With just 3 ingredients – rhubarb, sugar, and water – you can make this sweet and tart Rhubarb Sauce. It’s the perfect topping for ice cream, angel food cake, yogurt, and more. So quick and easy to make!

A bowl of rhubarb sauce with a spoon in it


Easy Homemade Rhubarb Sauce

I’ve always liked my mom’s Rhubarb Sauce. So when I texted her for the recipe many years ago, I was surprised to learn how super simple it was to make. Mom laughed and said she never uses a recipe. She just cooks rhubarb, sugar, and water on the stovetop, using more or less of each ingredient to alter the sweetness and consistency.

While it actually is as simple as that, I did nail down what I think is the perfect rhubarb to water to sugar ratio for a sauce that’s a little sweet but still holds that wonderful tart rhubarb flavor.

This rhubarb sauce (or rhubarb compote, if you want to get fancy), is the perfect topping for so many things. Think desserts like angel food cake, cheesecake, and ice cream – but also breakfasts like pancakes, waffles, and biscuits. The possibilities are endless!

Overhead view of a bowl of rhubarb sauce

Sauce vs Compote vs Coulis

This recipe is for rhubarb sauce…but what’s the difference between that and rhubarb compote or rhubarb coulis?

It’s all about the texture.

Since this recipe still has some texture and chunks, it is rhubarb compote. If it were perfectly smooth with no chunks, it would be a coulis.

That’s the only difference! All rhubarb compotes, like this one, are rhubarb sauces – but not all sauces are compotes. Make sense? In the end, I just keep it simple and call this a sauce!

Overhead view of rhubarb sauce ingredients

What You’ll Need

All you really need to make this recipe is rhubarb, water, and sugar!

  • Red rhubarb – Cut into 1/2″ pieces.
  • Water
  • Sugar – Add more or less depending on whether you want your sauce to be more tart or more sweet.

Another ingredient that I sometimes use is a little bit of red food coloring. It just depends on how red the rhubarb is to start with, and what kind of mood I’m in!

How to Make Rhubarb Sauce

Here’s how to make this easy rhubarb sauce.

  • Simmer the mixture. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. The rhubarb will break down with some chunks remaining.
  • Taste test. Taste the sauce. Add more sugar if desired, or add more water to create a thinner sauce.
  • Cool. If adding food color, stir in a drop or two at a time until you reach the desired color. Then remove the sauce from heat and let cool completely.
A spoon stirring a bowl of rhubarb sauce

Serving Suggestions

My favorite way to enjoy this rhubarb compote is with grilled angel food cake and freshly whipped cream. It’s a combination made in heaven!

But there are so many other ways to use this rhubarb sauce. Add it to almost any dessert or dish that could sauce some rhubarb flavor and a pop of color. Here are some ideas:

Two spoons in a bowl of rhubarb sauce

How Long Will This Last?

Once the rhubarb sauce has cooled completely, transfer it to an airtight container. I like to use a glass canning jar with a lid. Then store it in the refrigerator.

This sauce will keep well in the fridge for up to a week. Or freeze it for up to 6 months. When freezing, remember to leave 1/2″ an inch or so at the top of the jar to allow for any expansion.

More Rhubarb Recipes:

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A bowl of rhubarb sauce with a spoon in it

Rhubarb Sauce

Yield: 12 servings
With just 3 ingredients – rhubarb, sugar, and water – you can make this sweet and tart Rhubarb Sauce. It's the perfect topping for ice cream, angel food cake, yogurt, and more. So quick and easy to make!
4.4 Stars (17 Reviews)


  • 2 pounds tender red rhubarb, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • ½ cup water or more for a looser sauce
  • cup sugar use less for a tart sauce, more for a sweeter sauce
  • 1 drop red food coloring optional


  • In a medium saucepan over medium to medium-high heat, stir together all sauce ingredients. Let mixture come to a boil and then turn heat down to medium-low and let simmer until rhubarb is broken down but chunks still remain. This should take 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the tenderness of the rhubarb.
  • Taste test the sauce while it is simmering. Add more sugar if you like a sweeter sauce. Add more water if you'd like a thinner sauce. If you'd like a little more color to your sauce, stir in a drop or two of red food coloring.
  • Remove pan from heat and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. Store in a freezer-safe container in the freezer for up to 6 months.


"recipe" comes from my mom

Nutrition Information:

Serving: 1 Calories: 62kcal Carbohydrates: 27g Protein: 14g Fat: 13g Saturated Fat: 2g Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g Cholesterol: 35mg Sodium: 5mg Fiber: 1g Sugar: 12g
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.
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A bowl of rhubarb sauce with a spoon in it