This homemade Rhubarb Bread recipe makes for a lovely breakfast or afternoon snack. It is a delicious vanilla quick bread with a moist crumb that is layered with Rhubarb Compote and topped with a crumbly Cinnamon Streusel. It's one of our favorite crumb cake recipes converted into a loaf that is perfect for the celebration of rhubarb season. For a little extra, we also drizzled this bread in a pink Rhubarb Glaze made from our Rhubarb Syrup Recipe.
How to Make Rhubarb Bread
This Rhubarb Bread recipe utilizes our favorite, tried- and-true quick bread recipe. The base of this recipe makes incredible muffins, loaves and crumb cakes. The key to keeping this bread super moist and full of flavor is equal parts (by weight) flour to sour cream. The fat from the sour cream prohibits much gluten from being formed. It helps to result in a batter that is thick, saturated and tangy to create a loaf with a moist, flavorful crumb. It’s literally perfect! For this Rhubarb Bread variation, this batter is layered with a homemade Rhubarb Compote and topped with a crumbly Cinnamon Streusel before baking.
This Rhubarb Bread recipe is made with fresh rhubarb and just a handful of common baking ingredients!
This Rhubarb Bread is the combination of four easy recipes. Keep reading for more information on each component below.
- Quick Bread Batter
- Rhubarb Compote
- Cinnamon Streusel
- Rhubarb Glaze (Optional, but yummy and so pretty! Ingredients not pictured.)
Quick Bread: Measuring, Mixing & The Ribbon Stage
As with any baking recipe, we strongly suggest you measure your Rhubarb Bread ingredients by weight, not volume. Yes, yes. I understand this is not the standard in most US kitchens. However, a kitchen scale will cost you less than $15 USD and ensure your results are MUCH more precise. While I have converted this recipe to the State’s more common cups and spoonfuls, you should know that this recipe was developed and tested using weight measurements. In my kitchen, one cup of all-purpose flour weighs 130 grams when spooned and leveled. In King Arthur’s kitchen, one cup only weighs 120 grams. It may seem like an insignificant difference, but the science of baking is a finicky beast!
Also, like any other muffin or quick bread recipe, it is important that you do not over-mix the batter. Personally, I like to make the batter in a stand mixer. Once I add the flour, in the final step of mixing, I only use the machine’s lowest speed, very briefly. Then, I always finish by incorporating any remaining flour at the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Using this method, I can ensure that the bread is never over-mixed and that I don’t over-develop the gluten. If this batter is over-mixed it will become tough, rubbery and prevent proper leavening (rising). If severely over-mixed, these style of breads will result in tunneling, or tubular gaps in the crumb structure that will cause an uneven rise and gummy texture.
Ribbons of Beautiful Batter
When mixing this Rhubarb Bread batter, the first step is to mix the sugar and eggs together until the ribbon stage is reached. The ribbon stage refers to a certain texture achieved when whipping eggs and sugar together. At this stage, the eggs and sugar will be very pale, aerated, and fall in thick ribbons from the whisk. I usually whisk the mixture (by hand or machine) until the batter is thick that when the whisk is pulled from the batter, the dripping ribbons will sit on top of the whipped mixture for a few seconds before blending in. You can read more about the ribbon stage, here.
Homemade Rhubarb Compote
This Rhubarb Bread recipe is made with a homemade rhubarb compote. This compote, like a jam, is made simply by boiling fresh, chopped rhubarb with sugar and a hint of vanilla. In just fifteen, or so, minutes, the rhubarb cooks down, thickens and caramelizes with the sugar. The result is a thick, sweet and tart compote that is honestly great for several uses. (We like to add this to our Spring cheese boards). This compote makes the perfect amount to layer into the Rhubarb Bread loaf pan and can be made a day or two ahead of time, if necessary.
PS - This compote is a great addition to a cheese board or a simple slice of toast! Feel free to make a little extra for other indulgences! It freezes well, too!
Can I Use Frozen Rhubarb?
Totally! One of the best things about fresh rhubarb is that it is super hearty and freezes very well! Rhubarb can be frozen in whole stalks or chopped prior to freezing. Fully or partially thaw the frozen rhubarb before making the compote for this Rhubarb Bread recipe.
This simple streusel topping takes this recipe from good to soo good! It's a super easy portion of the recipe that adds a crave-able texture and a little cinnamon-y spice! We like to mix the streusel topping before we make the batter. This way, the flour has a few minutes to be absorbed into the butter and makes for a superb crumbly texture. Feel free to omit this portion of the recipe, if you’re a purist. We won’t judge.
This portion of the recipe is certainly optional. That being said, we’re always fans of going a little extra! We whipped up this easy glaze using our other recipe: Rhubarb Syrup – For Cocktails, Mocktails & Sweets. You can use the leftover syrup a number of ways... like our Strawberry Rhubarb Whiskey Sour, for instance. The Rhubarb Syrup recipe will keep well in the fridge for a couple of weeks and is an easy way to embrace the short, Spring and Summer rhubarb season.
Storing and Saving Rhubarb Bread
Truth be told, Rhubarb Bread is best when enjoyed the same day it was baked. That being said, this recipe can be stored in an airtight container for 2 - 4 days, when necessary. After storing, we recommend microwaving slices of Rhubarb bread for 15 - 20 seconds for a little warmth and to help it spring back to a soft, tender texture.
Rhubarb bread also freezes well! For the best results, we recommend freezing the same day as baking. Firstly, be sure to allow the bread to cool completely! Then, tightly wrap the bread in plastic wrap, twice. Personally, we like to wrap individual slices for easy on-the-go sorts of mornings. The individual slices thaw quickly and are perfect to throw in the lunchbox or quickly nuke for a speedy breakfast.
Share Your Success!
This easy Rhubarb Bread recipe is a lovely recipe for breakfast, brunch or afternoon tea. When this recipe makes its way to your table, be sure to drop us a star rating! And, as always, mention @foodworthfeed or tag #foodworthfeed in your Instagram posts and stories! We’d love to feature you on social! We love having a seat at your table, you’ll always have one at ours. Cheers!
Rhubarb Bread with Cinnamon Streusel
- Stand Mixer with Whisk & Paddle Attachments or Handheld Electric Mixer (Optional, but recommended)
- Standard Loaf Pan (Typically about 8½ x 4½ x 2½ inches)
- Parchment Paper
- 1 pound fresh (or frozen) rhubarb medium diced
- ½ Cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract or about 5 centimeters [2 inches] of a split vanilla bean
- 1 Cup all-purpose flour
- ⅓ Cup lightly-packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon fine, sea or kosher salt
- ¼ Cup unsalted butter melted
- 2¼ Cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon fine, sea or kosher salt
- 1 large egg room-temperature
- 1 Cup granulated sugar
- ¼ Cup unsalted butter melted and cooled slightly
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 Cup plus 3 Tablespoons full-fat sour cream room-temperature
- Rhubarb Compote
Rhubarb Glaze (Optional)
- 1 ounce Rhubarb Syrup < recipe linked
- ¼ Cup powdered sugar plus more as needed
- Gather, measure and prepare the Rhubarb Compote ingredients as listed. For the most consistent results, we recommend using metric weight measurements whenever possible. To view metric measurements, toggle the US Customary/Metric switch at the top of this recipe card.
- In a medium sauce pan, combine the diced rhubarb and sugar. Set over medium heat and stir to combine. Continue stirring frequently while sugar liquifies and begins to boil.
- Cook Rhubarb Compote at a low boil, stirring frequently for 15 - 20, minutes or until the the rhubarb has been cooked very soft and spreadable. If the compote seems very liquidy, comtinue cookiing until the thickened consistency of jam is reached. Fresher rhubarb will have a higher water content and may need to be boiled for a couple additional minutes.
- Remove the Rhubarb Compote from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Refrigerate to cool while mixing the Cinnamon Streusel and Quick Bread. Rhubarb Compote can be made 1 - 2 days ahead of time, if desired.
- Gather, measure and prepare the Cinnamon Streusel ingredients as listed. For the most consistent results, we recommend using metric weight measurements whenever possible.
- Arrange a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat to 350° Fahrenheit (180° celsius). Meanwhile, prepare a loaf pan with parchment paper (or grease and flour well).
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Whisk to combine. Pour melted butter over dry ingredients and stir to combine. Set the Cinnamon Streusel mixture aside to hydrate until ready to top on the Rhubarb Bread batter.
- Gather, measure and prepare the Rhubarb Bread ingredients as listed. For the most consistent results, we recommend using metric weight measurements whenever possible.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk to combine and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or medium mixing bowl with an electric handheld mixer) combine the egg and sugar. Mix on medium low speed until pale, aerated and the ribbon stage (batter falls in thick “ribbons”) is achieved. For more information, see the Ribbons of Beautiful Batter: The Ribbon Stage text above.
- Remove the whisk attachment (if using) and replace with the stand mixer's paddle attachment. While mixing on medium-low speed, drizzle in melted butter and vanilla. Then, add the sour cream in 2 - 3 additions, mixing to incorporate between each addition.
- Add the flour mixture to the stand mixer and mix on the lowest speed until just incorporated. If necessary, finish mixing in any dry flour with a rubber spatula. Batter will be very thick.
- Spread one half of the batter into the bottom of the prepared loaf pan. Level the batter with a rubber spatula or small, offset spatula.
- Next, spread the Rhubarb Compote in an even layer over the batter. Top with remaining batter and spread until leveled.
- Crumble the Cinnamon Streusel over the Rhubarb Bread batter. Press lightly into the top of the loaf.
- Bake the bread, turning halfway for about 55 - 65 minutes or until the center of the loaf springs back when lightly poked. (Be careful, it’s hot!)
- Once baked, remove the Rhubarb Bread from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Use the parchement papaer to lift the Rhubarb Bread from the pan and transfer to cooling rack to cool completely. Meanwhile, make the Rhubarb Glaze, if using.
Rhubarb Glaze (Optional)
- Gather, measure and prepare the Rhubarb Glaze ingredients as listed.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk the Rhubarb Syrup and powdered sugar until combined. The glaze should be a thick, consistency that is easy to drizzle. Add a little more powdered sugar 1 teaspoon at a time, if needed, to thicken.
- Once the Rhubarb Bread has cooled completely, drizzle the glaze over the top of the loaf, as desired.
- To serve, slice Rhubarb Bread with a sharp knife. Spread with some softened butter, if desired. Enjoy!