| | | | | | |

Air Fryer, Oven Or Stovetop Stewed Rhubarb

Overhead shot of a white dinner table, with pink napkin, main bowl of red stewed rhubarb inc entre, with others to sides, and title air fryer stewed rhubarb, baking on a budget.
Air Fryer, Oven Or Stovetop Stewed Rhubarb is my guide to cooking rhubarb by which method suits you best.  Also known as rhubarb compote, it is extremely simple to make for a variety of uses.

Air Fryer, Oven Or Stovetop Stewed Rhubarb

Baking On A Budget

Very close cropped shot of a small bowl of stewed red rhubarb/compote, served with pastry cream.

You don’t have to just make stewed rhubarb (AKA Rhubarb Compote) on the stovetop. You can also roast the rhubarb in the oven while baking something else, or even better use the air fryer! Learn how to simply cook your rhubarb by whichever method suits you best at the time, as well as learn some energy & money saving tips in my Baking On A Budget series.

Baking should not be a luxury – It is not just about fancy cakes, but making from scratch, learning a life skill and not relying on ready-made, often highly processed foods.  Baking is also very therapeutic for so many, and beneficial to mental health.  So with Baking On A Budget, I aim to make baking accessible to all. 

Me, Caro xx

Very close shot of a high risen British scone, sliced with cream, jam and strawberries in the middle and title of air fryer British scones.

Energy And Money Saving Baking

You don’t only have to cook rhubarb on the stovetop. You can also use the air fryer or oven. With the cost-of-living crisis and energy price hikes, everyone is looking to save where they can. And so I have started a series called Baking On A Budget. Money saving recipes and tips, to save energy, time & money.

(First recipe was my British Scones In The Air Fryer, shown in the photo here.)

With the cost of ready-made foods now, it is getting to a point where homemade can be saving you some money. And we know homemade ALWAYS taste better! Not to mention health benefits from it too.

Overhead phtoo of a white bowl with pastry cream and stewed rhubarb/compote, with a spoon and a pink soft napkin.

Money Saving Tips

Frozen rhubarb can be used and works really well, which can mean availability throughout the year, and sometimes lower costs. If you are lucky enough to have rhubarb in your garden, or are gifted some, even better!

Don’t forget you can easily freeze rhubarb you have too.  Here is an article on how to prepare and freeze rhubarb, by Lynn @ Tasty Bakes Kitchen. (Note tin/canned rhubarb is usually already cooked, which also saves energy).

With the price increase of caster sugar (UK equivalent to extra/super fine sugar), this recipe uses granulated sugar, (which hasn’t had such a noticeable price increase).

Close photo of a cupcake cut in half, showing the stuffed rhubarb compote inside.

Benefits Of Oven Cooking Rhubarb

You can save energy & money by cooking/roasting the rhubarb in the oven, at the same time as cooking or baking something else. For the stewed rhubarb in my cupcakes, I cooked them both in the oven together.

So no need to cook on the hob, saving electricity or gas, not having to wash a saucepan, and not having to stand mixing or checking the rhubarb.

Close shot ofa cupcake halved with red stewed rhubarb spread on top waiting to be topped with top layer.

As a guideline, I have cooked the rhubarb in the oven @ 180°c/160°c Fan Oven/350°f/Gas Mark 4 for 15 minutes and once the cupcakes were done, increased the temperature to 200°c/180°c Fan Oven/400°f/Gas Mark 6 for cooking a further 10 minutes, till fork tender. Just go according to whatever else you are cooking in the oven, and check as you go along.

Benefit Of Air Frying Rhubarb

Cooking the rhubarb compote in the air fryer is an even less expensive method. Depending on how much rhubarb you have to cook of course, the air fryer might take longer than the hob, but uses much less energy consumption. It also does not make the kitchen too hot, and in turn you don’t get too hot either. So in the hotter weather, this is a benefit!

This recipe for stewed rhubarb will take about 30 minutes, at @170°c/325°f. Note for a smaller amount of rhubarb (less than 400g/14oz), the cooking time will be less, and similarly, more than 400g/14oz will take longer to cook. (*About 150g/5.25oz will cook in about 10-15 minutes). Different air fryer will perform slightly different, so please check along the way.

No need to blitz or process the stewed rhubarb either, as it will bake till fork tender, and only require mashing with a fork.

Ingredients For Stewed Rhubarb/Compote

Ingredients for stewed rhubarb, labelled.

What do we need to make stewed rhubarb (rhubarb compote)?

The rhubarb can be fresh or frozen, but just make sure to drain the defrosted rhubarb really well before using.

Sugar is needed to not only make the rhubarb less bitter, but to help thicken the rhubarb and make it last a little longer, (a natural thickener and preservative if you like). Granulated sugar is used, since it is the least expensive.

A small amount of Water is used to help the cooking process begin, before the rhubarb begins to release its own natural juices. When you drain your defrosted rhubarb, you could substitute with a little of that in place of the tap water listed.

Lemon juice is added to also aid with the thickening process, much like when making jam or preserve. Lemon has the highest pectin content of any fruit, where pectin is a naturally occurring thickener, stabilizer & setting-agent. However, we don’t need as much of its natural gelatin-like properties for stewed rhubarb, so only the juice and not the skin is required.

Very close shot of split vanilla beans that were previously submerged in alcohol to make vanilla extract and showing the vanilla pods, with text homemade vanilla extract.

I like to add Vanilla Extract to my rhubarb compote. I make my own Vanilla Extract, as in the long-term this too can be a money saving investment, as well as a nice gift to handout at Christmas. Learn how to easily make homemade vanilla, as well as how to make as inexpensively as possible.

I am also a bit addicted to Anise and I like to add just a little to the cooked rhubarb. Anise is also lovely in Homemade Fig Anise Curd. It is optional of course, and you could also substitute this, or even the vanilla, with some ground ginger.

Recipe Yield

This recipe as is, makes about 400g, 1¾ cups, 14oz worth of stewed rhubarb. Portion sizes will vary depending on what you are using the rhubarb compote for. So for that reason, in the nutritional information on the Recipe Card below, I have listed as a recipe yield of 4 portions, where 1 portion is 100g (3½ oz/scant ½ cup). You also have the option to increase the recipe yield, and hence ingredient amounts, by clicking on the ‘x1’ or ‘x2’ option.

The Process In Brief

4 photo collage of rhubarb stalks, chopped, cooking and after stewing.

Stewing or making a compote of your rhubarb, could not be simpler.

Step 1 is to chop and clean the rhubarb.

Step 2 is to cook the rhubarb with the sugar, water & lemon juice in either the stove-top, oven or air fryer. Whichever is best for you at the particular time. Cooking until fork tender. If you want a more stringy texture for filling cupcakes say (see my Rhubarb Compote Cupcakes recipe), cook a little longer.

Step 3 is to remove from the heat, and simply mashing a little with a fork if you don’t want rhubarb pieces. (Add more vanilla or ginger now too if you like).

Step 4 is to either eat the rhubarb warm, or leave to cool completely and use later.

4 photo collage showing cooking rhubarb in air fryr with cherries and after cooking and draining.

Tin Or Dish To Cook In

Stewing the rhubarb on the stovetop is simply done in a medium sized cooking pot. To cook the rhubarb in the air fryer or oven, you need an oven-safe dish or pan. A big enough dish to hold the rhubarb, but not too big that it won’t fit nicely in the air fryer.

And for the air fryer, you ideally don’t want to cook directly on the bottom of the basket, and also have some space about the pan, to allow the heat to circulate all around.

If you have no option but to use a loose-bottomed dish in the air fryer, I advise on lining with 2 non-stick paper liners/cases. Otherwise, you will have leakages that you don’t need. Either ones for the air fryer or for lining your cake pans. See this photo collage, where I used a loose-bottomed dish, to be able to hold over 600g/22oz of fruit (rhubarb and cherries to be specific). Where I lined with 2 paper cases, (the cake tin is very deep and 6″/15cm wide, as my air fryer is very small).

4 photo collage of cooking rhubarb on stovetop, adding red food colouring and red results.
Tips For ‘Red’ Coloured Rhubarb

I am not sure if it is ‘forced rhubarb’ (that is available out of season), or just some excessive photoshopping, but my rhubarb be it cooked or in a bake, never ends up looking ‘red’. Now I know colour doesn’t always matter, but sometimes the colour gives an indication into what the bake might be. And sometimes, the combination of the green and a little red from the rhubarb, isn’t always an appealing colour or shade. So here are a few tips for making rhubarb look a little better.

1. Add Red Food Colouring

If you have some red or even pink food colouring, a little can be used to give your cooked rhubarb a more ‘red’ shade. I recommend Sugarflair brand for all my baking and fondant work. It is in the form of a paste, so even better than using a gel. You can of course still use a gel colouring, as it is better than liquid food colouring. Just add a tiny amount of colouring, mix in and leave a minute or 2 before deciding if you need anymore.

4 photo collage of cooking green rhubarb and black cherries in airfryer in paper liner, draing after cooking, and showing red coloured rhubarb in a tart.
2. Add Natural Colouring

As always, using natural colouring is always a good option. When developing my rhubarb crumble pie recipe, I also used black cherries. The cherries give off a very deep red/reddish black juice, which if you have ever got any on your best chopping board before, you know often stains. So cherries makes a great natural food colouring and when cooking my rhubarb, the result was no longer an unappealing off-green shade, but a deep red/burgundy shade.

See in the photo collage how well the cherries ‘dyed’ the green rhubarb. And a bonus too is that after draining the excess juice, there was a lovely red sweet tasting syrup that you could add to smoothies, overnight oats, or even to a buttercream to make a pink shade.

For that recipe I used the same amount of cherries to rhubarb (i.e. weight), simply because I had an abundance of cherries and very pale rhubarb. You won’t generally need as much cherries as that, and will obviously also depend on how red or green your rhubarb is. I would say at least a 1:4 ratio, in other words, minimum 100g pitted cherries to 400g rhubarb.

The black cherries also were good for maintaining the ‘tart’ kind of taste notes of rhubarb. Red plums might also work. Sweeter fruits like strawberries also are full of natural red colouring, as is beetroot but I have never tried that.

Join My Facebook Group

Why not also join my Facebook group Easy Online Baking Lessons – Easy Online Baking Lessons, dedicated to this baking lessons website, as well as providing one-on-one support with myself & my team? Be sure to answer all security questions when requesting to join. Click to join the Facebook group.

Overhead shot of white dinner table with linen and crockery surrounding a stawberry, blueberry and raspberry covered cream layer cake called Summer Berry Griestorte.

Use those Summer berries in this Genoise cream cake – go to Summer Berry Griestore

Sharing The Love

Please see the sharing options or even printing, at the right/bottom of your screen (bottom of your screen for mobiles, and down the right-hand side on computers). You can even pin this to your own Pinterest page. Alternatively, you can save, print or share this recipe, via the Recipe Card. You could also leave some feedback if you like (at very bottom of the page).

Recipe Card

Air Fryer, Oven Or Stovetop Stewed Rhubarb (Compote)

Overhead shot of a white dinner table, with pink napkin, main bowl of red stewed rhubarb inc entre, with others to sides, and title air fryer stewed rhubarb, baking on a budget.
You don't have to just make stewed rhubarb (AKA Rhubarb Compote) on the stovetop. Learn how to simply cook rhubarb by stovetop, oven or air fryer. Part of the Baking On A Budget series – see before recipe for energy & money saving tips.
Caro @ Caroline’s Easy Baking Lessons
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Cooling Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Serving Size 4 Servings*


  • Chopping Board
  • Knife
  • Scales or measuring cups
  • Small measuring jug
  • Measuring Spoons (optional)
  • Cooking Pot or Oven-save pot
  • Spoon for mixing
  • Fork


  • 400 grams Fresh Rhubarb, chopped (14 oz, for frozen rhubarb, see notes)
  • 80 grams Sugar (2¾ oz, rounded ⅓ cup, granulated or caster sugar)
  • 100 ml Water (3⅓ fl oz, ½ cup + 1 tbsp)
  • ½ Lemon (medium or large) (juice only)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract (make your own homemade Vanilla extract, or use 1 tsp Ginger instead)
  • ¼ tsp Anise, ground (optional)


Prepare The Rhubarb

  • Begin by cleaning and chopping your rhubarb, into pieces about 1cm (⅓") long. However, if any thin stalks of rhubarb, chop to about 2cm (¾"), for more even cooking. For frozen rhubarb, defrost at room temperature or overnight in the fridge. Once defrosted, drain the rhubarb liquid really well. (*You can reserve 100ml/3⅓ fl oz/½ cup + 1 tbsp of this rhubarb liquid and add later, in place of the water listed in the ingredients if you wish). See Photo 1 below.
    2 photo collage of rhubarb stalks and after chopping - photo 1.

Prepare Cooking Pot/Pan/Dish

  • For the air fryer, you want a suitable oven-save dish/pan, that can hold all the rhubarb. You can use a loose-bottomed dish if you must, but I advise on lining with 2 non-stick paper liners/cases. (By that I mean the kind that go up the sides like used for cake tins or loaf tins, NOT ones that are just discs of paper for lining the bottom only. With those the rhubarb liquid would leak out of a loose bottomed tin. See photo before this recipe card for reference).
  • If cooking on the stove top, you will just need a medium sized cooking pot. And for the oven, any oven-save tin or dish, and enamel works fine too. If using the oven to cook the rhubarb, heat the oven to 180°c/160°c Fan Oven/350°f/Gas Mark 4 now. For money saving, cook the rhubarb while baking something else & at the temperature required for the other item, (provided not too high a temperature -ie still a moderately heated oven).

Air Fryer Cooking The Rhubarb

  • Add the chopped rhubarb, lemon juice, sugar & water to your air fryer dish, and mix well (you can pre-mix in a larger bowl before this if it makes it easier for you). Set your air fryer to 170°c/325°f, and if your air fryer has to heat up first, switch on a little sooner. Cook for 10 minutes, before giving the rhubarb a mix around, and continue cooking for another 15 – 25 minutes, until fork tender. (See Photo 2).
    4 photo collage of cooking choped rhubarb in air fryer and once soft - photo 2.
  • In some of these photos I cooked longer for a finer rhubarb texture. If you want to still have some pieces of rhubarb visible, cook for a little less, but still use a fork to make sure all pieces are cooked through. The wider your air fryer or cooking dish, the quicker it will cook, as a deeper layer of rhubarb will take more time to cook.

Stove Cooking The Rhubarb

  • Add the chopped rhubarb, lemon juice, sugar & water to your cooking pot, and mix well. Cook on a medium to high heating, and let the mixture come to a boil. The rhubarb will have given off its juice, but if at any point the mixture seems too dry, add small amounts of water. (See Photo 3 below).
    4 photo collage of adding water, sugar, lemon and chopped rhubarb to stovetop - photo 3.to pot
  • Once boiling, leave to boil for about 10 minutes before reducing the heat to a low to medium setting and allow to simmer till cooked through. See Photo 4. You want the rhubarb pieces to be fork tender. If you want to stew the rhubarb further to a more 'stringy' texture, like for rhubarb filled cupcakes, continue to simmer a bit more and mash with a fork, once off the heat.
    2 photo collage of stewed rhubarb boiling and oce cooked - photo 4.

Oven Cooking The Rhubarb

  • Rhubarb can also be cooked in the oven. It is obviously not as economical as the other 2 methods, but if you are using to stuff cupcakes, just cook in the oven at the same time as the cupcakes. Or pop in the oven when making something else (preferably something not with a strong odour).
  • Simply add the ingredients to your oven-save dish, and cook on a 170°c to 180°c (160°c Fan Oven/350°f/Gas Mark 4) setting for about 30 minutes. Start checking from the 20-minute mark. For the cupcake recipe, I baked at 170°c for about 20 minutes, until the cakes were ready and then increased the heat to 180°c for another 10 minutes cooking. So just adjust according to whatever else you are cooking in the oven at the same time. Cook till fork tender, and a bit longer if you don't want any rhubarb pieces. See Photo 5 below.
    4 photo collage of defrosting frozen chopped rhubarb, adding sugar and cooking in oven.

After Cooking

  • Once the rhubarb has been cooked, leave in the pot/dish to cool before transferring to another container. You can also add more vanilla or ground ginger now according to taste.

Serving & Storage

  • You can eat the rhubarb warm after cooking if you like, or warm later and serve with ice-cream, custard or my go-to recipe – pastry cream. (See Photos below). This is thicker than custard, but made the same way. And is ideal for us bakers as when in this pastry cream thicker form, any left-over, you can use with other bakes. For pastry fillings, in cakes, doughnuts, anything really.
  • Store the cooked and cooled rhubarb in an air-tight container, in the fridge for up to 1 week1. Alternatively, you can freeze the cooked rhubarb for as long as 1 year2. Just leave to cool completely, and place in a container suitable for your freezer.
  • You could even place in a large, strong food bag, which means you could have it flat along the length of the bag, meaning you can lay it flat in the freezer, and take up less room. Just make sure the seal is closed tight. A good tip from Freezeit.co.uk is to place a straw half-way into the food bag and use it to remove air from the bag before sealing. Label your frozen rhubarb, with the date you made it, the use by date, and I find adding the weight too helps for using later. Or even writing the number of portions it holds would be handy.
    Overhead phtoo of a white bowl with pastry cream and stewed rhubarb/compote, with a spoon and a pink soft napkin.



Frozen rhubarb can also be used in place of fresh rhubarb & should be drained really well before using.
Uncooked fresh rhubarb can also be frozen.  Read how to prepare and freeze rhubarb, by Lynn @ Tasty Bakes Kitchen. 
*Recipe Yield – makes about 400g, 1¾ cups, 14oz worth.  Serving size will vary according to what you are using the stewed rhubarb for.  But for nutritional values, 1 serving has been based on 100g (3½ oz/scant ½ cup) worth of compote. 
Close photo of a cupcake cut in half, showing the stuffed rhubarb compote inside.
See my Money Saving Rhubarb Compote Cupcakes recipe to use your stewed rhubarb in, (Photo above).  Or go to my Pastry Cream recipe, to serve with the cooked rhubarb, in place of custard.
See post before Recipe Card for energy & money saving tips in general and for using rhubarb.
Overhead of pastel blue coloured table and napkins, whole rhubarb pie, slice served, coffee and title.
Try my Rhubarb Pie With A Twist top crust, that is easier than a lattice top, or how about a Rhubarb Orange Cake I reviewed?
For more beginner recipes, see my Sweet Lessons page
For easier baking in the warmer months, as well as energy & money saving, see my Air Fryer Traditional British Scones recipes with video tutorial.
Front angled shot of a tea party table, in blue and white Willow crockery, with tea and British scones on plates, with one tall risen scone filled with cream, jam and strawberry at front of picture.
1, 2:  Stewed rhubarb (compote) fridge and freezing times, from Freezeit.co.uk – direct link & further information can be found at: https://www.freezeit.co.uk/can-you-freeze-stewed-rhubarb/
Nutrition Facts
Air Fryer, Oven Or Stovetop Stewed Rhubarb (Compote)
Serving Size
1 100 grams
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

DIFFICULTY LEVEL: easy, beginner

Rating: 0.5 out of 5.
Subscribe For More Recipes

Want more great recipes, tips, baking information and newsletters? Then please consider subscribing by adding your email address below. Be sure to check for a confirmation email & respond back, so you can follow me & receive your free emails. Your personal information will not be shared with a third party.

Follow me on social media:

Happy Learing & Baking!

Caro x

Air Fryer, Oven Or Stovetop Stewed Rhubarb

Search For Something You Fancy!

Caroline’s Easy Baking Lessons
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Similar Posts

One Comment

  1. (5/5)

    5 stars
    What a great recipe. Did mine in the air fryer and was so pleased with the results. Made some Rhubarb compote cupcakes and freezed the remaining stewed rhubarb for later. The step-by-step instructions are excellent. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Please Rate This Post/Recipe

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating