Skip to Content

Best Rhubarb Substitutes – 6 Alternatives To Try next

Sharing is caring!

The fruit-like-veggie rhubarb, with its brightly colored stalks, is getting increasingly popular. You can use it to work up some amazing desserts to bring out a unique tartness. The taste of rhubarb when paired with the right amount of sweetness makes the snacks a treat for the taste buds.

Whether you make puddings, sauces, cakes, jams, pies, or simply prepare a refreshing cocktail, rhubarb is your friend. However, rhubarb isn’t that easily available everywhere, thereby calling for a good rhubarb substitute.

Fortunately, there are a few options to use that can work their magic when it comes to replacing rhubarb in recipes while yielding flavors surprisingly similar to it.

rhubarb substitutes

Best rhubarb substitutes

The best substitutes for rhubarb are strawberries with citrus, cranberries, quinces, tart apples, raspberries, and sour cherries. The main factor to look for when replacing rhubarb is the right amount of tart, balanced with bitterness and sweetness.

Each of the above substitutes will work well in whatever dish you’re preparing. The strawberries and raspberries will end up much softer than the rhubarb, but it will be worth it. 

We really recommend trying the sour cherries. It’s both a nice change and an easy to find fruit, though you’re going to find it frozen or canned.

Strawberries with lemon, lime, grapefruit

The reason behind using strawberries in a whole bundle of rhubarb desserts lies in the fact that both of them come with surprisingly similar flavors. Except for the fact that strawberries miss a touch of tart that naturally comes with rhubarb.

However, you can always replace rhubarb with strawberries and end up in the same flavor for the finished dessert or snack with a quick hack. All it takes is to squeeze a lime or lemon into fresh strawberries and you are all set to use them in place of rhubarb.

strawberry lemon

Citrus brings out a bit of tang to the otherwise sweet and juicy berries. This makes them perfect in a smoothie or simply turned into a thick fruit jam or sauce. Try throwing in a good batch of lime-treated strawberries to make pies that ooze with the flavors of rhubarb.

Other preparations where strawberries work as substitutes include cakes, muffins, salsas to complement savory dishes, chutneys, or even accompaniments to non-alcoholic beverages just like rhubarb.

For example, you can work up a strawberry lime syrup and add it to a freshly-steeped iced tea, further topping it with fresh berries.

Another option is to use grapefruit juice instead of lime or lemon. There’s tartness but there’s a bit of bitterness that just goes so well with a sweet strawberry.

Read Also:Can You Eat Rhubarb Raw ?


Cranberries are not only amazingly juicy and sweet, but also come with a lovely tart that makes them quite similar to the flavors of rhubarb. And that’s why, you can replace rhubarb with cranberries in your favorite preparations.

Whether it’s a slow cooker porridge, or a fresh fruit salad, cranberries are a wonderful stand-in. You can try adding cranberries into muffins in place of rhubarb, or even enjoy them roasted.

While you can always add raw cranberries to a garden salad, it’s great to roast them first. Use in place of roasted chunks of rhubarb drizzled with honey or sprinkled with sugar for a few minutes, further tossing them in with greens once they are cooled.

The berries turn wonderfully into sauces or chutneys just like rhubarb does. Some love to make rhubarb cranberry tart bars for a quick energy snack. You can still work up exactly same bars with cranberries alone, if you can’t find the other veggie.

Dried cranberries are a favorite among those who love to have dried rhubarbs as a snack. They’re very similar in taste and texture !


Featuring a delectable taste that seems to be a cross between pears and apples, quinces are a great substitute to rhubarb. The small, yellow-colored fruit delivers a flavor very similar to that of rhubarb when you add some lemon to it.


The fruit makes a wonderful jam or paste with a cherishing tart-like flavor that comes with the right balance of sweetness. You would love to put quince slices on a baking dish and let them work up their perfect tart for desserts – exactly like rhubarb.

Whether it’s luscious cakes with a little touch of tang, yummy jellies, or quince syrup, a lovely sweet and tart liquid can be drizzled over cakes or added to champagne. This last one totally rocks almost everything that you think of preparing with rhubarbs.

Slow-roasted quinces work as a great reminiscent of roasted rhubarb flavors, charmed up with some honey and cinnamon. You can bake the slices, add to salads, or simply have them raw with a squeeze of fresh lemon.

Tart apples

Most of the decadent spring season treats that you plan to work up using rhubarb can have tart apples as a substitute in the former’s absence. The idea is to go for apples that are not too ripe or sweet so you can achieve the exact tang of rhubarb for the desserts or sauces.

The texture may differ a little, but you can get the same sharpness and color when you combine tart apples with some red-colored fruit. Or simply complement it with some berries, including strawberries, cranberries or raspberries.

Tart apples rightly replace rhubarb for making luscious sweet and crispy pies, rich and thick fruit jams, accompaniments to appetizers, and more. Just like rhubarb, you can roast tart apples and treat yourself with similar flavors, or can bake them for a good brunch.

Tart apples go miraculously well for substituting rhubarb when you add them to cakes or muffins, or simply use as a topping for your homemade salads.


While cranberries work wonders as a rhubarb substitute during the cold months, the summer alternate to the veggie is raspberries. These delicious bright red berries yield a lovely color to the final dessert.

They also make it hard to find out any major differences in terms of the flavor when you replace rhubarb with them. You can always throw in a touch of lime to balance the sweetness and get a cherishing tart to the treats.

Right from sauces to jellies, pie preparations to roasted berries, cakes, or muffins to yummy tarts. There’s nothing that you could make with rhubarb but can’t work with raspberries. They can replace each other in equal amounts for the final recipe.

Read Also:When Not To Eat Rhubarb

Sour cherries

These fruits will bring a deep, dark red juice to your desserts, and they’re absolutely amazing. They’re tart they’re a little sweet but just like rhubarb they need some extra sugar.

Whether you sue them as jam, or a filling, or a mix with other fruits, sour cherries will be a great stand-in for rhubarb. The flavor will not be the same, but it will be the same kind. Tart, sweet, and slightly bitter.

Sharing is caring!