Rhubarb Jam – No Pectin

Rhubarb Jam

Rhubarb Jam is a yearly springtime celebration, whether it grows in your own garden or it starts to show up at farmer’s markets and produce stores. Rhubarb is one of the very first edibles to show up in the garden after a long winter.

Jar of rhubarb jam in a garden next to a rhubarb plant


Don’t Eat Rhubarb Leaves

Rhubarb is a perennial garden dweller, and we look forward to its appearance each spring. But, did you know, that the rhubarb leaves, themselves, are poisonous? They contain high levels of a toxic compound called oxalic acid. So, although those leaves may look temptingly like beet tops or Swiss chard, please refrain from eating them.

More About Rhubarb

Did you know Rhubarb is not really a fruit, but actually a vegetable? Like many produce items, how we use them determines whether we think of them as veggies, or as fruits. For more facts about rhubarb, check out Four Things You Didn’t Know About Rhubarb

Keep Rhubarb in the Freezer To Enjoy all Year

A couple of posts ago, I made strawberry rhubarb muffins.  I’ve been wanting to use rhubarb again while it’s still in season and growing like crazy. But, rhubarb is easy to freeze. Just cut the stalks into 2-inch pieces. Spread the pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until firm. Then transfer to airtight containers and freeze for up to a year. So if you have a surplus, or just want a winter treat, you can still make this rhubarb jam any time of year. Or even these delicious Rhubarb Blueberry Oatmeal Bars

Ingredients: Just Sugar & Rhubarb 

This is a super simple recipe. There’s no pectin, and there’s just enough sugar to let that rhubarb’s bright tartness shine. The end result is also versatile. You can use this rhubarb jam on toast or scones, but also with pork, salmon, or with crackers and a sharp spreadable cheese for entertaining.  I love it on waffles with strawberries, and you can layer it with custard and nuts for a sublime spring desert. (Recipe coming soon)

To get the prettiest colour for your jam, try to use only the pink and bright red stalks. The green stalks taste just as good, but the colour will be a little muddy.

Rhubarb Jam

Rhubarb Jam – Rhubarb Jam Recipe

Celebrate spring with a simple, fresh rhubarb jam with only two ingredients. 
4.16 from 52 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Jams, Jellies, & Preserves
Cuisine Canning & Preserving
Servings 64 tbsp
Calories 21 kcal


  • 2 1/2 pounds rhubarb stalks chopped, about 8 cups
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar


  • Put chopped rhubarb and sugar in a glass or stainless steel bowl, stir and allow to sit until the sugar is dissolved and there is lots of juice. This can be overnight in the fridge or several hours on the countertop.
  • Put into a stainless steel pot (other pots such as cast iron, enamel, copper, or aluminum will react with the ingredients and discolour the jam) over medium high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  •  Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens and the rhubarb has broken down, about 30 minutes. 
  • Let cool, and transfer into jars.
  • Rhubarb Jam will keep in the fridge for around three weeks. I didn't process this recipe, but it could be done on a large scale if you have a ton of rhubarb.


This recipe makes four 250ml (8 oz) If you won't be using up the jam within a month, or want to make a larger amount, process the filled jars with lids and screw banks in a boiling water bath for ten minutes. Allow to cool and ensure that each jar is sealed before storing in a cool dry place. Sealed jars can be stored for up to a year.
Rhubarb jam can also be frozen. 


Serving: 2tbspCalories: 21kcalCarbohydrates: 5gPotassium: 51mgSugar: 4gVitamin A: 20IUVitamin C: 1.4mgCalcium: 15mg
Keyword homemade jam, rhubarb
Tried this recipe? What changes did you make?Let us know how it was!



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55 thoughts on “Rhubarb Jam – No Pectin

    1. Hi Jenny, I always do sterilize the jars. Some people don’t, but I feel its good to be on the safe side. It’s really easy if you use the water that you’ll be using for the boiling water bath. I just put the empty jars in there, bring it to a boil and remove the jars after 10 minutes. Keep the water at a simmer until it’s ready for your filled jars. If you choose not to sterilize, make sure the jars are very clean. Happy jam making!

  1. I made rhubarb jam with crushed pineale, jello,lemon peel and lemone juice and sugar I put them in spare refrigerator and several weeks later there was mold in jars. Did they set to long in refrigerator should I have frozen it I made About 60 pint jars. I will try your recipe can I add somremlm to it. Can’t wait to try your recipe. Thank you

    1. Hi Judy, this recipe is very simple and it may work better for you. It sounds like your jars were maybe not sealed, because if they were there shouldn’t be mould. Hi hope you have better luck this time! Happy jam-making.

      1. I have used this simple recipe for many years as did my mother before me. The best way I have found is to buy enough rhubarb when it’s in season. I clean, cop into about 1 inch pieces and freeze. When I’m ready for some jam I take out an individual bag and cook, adding sugar. Easy, quick and delicious!!

    1. Hi Loretta, Thank you for the tip. However, there is no need for artificial colours in this rhubarb jam. I simply used only the red stalks, and the colour that you see is purely natural.

  2. Just a little note. It is the dead of winter and I am going to make rhubarb torte New Years Day for our family Christmas. Just a touch of spring to warm us up. I do love rhubarb and love this jam. Happy New Year all!

    1. What a great idea, Sharon, to bring a little spring to a winter celebration. So happy that you love this jam, and a rhubarb torte sounds lovely. Happy New Year to you and your family!

  3. I made this jam yesterday. It is wonderful. Such a good rhubarb flavor. I kept mine boiling when it got thickened. I then scalded my jars and had my rings and flat in boiling water and proceeded to can mine. I did not put it through a water bath but you certainly could. It made 4 one cup jars and 1 half cup jar. I don’t have the red type of rhubarb so I added some red food coloring. Loved it!

    1. Hi Mary, regular pectin requires sugar to work properly. To be honest, I have never tried to make jam without sugar, but now I want to. I wish I could be of more help, but thank you for kick starting me in that direction.

      1. Hi Kimberly. If processed in a water bath, your rhubarb jam will last for up to a year in the pantry. Possibly longer, but I like to use them up within a year.

  4. I’m patiently waiting for the rhubarb and sugar to do its thing. I love jamming and my rhubarb is constantly needing cutting back. The leaves are the size of my house and the stalks look like a much larger diameter than yours. May I ask your variety? I don’t know my variety, but it’s obscenely large and more green than red. Apparently grows we’ll year round on the foggy central coast of CA.

    1. Hi Jacqueline, Your rhubarb sounds huge! I’m not sure of my variety, either. Ours is a perennial, but here in BC, Canada, it dies back in the winter, and re-appears each spring. Since your rhubarb grows year round, that may be why it’s so much larger than mine. Just a guess. Happy jamming!

    2. There different varieties of rhubarb. I have the large kind like yours . I also have some that is small and more reddish. Called strawberry rhubarb. All taste the same. As a kid in the 50s we ate it raw with salt on it. Back then they called it pie plant.

      1. Hi Sharon, yes, the rhubarb stalks all taste the same, regardless of the color, so if you use the green ones, food coloring may be required if you desire. In the 60’s, we kids were given little Tupperware cups full of sugar to dip our raw rhubarb. I think salt sounds really interesting though!

  5. Just made it today. Loved it. Sent a girlfriend back to the city with a jar of it. She says she’s coming back for more. Simple, and Yummy.

    1. Hi Bev! I so glad it worked out great for you (and your girlfriend)! And I so appreciate your coming back to let me know. Have a delicious day. 🙂

  6. I can’t wait to try this it looks to die for. I’ve not had rhubarb in years after living in Italy for so long so I’m dying to have it!

  7. I love making my own jams. Rhubarb is one that I haven’t worked with. I’ll be on the lookout for some – maybe from the farmer’s market, so I can make this.

  8. I’ve been wondering what to do with all the rhubarb I’m seeing in the markets! Rhubarb jam sounds so yummy – thanks for the simple recipe!

  9. Rhubarb is a favorite. I finally have rhubarb in the garden. Although I don’t think I will get any good ones this year. My CSA has awesome rhubarb. I am looking forward to your recipe. I would love this rhubarb jam on wheat toast, delish!

    1. Hi Eileen
      So awesome that you planted rhubarb. I have such a small garden that I just don’t have space for it, unfortunately. It’s such a huge plant! And yes, rhubarb jam on toast is a great breakfast treat. Enjoy!

    2. Did you put any food coloring in your jam? I just made 2 batches of the Sure-Gell kind and had to add some because it was so drab looking.

  10. This year’s winter seemed to never end, so Spring (when it finally arrived) was very welcome! I had no idea that rhubarb leaves are poisonous. Thankfully, I hadn’t actually tried preparing it yet—but this vibrant jam made me want to try! I love how simple your recipe is.

  11. Coleen, what an enticing photograph, I love the the composition and depth of field. I am just making a little rhubarb compote to go with my breakfast oatmeal with a few stalks I picked up at the market but now I am inspired to get more rhubarb and make this jam. It looks delicious and I like the minimal ingredients list.

  12. This looks amazing! I am planning on making some jam this summer, I’ll have to try this one. Lovely pictures!

  13. I can’t wait till our rhubarb is ready! I am thinking another week at least. I look forward to eating this on scones.

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