Can You Eat Rhubarb Raw? The Answer May Surprise You.

Can you eat rhubarb raw? Of course! Here's how to enjoy the plant au naturel.

You can turn rhubarb into all kinds of crisps, tarts and crumbles. You can even make rhubarb jam. When it comes to cooking and baking, rhubarb is so versatile. But you don’t need to heat your rhubarb to enjoy it. So if you’re wondering can you eat rhubarb raw?, the answer is you bet!

What Part of the Rhubarb Can You Eat?

Stick to the stems if you’re eating rhubarb raw—the leaves are poisonous. I repeat: Rhubarb leaves are poisonous. The leaves contain oxalic acid, which can be fatal to both people and pets if consumed in large amounts. (But don’t stress, we’re talking several pounds’ worth of leaves).

To learn more about this vibrant vegetable, look through our rhubarb guide.

How to Eat Rhubarb Raw

In its raw state, the “pie plant” is pretty sour. Think Granny Smith apple sour! This is one of the reasons it’s often paired with sweeter fruits, like strawberry. To eat rhubarb solo, dip the stalk into sugar or honey to help mellow out that tart taste. You can also whip up a raw rhubarb compote and add it to your morning bowl of homemade yogurt. Its biting acidity goes beautifully with sweet ripe strawberries (of course), mangoes and even coconut.

Rhubarb is a wicked good way to kick up the crunch factor in salads, too. Its sharp flavor makes a mouthwatering foil in sweet fruit salads, but it’s a delight in green salads, especially when paired with fennel. You can even add thin strips of raw rhubarb to a slaw.

Before you harvest rhubarb, consult our helpful how-to guide!

Rhubarb Recipes to Make This Spring
1 / 76

Camille Berry
With nearly a decade of freelancing under her belt (six with Taste of Home), Camille regularly taps into her background to write about about all things food and drink. Part of the third generation in a family of restaurateurs, Camille was born with a passion for cooking and food. She embarked on a career in hospitality where she excelled as a sommelier and wine director. This hospitality experience has given her a wealth of first-hand knowledge about how to pair all manner of drinks with food—plus some serious kitchen skills. These days, she's hung up her wine key in favor of a keyboard and covers all aspects of food and drink.