Rhubarb Bread

This Rhubarb Bread is tender and moist from buttermilk, an easy quick bread recipe that pairs tart bites of rhubarb with vanilla, cozy cinnamon, and fresh orange zest. The crispy cinnamon-sugar topping adds an outrageously wonderful texture!

A loaf of rhubarb bread cut to show a slice and the pink spots of rhubarb.

I baked up so many pounds of rhubarb this spring that I eventually lost count. (If I had to guess, more than 30 pounds!) And lucky you, by dear rhubarb loving friend, because you get to enjoy all these awesome recipes! This easy Rhubarb Bread recipe is rolling out now, and I just know you’re gonna love it. It’s tender and moist from buttermilk, and beautifully flavorful with little pockets of puckery rhubarb goodness. And that crackly cinnamon-sugar topping? Well let’s just say, I leave those bites for last. (Do you also save the best bites for last?!)

Why Our Family Loves this Quick Bread Recipe

Our daughter Tessa packed a slice of this rhubarb bread in her school lunch every day for a week…that’s how much she loves this recipe! Here’s why we make it again and again:

  • AWESOME texture & flavor. This bread is moist and gorgeously tender, with a contrasting top of thin, crackly cinnamon-sugar. And the flavor is outstanding – with tangy buttermilk, plus vanilla, cinnamon, orange zest, and small bites of tart rhubarb.
  • Really easy. Seriously. Just follow my simple yet thorough instructions, and you’ll soon be enjoying the best rhubarb bread!
  • Because, RHUBARB! I can’t help it. I’m in love with the stuff. Rhubarb is a very humble ingredient that Midwesterners hold high on a pedestal. It’s full of nostalgia, with countless rhubarb recipes logged in worn, well-used community and church cookbooks over the years.
The ingredients for rhubarb bread are labelled: rhubarb, vegetable oil, egg, buttermilk, flour, vanilla, cinnamon, orange zest, sugar.

Ingredient Notes

This rhubarb quick bread uses fridge & pantry staples, plus fresh rhubarb – no fancy ingredients required. Here’s a look at what you’ll need. Find the exact ingredient amounts in the printable recipe card at the end of this post.

  • Rhubarb – I use fresh rhubarb from our yard, but you can also pick up rhubarb at your local store or farmers market during rhubarb season. Choose firm rhubarb stalks that are free of brown or soft spots.
  • Egg – This adds moist texture and rich flavor, and helps to bind the bread batter together.
  • Buttermilk – This gives the bread its lovely moist and tender texture, plus extra flavor.
  • Vegetable oil – Use your favorite neutral-flavored vegetable oil.
  • Sugar Because rhubarb is so tart, you can usually count on rhubarb recipes to include sugar!
  • Vanilla extract Use pure vanilla extract for the very best flavor.
  • Flour – All-purpose flour is used to create the quick bread batter. Use the spoon and level method to measure out your flour so that the bread isn’t too dense.
  • Baking powder – This helps give the bread some lift. Make sure to check the expiration date on your baking powder for the best results.
  • Cinnamon – This warm spice goes so well with the fresh rhubarb and orange.
  • Salt For a bit of contrast to the sweet.
  • Orange zest – I like to pair rhubarb with fresh orange!

What Does Rhubarb Bread Taste Like?

This rhubarb bread is lightly sweet, with touches of fresh orange, cozy cinnamon, and vanilla. There are pockets of tender baked rhubarb dispersed throughout, which offer little tart bites of contrast. And the lightly crunchy cinnamon-sugar topping adds another layer of sweet, warm flavor that my family finds irresistible – very similar to the crackly cinnamon sugar crust on my sour cream coffee cake recipe.

How to Make Rhubarb Bread

Here’s a quick overview of how to make this sweet-tart bread. Find the detailed instructions in the recipe card lower down.

  • Prepare. Preheat the oven, then lightly spray a 9″x5″ loaf pan and line it with parchment paper.
  • Combine wet ingredients with sugar. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, vegetable oil, sugar, and vanilla.
  • Mix dry ingredients with orange zest. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and orange zest. 
  • Combine. Mix the dry ingredients gently into the wet ingredients.
  • Fold in rhubarb. Add the rhubarb and fold gently to combine.
  • Assemble. Transfer batter to pan, then sprinkle chopped rhubarb and cinnamon-sugar over the top.
  • Bake. Bake for about 70 minutes, or until firm in the center when you press on the top.
  • Cool. Let the bread cool in the pan on a rack for 20 minutes, then lift out the bread and let it cool completely before slicing.
A baked rhubarb bread loaf with stalks of rhubarb next to it.

TIPS & VARIATION IDEAS

This rhubarb bread comes out of the oven beautifully tender and moist. To ensure that you end up with the perfect loaf, see some of my tips below. I also offer a few ways to change up the recipe, if desired.

  • Use fresh rhubarb. I always recommend using fresh rhubarb when baking. If frozen rhubarb is your only option, do not thaw it first – fold it into the batter straight from the freezer.
  • Best way to cut rhubarb for quick bread. If the rhubarb stalks are thin, just slice them. When the rhubarb stalks are thicker, I cut the stalk in half lengthwise, and then slice. I aim for pieces roughly the size of large blueberries, about 1/2″ or so.
  • Use real buttermilk. I also always recommend using true buttermilk when baking (not milk mixed with vinegar or lemon juice). Real buttermilk simply gives the best, most trustworthy results.
  • And don’t waste the buttermilk! Buttermilk often comes in containers that offer more than you need for a recipe, which gives you a great excuse to enjoy other recipes with buttermilk. Family favorites include buttermilk pancakes, buttermilk waffles, buttermilk mashed potatoes, and buttermilk ranch dressing!
  • Use lemon zest instead. If you’re not a fan of orange, use lemon!
  • Don’t overmix. As with most quick breads and muffins, use a light hand when mixing the batter – because overmixing can lead to a tough finished crumb.
  • Do not under-bake. Usually I will tell you to not over-bake baked goods, but I throw that advice out the window with this particular recipe. This bread is very moist and does not dry out quickly. Make sure the bread is firm to the touch before removing it from the oven…do not under-bake! I always bake it for 70 minutes – but of course, ovens, pans, and ingredients will vary, so your timing might be different.
  • Let cool completely. I also recommend that you wait for the bread to cool completely before slicing it. Since it is so tender and moist, you will get cleaner slices if you wait for it to cool first.

HOW TO STORE

This rhubarb quick bread keeps very well. Here’s how I store it:

  • Counter – To keep the cinnamon-sugar topping as crisp as possible, I store the bread uncovered on the counter. If your kitchen is cool, with low humidity, the bread will keep well this way for 3 days or so.
  • Fridge – Place the rhubarb bread in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 5 days. Just know that the cinnamon-sugar topping will not stay crunchy.
  • Freezer – After the loaf has cooled completely, wrap it in plastic wrap, then foil, and store it in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw the loaf in the fridge before serving. The cinnamon-sugar topping will no longer be crisp, just FYI.

MORE RHUBARB RECIPES

A loaf of rhubarb bread cut to show a slice and the pink spots of rhubarb.

Rhubarb Bread

Yield: 10 servings
prep time: 15 minutes
cook time: 1 hour 10 minutes
total time: 1 hour 25 minutes
This Rhubarb Bread is tender and moist from buttermilk, an easy quick bread recipe that pairs tart bites of rhubarb with vanilla, cozy cinnamon, and fresh orange zest. The crispy cinnamon-sugar topping adds an outrageously wonderful texture!
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Ingredients

Bread

  • cups chopped (½" pieces) rhubarb, divided (I recommend using stalks that are bright to deep red in color, about ¾" thick.)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon Morton kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon loosely packed fresh orange zest

Cinnamon-Sugar Sprinkle

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

Bread

  • Place oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a metal, light-colored 9"x5" loaf pan with non-stick spray. Then line the pan with a sling of parchment paper for easy removal. Chop the rhubarb and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, vegetable oil, sugar, and vanilla until evenly combined.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and orange zest.
  • Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and fold with a spatula, just to barely get it all combined. Do not overmix.
  • Add 2 cups of the rhubarb and fold just to combine.
  • Transfer batter to prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle remaining ¼ cup chopped rhubarb over the top of the batter, and lightly press in the pieces so they are even with the top of the batter (do not cover pieces completely with batter).

Cinnamon-Sugar Sprinkle

  • In a small cup, stir the sugar and cinnamon together. Then sprinkle the mixture evenly over the top of the batter.

Bake

  • Bake for 65-70 minutes, or until firm in the center when you press on the top + a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. This bread is very moist and does not dry out quickly – I always bake for 70 minutes and am careful to not under-bake.
  • Let cool for a full 20 minutes in the pan, on a cooling rack. Then use the parchment paper to lift the bread out of the pan, and let bread cool completely on the cooling rack.

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 301kcal Carbohydrates: 43g Protein: 4g Fat: 12g Saturated Fat: 2g Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g Monounsaturated Fat: 3g Trans Fat: 0.1g Cholesterol: 19mg Sodium: 234mg Potassium: 148mg Fiber: 1g Sugar: 23g Vitamin A: 92IU Vitamin C: 2mg Calcium: 107mg Iron: 1mg
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Spoonacular. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.
Did you make this recipe?Please leave a comment below. And share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #afarmgirlsdabbles or tag @farmgirlsdabble!

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