One of the surest, most uplifting signs of summer: classic Rhubarb Pie! This version is tangy and sweet, and it lets the tart flavor of rhubarb shine! A flaky, buttery pie crust brings it all together.
Why You’ll Love This Old Fashioned Rhubarb Pie
- It screams SUMMER! At the end of dreary winter, bright rhubarb is especially cheery. It’s some of the first produce to hit the farmer’s market. If it hasn’t arrived where you live yet, this pie works great with frozen rhubarb.
- The Right Amount of Sugar. This is a rhubarb pie is for rhubarb lovers. Instead of cups of sugar that drown out the rhubarb, this pie uses a more moderate amount so the rhubarb can be its bright, tangy self. It’s still sweet enough to taste like dessert.
- It Starts With a Winning Crust. My Whole Wheat Pie Crust is a reader-favorite—as buttery and flaky as you want a pie crust to be, made easy in the food processor. You can swap your favorite pie crust (or use store-bought to speed things up).
- Easy to Put Together. You don’t need to be a master baker to make this tasty treat—you don’t need to precook the filling, and it’s simple enough for beginners. You can wow with the lattice top if you want to go the extra mile, but it’s just as delicious without it.
- It’s the Best Way to Enjoy Rhubarb. Rhubarb lovers unite! This is the dessert for enjoying rhubarb in all of its tart-and-tangy glory.
About This Rhurbab Pie Recipe
Rhubarb looks like a ruby-red version of celery, but instead of a mild, fresh flavor, these rosy stalks pack a serious tart punch!
That tart flavor is probably why rhubarb is so often paired with sweet strawberries in recipes, a la my Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp. (Of course, the fact that both strawberries and rhubarb are harvested around the same time helps too.)
That said, I love classic rhubarb pie without the strawberries’ intervening.
It’s got its own tasty thang goin’ and deserves to be appreciated (save those fresh strawberries for this Easy Strawberry Pie).
When rhubarb is used on its own, it’s often doused in sugar—so! much! sugar! This overcomes the mouth-puckering sourness, but it also overpowers the unique flavor that makes rhubarb such a delight.
How to Make Rhubarb Pie
- Pie Crust. I use my Darn Good Whole Wheat Pie Crust, but you can substitute your own go-to pie dough recipe—just be sure you’ve got enough dough to make a top and bottom crust (or you can make a rhubarb crumble crust with your favorite crumble topping).
- Rhubarb. Use fresh rhubarb stalks or frozen.
- Granulated Sugar. You can add more sugar if you’d like, but my testers agreed that 3/4 cup was the perfect amount for balancing the sweet-and-tart flavors in this rhubarb pie recipe.
- All-Purpose Flour. As the rhubarb bakes, it will release juices; the flour helps thicken them for a perfect jammy filling.
- Kosher Salt. Just a bit for balance.
- Freshly Grated Nutmeg. Optional, but freshly grated nutmeg is really something special. It will give the pie a very subtle warmth.
- Unsalted Butter. Dot on top of your fruit pie filling to make it glossy (and delish).
- Egg. Beat it with a bit of water to make an egg wash for that bakery-style sheen.
- Turbinado Sugar. Or another coarse sugar you have on hand like Demerara.
- Whipped Cream. I think rhubarb pie is best enjoyed on its own, or with a dollop of whipped cream on top of the pie. While I normally adore my pies a la mode, rhubarb pie I prefer without vanilla ice cream, which can clash (but you do you!).
- Make the Pie Crust. Divide the dough into two portions with one a little bit larger than the other. Chill as directed.
- Roll the Crusts. Place the bigger one in a regular 9-inch pie dish.
- Make the Filling. Toss together all of the ingredients in a large bowl.
- Assemble. Add the remaining sugar to the crust, then pour in the filling, top with the butter, and add the top crust. Do a lattice or another geometric shape if you feel fancy!
- Egg Wash. This gives the pie a pretty sheen. Milk or cream work too.
- Bake. You’ll do this at 2 temperatures. Start rhubarb pie at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes, then continue baking at 375 degrees F for 50 to 55 minutes.
- Cool. Let the pie cool completely. It’s hard but worth it. ENJOY!
- To Store. Wrap cooled rhubarb pie with foil or plastic wrap, or transfer leftovers to an airtight container. Store at room temperature for up to 5 days.
- To Freeze. Freeze for up to 2 months and let the pie thaw in the refrigerator before serving.
What to Serve with Rhubarb Pie
- Other Spring Desserts. If you’re putting together dessert options for a party, try pairing rhubarb pie with Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie or Strawberry Cake.
- Light Main Dishes. Healthy spring dishes like Green Goddess Salad will help you save room for dessert!
- Simple Toppings. A dollop of whipped cream is really all you need to make this rustic rhubarb pie shine. Or enjoy it all on its own.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Pie Plate. A glass one is great so you can keep an eye on how the crust is browning.
- Rolling Pin. For rolling out the top and bottom crusts.
- Pie Crust Shield. Although strips of foil work, if you bake a lot of pies, you’ll be glad you invested in a pie crust shield. I use mine often!
Recipe Tips & Tricks
- Keep an Eye on the Crust. If the edges are browning too quickly, place strips of foil over them or add a pie crust guard.
- Make the Sure the Coarse Sugar Sticks. If you don’t use the egg wash, you can substitute half-and-half, cream, or milk. Without one of these, the coarse sugar won’t stay put.
- Don’t Forget the Vents. They’re important for letting the steam escape. If the steam is stuck inside the pie crust, you’ll end up with a soggy rhubarb pie.
- Let the Pie Cool. It’s hard to be patient when you have a warm rhubarb pie staring you in the face, but you must resist! Cutting into the pie too soon will give you messy slices that ooze out everywhere.
- 1 double crust Darn Good Whole Wheat Pie Crust or your favorite pie crust or store-bought crust (enough for 2, 10-inch rounds)
- 5 cups sliced rhubarb about 1 1/3 pounds; if frozen, do not thaw
- 3/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar*, divided
- 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg optional
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water for an egg wash**
- 1 tablespoon turbinado or similar coarse sugar
- Whipped cream*** optional for serving
- Prepare the pie crust and chill for 1 hour as directed (or up to 2 days). When ready to bake, place a rack in the center of your oven preheat to 425°F.
- Divide the dough in two, making one half slightly larger than the other. Return the smaller half to the refrigerator.
- On a moderately floured work surface (I like to use a piece of parchment or wax paper so I can easily move the dough), roll out the larger half into a 12-inch circle (if it’s too stiff from being in the fridge, let it rest at room temperature for a few minutes, until you can roll it). When rolling, always work from the center of the dough outward, rotating the dough every now and then as you go (this will give you a better, more even circle, less tearing, and you’ll be able to gauge if the dough is sticking to your work surface, which you do not want). Work fast, because the dough gets sticky as it warms. Flour the work surface and your rolling pin as little as is manageable (but don’t be afraid to use flour if dough is sticking). If at any point the dough gets too sticky to handle, just pop it back in the fridge to firm up for a few minutes (this is where the parchment paper comes in handy). If you have any tears or cracks along the way, don’t stress. Just patch them together.
- Transfer the dough to a regular 9-inch pie plate (not deep dish)—I like to fold the circle over the rolling pin, then use the rolling pin to unfurl it gently into the plate. Ease the dough down into the plate (don’t pull to stretch it or it will bounce back). Pop into the freezer.
- On a sheet of parchment or wax paper, roll out the second (smaller) portion of dough in an 11-inch circle; if you’d like to make a lattice, cut it into 1-inch strips. Use the paper to place it in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
- In a large bowl, stir together the rhubarb, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, flour, salt, and nutmeg.
- Remove the bottom crust from the freezer. Sprinkle the remaining 1 teaspoon granulated sugar over the bottom. With a large spoon, transfer all of the rhubarb mixture (including any juices if the rhubarb is fresh or dry bits of flour and sugar if it’s frozen) to the plate, spreading it into an even layer.
- Scatter the butter over the top of the rhubarb filling.
- Drape the top crust over the filling (or arrange the lattice). Trim the pie crust to 1/2-inch overhang all the way around. Tuck the top crust under the bottom crust. Crimp the edges with your fingers (or keep it easy and simply press along the edges with the tines of a fork). If not using a lattice, with a sharp knife, cut 5 to 6 vents in the top.
- Use a dry brush to brush away any excess flour from the crust, then brush the crust all over with the eggwash.
- Place the pie on a parchment-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar. Bake on the center rack at 425°F for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 375°F. Continue baking until the crust is deep golden and you see bits of filling bubbling out of the vents, about 50 to 55 minutes more, rotating the pan 180° halfway through (if your rhubarb was frozen, you might need to extend the baking time by 10 minutes or more). If at any point, the crust edges get too dark, shield the edges with foil or a pie crust guard.
- Let the pie cool at room temperature COMPLETELY! (This will take at least 4 hours and is hard but worth it). Slice and enjoy with whipped cream, or nothing at all!
- *The amount of sugar as written yields a tart, rhubarb-forward pie that we and our taste testers loved. If you like your pie sweeter, add an additional 1/4 cup.
- **If you prefer not to use an egg, you can brush the crust with half-and-half, cream, or milk.
- ***While I usually adore my fruit pies a la mode, rhubarb actually tastes better without ice cream. If you’d like to top it, serve with whipped cream.
- TO STORE: Wrap cooled rhubarb pie with foil or plastic wrap, or transfer leftovers to an airtight container. Store at room temperature for up to 5 days.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze for up to 2 months and let the pie thaw in the refrigerator before serving.
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Frequently Asked Questions
No, you don’t have to cook rhubarb before baking it into a pie—it just adds an extra unnecessary step to the process!
Some recipes call for tapioca or cornstarch, but I prefer using flour to thicken rhubarb pie. It keeps the filling from getting a gummy texture, and I always have it on hand.
You don’t always need to peel rhubarb for pie, but if the stalks are very thick or stringy, it’s a good idea to either peel them or discard any parts that feel especially fibrous. Usually, rhubarb harvested in the spring doesn’t need to be peeled, while rhubarb from later in the season will be a little tougher.
No, you can use the entire stalk of rhubarb, even parts that are green. Just be sure to discard the leaves.
The combination of flour and sugar will help thicken the rhubarb filling, and cutting vents into the top crust will allow moisture to bake off. This, combined with letting the pie rest until it cools completely, should keep your rhubarb pie from being runny.
If you are baking a pie or crisp with frozen, chopped rhubarb, do not thaw it first. Simply use it right from the freezer, breaking up any stuck-together pieces, then extend the baking time as needed.