Rhubarb Simple Syrup

Rhubarb syrup is a spring and summer staple for cocktails, breakfast and desserts. A drizzle of this syrup brings fresh rhubarb’s sweet-tart flavor to your favorite treats.

Rhubarb and rhubarb syrup in a jar.

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Rhubarb Simple Syrup recipe

Spring and summer bring a bounty of fresh produce. It’s worth a trip to the farmers market for fresh strawberries, corn on the cob and tomatoes.

And if you see rhubarb, be sure to bring some home. It’s great for pie but have you tried it in a rhubarb cocktail?

Rhubarb syrup is the best way to bring this vegetable (yes, it’s a veggie, not a fruit!) to your drinks. Bonus: You can also drizzle it over pancakes, ice cream or that slice of rhubarb pie. 

This hot pink syrup is so pretty and you are going to love this easy, three-ingredient recipe with a unique flavor.

More simple syrup recipes: Mint Simple SyrupVanilla Simple SyrupCherry Simple Syrup • Blueberry Simple Syrup

A bottle of rhubarb syrup on a table next to green and pink stalks of rhubarb.

Why you’ll love this recipe

There’s a lot to love about this rhubarb simple syrup:

  • It’s a great way to use up leftover rhubarb! You can make it with fresh or frozen rhubarb. 
  • Made with just three ingredients, it comes together in just 30 minutes.
  • It’s a low-cost and healthy alternative to store-bought syrups. 
  • Trying different simple syrups is my favorite way to level up homemade cocktails. 
A bottle of rhubarb syrup with fresh rhubarb next to it.

What is simple syrup?

Ever tried to stir pure sugar into a cold drink? You probably stirred for a long time. Sugar dissolves more easily when warmed, so a simple syrup is the answer to this age-old problem.

This mixture of sugar and water can be made in just a few minutes. It’s so easy, you’ll see why it’s called simple syrup!

Most syrups are made with granulated white sugar, but other types of sugar can be used, such as brown sugar or demerara syrup.

Once you’ve mastered classic simple syrup, there’s a whole world of flavor to explore. Infuse herbs like rosemarybasil or sage, spices like cinnamon or even veggies like jalapeños. You can even make syrups with fruit like blackberries.

It has many uses: You can use it to sweeten drinks, drizzle it over French toast or pour it over ice cream. Bakers even use it to moisten cake before decorating.

Sliced rhubarb in a pot.

What is rhubarb?

Rhubarb is a perennial vegetable known for its vibrant red and green stalks and its distinct tart flavor.

Though it’s often paired with fruits and served as dessert, it’s technically a vegetable.

It’s most famous in a strawberry rhubarb pie, but it can also be enjoyed stewed with custard or ice cream. And, it’s a delicious flavor to add to desserts and drinks.

Whatever you do: Don’t eat the leaves — they’re poisonous, but the roots are not.

Tools & glassware

To make this rhubarb syrup, you’ll need a few things:

  • cutting board and a sharp knife for cutting the rhubarb
  • saucepan and spatula or wooden spoon for making the syrup
  • fine-mesh strainer for refining the syrup
  • a jar or bottle for storing in the fridge.
Ingredients for rhubarb syrup.

Ingredients

Rhubarb simple syrup can be made with just three ingredients:

Water: Filtered water or distilled water will give you the best, purest results, but tap water is totally fine.

Rhubarb: Rhubarb stalks are the edible part of the plant, while its large leaves are toxic and should not be consumed. Cut those off and only use the stalks here. You can use fresh or frozen rhubarb.

Sugar: Granulated sugar is what I used in this syrup, but you can use either cane sugar or brown sugar instead. However, they will change the color of this bright red syrup, so stick to granulated if you want that ruby red rhubarb color.

Variations and substitutions

Try one of these variations on this easy recipe: 

Strawberry rhubarb syrup: Sweet strawberries are a perfect match for rhubarb. Add strawberries into the mix when cooking the rhubarb. See this strawberry syrup recipe for more, then use it in this strawberry rhubarb margarita

Vanilla rhubarb syrup: Add ½ teaspoon vanilla extract into the mix to add extra sweetness, or cook the rhubarb with a vanilla bean. 

Sugar-free rhubarb syrup: Stir in your favorite sugar substitute to make a sugar-free syrup.

How to make Rhubarb Syrup

Making this delicious syrup with rhubarb is super simple! 

First, slice up your rhubarb into roughly ½-inch pieces. Be sure you cut off the leaves — they’re poisonous. You can also use frozen rhubarb if you like. 

A pot filled with liquid and rhubarb on a stove top.
A pot with cooked rhubarb in it.

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the chopped rhubarb and water to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 20 minutes. The liquid will reduce and the rhubarb will break up into a stringy pulp.

A person pouring liquid into a fine-mesh strainer.
Sugar is being poured into a bowl of pink liquid.

Place a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl and strain the cooked rhubarb mixture to yield a smooth, refined liquid. Discard the rhubarb pulp or enjoy it with ice cream or oatmeal.

Measure the hot liquid and combine it with an equal amount of sugar. (Alternatively, measure 1 cup of liquid and 1 cup of syrup.) Stir until dissolved.

Let cool completely, then funnel into a glass jar or bottle. Use immediately or store in the fridge for up to one month.

A bottle of rhubarb syrup on a wooden cutting board.

Tips & tricks

Here are some tips and tricks for making this rhubarb syrup:

  • When selecting rhubarb, keep in mind that red rhubarb is sweeter and green rhubarb is more sour. Aim for mostly red or a mixture of red and green for the best flavor. The redder the stalks, the more likely you’ll get a bright pink syrup like mine. 
  • Do not use any of the rhubarb leaves — only the red and green stalks.
  • Strain out the rhubarb from the liquid well, possibly even twice, to get all the solids out of the syrup.
  • Add more sugar (either a 1.5:1 or 2:1 ratio) to make a thicker syrup.
  • Let it cool completely before storing.
rhubarb syrup next to a rhubarb cocktail.

Uses for Rhubarb Syrup

There are so many ways to make use of this rhubarb syrup! Here are a few of my favorite ways: 

Breakfast: Pour it over pancakes, waffles or French toast. The beautiful pink color will be so pretty! 

Dessert: Drizzle it over rhubarb pie or this roasted rhubarb ice cream for a delicious dessert.

Drinks: Rhubarb syrup will transform some of your favorite drinks into seasonal delights:  

  • Add rhubarb syrup to homemade lemonade to make a delicious rhubarb lemonade with the sweet flavors of rhubarb and fresh lemon juice. 
  • For a non-alcoholic drink, combine this syrup with seltzer to make a bubbly Italian soda. If you add milk, it’s a French soda.
  • Rhubarb is especially delicious in cocktails and goes well with vodka, gin, sparkling wine and even whiskey. Try it in this strawberry rhubarb champagne cocktail or this rhubarb sour. 
  • Or substitute it for plain simple syrup to make a rhubarb version of your favorite cocktail recipes, such as a rhubarb mojito or a rhubarb old-fashioned cocktail.
A decorative glass bottle of rhubarb syrup on a wooden cutting board with slices of rhubarb.

FAQ

What is rhubarb syrup made of?

Rhubarb syrup is made with fresh or frozen rhubarb, sugar and water. It’s easy to make on the stove by boiling the rhubarb, then straining out the solids and adding sugar to make a sweet syrup.

What is rhubarb?

Rhubarb is a perennial vegetable known for its vibrant red and green stalks and its distinct tart flavor. Though it’s often paired with fruits and served as dessert, it’s technically a vegetable.

More syrup recipes

— Did you make this recipe? —

Please leave a ★★★★★ review or comment below.

A glass bottle with a red liquid in it.

Rhubarb Simple Syrup

Yield: 16 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Add Rhubarb Simple Syrup to your cocktails, mocktails, pancakes, ice cream, desserts and more for a delicious spring and summer treat.
5 from 1 vote
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ingredients

  • 2 cups sliced rhubarb stalks about 2 stalks
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar

instructions

  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring sliced rhubarb and water to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 20 minutes. The liquid will reduce and the rhubarb will break up into a pulp.
  • Place a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl and strain the rhubarb mixture into the bowl.
  • Measure 1 cup of hot liquid. Stir in 1 cup sugar.
  • Let cool completely, then funnel into a jar or bottle. Use immediately or store in the fridge for up to one month.

notes

  • When selecting rhubarb, keep in mind that red rhubarb is sweeter and green rhubarb is more sour. Aim for mostly red or a mixture of red and green for the best flavor.
  • Do not use any of the rhubarb leaves — only the red and green stalks.
  • Strain out the rhubarb from the liquid well, possibly even twice, to get all the solids out of the syrup.
  • Add more sugar (either a 1.5:1 or 2:1 ratio) to make a thicker syrup.

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nutrition information

Yield: 16 servings

amount per serving:

Serving: 0.5ounce Calories: 51kcal Carbohydrates: 13g Protein: 0.1g Fat: 0.1g Saturated Fat: 0.01g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.01g Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g Sodium: 2mg Potassium: 44mg Fiber: 0.3g Sugar: 13g Vitamin A: 16IU Vitamin C: 1mg Calcium: 14mg Iron: 0.04mg
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