An incredibly delicious - and incredibly easy - three ingredient rhubarb butter sweetened only with honey and flavored with lemon. It may change the way you think about rhubarb! Can be frozen or water bath canned.
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Rhubarb is one of those things that I didn't grow up eating and really didn't even think about before growing it in my garden. It's a perennial plant that is one of the early producers in the garden, so it's good to have.
With my first harvests I make a Spicy Rhubarb Chutney that makes pork so good you wouldn't believe it. It was so good, in fact, that it started me down the path of making and cooking with chutney and led me to our all-time favorite, Addictive Tomato Chutney.
I also discovered this tangy Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce that I like to keep in the freezer for grilling all year long.
But it was this recipe for a super simple, all natural rhubarb butter that pretty much threw everything I thought I knew about rhubarb out the window (which admittedly, wasn't a lot...).
If you're wondering, rhubarb butter is similar to rhubarb jam, but smoother and less sweet.
Who knew that three simple ingredients could add up to this?
If you think you don't like rhubarb, I dare you to try this.
And if you think you've "been-there-done-that" with fruit butters? Not even close.
This recipe for honey lemon rhubarb butter is simply to.die.for.
Which, to be honest, really surprised me.
When I was creating this, I thought it would be okay - maybe even better than okay as I added my favorite lemon flavor.
But I wasn't sure - lemon isn't known for being sweet and rhubarb is usually paired with sweet things like strawberries and oranges.
But since I like things on the tart side, I persevered - and am I ever glad I did. It really turned out incredible!
The ingredients for this fruit butter are so simple and real:
That's it! Add a bit of water and you've got a delicious fruit spread.
I believe this rhubarb butter is a perfect balance of sweet and tart, though you could add a bit more honey if you want it sweeter.
The One Kitchen Tool You'll Need
Besides a large stock pot and wooden spoon, you'll need a hand-held blender.
You can use a regular blender if that's all you have, but you'll have to be very careful about handling the hot product and transferring it to and from the blender, so I HIGHLY recommend a hand-held stick blender.
I actually recommend an immersion blender as a must-have tool for healthy kitchens. You will also use it for other preserving recipes as well as homemade soups like amazing cauliflower cheese soup and the Tomato Soup that will make you forget about canned.
How to Make Rhubarb Butter
This is an easy dump-and-cook recipe.
Rhubarb butter after 1 hour of cooking to thicken. There's an indentation from the spoon in the butter, but it fills the gap quickly.
Rhubarb butter that's finished thickening after about 2 hours - it takes longer for the butter to fill the gap from the spoon.
- Add all the ingredients to large pot, bring to a boil, let the mixture cook for about 20 minutes and then puree the mixture with the hand-held immersion blender right in the pot.
- Leave to cook and thicken for a couple hours, stirring occasionally.
The photos above show how the fruit butter looks at one and two hours of cooking. Notice how deeper colored and thicker it is at close to 2 hours.
Scroll to recipe card below for quantities and the full steps to make this recipe.
Three Ways to Store
This makes a small batch, so you could choose any of these three ways so keep the butter, depending on how fast you think you'd use it or if you'd like to gift it.
- Refrigerator: You can place the rhubarb butter in the fridge and use it within a month or so.
- Freezer: Spoon cooled butter into three small, airtight freezer-safe containers before labeling and adding to the freezer.
- Water Bath Can: Use 3 half-pint jars and a boiling water canner (see my complete tutorial here- it's really easy, I promise). Directions are included in the recipe card below.
This makes just three half pints, so however you preserve it I definitely think you're going to want to make more!
Even though this recipe contains just three simple ingredients, the flavor isn't simple at all - something magical happens when you cook the ingredients for a couple hours until thick and smooth.
I pretty much ate it right from a spoon.
Ways to Use Rhubarb Butter
Besides from a spoon (lol), the butter is terrific on muffins (double up on the rhubarb by serving with a glazed orange rhubarb muffin). Other ways to use it include:
- With toast
- On oatmeal or pancakes
- In smoothies
- Over desserts like vanilla ice cream, and layer cakes
- Use as the jam in thumbprint cookies or the filling in mini tarts
That's assuming there's anything left after being eaten off the spoon, that is.
So here's your dare - make this, even if you think you don't like rhubarb, and then let me know if you think it's as good as we do!
Honey Lemon Rhubarb Butter Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can make any fruit butter in a slow cooker - follow the instructions in this apple butter recipe for making overnight in a slow cooker.
My simple technique works for this recipe, but if you'd like some other options you can:
-Remove a spoonful and hold it away from any heat/steam for a couple minutes - it's done when it remains mounded on the spoon.
-Spoon about a teaspoon on a cold plate - if the edge of the rhubarb butter doesn't become liquidy, it's ready.
Jam is usually sweeter, relying more on the sugar for color and texture. Fruit butter is a smoother consistency with a more muted color.
This will last a couple weeks in the refrigerator, 6-8 months when frozen, and 18 months when canned in a boiling water canner.
I've only made this with honey, so I can't say about the flavor differences, but you could try it with maple syrup or even regular sugar.
More Preserving Rhubarb Recipes
- Home Canned Spicy Rhubarb Chutney
- Small Batch Honey Rhubarb Ginger Jam
- Easy Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce
- 3 Ingredient Rhubarb Strawberry Sauce
- The Ultimate Rhubarb Guide: Grow, Harvest, Cook & Preserve
Honey Lemon Rhubarb Butter To Can or Freeze
- Large Stock Pot & Wooden Spoon
- Hand-Held Stick Blender (recommended) or regular blender
- 6 cups chopped rhubarb 1 ½ to 2 pounds
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup honey
- zest & juice of 1 small lemon
- Add all ingredients to a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until soft, about 15-20 minutes.
- Puree the contents of the pot with an immersion blender (or carefully transfer to a blender and blend, then return to the pot) until smooth.
- Reduce heat all the way to low and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, or until the rhubarb butter is thickened (see photos in recipe for a guide) and doesn't run when a bit is added to a plate.
- Decide on your storage: refrigerate and eat within a month, or freeze or water-bath can for longer storage.
- As rhubarb butter nears completion, prepare three 1/2-pint jars and keep hot until needed. Prepare canning lids according to manufacturer’s directions, and start the water heating in a canner.
- When the butter is ready, ladle into 1 jar at a time, leaving 1/4-inch headspace, wiping the rim with a damp cloth, and attaching the lid. Place jar in prepared canner. Fill and close remaining jars.
- Process jars in a boiling-water canner for 15 minutes. Remove lid, turn off heat and let jars cool in canner 5 minutes before transferring to a towel-lined counter to cool. Check seals before labeling and storing in a cool, dark place.
- Let rhubarb butter cool a bit and divide into freezer-safe jars, leaving 2-inches headspace for expansion. Seal, label and freeze for up to a year.
- Thaw before using and keep in the refrigerator (it will keep in the fridge for a few weeks).
More Rhubarb Recipes to Try:
- Crumb Topped Orange Rhubarb Muffins
- Rhubarb Honey Crumb Bars
- Plus all the recipes found in the hugely popular Ultimate Rhubarb Guide: Grow, Harvest, Cook & Preserve