserts and adds a wonderful flavor to this rhubarb compote. use the seeds scraped from a whole vanilla bean fro the best flavor. Substitutions: Swap the vanilla seeds with vanilla paste, vanilla powder or vanilla extract instead.
Cardamom – Whole cardamom pods adds a wonderful warming spice flavor that goes well with the tart rhubarb. Substitutions: Use a pinch of ground cardamom in place of the whole pods or swap it with a cinnamon stick.
Lemon – A touch of fresh lemon zest and lemon juice add a bright citrusy flavor and help presere the vibrant red color of the rhubarb.
How to Make the Best Stewed Rhubarb
Step 1: Prepare the ingredients
First, remove any green leaves and trim the ends of the rhubarb stalks. Chop them into 3-inch long pieces.
Add the rhubarb pieces and maple syrup to a medium skillet and grate the lemon zest over them. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze out the juice from one half into the skillet, catching and discarding any lemon seeds.
Split the vanilla bean open from end to end and scrape out its seeds with the back of a knife. dd the vanilla seeds to the skillet.
Crack open cardamom pods with but pressing down on them with the flat edge of your knife or in a mortar and pestle.
Step 2: Stew the rhubarb
Cook the rhubarb mixture over medium heat until the sauce starts to bubble, then lower the heat and simmer until rhubarb is tender. Cover the skillet with a lid if sauce evaporates too quickly.
Tip: Do not let the rhubarb overcook or it will fall apart and become mushy.
How to Serve Stewed Rhubarb
- Spoon the stewed rhubarb over yogurt, like my homemade vegan yogurt, with fresh strawberries and toasted almonds or granola.
- Spoon it over pancakes or waffles for breakfast or brunch.
- Spoon the rhubarb compote over ice cream for a tasty dessert.
- Serve it with pound cake or lemon cake like my elderflower lemon drizzle cake.
- Use the jammy rhubarb as a topping for shortcakes with whipped cream or add it to strawberry shortcake like my strawberry shortcake cake.
- Use it as a filling for layer cakes like my Violet Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
- Swap the cranberry sauce in this easy icebox cake recipe with stewed rhubarb to make a rhubarb icebox cake.
How to Store Stewed Rhubarb
Store stewed rhubarb in an airtight container or lidded jar, refrigerate it, and use it up within 1 week.
For longer storage, seal it in a freezer safe jar or deli container and freeze it for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the fridge or warm it on the stovetop before serving.
The stalks of rhubarb can be eaten raw, but DO NOT eat the rhubarb leaves as they contain high amounts of oxalic acid which is toxic for humans.
Some rhubarb varieties have green stalks with little to no red color. Green rhubarb has the same tart taste as red rhubarb and can be used to make stewed rhubarb.
More Delicious Ways to Use Rhubarb
- Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Recipe
- Strawberry Rhubarb Galette
- Vegan Strawberry Rhubarb Frangipane Galettes
- Vegan Rhubarb Curd Bars
- Vegan Aquafaba Meringue and Rhubarb Curd Cake
- Vegan Rhubarb Rose Almond Cake
- Vegan Rhubarb Custard Tart Recipe
- Rhubarb Almond Polenta Skillet Cake | Vegan
- Recipe: Vegan Strawberry Rhubarb Wheat Bran Crumb Top Muffins
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Easy Stewed Rhubarb Recipe
- Trim the ends of the rhubarb stalks and chop them into 3-inch long pieces. If the stalks are large, cut them in half down the center spine first.
- Cook the rhubarb mixture over medium heat until the sauce starts to bubble, then lower the heat and simmer until rhubarb is fork tender, for about 5 minutes. Do not let it overcook or it will fall apart and become jam. Cover with lid if sauce evaporates too quickly.
- Enjoy the stewed rhubarb warm or let it cool and refrigerate it in a sealed container.
- Store leftover stewed rhubarb in an airtight container or lidded jar and refrigerate it for up to 1 week. Enjoy it cold or reheat to serve.