Perfectly Sweet & Tart Rhubarb Sauce

By Amanda Paa – Updated April 15, 2023
5 from 10 votes
This homemade rhubarb sauce is perfectly sweet and tart, with soft hints of orange and vanilla bean. Easy to make in a blender with just four ingredients! It's smooth texture is perfect as a topping for ice cream, oatmeal, or spread onto toast. You can also freeze this sauce to preserve rhubarb for several months.
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rhubarb sauce in glass jar
smooth rhubarb sauce in glass jar

Spring has arrived quite late this year in Wisconsin, and I’ve been not so patiently waiting for my rhubarb plants to grow prolifically. And this week that happened!

I got started by making this smooth, vanilla bean rhubarb sauce so that I can enjoy it each day on something new. It’s the perfect balance of sweet and tart, and intensely rhubarb forward. It’s smooth and almost creamy, a delicious topping for many different treat.

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When it’s gone, I’ll move on to gluten-free rhubarb bars, and muffins. And a rhubarb margarita!

How to make rhubarb sauce:

Macerating the rhubarb pieces with sugar and salt allows the fruit to release some of its moisture, removing the need to add water; a technique I learned from Braised and Deglazed. This creates a flavorful, concentrated rhubarb sauce that’s absolutely delicious and sets this recipe apart. Orange peel is also added to the rhubarb while it sits, a citrus infusion that pairs perfectly with rhubarb.

  1. Cut rhubarb into 1/2 inch pieces. Mix with sugar, salt, and orange peel. Let sit for 30 minutes.
  2. Add all of the mixture including juices to a medium pot and gently simmer for 10 minutes with cover on, stirring occasionally. Rhubarb will soften and break down.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool.
  4. Discard orange peel and blend mixture until smooth.
  5. Stir in vanilla bean paste.
rhubarb macerating with orange peel
cut rhubarb pieces in a white tray with silver spoon
rhubarb sauce in a blender

7 delicious ways to eat rhubarb sauce:

This rhubarb sauce is so versatile. Here are my favorite ways to enjoy it:

Flavors that pair well with rhubarb:

Rhubarb itself is super crunchy, puckery tart and tangy when raw, so it’s meant to be cooked with a sweetener to create balance and soften its texture. It has a citrusy, earthy flavor that pairs well with parallel ingredients like lemon and orange. I also love to use ginger or vanilla bean paste with rhubarb; the soft, floral notes being the perfect compliment.

rhubarb sauce in glass jar with gold spoon

Do you have to peel rhubarb?

Rhubarb is easy to cook or bake with, no peeling needed! Just remove the leaves (which are poisonous), and trim the root end. Then cut into pieces. The thin outer edges of rhubarb stalks break down with heat, and also contribute to its beautiful pink color.

Freezing rhubarb sauce:

This recipe freezes well, allowing you to preserve rhubarb in a delicious way for months. To freeze, let the rhubarb sauce cool completely, then pour into a glass jar. Leave an inch of head space. Then screw on cover and freeze upright. Rhubarb sauce can be frozen for 4-5 months.

hand holding rhubarb sauce in a weck jar

More Rhubarb Recipes:

smooth rhubarb sauce in glass jar

4-Ingredient Fresh Rhubarb Sauce

This rhubarb sauce is perfectly sweet and tart, with soft hints of orange and vanilla bean. Easy to make in a blender! Use as a topping for ice cream, oatmeal, or on toast.
5 from 10 votes
Prep Time :10 minutes
Cook Time :10 minutes
Resting Time :30 minutes
Yield: 2 cups
Author: Amanda Paa

SCALE:

Ingredients

  • 650 grams rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 130 grams cane sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 4 strips of fresh orange peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Instructions 

  • Cut rhubarb into 1/2 inch pieces. In a large bowl or try, mix rhubarb with sugar, salt, and orange peel. Let sit for 30 minutes.
  • Add all of the mixture including juices to a medium pot and gently simmer for 10 minutes with cover on, stirring occasionally. Rhubarb will soften and break down. Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Discard orange peel and blend mixture until smooth.
  • Stir in vanilla bean paste. Sauce will thicken a bit as its refrigerated, just an fyi. Store in refrigerator for 3 weeks or freezer for 4-6 months.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Braised and Deglazed.
*This recipe freezes well for 4-6 months. It does not have enough acid to be canned. However, if you are looking for a rhubarb canning recipe, my Strawberry Rhubarb Jam is a family favorite.

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May 12, 2022

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14 comments

  1. Greg Thompson

    5 stars
    Had a half lb. Of rhubarb and just me thinking…two cinnamon sticks, ORANGE MARMALADE, and vanilla…”I don’t believable” INCREDIBLE! Nice website…signed up too! Thanks

    • Amanda Paa

      Sounds great, Greg! Thanks for making the recipe.

  2. Sinead Burke

    5 stars
    Made this recipe with some home grown rhubarb and it’s fantastic! I love the slight tartness 😍

    • Amanda Paa

      i’m so glad you enjoyed it, yay for rhubarb sauce!

  3. Karen

    5 stars
    Daughter insisted I buy rhubarb at the farmer’s market, having NEVER touched the stuff. This sauce is divine! I will make it for my next dinner party and drizzle it over all-butter poundcake with fresh whipped cream! Until then… I’ll just eat it with a spoon!

    • Amanda Paa

      Oh I’m so glad your introduction to rhubarb was great and you love the sauce! Sounds absolutely wonderful with the poundcake + whip combo.

  4. Kelly Jesch

    5 stars
    Made this yesterday and the luscious, thick and yummy butter was so delicious this morning. The orange and vanilla make this special! Won’t last long here. Saving this recipe!

    • Amanda Paa

      I’m so glad you liked this, Kelly! The orange and vanilla really is lovely with the rhubarb.

  5. Allison

    5 stars
    Delicious and easy rhubarb sauce! Have already enjoyed it on homemade waffles and looking forward to adding it to my morning yogurt and oatmeal. Thanks for sharing!

    • Amanda Paa

      Yay, love the waffle idea!

  6. Kerbi

    Hi do you think this recipe can be canned?

    • Amanda Paa

      Hello! It has not been tested for canning safety.

  7. Devan

    5 stars
    Thanks for the shoutout Amanda. Your photos look gorgeous and I love the fresh vanilla bean added here. 5 stars!

    • Amanda Paa

      Thanks for teaching me the technique, it works so great!