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The 5 Best Substitutes for Rhubarb

If you want to make any delicious desserts, you will need fresh rhubarb for the recipe.

Rhubarb is a spring vegetable with reddish stalks and pale green leaves cooked as a fruit.

Its tartness is offset perfectly with lots of sugar.

However, since it can be rather sour and bitter, rhubarb must be cooked carefully to bring out the best in this magnificent plant.

It can also be used in cooking savory dishes with meat, especially duck meat.

If you don’t have any rhubarb in hand, you can substitute it with other fruits.

Some of the best substitutes are strawberry, raspberry, and orange.

In this article, we will reveal five other possible substitutes to use if you want to make a good rhubarb dish.

What is Rhubarb?

what is rhubarb

Rhubarb is a vegetable that is related to the rose family. It can grow up to 100 cm high.

Rhubarb is native to Asia but has been cultivated in Europe for over 400 years.

Rhubarb leaves are poisonous and contain high concentrations of oxalic acid, which explains why they are discarded during cooking.

However, the stalks of the plant are safe to eat and can be used in a wide range of dishes.

Rhubarb is often cooked with sugar to create desserts such as pies, crumbles, and fools.

It has been reported that the Romans mixed it with honey when they first tried it.

They are usually pink or red in appearance, though they can also be green depending on the variety of rhubarb.

Although they look quite sweet, rhubarb stalks have a tart flavor.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Rhubarb

As the British summer approaches, many people find themselves longing for a delicious rhubarb crumble.

However, as the stalks of this vegetable are so tart, it can be difficult to create a recipe that does not require a large amount of sugar.

Fortunately, there are several alternatives that you could use instead of the traditional fruit.

Here are five great substitutes for rhubarb.

1 – Strawberries With Lemon

strawberries with lemon

This method is perfect if you are looking for a sweet taste but without the required amount of sugar.

First and foremost, you will need to choose your strawberries carefully.

They must be ripe, as this will affect the overall flavor.

You’ll also need to use lemon juice, not just lemon zest or peel.

This will give you a sweet and sour flavor perfect for desserts.

As the strawberry already contains sugar, you won’t need to add any more.

If you are not sure how much juice to use, you should taste the mixture as you add it slowly.

2 – Cranberries


Cranberries are an excellent alternative to rhubarb.

They have a tart flavor that can be easily complemented with sugar.

In addition, cranberry juice contains significantly more vitamin C than lemon juice or grapefruit juice, which can provide you with numerous health benefits.

As for the taste, it is easy to understand why cranberries are so popular.

They have a sour and tangy flavor that tastes great with meat and rice.

Cranberries also have extremely beneficial properties.

They are packed full of antioxidants that can help your body in several different ways.

For instance, they may be useful for helping to prevent urinary tract infections.

3 – Quinces


According to research, quinces may be an excellent substitute for rhubarb, containing several antioxidants.

Quince is the fruit that grows on trees belonging to the genus Cydonia.

It’s commonly used in cooking as it has a strong flavor and pleasant aroma.

It can often replace apples and pears in various recipes.

This fruit tastes like apples and pears, but it has a sweeter taste.

It is often used in desserts such as pies, compotes, and jams.

4 – Tart Apples

tart apples

First and foremost, you should remember that cooking apples are not the best option in this case.

Instead, choose an apple variety that is tart.

The sourness of the apples will provide a perfect balance to the overall dish.

You can even use one or two Granny Smiths as they have a particularly strong flavor.

As for the number of apples, this will depend entirely on your personal preferences.

Using tart apples goes hand in hand with reducing the number of sugars included in the recipe.

This is because apple juice itself already contains a large amount of sugar.

5 – Raspberries


Raspberries are a tasty fruit that can easily substitute the tartness of rhubarb.

They have a strong, sweet flavor packed full of vitamins and minerals.

If you plan to use raspberries as an alternative to rhubarb, then it’s best to do so in jams or tarts.

However, you could also use them to make raspberry rhubarb juice.

The key to this recipe is to remember that raspberries are even sweeter than apples, so you should be careful not to add too much sugar.

You will need to taste the dish to get the ideal sweetness level.


Rhubarb is a popular fruit often used in sweet and savory dishes.

Unfortunately, rhubarb can be difficult to use, as it doesn’t taste the best when served alone.

Moreover, there isn’t always enough sugar to make this tart fruit taste good.

Luckily, there are several other options that you could choose instead of rhubarb.

These alternatives can provide a similar flavor just as tart and sour.

In addition, these alternatives are packed full of antioxidants and contain many other nutrients.

Just remember to select your replacement ingredient depending on the dish carefully you’re cooking – otherwise, the result could be disastrous.

Yield: 4 Servings

The 5 Best Substitutes for Rhubarb

The 5 Best Substitutes for Rhubarb
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • Strawberries With Lemon
  • Cranberries
  • Quinces
  • Tart Apples
  • Raspberries


  1. Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  2. Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
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