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This rhubarb bread recipe is the best! Tender and fluffy, it’s flecked with sweet tart fruit and sprinkled with a crunchy streusel topping.

Rhubarb Bread with rhubarb stalks on platter.
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When the season rolls around, it’s all we can do to hold ourselves back from making all the rhubarb recipes: pies, muffins, and more. This year, we’ve added a new standard: this irresistible Rhubarb Streusel Bread!

It’s light and fluffy, made with buttermilk to make an impossibly tender crumb. It’s flecked with just the right amount of sweet tart rhubarb, then sprinkled with a crunchy streusel topping. It’s totally dreamy, perfect for serving to guests or as a present for friends or neighbors. Summer baking just got better!

Ingredients for rhubarb bread

This rhubarb bread recipe has the best texture, due mainly to the secret ingredient: buttermilk! It makes for an exceptionally fluffy and light bread. Other than that and the rhubarb, the remaining ingredients are the traditional cast of baking characters. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Rhubarb: Choose rhubarb with firm, crisp stalks that are brightly colored, avoiding any with blemishes or soft spots. Keep in mind that if you’re using garden rhubarb that is green, it will keep its green color when cooked (it tastes great, it might just look different than you’re expecting).
  • Buttermilk: Buttermilk is important for a fluffy bread with a tender crumb (avoid using a buttermilk substitute).
  • Butter and oil. We love the combination in richness and flavor of using both butter and oil together. For dairy-free, substitute refined coconut oil or vegan butter.
  • Vanilla extract and cinnamon: These add a cozy nuance to the flavor that makes it taste like rhubarb crisp.
  • All-purpose flour, granulated sugar, eggs, baking powder, baking soda, and salt: These common baking ingredients round out the recipe.
  • Orange zest: If desired, you can add orange zest to the streusel topping to give this recipe a little zing (we love rhubarb and orange together!).
Rhubarb Bread Ingredients

How to make rhubarb bread: step by step

This rhubarb bread recipe comes together simply. We love the light and fluffy crumb and those sweet tart pops of rhubarb in each bite! It takes about 20 minutes to mix up and 1 hour to bake, so if you’re short on time consider our rhubarb muffins instead. Here’s what to do (or jump to the full recipe):

Step 1: In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the granulated sugar, buttermilk, melted butter, neutral oil, eggs, and vanilla extract.

Step 2: In a small bowl, mix the streusel ingredients: sugar, all-purpose flour, cinnamon, and optional orange zest. Cut the butter into small pieces, then use your fingers to rub it into the dry ingredients until crumbles form.

Step 3: Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix gently until just combined. Add 1 2/3 cups of rhubarb and fold it in with a spatula. Pour the batter into a greased 9 x 5″ loaf pan. Sprinkle the top with ⅓ cup chopped rhubarb and the streusel.

Step 4: Bake at 350°F until a toothpick in the center comes out with a few crumbs, about 55 to 65 minutes total (rotating the pan halfway through baking). Allow to cool for 30 minutes in the pan. Run a knife around the edge and invert the loaf onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool fully to room temperature before slicing, about 1 hour.

Rhubarb bread on platter with server.

Secrets to a light and fluffy bread

Quick breads can often turn out dense, dry, or filled with air pockets. This rhubarb bread is anything but that! There are a few tricks to the velvety soft texture:

  • Use real buttermilk. Buttermilk is absolutely crucial to making a fluffy quick bread with a tender crumb. Don’t be tempted to use even a buttermilk substitute here! It’s got to be the real thing.
  • Use both butter and oil. Butter and oil work uniquely in baked goods. Typically we use oil in our quick bread recipes, but we love the richness in flavor and texture that butter adds here.

Optional addition: orange zest

Rhubarb and orange are a classic combination, and here’s why: the zesty orange perfectly accentuates the sweet and sour flavor of the rhubarb. It’s a great way to step up this bread from delightful to gourmet! Simply add ¼ teaspoon orange zest into the streusel topping. This simple addition makes a big impact!

Rhubarb bread on platter with rhubarb stalks.

Rhubarb bread storage info

How to store it? This rhubarb bread tastes best the day it’s baked. However, it does hold up pretty well over time! Here’s what to know:

  • Refrigerator: This bread stores well wrapped in aluminum foil and stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week! This is what we recommend due to the streusel topping. Let the slices stand at room temperature for a few minutes before eating: it’s not quite as tasty cold (we think).
  • Freeze: Freeze in a sealable container and store up to 3 months.

More rhubarb recipes

Rhubarb season is our favorite! Here are a few more rhubarb recipes you might enjoy:

Dietary notes

This rhubarb bread recipe is vegetarian. For dairy-free, use refined coconut oil or vegan butter in place of the butter.

Frequently asked questions

What kind of rhubarb should I use for rhubarb bread?

Look for firm, crisp stalks with vibrant red color. Avoid rhubarb with blemishes, soft spots, or leaves (as they can be bitter).

Do I need to peel rhubarb before using it?

No, peeling rhubarb is not necessary. Simply wash the stalks, trim the ends, and chop them into bite-sized pieces.

My rhubarb is a little too tart. How can I adjust the sweetness in the bread?

The sugar in this recipe should account for the tartness of the rhubarb. If you’re worried about tartness, feel free to add a few more tablespoons of sugar.

My bread turned out dry or dense. What went wrong?

Overmixing: Overmixing the batter can develop the gluten in the flour, leading to a tough and dry texture. Mix just until the ingredients are combined.
Overbaking: Check the bread a few minutes before the recommended baking time. Once a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few clinging crumbs, it’s done.
Incorrect oven temperature: Ensure your oven is preheated to the correct temperature before baking.

How can I store leftover rhubarb bread?

Wrap leftover bread tightly in aluminum foil and store it refrigerated for up to 10 days. You can also freeze it for longer storage.

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Rhubarb Bread

Rhubarb Bread (Light & Fluffy!)


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 3 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 12 slices 1x

Description

This rhubarb bread recipe is the best! Tender and fluffy, it’s flecked with sweet tart rhubarb and sprinkled with a crunchy streusel topping.


Ingredients

Scale

For the bread

  • 2 cups rhubarb, finely diced
  • 2 cups [280 g] all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ⅓ cup neutral oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the streusel topping

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Optional: ¼ teaspoon orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. 
  2. Chop the rhubarb and set it aside. Grease a 9 x 5-inch aluminum loaf pan with butter.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk the granulated sugar, buttermilk, melted butter, neutral oil, eggs, and vanilla extract.
  5. Make the streusel: In a small bowl, mix the sugar, all-purpose flour, cinnamon, and optional orange zest. Cut the butter into small pieces, then use your fingers to rub it into the dry ingredients until well distributed and crumbles form.
  6. Pour the wet ingredients from the batter (Step 4) into the well in the dry ingredients. Mix gently until just combined and there are no longer streaks of flour.
  7. Add 1 2/3 cups of the diced rhubarb and fold it in with a spatula, taking care not to overwork the batter.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the top with ⅓ cup of the chopped rhubarb, then sprinkle evenly with the streusel.
  9. Place in the oven, adding a baking sheet on the rack underneath. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs, rotating the pan halfway through baking, about 55 to 65 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan for 30 minutes. 
  10. Run a knife around the edge and invert the loaf onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool fully to room temperature (about 1 hour) before slicing into pieces. This bread is best the day it’s made, but you can store wrapped in aluminum foil and refrigerated for up to 10 days: make sure to bring to room temperature before enjoying. Alternatively, store frozen for up to 3 months.
  • Category: Baking
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Baked
  • Diet: Vegetarian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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12 Comments

  1. Annika Carnes says:

    This rhubarb bread is truly the best! Quick and easy to put together and so delicious! The kitchen smelled great while it was baking also. We have devoured the whole loaf in just a couple of days. That’s how good it was!






  2. Lynn says:

    I was wondering whether I could use well drained tinned rhubarb for this recipe?






    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      We haven’t used it but I think it would work fine!

  3. Kristin says:

    Any chance you can convert the measurements to grams for UK bakers! Rhubarb is grown on every single allotment here so always keen to try new recipes 😋

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      You should be able to google conversions! We will definitely consider providing them in the future. Thank you for the comment!

  4. Kelly Bellinghausen says:

    OMG, this sounds just like my grandmother’s recipe. I lost all of my recipes when our city was hit by a wildfire 5 yrs ago and I have searched high & low for a similar recipe but this sounds IDENTICAL to hers. I can hardly wait to try it!! Thank you!!

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      That’s wild! I’m sorry to hear that but hope it works out for you :)

  5. Sonja Overhiser says:

    Let us know if you have any questions!






    1. Ceil Barlow says:

      I have made several of your recipes and love them especially the corn bread!
      It would be helpful to me if you gave the nutritional values, my husband is diabetic so it is important to know the carbs and sugar.
      Thanks
      Cei

      1. Alex Overhiser says:

        Added! I’m behind on updating these so feel free to leave a comment on any you’d like to prioritize.

    2. Gloria sauder says:

      So many cake, muffin, and bread recipes call for buttermilk and say that a substitute is just as good. Why is it not good for this recipe? I always have milk and lemon juice and vinegar on hand and really do not want to purchase real buttermilk.

      1. Alex Overhiser says:

        Hi! You are welcome to substitute and will still have a good result, there is definitely a difference in taste and texture if you use the real thing!