Rhubarb is a truly special ingredient. With its vivid pink colour and distinctively tangy taste, it can be stewed, poached, roasted and puréed in a range of dishes as well as drinks. Use it in a comforting crumble, a classic syllabub, a fruity chutney or a zingy kebab sauce – the possibilities are endless. For more inspiration, see our collection of rhubarb recipes.


There are two kinds of rhubarb grown in the UK – forced rhubarb, which is available from January to March, and maincrop rhubarb, available from March to June.

Forced rhubarb is grown under pots in the charmingly named ‘rhubarb triangle’, the area around Leeds, Wakefield and Bradford. Cultivated under controlled light and soil conditions, it grows up to 5cm a day, and it's rumoured you can ‘hear’ it growing, with tales of eerie creaking sounds as the stalks move their way up the soil.

Maincrop rhubarb is available in spring, usually from late March until June. It has a deeper colour and more tart flavour than delicate, light pink forced rhubarb, meaning the two should be treated differently during cooking.

Want to start your own rhubarb crop? Discover the best way to grow rhubarb, at GardenersWorld.com

More like this

Whilst some may argue that rhubarb is at its best when simply roasted and served with ice cream, we think there's so much more to this rosy veg. Check out our list of favourite recipes.

What to look for when buying rhubarb

Woman in shop holding shopping basket and rhubarb

Forced rhubarb should be watermelon pink with pale green leaves, while prime maincrop is redder in tone with bright green leaves. Avoid stems that are slimy or limp and go for plump and crisp. Remember that once the leaves have been removed, the rhubarb will quickly go limp.

How to prepare rhubarb

As tempting as it may be to throw them into a salad, remember that you should never eat rhubarb leaves. They contain oxalic acid, which is poisonous when ingested.

When it comes to the stalks, strip off any rough, stringy ribs from maincrop rhubarb with a small paring knife – forced rhubarb shouldn’t require any peeling.

Wash the stalks, trim off the top and bottom, then slice into your preferred shape.

To stew or poach your rhubarb to serve simply with ice cream or custard, cook for 8-10 minutes, or roast it for 15 minutes (forced) or 20 minutes (maincrop).

If you've got a glut of rhubarb, or don't want to use it immediately, follow our guide for how to freeze rhubarb, whether it's raw, blanched or cooked.

1. Rhubarb crumble

A dish of rhubarb crumble with a spoon

Kicking off with a comfort food classic, our rhubarb crumble is the ultimate pudding to share with family and friends. Indulge in this heavenly combination of sharp fruity filling with sweet crumbly topping and creamy vanilla custard.

Try more rhubarb crumble flavours such as rhubarb & strawberry crumble with custard, or rhubarb & ginger crumble. We've also recreated the flavours of this dish in a delicious rhubarb & custard pie with butter crumble.

2. Rhubarb & custard scones

Scones topped with rhubarb and custard

These delicious scones feature one of Britain's best-loved flavour combinations: rhubarb and custard. Serve with clotted cream for an enjoyable afternoon tea in the garden.

Check out more of our delicious scone recipes and find inspiration for the perfect afternoon tea spread with our afternoon tea recipes, vegan afternoon tea recipes and our guide on how to throw an afternoon tea party.

3. Rhubarb & custard fluffy pancakes

Stack of rhubarb and custard pancakes

This stunning stack features fluffy pancakes layered with thick custard and syrupy rhubarb for a truly tantalising treat. Also try our rhubarb & custard crêpes.

4. Rhubarb gin

2 glasses and a jar filled with rhubarb gin

With the craze for gin not showing any signs of slowing down, keep current with our rhubarb-infused version. Pretty and refreshing, this will go down a treat on a hot day.

Mix-up more zingy cocktails using a rich rhubarb cordial, sip on a fruity rhubarb & strawberry vodka or recreate traditional flavours in a rhubarb & custard cocktail.

5. Rhubarb & elderflower cake

A filled sponge cake with elderflowers on top and a jar next to it

This showstopping cake celebrates two seasonal crops: rhubarb and elderflower. Together, they make a cake that not only looks incredible, but tastes just as good. Learn how to make best use of elderflowers.

6. Cardamom, rhubarb & ginger French toast traybake

Baking tray of brioche french toast covered in rhubarb

Start your day right with our simple yet indulgent make-ahead French toast traybake. It's an impressive-looking bake that combines the tangy flavour of rhubarb and lemon with sweet orange, vanilla, cardamom and cinnamon. Taking only 15 minutes to prepare, it’s a fantastic dish for entertaining as it can serve up to six people, and everyone can help themselves from the baking dish. Just make sure no one’s hogging it!

Discover more French toast recipes, and if you’re thinking of throwing a big breakfast bonanza, check out our guide on the best big festive breakfasts for a crowd.

7. Rhubarb & custard blondies

rhubarb and custard blondies cut into squares

This recipe makes clever use of custard powder in the blondie batter to achieve the classic rhubarb & custard flavour. Discover more delicious blondies.

8. Rhubarb & custard tart

Patry topped with rhubarb and crushed nuts

Bake our eye-catching rhubarb & custard tart for a dinner party showstopper. Blitz some of the rhubarb and combine it with the custard filling for an extra flavour injection, then layer the remaining stems in neat rows.

If you can't decide on a tart or crumble, then why not get the best of both worlds with a rhubarb & almond crumble tart.

9. Rhubarb fool

Two individual bowls of rhubarb fool next to pistachio and cardamom biscuit

Celebrate the gorgeous colour of forced rhubarb in this stunning rhubarb fool. The creaminess of the fool pairs fantastically with the buttery pistachio and cardamom shortbreads. Master the art of making buttery, crumbly biscuits with our shortbread recipes.

10. Rhubarb crumble muffins

Muffins in a tray with rhubarb filling

Another clever reinvention of the classic crumble comes in the form of our moreish rhubarb crumble muffins. These generously sized bakes have a beautifully moist texture from the rhubarb stalks, while the crunchy topping captures the essence of a crumble.

Create more brilliant bakes with these tempting rhubarb & custard blondies. The addition of custard powder to the blondie mix adds an extra fudgy texture.

11. Rhubarb & ginger crème brûlée

Rhubarb & ginger crème brûlée in a round baking dish

For an unusual twist on the classic French dessert, try a filling made with stewed rhubarb and ginger custard. Although a little more effort, it's the perfect way to pull out all the stops for a special meal. Discover more dinner party desserts.

12. Rhubarb & gingernut cheesecake

Rhubarb & gingernut cheesecake on a plate with cooked rhubarb on top

Tart rhubarb pairs perfectly with gingernut biscuits to make a creamy, no-bake cheesecake that's perfect for spring. Drizzle the leftover homemade rhubarb syrup over porridge later in the week. Try more no-bake cheesecakes.

13. Rhubarb & vanilla jam

Rhubarb and vanilla jam on toast

Make a batch of our fabulously fruity rhubarb & vanilla jam and spread liberally on toast. This compote also works well when swirled thr0ugh creamy porridge or yogurt.

Try our rhubarb & ginger jam for a flavour variation or serve your rhubarb compote with vanilla crème fraîche and pancakes.

14. Spelt pancakes with rhubarb

Plate of spelt pancakes topped with rhubarb, almonds and creme fraiche

Using spelt flour and olive oil for these pancakes gives them a unique, nutty taste that pairs beautifully with the vibrant tang of rhubarb, orange, almonds and crème fraîche topping. Enjoy for dessert, or why not start your weekend right with them as part of a decadent breakfast spread?

If you’re looking forward to a treat-yourself weekend, check out our most indulgent pancake recipes. Pancakes always taste better with friends – check out our guide to how to throw a pancake party to ensure you host the best soirée.

15. Rhubarb & custard cake

Rhubarb and custard cake with slice cut out

It's only natural that the classic combination of rhubarb and custard would be reinvented in a light and fruity cake. Use homegrown roasted rhubarb to maximise on flavour. Enjoy a slice of this moist sponge with a cup of tea, or serve with a dollop of yogurt for dessert.

We've got plenty more rhubarb-laden baked goods for you to try:

Rhubarb crumble cake
Rhubarb spice cake
Rhubarb buckle
Rhubarb & orange cake.

16. Rhubarb & date chutney

Pot of rhubarb chutney with a slice of cheese and bread

Our rhubarb & date chutney delivers the perfect mix of sweet and tart. Leave this spicy spread to mature for a month to develop a full-bodied flavour. It makes the perfect accompaniment to cheeses, pâté and cold meats, and it's equally delicious as a sandwich filling.

If you're short on time, then rustle up our simpler rhubarb chutney which only takes minutes to prepare.

17. Lemon & rhubarb rice pudding

Rice pudding topped with rhubarb in a bowl

Spice up traditional rice pudding by infusing it with lemon curd and rhubarb for a tangy, jammy hit. It makes an excellent treat for a cold day, and it’s gluten free!

Check out more of our rice pudding recipes, and for more inspiration on serving gluten-free treats, check out our gluten-free desert recipes.

18. Rhubarb & ginger syllabub

Glasses full of rhubarb syllabub

A light and tangy syllabub is quick to make and even quicker to devour. Using fresh ginger in the rhubarb compote will give it a spicy kick, which works beautifully when swirled through the creamy filling.

Dig your spoon into a white chocolate mousse with poached rhubarb, or rhubarb & strawberry meringue pots for a low-fat version that uses only five ingredients. If you're looking for a stunning party centrepiece, try our boozy rhubarb fool trifle.

19. Russian shashlik with rhubarb sauce

Two tortillas topped with lamb kebab, yoghurt and rhubarb sauce

As well as being a sweet sensation, rhubarb makes an excellent addition to savoury dishes. These Russian-style lamb kebabs are enhanced with a drizzle of rhubarb sauce. They'd be great to share with friends and family at a casual gathering or spring barbecue if you're lucky with the weather.

For an elegant dinner party dish, serve roasted rhubarb alongside pork fillets stuffed with black pudding.

20. Rhubarb & ricotta bread & butter pudding

Rhubarb bread & butter pudding in an oven dish and serving bowl

Combine rhubarb with creamy ricotta in a classic bread & butter pudding. Or experiment with rhubarb in other traditional desserts such as a rhubarb steamed pudding, or go further afield and make an American-style rhubarb & orange slump complete with fluffy dumplings and a fruity sauce.

If these indulgent puds don't satisfy your rhubarb cravings, then why not pair them with a vibrant pink rhubarb & star anise sorbet? As well as jazzing up your pudding bowl, this zingy ice cream acts as a palate-cleanser to round off the meal.

Rhubarb and star anise sorbet with an ice cream scoop

Like this? Find more rhubarb recipes:

Rhubarb recipe collection
How to freeze rhubarb
5 ways with fruity scones
Crumble recipes for every season


What rhubarb dishes do you like to make? Leave a comment below...

Comments, questions and tips

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Choose the type of message you'd like to post