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This rhubarb sauce recipe is simple and bursting with sweet tart flavor! Enjoy it over ice cream, oatmeal, pancakes, and more.

Rhubarb sauce

Looking for a great way to use rhubarb? Try this glistening pink rhubarb sauce recipe! Cook the bright stalks down with sugar until they break down into a luscious, sweet tart compote. This chunky sauce is perfect for pairing with melty vanilla ice cream as a summer dessert, or scooping over oatmeal, pancakes or waffles for a fun and seasonal breakfast! We can’t decide how we love it best (though ice cream may take the cake!).

Ingredients in rhubarb sauce

Rhubarb sauce is a perfect way to use rhubarb that you’re looking to use with little effort. It takes just 15 minutes and it makes a beautifully bright, fruity sauce. It works with fruit that’s towards the end of its life (just like blueberry sauce or raspberry sauce). Plus, it uses mostly pantry ingredients! Combine it with ice cream and there’s nothing better on a summer evening. Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Rhubarb
  • Sugar (granulated and brown sugar)
  • Water
  • Lemon juice
  • Vanilla extract
Rhubarb sauce recipe

Citrus juice or zest brings out the flavor

The only ingredient you might not have on hand for this rhubarb sauce recipe is a fresh lemon! We’ve tried this recipe without the citrus, but it really adds the zing that you’re looking for in a rhubarb recipe. Here are a few notes:

  • Citrus juice or zest bring out the sweet tart flavor of rhubarb. It’s why we use orange zest in our rhubarb pie and rhubarb crisp recipes: it’s just that good!
  • Use lemon juice, or substitute zest or orange zest. You can substitute ½ teaspoon lemon zest or ¼ teaspoon orange zest. Orange and rhubarb are the perfect combination!

How to make rhubarb sauce

Rhubarb sauce is similar to any fruit sauce: you simply cook down the fruit with sugar on the stovetop until it breaks down and becomes saucy. Here’s what to do:

  • Dice the rhubarb. You can use any amount you like! This recipe uses one pound, which we pair with ¾ cup granulated sugar.
  • Cook the rhubarb with sugar and water on the stovetop. Cook over medium heat and allow the sauce to bubble and break down. It takes about 10 to 12 minutes, depending on the exact heat and the size of the rhubarb pieces.
  • Remove from the heat, and add lemon juice and vanilla. We also like adding a bit of brown sugar to add complexity to the flavor.
  • Chill. Chill for about 1 hour to allow the sauce to thicken.
Rhubarb sauce

Ways to use rhubarb sauce

You can use this rhubarb sauce for just about anything: dessert, breakfast, or simply eating with a spoon (we don’t judge). Here are some of our favorite ways to eat this sauce:

How do you plan to use it? Let us know in the comments below!

More rhubarb recipes

When rhubarb season rolls around, we use it for everything! Here are some of our favorite ways to bake it into treats:

This rhubarb sauce recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

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Rhubarb sauce

Easy Rhubarb Sauce

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 1 2/3 cups 1x


This rhubarb sauce recipe is simple and bursting with sweet tart flavor! Enjoy it over ice cream, oatmeal, pancakes, and more.


  • 3 cups finely diced rhubarb (1 pound)
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (or more granulated sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional but recommended*)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. In a saucepan, stir together the rhubarb, granulated sugar, and water over medium heat. Once it starts to bubble, cook for about 10 to 12 minutes until the rhubarb is broken down and the juices have slightly thickened, mashing with the back of your spoon (exact timing depends on the size of the rhubarb and heat level).
  2. Remove from the heat and stir in the brown sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla. Taste and adjust the sweetness as desired. Transfer to a sealed container and chill for at least an hour, which will thicken the juices even more. Store refrigerated for 2 weeks or frozen for up to 3 months. Serve over waffles, pancakes, or swirled into oatmeal, yogurt, or ice cream.


*Lemon juice is optional, but it really adds the “zing” to the flavor. You can substitute ½ teaspoon lemon zest or ¼ teaspoon orange zest.

  • Category: Essentials
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Sauce
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Rhubarb sauce, rhubarb sauce recipe, rhubarb sauce recipes

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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