Easy Rhubarb Compote

Easy rhubarb compote recipe

The Spruce / Haley Hazell

Prep: 2 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Canning Time: 10 mins
Total: 27 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Yield: 2 to 3 half pints
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
106 Calories
0g Fat
27g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 106
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 4mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 27g 10%
Dietary Fiber 2g 5%
Total Sugars 24g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 7mg 34%
Calcium 73mg 6%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 245mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The bright red stalks of early spring rhubarb give this preserve its lovely color as well as its tangy flavor. Use rhubarb compote as a topping for ice cream or other desserts (it's terrific on gingersnap cookies). You can also use it to make mini-tarts, add it to strawberries or other fresh fruit to make pies, or freeze it into a delicious sorbet.

There are a number of things you can do to change up this rhubarb compote which you can find in our Recipe Variations below.


  • 1 1/2 pounds rhubarb stalks, sliced into 1/2-inch crosswise pieces, about 4 cups

  • 3/4 to 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for rhubarb compote
    The Spruce / Haley Hazell
  2. Place all the ingredients in a medium-sized pot over low heat, starting with the lesser amount of sugar. Stir constantly until all of the sugar is dissolved.

    Blend in pot
    The Spruce / Haley Hazell
  3. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the rhubarb pieces fall apart. When the compote is about as thick as applesauce, turn off the heat.

    Cook until rhubarb falls apart
    The Spruce / Haley Hazell
  4. Taste, and add additional sugar if you desire more sweetness. Keep in mind, though, that the sour flavor is part of what is special about rhubarb. If you do add additional sugar, return the heat to low, and stir constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved.

    Add sugar
    The Spruce / Haley Hazell
  5. Fill clean canning jars with the rhubarb compote, leaving half an inch of headspace. Tap the bottom of each jar gently but firmly on the palm of your hand to settle the compote and release any air bubbles. Screw on lids. If you don't want to water bath can the compote, you can simply store compote in jars or any other airtight container, refrigerated for up to two weeks. Or, in the freezer, for up to six months.

    Cleaning canning jars
    The Spruce / Haley Hazell

Canning the Compote

  • If you are canning the compote you can place a canning kettle full of water on to boil at the same time as you wait for the compote to boil. When the canning kettle water reaches a simmer, use it to simmer the jars and lids for 5 minutes to sterilize them. Turn it up to a boil and follow the sterilization process. Then fill jars as instructed in the recipe, place lids on the jars. Use a jar rack, if you have one, to lower the filled jars into the boiling water in the canning kettle. Make sure there is at least an inch of water over the jars. Boil for 10 minutes, lift the jars out of the water and let cool.

Recipe Variations

  • Combine with strawberries. Strawberry rhubarb is a classic combination. Simply replace 1/2 of the rhubarb with hulled, chopped strawberries and reduce the amount of sugar.
  • Use honey instead of sugar. Choose a mild, lightly colored honey such as orange blossom or clover. Use 1/3 less honey than the sugar called for in the recipe.
  • Add fresh or crystallized ginger. Ginger pairs wonderfully with rhubarb. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger or 1 tablespoon finely chopped crystallized (candied) ginger to the recipe.
  • Turn the compote into rhubarb sorbet. Chill the compote in the refrigerator overnight (8 to 12 hours), or as long as 24 hours. Process in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Rhubarb Facts

  • Rhubarb is in the Rheum genus. It is originally from Siberia, so yes, it's cold-hardy! It's fairly easy to grow rhubarb, and although it would prefer full, it will tolerate partial sun.
  • The leafstalks are the part we eat. The green parts of the leaves are toxic, which is why you never see rhubarb stalks for sale with the leaves attached.
  • Most commonly treated like a sour "fruit" and sweetened, rhubarb is also used as a vegetable in savory dishes.
  • Green rhubarb leafstalks are also edible, and their flavor is identical to the red ones.