Rhubarb Sauce Recipe and How to Make Rhubarb Compote Parfaits

This rhubarb sauce recipe is simple to make, with just 3 ingredients and little water. It’s technically a rhubarb compote, meaning a chunky fruit sauce, but whatever you choose to call it, we know you’ll want to eat lots and lots of it.

Rhubarb Sauce in a Bowl


This recipe was first posted in June of 2011. I’m updating the post in 2018 with more info on cooking with rhubarb and the difference between a fruit compote and fruit sauce. Here is the original intro:

We lost our kitty on Monday. One day I’ll be able to write a great post about him, but for now, the wound is too fresh. I will post a breakfast recipe in his honor though.

Rhubarb Compote with Yogurt and Granola

Every morning the first thing I’d do was say hi to Cappucino, then he would curl up in my lap while I had my breakfast. In cold weather I usually eat something hot for breakfast, toast with peanut butter, or oatmeal.

Now that the weather is warming up I’ve been craving yogurt, and this rhubarb compote is the perfect pairing.


There are so many different names for sauces in the culinary world, and the variety of cooking terms can get a bit confusing.

A compote is a kind of fruit sauce. So all compotes are fruit sauces, but not all fruit sauces are compotes. Make sense?

When you make a fruit sauce (like this rhubarb sauce) if you puree it completely smooth and strain all the pulp out, you’ve made a sauce called a coulis (koo-LEE).

Rhubarb Sauce Yogurt Parfait in a Jar

If you leave your sauce a bit chunky (like we do with this rhubarb sauce) then you’ve made a sauce called a compote.

So you can call this a rhubarb sauce recipe. That’s exactly what it is. Or you can sound incredibly fancy and sophisticated, and call it a rhubarb compote recipe. It’s especially impressive when entertaining!

I call it both, because I go back and forth between my past life of eating in 4-star restaurants, and my current life of the family clamoring for macaroni and cheese two days a week.


As I said above, a compote is a puree of fruit that’s been cooked in sugar and water. But you don’t need any special equipment like a food processor or immersion blender to puree it. The rhubarb cooks down so well in the sugar syrup that you can just use your spoon to break it apart.

Sliced Rhubarb with Sugar in a Saucepan to Make Rhubarb Sauce

  • Slice your rhubarb into ¼ inch thick chunks.
  • For every 2 cups of chopped rhubarb, you need ¼ cup sugar (or sugar substitute), ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ cup water.
  • Add rhubarb, sugar, salt and water to a large saucepan, combine all ingredients, and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium to simmer about 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally.
  • When rhubarb is tender, use your wooden spoon to mash it up until you have a thick rhubarb sauce.


Rhubarb is not just incredibly sour, it also has a bitterness to it. Salt naturally counteracts the bitterness, while the sugar counteracts the sourness. So adding salt and sugar to the rhubarb sauce helps keep one taste sensation from being too overpowering so that you can actually taste the flavor of the rhubarb.

Rhubarb growing in a garden


No need to peel rhubarb! If you cut your rhubarb with a sharp knife, you should avoid those strings, similar to slicing up celery. The only time you may have to peel rhubarb is late in the season when it gets quite a bit tougher.


Yes you can freeze rhubarb sauce! Refrigerate your rhubarb sauce for up to one week or freeze it in an airtight container up to one year. You can even freeze it in an ice cube tray then store the cubes in a baggie in the freezer for single serve portions to use throughout the year.


Rhubarb Parfait in Jar

I love making compotes because they have so many uses. You can stir them into applesauce, mix them into smoothies, pour them over vanilla ice cream and pound cake, spread them on toast like jam.

You can even use this rhubarb sauce for meat! The sweet tart flavor is amazing over pork chops, duck, or some roasted lamb. Use it as a dip for Chinese meatballs or potstickers, a sauce for Korean tacos, or spread it on salmon.


My latest favorite use is to mix rhubarb compote with vanilla yogurt and granola.

I haven’t tried making my own yogurt yet, but it’s on my list. In the meantime, it’s much cheaper to buy plain or vanilla Greek yogurt in large tubs and add my own fruit compote than it is to buy the flavored yogurts.

Empty Jar from Rhubarb Sauce Parfait

You can also get yogurt without HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) more easily in the plain or vanilla flavors than in a fruit flavor. And using this homemade rhubarb sauce means YOU’RE in control of the sugar content.

But the best part about having this special layered breakfast? I get to sleep in another 20 minutes!!!

Instead of getting up and fixing breakfast and eating it at home, I make jars of yogurt layered with the 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the rhubarb compote and some homemade granola. I can store them in the fridge and grab one on my way out the door to eat on the go. Perfect!

If you love the grab and go breakfast option too, make sure to check out our microwave omelet in a jar, bulk breakfast burritos, and easy eggs in a basket recipes.

What would you do with this lovely rhubarb compote?


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5 from 4 votes
Rhubarb Sauce in a Bowl
Rhubarb Sauce Recipe
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
20 mins

This rhubarb sauce recipe is simple to make, with just 3 ingredients and little water. It’s technically a rhubarb compote, meaning a chunky fruit sauce, but whatever you choose to call it, we know you’ll want to eat lots and lots of it. The recipe makes about 1 1/4 cups. Feel free to double it to make more!

Course: Condiment
Servings: 5
Calories: 48 kcal
Author: Diana Johnson
  1. Place all the ingredients in a saucepan. 

  2. Mix together and simmer on medium, stirring occasionally until rhubarb is completely softened, about 10-15 minutes.

  3. Refrigerate up to one week or freeze in an airtight container up to one year.
Recipe Notes

Approximate cost/serving: This only cost me $2 to make getting the rhubarb from a local farm. This recipe gives me about 5, 1/4 cup servings, so 40 cents a serving.

Vegetarian/Gluten Free: This is vegetarian, gluten free and vegan too!

Nutrition Facts
Rhubarb Sauce Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 48
% Daily Value*
Sodium 235mg 10%
Potassium 140mg 4%
Total Carbohydrates 12g 4%
Sugars 10g
Vitamin A 1%
Vitamin C 4.7%
Calcium 4.2%
Iron 0.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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