Rhubarb Sorbet

Please welcome guest author Garrett McCord as he celebrates spring with rhubarb sorbet. ~Elise

I’m not sure what first drew me to rhubarb. I think, perhaps, it was the name. Rhubarb. It sounds so strange, intriguing, even whimsical. But it isn’t all just in the name. The color can vary from the palest pink to dramatic ruby-red hues. The flavor, so sour when raw that its pucker-inducing taste is only appreciated by a select few, is coerced into something floral and fruity when cooked. In fact, you would be shocked to learn that rhubarb was indeed a vegetable with poisonous leaves and not some sweet berry.

This sorbet perfectly captures all that makes rhubarb so endearing. Its flavor is accentuated with the slight warmth of ginger and a little bit of zing from orange zest which not only contrasts well against the pink taste of this sorbet (and I would call the taste pink), it actually enhances it. We all found this sorbet a resounding success in extolling rhubarb and ringing in the start of Spring. Elise and I firmly believe that you will too.

Rhubarb Sorbet Recipe

  • Prep time: 3 hours
  • Yield: Makes about one quart.

Also makes great popsicles! Just pour mixture into popsicle molds and freeze.



  • 3 1/2 cups of chopped fresh rhubarb stalks (4-5 stalks, do not use the poisonous leaves!)
  • 2 1/2 cups of water
  • 1 2/3 cups of white granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons of chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tbsp of corn syrup


1 Put the chopped rhubarb, water, sugar, orange zest, ginger, and salt into a 3 to 4-quart pot. Heat on high heat to bring to a boil. Lower the heat to low to simmer, covered, for 5 minutes, or until the sugar has dissolved and the rhubarb is falling apart tender.

2 Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Either use an immersion blender or work in batches with a standing blender to purée the mixture until smooth. Press the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove any of the stringy pulp. Stir in the corn syrup. Cover and refrigerate until totally chilled, several hours or overnight. (Can more quickly chill in the freezer if you check it and stir it every 15 minutes.)

3 Process in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Note that right out of the ice cream maker the sorbet will have a soft consistency. If you would like it to be firmer, put it in a covered container and freeze it for a few hours. Once frozen, you may need to let it sit for a few minutes at room temperature to soften before serving.

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Rhubarb Sorbet Results - Mama's Minutia

Strudel cups filled with rhubarb sorbet - Tartlette

Rhubarb Sorbet

View Comments / Leave a Comment


  1. Charlotte

    I don’t have an ice cream maker but you are making me wish that I had claimed my mother’s before we auctioned her stuff off. I don’t know if I would use one enough to be worth buying.

    They’re reasonably affordable nowadays. About $30 plus shipping on Amazon. I use mine all the time come summer and spring. ~Garrett

  2. Kay Shumway

    I make all my sorbets with frozen fruit in the Cuisinart food processor. Cook the rhubarb until it’s really soft. Freeze hard. Add to Cuisinart with confectioner’s sugar to taste and process until smooth. May be served immediately or kept in a tight container until dessert is served, I also make raspberry sorbet this way.

  3. Elaine

    This looks incredible and my market is supposed to have rhubarb this week. I was wondering, though – I’ve made sorbets a lot in my ice cream maker and only added sugar. Why is the corn syrup used here?

    Corn syrup is an invert sugar, the addition of which will help keep the sorbet smooth and keep it from becoming too icy. ~Elise

  4. Sweetdivine

    Sounds absolutely delicious. Would it be possible to use maple syrup instead of corn syrup in this dish?

    The purpose of the corn syrup is to keep the sorbet from getting too icy. Maple syrup wouldn’t work the same way, and would only serve to add a maple flavor to the rhubarb (which if that’s what you’re after, go for it). If you do not want to use corn syrup, you can skip it, in which case I recommend either to add 2-3 tablespoons of vodka to the sorbet (same purpose – keep it from getting icy) or just eat the sorbet as soon as it has been made. ~Elise

  5. April

    Do you know if this would work with frozen rhubarb? Even when rhubarb is in season, it is almost impossible to find it where I live. I can buy frozen rhubarb though.

    Should be just fine. ~Garrett

  6. gira

    @Charlotte – see this article Elise linked to before: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archives/2007/07/making_ice_crea_1.html

  7. Kasey

    This sounds fantastic–the perfect welcome to spring. I just bought some corn syrup (for a caramel tarte recipe), but it has vanilla flavoring. Think it’ll do for this recipe, still?

    Yeah, but it will have a taste of vanilla. As much as I love it, it might distract from the real flavors that are supposed to grab your attention. Try it out and tell us how it goes! ~Garrett

  8. tina

    Small correction…
    nephrotoxic = toxic to the kidneys
    hepatoxic = toxic to hepatic cells (liver)

    I think you meant toxic to the kidneys since you were referring to oxalic acid.

    Either way, it certainly looks beautiful. My mom loves rhubarb so this will be perfect for Mother’s Day dessert.

  9. Regina

    Makes me wish I still lived in the house where I grew up…. we had a rhubarb plant at the edge of our back yard…. it came back year after year….. You’d always catch us kids playing in the back yard, chewing on a stalk of rhubarb, making faces at the tart taste, and “double-dog-daring” our friends to eat a whole stalk without making a face! (or we’d take it inside, and get a bit of sugar, and do the “dip and bite” method of eating it!) There, we couldn’t get RID of it, here, I have to buy it at the store….

  10. Shannon

    Is there anyway to do this without an ice cream maker? How would you best integrate frozen rhubarb?

    Already answered in the comments section. ~Garrett

  11. missbhavens

    Oooh! I can’t WAIT to race home tomorrow and pick the first rhubarb of the year and make this!

    Yay, rhubarb!

    “Yay, rhubarb!” That’s what I usually say at the farmer’s market myself. ~Garrett

  12. Casey

    We made this for Mother’s Day and it was amazing! We left out the ginger since none of us are big fans of the stuff but we may just have to try it next time!

  13. Eagranie

    That photo is shockingly beautiful. Even if I didn’t already want to try this recipe, that photo would have sealed the deal.

    Elise here. Thank you Eagranie! I’m quite proud of that one. It helps that rhubarb itself is so dramatically beautiful with its vibrant red color and slender stalks. ~Elise

  14. Maria

    I tried this and LOVED it. I am going to post it, of course I will link to you and give you full credit. Thanks again!

  15. TasteStopping

    I’m sure that I could make this and pass it off to my kids as, say, strawberry sorbet, as the rhubarb part might give them pause. But! Then I saw your suggestion to turn the recipe into popsicles and I knew that I could sell it as a popsicle, for sure. It looks delicious either way!

  16. mlle noelle of simmer down

    This is funny, I used the exact same flavor combo for a rhubarb compote to go with pork tenderloin. Haven’t posted the recipe yet because it needs a little tweaking, but I hope to do so soon. I want to try this sorbet too though; I’ve been looking for rhubarb recipes that don’t involve pie or muffins :)

  17. Emilu

    It tastes amazing! I’ve made almost every recipe on the homepage so far. My mom, of course, taught me. I am twelve and have wanted to be a chef since I was 6. I cook a lot!

  18. Michelle

    Well, it’s taken me awhile to get to it, but I finally got some rhubarb and started out on this recipe. I still don’t have an ice cream maker, but thought I would try the ziploc ice cream making strategy then freeze firmer. I am just finished straining out the pulp post pureeing in the blender and have found that there is quite a bit of froth on the top (quite tasty too, I might add). I should note that I couldn’t resist adding about a handful or two of fresh picked strawberries, and that might account for the froth? Anyway, my question is, should I be skimming that foam off the top before I add the corn syrup, or is best to just incorporate it in the sorbet? While I would bet on the skimming method, it’s rather tasty, don’t want to waste it, so I’m going to go ahead and mix it in, but still await your reply for the next batch. I’ve changed my mind and decided that popsicles are just the thing since it’s going to be so hot tomorrow. With about 6 stalks left, I get to make a another batch!

    Don’t worry about the foam in this recipe. ~Garrett

  19. Angie

    I’ve never seen a more stunning photo of anything having to do with rhubarb.

    Thanks Angie! I had fun with this one. ~Elise

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