Buttermilk Rhubarb Bread Recipe

Rhubarb endears itself to me a little more each year. A few weeks ago, I found myself suddenly in my childhood home just as Spring took over the landscape, transforming stagnant trees into leafy towers. I walked the perimeter of the property to take it all in and spotted my mother’s rhubarb patch. The rhubarb leaves, poisonous to the bite, looked like a lush green island amidst the yet to be planted garden surrounding it.

My great-grandmother referred to it as ‘pie-plant‘, a vegetable which made for wonderfully tart desserts and a perfect pairing with sweeter fruits. Myself, I am a purist when it comes to rhubarb though. Don’t hide its flavor or tartness by mixing it with anything. Let the rhubarb be pucker-your-mouth, wrinkle-your-nose, squint-your-eyes – delicious. Of course, I always add a little cinnamon – that’s ok. Cinnamon is a must with rhubarb.

I flipped through my mothers recipes looking for rhubarb bread. For some reason, it just stuck in my head as the perfect use for the rhubarb even though my mother rarely made it. I couldn’t find her recipe but magically the local newspaper published one and I clipped it out. The clipping made its way back to Vancouver where I tweaked and fussed with it yesterday. It’s delicious. A moist, cinnamon infused sweet bread with tart explosions in every bite.

Rhubarb Bread in Pan

Buttermilk Rhubarb Bread
inspired by a Gratiot County Herald recipe

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
2/3 cup diced rhubarb
1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted

2 Tablespoons sugar
1 tsp butter
1/4 tsp cinnamon

  1. Mix all bread ingredients in a large mixing bowl
  2. Generously grease a bread pan. You can also line the pan with parchment paper for even easier removal once baked.
  3. Pour the batter into the pan
  4. In a small bowl, combine the topping ingredients and blend with your fingers until combined. Sprinkle over the batter.
  5. Bake at 325F (160C) for 55-65 minutes or until it tests done.
  6. Allow to cool before tipping out of pan. Be careful when removing from the pan. I didn’t allow it to cool (impatience) and part of it broke apart when I tipped it out.

Recipe Notes:
This is my first time making this recipe. I might increase the flour by 1/4 cup next time to make the batter a bit thicker.

Buttermilk Rhubarb Bread

The bread smells amazing while it bakes and fills the house with a spicy scent. Joe remarked, “it smells like a really good candle in here.” Ahh, bless him … that’s his way of complimenting my hard work. He’s right though, it did smell like a really good candle. With the growing popularity of rhubarb, it’s only a matter of time until rhubarb candles reach a store near you!

More rhubarb recipe ideas:
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie – Simply Recipes
Rhubarb Fool – Real Epicurean
Rhubarb Margarita – Andrea’s Recipes
Rhubarb Cobbler – Smitten Kitchen
Rhubarb Tart – La Tartine Gourmande
Red Wine-Poached Rhubarb – David Lebovitz

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  1. You know, it’s only now that I discovered (still haven’t *tasted* yet, though) that rhubarb is actually mouth puckeringly tart! I always thought it kinda tasted like strawberries, since I always found them together in the old Betty Crocker cooking encyclopedia I browsed as a kid. I suppose that doesn’t make much sense really… I’m going to have to remember this recipe if I’m ever lucky enough to finally come across it! :)

  2. Hi, I found you through Helen’s website and I’m glad I did! This looks lovely, so moist and flavourful! I’ll be trying this for sure! I love anything with a crumble topping. the rhubarb must gently stew inside the bread… oh I want some!

  3. Oddly enough, I’ve never tried rhubarb with cinnamon, though I love it with vanilla. Will have to add this bread to my arsenal of rhubarb recipes.

  4. Looks wonderful :) I found rhubarb growing next to my house this year, but alas it didn’t have a good year, was underdeveloped and stringy :-P

  5. Nicole: Shall I come down and bake for you?

    Manggy: Oh yes, it’s tart. Joe complains that it’s too sour for him.

    Helen: Thank you for all of your technical help!

    Marta: Welcome to my blog! Let me know how the bread goes if you make it. If you enjoy rhubarb, I think you’ll love it.

    Kate: Oooooh, give cinnamon a try – it’s perfect :-)

    Amanda: That’s too bad. I must admit that what I found at the market wasn’t very fresh but it’s all I could find on short notice. It still tasted wonderful although it looked a little sad at the start.

    Eralda: Thanks for stopping by!

  6. this looks great. i have loads of rhubarb that come up every year so i am always looking for new recipes.


  7. I’m a new convert to rhubarb, and this bread looks delicious! I have some left-over rhubarb my fridge from making a cobbler and was wondering what to do with it. I’ve got everything else on your list, so Buttermilk Rhubarb Bread it is! Thanks!

  8. This sounds like a great way to enjoy some rhubarb! I just picked some up and I plan on trying some rhubarb muffins this week.

  9. I had a lot of rhubarb as a kid growing up in Michigan. But, as an adult, I have yet to acquire a taste for it. There is something about the texture that I’m not so sure about. Your bread looks wonderful. I love the crumb topping.

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