Simple Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce Recipe

Recipe Pin
1 hour 45 minutes
8 servings based on 4 cups of sauce

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A basic fruit compote for spooning atop angel food cake or pound cake, this Simple Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce recipe is key to leveling up dessert.

a white bowl, with vanilla ice cream and pound cake and strawberry rhubarb sauce

All images and text ©Jenny DeRemer for Not Entirely Average, LLC

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Simple Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce Recipe

A basic fruit compote for spooning atop angel food cake or pound cake, this Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce recipe is key to leveling up dessert.

There are three fruits synonymous with spring; strawberries, rhubarb, and currants. And every spring, I make a point of doing something with whichever one(s) I can get my hands on.

The recipe I am sharing today for a Simple Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce is a kitchen feat home cooks from beginner to experienced can pull off. Five ingredients, a wee bit of patience and attention to detail, and just under 1 1/2 hours of your time yields the spectacular.

a white bowl, with ripe strawberries

Buy everything FRESH. There is no frozen here IF you want this versatile sauce to taste like the great topping that it is.

Rhubarb season means you have choices in the stalks you purchase. Look for young, tender, bright purply red, SKINNY stalks.

Fresh strawberries are the least difficult to come by. Given homemade strawberry rhubarb sauce is cooked down, look for strawberries that are VERY RIPE, even overripe.

ribs of rhubarb

Ingredients for a Simple Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce

  • fresh strawberries
  • granulated sugar
  • lemon juice from a single fresh lemon
  • fresh rhubarb
  • Kosher salt

How This Recipe Came About…

Don’t expect to reap your daily value of vitamin C just by indulging on a favorite way of enjoying spring’s finest fruits. What you will end up with is a lovely way to brighten sweet desserts that scream seasonal just by looking at them.

I wonder if we will ever know who first decided to combine rhubarb with the humble strawberry. It really is too bad because that person should be appointed a holiday named in their honor in my opinion.

Strawberry rhubarb sauce showcases the sheer tartness of rhubarb with the sweetness of the strawberries it’s introduced to. I have made this sauce as the perfect topping for my homemade cream cheese pound cake.

chopped rhubarb

I’ve also enjoyed its incredible flavor stirred into plain Greek yogurt as a fresh breakfast yogurt parfait and spooned atop homemade vanilla ice cream for a happy ending ice cream sundae.

As for how I first assembled this mighty little masterpiece? An almond shortcake was in high demand for just a little something extra to balance the amount of sugar used in the shortcake.

It is a very good choice whenever fresh fruit can stand alone and be amazing. And this simple recipe will have you deliberating other uses for it in no time.

a white bowl, with vanilla ice cream and pound cake and strawberry rhubarb sauce

Can Frozen Fruit Be Used to Make This Sauce?

I know I will be asked. The answer is yes, but why bother? Again…this is five ingredients.

Five ingredients that when gathered at their peak of freshness contribute to a delicious strawberry rhubarb compote the likes of which are NOT going to be experienced from a bag of frozen strawberries.

How To Make This Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce Recipe?

Juicing the Strawberries

Grab a medium bowl and begin hulling and chopping enough fresh strawberries to equal 3 cups when all is said and done. Add them to the bowl along with 1/2 cup sugar and a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice and give everything a good stir.

Position a medium saucepan on your countertop. Fit a fine mesh sieve atop the saucepan and pour and scrape the strawberry mixture into the sieve.

Allow the berries to drain all of their delightful juices into the saucepan for about 30 minutes. I use a spatula to stir the lot every so often just to ensure all of the liquid drains.

a white bowl, with vanilla ice cream and pound cake and strawberry rhubarb sauce

Stewing the Rhubarb

At the end of 30 minutes, I’ve got something very special in that saucepan. I add the drained strawberries back into the bowl. I also add another 1/2 cup sugar to the juices along with a full pound of sliced young rhubarb stems.

Bring the rhubarb mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and add a liberal pinch of Kosher salt. Reduce the heat and cook the rhubarb over medium-low heat. The mixture will be soft, and the liquid reduced and thickened slightly, about 8 to 10 minutes.

a white bowl, with vanilla ice cream and pound cake and strawberry rhubarb sauce

Combining the Finished Fruits Into One

Stir the big old bowl of strawberries into the rhubarb compote and remove the saucepan from the heat. At this point, transfer the compote back to the bowl. Allow it to cool to room temperature before serving it, about 45 minutes.

During the cool down, the rhubarb pieces will continue to soften, and the excess liquid will thicken gradually. And that’s it. It’s that simple a delicious sauce. The ONLY thing I’d add if you felt you needed some color would be fresh lemon zest.

5 strawberries, on a kitchen towel

Can Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce Be Made in Advance?

Yes. And if you are somebody who grows rhubarb, you know as I do that during that time of year when it starts to come in, you can end up with quite a lot of it. This recipe is a great way to use it up without going to a whole lot of expense and trouble.

Assemble the sauce according to the recipe card instructions. Refrigerate until ready to use up to 3 days in advance.

a white bowl, with vanilla ice cream and pound cake and strawberry rhubarb sauce

Can Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce Be Frozen?

Yes. A fully assembled and cooked sauce may be frozen in zippered plastic freezer-safe bags for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and reheat gently on the stove before cooling and serving.

If you feel you need to thin a previously frozen batch of sauce a little bit, add one tablespoon water or orange juice. Stir until you arrive at the consistency you require.

featured image 2 for Simple Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce recipe

Simple Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce Recipe

Jenny DeRemer
A basic fruit compote for spooning atop angel food cake or pound cake, this Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce recipe is key to leveling up dessert.
5 from 6 votes
Servings: 8 servings based on 4 cups of sauce
Prep Time 50 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Cooling 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Southern
Servings 8 servings based on 4 cups of sauce
Calories 127 kcal

Equipment

  • fine mesh sieve

Ingredients
 

  • 1 pound (3 cups) strawberries fresh; hulled and chopped
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice fresh
  • 1 pound rhubarb fresh thin stalks sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • pinch Kosher salt

Instructions
 

  • To a medium sized mixing bowl, add 3 cups fresh hulled and chopped strawberries along with 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. Stir to combine.
  • Position a fine mesh sieve atop a medium saucepan on your countertop. Pour the strawberry mixture into the sieve. Allow the strawberry mixture to drain into the saucepan for 30 minutes, stirring once or twice to allow proper draining.
  • At the end of 30 minutes, add the thoroughly drained strawberries back into the bowl. Add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar to the juice in the saucepan along with the prepared rhubarb pieces. Bring the rhubarb mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and add a liberal pinch of Kosher salt. Reduce the heat and cook the rhubarb over medium-low heat. The mixture will be soft, and the liquid reduced and thickened slightly, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Stir the bowl of strawberries into the rhubarb compote and remove the saucepan from the heat. At this point, transfer the compote back to the bowl. Allow it to cool to room temperature before serving it, about 45 minutes. During cooling, the rhubarb pieces will continue to soften, and the excess liquid will thicken gradually.

Notes

Make Ahead up to 3 days in advance and refrigerate until ready to use. I like to pull mine from the refrigerator 1 hour before serving as I do not prefer it chilled. If you do not have an hour, reheat gently on the stovetop for 10 minutes and cool slightly before serving.
To Freeze fully assembled and cooked sauce, funnel into zippered plastic freezer-safe bags for up to 3 months. Thaw It in the refrigerator overnight and either remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before serving or reheat gently on the stove before cooling slightly and serving.
To Thin the Sauce, add one tablespoon water or orange juice at a time and stir until you arrive at the consistency you require.

The nutrition value can vary depending on what product(s) you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use a calorie counter you are familiar with.

Please note that table salt and iodized salt are NOT substitutions for Kosher salt. Do not deviate unless otherwise specified.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 127kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 3mgPotassium: 252mgFiber: 2gSugar: 28gVitamin A: 65IUVitamin C: 39mgCalcium: 58mgIron: 1mg
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Recipe Rating




7 Comments

  1. I loved it! I made some pound cake and used this as topping. The sweetness and tang from the strawberries were perfect!5 stars

  2. I love the idea of using this sauce to dress up a simple angel food cake. It adds a burst of flavor and makes the dessert feel so much fancier.5 stars

  3. We loved this one so much strawberries are so sweet right now. We had it over vanilla ice cream and everybody devoured it.5 stars

  4. I tried out this Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce recipe since I had some extra rhubarb lying around. I decided to drizzle it over pound cake and it turned out so good. The texture was smooth and the flavor had a nice balance between sweet and tart. So yum! I can’t wait to try it with other desserts next!5 stars

  5. This was the first time I had made rhubarb. My Mom used make it all the time but I was really intimidated until I tried this recipe. This was really yummy!5 stars

    1. Gwen, it is a REAL ‘first of Spring’ treat where I come from. Rhubarb requires a cold snap to perform well, and we certainly had the correct conditions when I lived in New Jersey. It is one of the things I miss most. We do get rhubarb in groceries across the south; however, they are oftentimes old, thick green stalks versus the pencilly, purply young crisp stalks that are prized. I am glad you experimented with it! Jenny