Rhubarb sauce, two ways, from Cheap Recipe Blog

Out of all the reasons I love rhubarb (the tartness, the color, the versatility, etc.), my favorite is this: It’s free.

When I go home to visit my parents in southwest Minnesota, there are no less than three rhubarb patches that we have permission to pick from. Thanks to a couple of bachelor neighbors and my aunt and uncle, I consider May to be my free food month.

Last weekend, my parents and I picked a whole lot of rhubarb. Eleven cups when it was all chopped up:

Fresh rhubarb

I was reminded of a simple rhubarb recipe when I attended a Norwegian-themed dinner at a local senior center (Don’t worry: People of all ages are welcome!)

They served a delicious rhubarb sauce with a dollop of whipped cream on top. Simple, yet perfectly appropriate for May.

Cooked rhubarb sauce, from Cheap Recipe Blog

Two Different Ways To Prepare Rhubarb Sauce

I decided to make rhubarb sauce, which is quite possibly the easiest way to prepare this plant. I experimented with two different preparation methods:

  • Cooked on the stovetop:  Simply combine chopped rhubarb, sugar, and water in a saucepan and cook it for about 15 minutes. See below for exact recipe. This method resulted in a golden color (see photo directly above) that resembled homemade applesauce.
  • Grilled: I wanted to see how rhubarb would taste when grilled. I prepared a tin foil pouch, placed about a cup of rhubarb with a few tablespoons of sugar and a bit of butter, sealed, and grilled for about 15 minutes. The sauce was delicious, and turned a lovely pink (see top photo, above.) I also placed a few stalks directly on the grill to see what would happen. The rhubarb stalks soften nicely and were deliciously tart. Note to self: Use this plain grilled rhubarb as a burger topping!

Grilled rhubarb sauce, from Cheap Recipe Blog

How To Use Rhubarb Sauce

Here are a few ideas for how to use your cooked or grilled rhubarb sauce:

  • As an ice cream topping
  • Plain, topped with whipped cream
  • As a topping on pound cake
  • As a topping on French toast
  • As a topping on toast
  • Stirred into oatmeal
  • As a sauce on a turkey and cheese panini
  • As a topping on grilled chicken
  • As an option on a European-style breakfast buffet

Rhubarb custard cake from Cheap Recipe Blog

Get the recipe: Rhubarb custard cake

Because I got the rhubarb for free from a neighbor’s patch, this sauce cost me virtually nothing. Eleven cups of rhubarb was enough to make 6 small jars of rhubarb sauce, which are canned and ready for use throughout the year.


Cooked rhubarb sauce, from Cheap Recipe Blog

Cooked Rhubarb Sauce

Yield: 6 half pint jars
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

You may wish to use a bit more sugar if your rhubarb is especially tart.


  • 10 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • Dash of cinnamon, optional


  1. Place rhubarb, sugar, and water in a large saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The rhubarb will soften and become a sauce.
  2. Add a dash of cinnamon, if desired. Serve warm or chilled. Or can sauce for future use.