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10 rhubarb recipes to welcome spring

Put this seasonal produce to good use in baked goods, drinks and more.
Strawberry Rhubarb Bars
Courtesy Morgan Baker

Vibrantly pink in hue, rhubarb is a true gem of spring produce season. It has a short peak season, so when you spot it at the farmers’ market or grocery store, be sure to snag a bunch. When shopping for rhubarb, look for firm stalks and fresh leaves (just be sure to remove the toxic oxalic acid-containing leaves before eating). You may find packaged rhubarb in the frozen aisle, which is great for year-round baking.  

While it might look like red celery at a glance, rhubarb is a versatile vegetable that pairs beautifully with fruit flavors. And there’s a reason for that! Biting into raw rhubarb will cause you to pucker up due to its sour flavor. When you cook it down with sugar or fruit, that flavor softens into a pleasant tartness that makes it for ideal not-too-sweet desserts.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie might be the most popular way to enjoy this fleeting spring veggie, but it’s certainly not the only way. Cook it with strawberries or stone fruit into a gooey crisp or crumble filling. Add chopped bits into baked goods like breads and cookies, or toss into breakfast muffins or pancake batter. Dice rhubarb and mix it into refreshing big-batch cocktails or simmer down into a delightfully tart and savory sauce for your main course. 

Whatever you choose to do with it, don’t let spring pass you by without snagging some fresh rhubarb. In addition to adding a pop of spring flavor, rhubarb’s bright hue will also add visual vibrance to your dishes, making you feel like a true chef. 

Put your farmers' market haul to good use with these fuss-free strawberry rhubarb bars. The dough comes together in a bowl (no stand mixer or food processor necessary) and is crisp and flaky once baked, reminiscent of a rhubarb pie.

Drizzling fruit sauce over fried chicken might not be your first instinct, but don’t count it out just yet. This unexpectedly elevated recipe from The Lost Restaurant in Freedom, Maine turns peak summer strawberries and rhubarb into a sweet and sour dipping sauce that perfectly complements crispy fried chicken

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp

For the ultimate taste of nostalgia, bake up a classic rhubarb crisp. Sugar and vanilla lend an added sweetness to the gooey strawberry rhubarb filling. Top with a mixture of flour, oats, cinnamon, brown sugar, butter and nuts — and don’t forget to serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream

Rhubarb Crumble

For this crumble filling, dice stalks of rhubarb and mix with sugar, Edinburgh Gin’s Rhubarb and Ginger Liqueur and the seeds from a whole vanilla bean. Simmer until the mixture is semi-soft, tasting throughout to monitor the sweetness level. Layer into a pie dish, top with crumble mixture and bake until golden brown and bubbling. 

Cinnamon Rhubarb Bread

To make this easy quick bread, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, brown sugar, oil, buttermilk, egg and vanilla. Gently fold in tart bits of rhubarb and crunchy pecans to add a delightful balance to this warming loaf. Enjoy a slice for breakfast or with a late afternoon cup of tea. 

Sour Cream Rhubarb Cookies

It’s not required that you bake all the rhubarb you come in contact with this spring into a pie. Expand your rhubarb repertoire with these pillowy sour cream rhubarb cookies. Not only do the bits of pink rhubarb brighten up these cookies visually, but they also lend a welcome tartness to these not-too-sweet bites. 

Having guests over for a casual spring dinner party? This cobbler is the dessert you’ve been looking for. Combine rhubarb, strawberries (or your favorite stone fruit), cornstarch and sugar to make the filling and top with a classic cobbler topping. The best part? Homemade pistachio ice cream for topping.

Berry Rhubarb Punch

This spring, you can have your rhubarb and drink it too. To make this punch, make an infused simple syrup with sugar, water, fresh strawberries, raspberries, rhubarb and mint leaves. Mix with ginger ale, raspberry vodka and more fresh berries for a big batch spring cocktail. 

These raspberry rhubarb muffins will rival the best bakery treats. Créme fraîche adds a luxurious richness (along with butter, of course), while fresh raspberries and rhubarb lend a pop of tartness to every bite. Pro tip: freeze a few and heat in the oven when you’re craving a homemade muffin on demand. 

Strawberry-Rhubarb Slush Pup

A shrub/slush pup is a fermented fruit-based drink made with seasonal fruit, sugar and apple cider vinegar. Make the fruit concentrate ahead of time and keep it in your fridge for up to a month. To assemble, dilute a few tablespoons of the shrub with ice, sparkling water and a few sprigs of fresh herbs.