whole food ~ well made

Rhubarb sherbet recipe at

Love Rhubarb? This Aromatic Rhubarb Sherbet Will Delight You

In a single week the fruit trees went from bare to blossoms. While it will still be a while before it’s time to plant the garden, the rhubarb is already coming on. I love rhubarb so much, and it needs zero attention year in and year out.

I love its tart, floral flavors and how the stalks cook down so readily from stiff and celery like to jammy compote in no time. And there is no end to the uses: from muffins and jam to a rhubarb chutney for chicken and pork to fun drinks.

Just in time for Mother’s Day, the rhubarb is here. And while I could make a crisp or hand pies or rhubarb stuffed French toast for this weekend’s celebration, I’m going with ice cream–rhubarb sherbet to be exact.

Rhubarb sherbet recipe at

Does Rhubarb Color Matter?

Before we get into this frozen dessert, I want to touch on the color of rhubarb. The stuff in my garden tends to be emerald green with a ruby blush, especially toward the stalk. What I find at the story is fuschia, and at the farmers’ market is everything in between.

According to Cook’s Illustrated the color {anthocyanin pigments for you science lovers out there} has no bearing on the flavor. And more red tones does not mean that it’s any more ripe.

But, when appearance matters, you’ll want to look for brightly pigmented rhubarb. And for this sherbet, looks do count.

What’s the Difference Between Sherbet and Sorbet?

I guess there’s just one more issue to address before we get into making this rhubarb sherbet: Is it really any different from sorbet?

If you ask the French, mais oui. According to my Larousse Gastronomique, sorbet is really just fruit juice or fruit purée churned into an iced dessert. It contains neither egg nor dairy, and therefore no fat.

Rhubarb sherbet recipe at

Sherbet is in between sorbet and ice cream. It contains some dairy–milk or egg whites, generally–but has less fat that ice cream.

I got inspired to churn some quick-cooked rhubarb into a sherbet this week. I loved sherbet as a kid and the rainbow of flavors that teeter-tottered delightfully between tangy and sweet.

Rhubarb desserts hang right in that same place, but they can often be one-note. So, I steeped and then blended in my favorite rhubarb seasonings and spiced–fresh ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg and some black peppercorns to add another dimension to the fruit base.

This rhubarb sherbet is a pure celebration of spring’s most versatile edible perennial plant. I’ve got a quart in my freezer.

Just in time for Mother’s Day. Celebrate yourself and to everyone who mothers in one way or another.

Inspired to play with rhubarb this spring? Let me know what you’re making in the comments below or tag a photo #lynnesforage on Instagram or Facebook.


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Rhubarb sherbet recipe at
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5 from 1 vote

Spiced Rhubarb Sherbet

This frozen rhubarb dessert has just enough spices to round out the flavors to complement the rhubarb, and is blended with yogurt. For best results, make it the day before you plan to serve it, so that you have enough time to chill the mixture, freeze it in an ice cream maker and then allow it to firm up in the freezer before serving.
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
freezing time 20 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 1 quart
Author Lynne Curry


  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 pound fresh rhubarb, sliced 1/2-inch thick (about 4 cups)
  • 3 1/4-inch coins fresh ginger root
  • 5 whole peppercorns
  • 4 whole cardamom pods, cracked or 1/8 teaspoon ground
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • generous pinch fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt any type


  • Combine the sugar and water in a large saucepan over high heat. Stir until the sugar completely dissolves. When it comes to a full boil, remove the pot from the heat and set aside. This syrup can be made up to 1 week in advance.
  • Add the rhubarb, ginger, peppercorns, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon stick and salt to the saucepan. Simmer over medium-low heat partially covered without boiling until the rhubarb softens, about 10 minutes. 
  • Puree the rhubarb including all of the spices in a blender until smooth. Pour the puree through a sieve or colander into a large storage container. Use a rubber spatula to press it through to extract as much puree as possible and discard the solids. Chill in the refrigerator until cold, about 4 hours or overnight.
  • Prepare your ice cream maker while the sherbet chills. When it is cold, whisk in the yogurt into the rhubarb mixture until combined. Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker. 
  • Churn until frozen, about 20 minutes, depending on the type of ice cream maker. It will be like soft serve. Transfer the sherbet into a 1-quart container and chill to firm it up, about 2 hours or until ready to serve.
  • Remove the sherbet from the freezer about 10 minutes before serving to allow it to soften slightly.


  1. Sally Foster

    5 stars
    This recipe is so delicious. Because I couldn’t stop tasting it before I put it in the yogurt, I would also recommend it as a straight sauce for ice cream or over a simple cake.

    1. That’s so wonderful to hear, Sally. And I love your idea for using it as a sauce. Never thought of that!

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