Homemade Rhubarb Simple Syrup might just be the best thing that's happened to your taste buds in a long time. This sweet, tangy, and delicious syrup is perfect for adding a pop of flavor to any drink or dish, from homemade soda to cocktails, to pancakes. Made with only 3 ingredients it's easy to make at home and adds a delightful touch of sourness to any dish.
There’s just something special about rhubarb. I discovered the flavor for myself just a few years ago and so every year I wait for rhubarb season and for it to appear in the local grocery stores. I love the tart flavor, and the crunch, and will sometimes just eat it plain. And it can be used for both sweet and savory dishes.
This rhubarb simple syrup just hits all the right notes when it comes to flavor and color. It’s a great way to get all that delicious tart flavor of rhubarb in a simple recipe. And if you’re a fan of rhubarb too check out my recipe for Rhubarb Crumble Tart and Rhubarb Crumb Cake.
What is Simple Syrup
This rhubarb syrup is basically a simple syrup. A simple syrup recipe is usually made with equal parts of water and granulated sugar. The mixture is heated to dissolve the sugar which creates a sugar syrup that can be used to sweeten and flavor a variety of drinks and food.
Rhubarb syrup is the same as simple syrup except you’re using fresh rhubarb in addition to some water and sugar. The extra water is needed to cook the rhubarb and draw out as much flavor and color as possible.
What You'll Need for This Recipe
Here is what you’ll need for this easy rhubarb simple syrup recipe:
- Rhubarb: Rhubarb is a tart and edible plant. Thinner (no more than 1-inch thick) and darker stalks are the sweetest. I recommend the Crimson Red variety or any variety that has a dark red color.
- Granulated Sugar: Make sure to use granulated sugar and not powdered sugar.
- Water: Filtered water is best for this recipe for taste reasons.
Note: Look for stalks that are crisp, and bright red. Darker stalks are sweeter, lighter stalks will be more tart, so you may want to adjust the amount of sugar in this recipe accordingly. The stalks should also have a slight shine to them. If they are shriveled or have any mold on them do not use them.
Full ingredients, measurements, and instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
How to Make Rhubarb Simple Syrup
Step 1: Cut off any green tops and the root end of the rhubarb stalks. The leaves of the plant are poisonous and should not be consumed. Wash the stalks to remove any loose dirt.
Step 2: Cut the rhubarb into 1-inch or smaller pieces and place the chopped rhubarb in a saucepan.
Step 3: Add water and bring the rhubarb mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer the rhubarb for 10 minutes.
Step 4: After 10 minutes remove the saucepan from the heat, place a lid on the pot and let it sit for 10 minutes. The goal is to get as much flavor and color out of the rhubarb stalks as possible.
Step 5: Strain the rhubarb liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl or measuring cup, separating the rhubarb from the liquid. Do not press down on the solids. We don’t want pieces of rhubarb in the syrup.
Because the rhubarb breaks down more than raspberries or strawberries, the resulting liquid will be slightly more opaque and thicker.
Step 6: Pour the liquid back into the saucepan and add the sugar.
Step 7: Heat the rhubarb liquid on medium-high heat until the sugar is dissolved. The finished syrup will become clear and less opaque.
You should have two (2) cups of delicious rhubarb syrup. Cool the syrup to room temperature. Once it is cool pour it into a clean glass jar with a lid and store it in the refrigerator.
What to Do With Rhubarb Syrup
There are many things that you can do with this tart and sweet syrup. My favorite way is to make homemade rhubarb soda.
- Use it to make cocktails for a party.
- Because it’s naturally thick you can serve it for breakfast over french toast and pancakes
- Serve it as a topping for strawberry or vanilla ice cream or my rhubarb ice cream.
- Pour it over a slice of lemon or vanilla pound cake.
How Long Does Simple Syrup Last
Rhubarb simple syrup will last up to two (2) weeks in the refrigerator stored in an airtight container.
There are many ways to flavor this delicious syrup:
- For a little heat and spice cut a 1-inch piece of peeled ginger, cut it into 3 pieces. Add it to the chopped rhubarb and water at the beginning of the recipe.
- Take the seeds from half a vanilla bean and rub them into the sugar before adding the sugar to the unsweetened rhubarb syrup.
- For a citrusy flavor add the zest of one large orange to the chopped rhubarb and water at the beginning of the recipe.
Pro Tips for Making This Recipe
- Remove the green leaves before consuming rhubarb. The leaves are poisonous
- Look for stalks that are bright red, thin, and have a slight shine to them. The thinner and darker the rhubarb the sweeter it will be.
- Adjust the amount of sugar according to your own personal tastes and the tartness of the rhubarb.
Recipe - Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can freeze rhubarb syrup. Pour it into a freezer-safe container or into an ice cube tray. Rhubarb syrup ice cubes make a nice addition to any drink or cocktail.
Store the rhubarb pulp in the refrigerator in a container and use it your breakfast smoothie. The rhubarb adds a nice tart flavor to the smoothie.
I haven't tried this recipe with other sweeteners. If you use a different sweetener you may need to adjust the amount. Also, if you use a sweetener like honey, it will affect the final taste of the rhubarb syrup.
If you make this tart and tangy rhubarb syrup recipe please leave a rating and a comment below.
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If You Like This Recipe, Try These Recipes
- 16 ounces (454 grams) fresh rhubarb
- 2 cups (472 grams) distilled or filtered water
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- Place a 2 or 4-cup measuring cup with a fine mesh strainer next to the stove.
- Wash the rhubarb. Cut off the root end and any green stem. Chop the rhubarb into 1 inch pieces.
- Place the rhubarb and the water in a 3 or 4-quart saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes remove the saucepan from the heat, put a lid on the pot, and let it steep for 10 minutes. (Simmering and then steeping the rhubarb will break down the rhubarb into a pulp and draw out the color and flavor.)
- After about 20 minutes, the rhubarb will become mushy and lose most of its color. The water will be a bright pink/red. Strain the rhubarb liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a medium-sized bowl, separating the rhubarb from the liquid. Because the rhubarb breaks down more than raspberries or strawberries, the resulting liquid will be slightly more opaque and thicker
- Rinse out the saucepan. Add the rhubarb liquid and the sugar to the saucepan. Stir the ingredients together. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat until it just begins to simmer in order to dissolve the sugar. Once it starts to simmer, remove the saucepan from the heat and let the rhubarb syrup cool to room temperature.
- Pour the syrup into a clean glass jar or container that has a lid and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. The syrup can also be frozen in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months or as ice cubes that can be added to drinks.
How to Use the Rhubarb Syrup
- This syrup is great for drinks and cocktails. Increase the sugar to 1-1/2 cups (300 grams) for a thicker syrup for pancakes.
How to Make Rhubarb Ice Cubes
- Refrigerate the strawberry syrup overnight. Pour the syrup into an ice cube tray and freeze. Add the strawberry ice cubes to your favorite drinks or cocktails.