With its perfect balance of tart, sweet, and earthy, this easy three ingredient rhubarb sauce is a dream for all your summer cakes and desserts.
Serve it with warm biscuits and whipped cream, over ice cream, or with a thick slice of buttery pound cake.
I used to pluck rhubarb from the ground, wash it, dip it in sugar, and chow down. But even then it was incredibly tart.
Luckily, this rhubarb sauce is sweet, fruity, and lip-puckeringly delish.
Yes, it’s strong, but not overwhelmingly so.
Instead, it brings bright tartness to everything it touches. And all you need is three simple ingredients.
This rhubarb sauce recipe is quick, easy, and perfect for the summer.
Just cook the chopped vegetable (yes, it’s a veg!) in sugar and water until it softens and the sugar dissolves.
Add a bit of cinnamon for warmth, and this sauce is good to go.
It freezes well, too. So if I were you, I’d double the recipe and save some for later.
As promised, this recipe needs just three ingredients.
I don’t really count water, but if I did, I’d still say it’s only three ingredients because the cinnamon is optional!
This vegetable stalk is the key to that wonderfully tart, earthy, and sweet flavor.
It comes in different varieties and colors, but it won’t affect the flavor. So pick the rhubarb according to what color you like!
I always use fresh rhubarb because it’ll give you the most vibrant color. But feel free to use frozen.
Just be sure to thaw it well before using it. It has a lot of extra moisture that will affect the consistency of the sauce.
Rhubarb is notoriously tart, so you’ll need quite a lot of sugar to sweeten it.
I find 1/2 to 3/4 cups of sugar works well, but you may need to taste as you go. Some veggies are more tart than others.
To thin out the sauce and help the sugar dissolve.
I know I said you don’t want excess liquid, but you need a little to lubricate everything. And it would take too long to wait for the natural juice to escape.
If you just add sugar and rhubarb to a hot pan, it’ll burn.
It’s optional, but I love the warmth it lends to the sauce.
How to Make Rhubarb Sauce
If you like, you can just toss everything into the pot. But then you’ll have to babysit it.
So even though this is quick, the recipe below is more forgiving – aka, there’s less chance of burning anything!
1. Make simple syrup.
One of the easiest ways to ensure the sugar dissolves (and that you don’t burn anything) is to start with simple syrup.
It’s just a mix of sugar and water, but it means the sugar will dissolve before adding the fruit.
Just stir them gently in a pot over medium heat until syrupy.
2. Add the rhubarb and simmer.
Mix the rhubarb into the simple syrup and lower the heat. Allow the mixture to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Scrape the bottom and sides of the saucepan to prevent the mixture from developing a film.
3. Taste and adjust.
Taste the sauce carefully and add more sugar, if needed.
Then, when the rhubarb has softened, turn off the heat. Stir in the cinnamon, if using.
4. Serve and enjoy!
Rhubarb sauce goes well with a variety of dishes, both savory and sweet. And it can be served warm or cold.
That said, make sure to let it cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. It’s basically hot jam, so it will burn your tongue!
Tips and Variations
Never made sauce/jam before? No worries! Here’s a few tips to make sure it comes out perfectly.
I’ve even included some fun variations!
- Rinse the rhubarb well and cut it evenly. If you have different-sized pieces, it won’t cook evenly, and you’ll have hard chunks mixed into mush.
- Puree the sauce. If you like it smooth, let it cool completely, then blend. Or use an immersion blender.
- Keep the temperature low. It’s tempting to crank up the heat to speed up the process, but that’ll just burn the mix.
- Use a tall, heavy-bottomed pot. This will help to distribute the heat better and prevent the sauce from splashing onto the stove.
- Add more spices. Cardamom or ginger will help balance the acidity of the rhubarb.
- Add strawberries and vanilla for something sweeter. Swap out half of the rhubarb for fresh strawberries and add a spoonful of vanilla paste. It’ll be heavenly!
- Add a kick of citrus. If you really like that sharp flavor, try squeezing in half a lemon or lime.
- Use coconut sugar, honey, or agave. It’ll still be sweet, but it’ll be slightly healthier.
The fantastic thing about this sauce is that it’s highly versatile.
You can enjoy it chilled or at room temperature – it doesn’t matter. It’ll be delectable just the same.
Plus, you can use or pair rhubarb sauce with so many tasty things. For example:
- Over ice cream, pies, or pound cake
- Mixed into oatmeal or granola
- Spread onto toast, English muffins, crumpets, scones, biscuits, or muffins
- Add it to smoothies, shakes, or cocktails (when pureed)
Or, for something a little out of the box, try it with
- Grilled Pork Chops
- Baked Chicken
- Roasted Lamb
- Steamed Asparagus
How to Store
Once the rhubarb sauce has cooled to room temperature, transfer it into a sealable jar or airtight container.
Then, refrigerate it for up to a week.
Alternatively, pour it into a freezer-safe container with a 1/2-inch gap at the top to allow for expansion.
Freeze rhubarb sauce for up to 6 months. Then thaw it in the fridge overnight.
More Sauce Recipes You’ll Love
Southern Comeback Sauce
Homemade Blueberry Sauce
Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce
In N Out Sauce
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