Rhubarb compote

Rhubarb is a misunderstood rebel with an uncool vibe but when you move past the exterior there is a lot to like. It’s a vegetable, but you usually eat it for dessert (it can be pickled, I’m yet to try that) and the leaves contain poisonous substances like oxalic acid so are best avoided. However, when the crimson stalks are chopped into chunks and cooked with a bit of sugar until the silky strands of rhubarb begin to separate and swim in the ruby-red syrup, it’s delicious. Rhubarb is great on its own with a bit of cream or yoghurt (and maybe a butter biscuit for dunking) but also makes a wonderful pie, crumble or cobbler and is amazing for breakfast with a bit of toasted muesli and yoghurt, or stirred into porridge. Apple and strawberries are great friends with rhubarb too.

I didn’t think rhubarb compote could be improved, until I read a recipe which added butter. Butter! What a revelation! Somehow the butter rounds out the tartness of the rhubarb and mellows it slightly to create a smooth, sweet and slightly tart compote which feels a bit decadent.


  • One bunch of rhubarb cut into inch size chunks (slightly different sizes will result in a pleasant variety of textures in the finished compote)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (slightly more if you like it sweeter)
  • 25g butter


  1. Mix the rhubarb and sugar in a bowl and stir to combine.
  2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and when bubbling, add the rhubarb and sugar.
  3. Leave the rhubarb undisturbed for 2 minutes for the rhubarb to begin to release its juices.
  4. Continue to cook and stir gently and occasionally until the rhubarb is soft and the syrup is nice and thick. Rhubarb releases water while cooking but you can add a splash if you think it needs a hand. It should take 10-15 minutes.

The compote will keep in the fridge for about a week and freezes well too. I like to eat mine warmed but you can eat it cold from the fridge if you prefer.


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