Home Recipes Rhubarb Vanilla Ice Cream: You Scream, I Scream…

Rhubarb Vanilla Ice Cream: You Scream, I Scream…

Rhubarb Vanilla Ice Cream: You Scream, I Scream…

Rhubarb-a-Palooza Continues…fresh rhubarb sugared and ready for roasting

With current Seattle temperatures visiting degrees reserved for ice fishing and mukluk wearing, should I really be making ice cream? Heck, yes; I scream for ice cream no matter what the forecast. I continue my rhubarb love fest with a recipe for roasted rhubarb vanilla ice cream. It’s surprisingly subtle and not surprisingly, delicious.

rhubarb roasted and sugared

The original recipe gave me a headache, requiring a suite of ingredients that no mere  mortal should ever possess at any given time (unless enjoying the surname Pepin or Batali). Should acquiring ingredients for a recipe really resemble the to-do list for Hercules? I went back to my basic ice cream custard recipe and gussied it up with roasted rhubarb.

chopped rhubarb ready to make ice cream

Basically, the ice cream is made from a vanilla custard base with roasted, pureed rhubarb added.

roasted rhubard and vanilla ice cream custard about to be mixed

And may I add, if you don’t want to make ice cream, you can still eat the cooled version as a creamy custard. While it isn’t particularly pretty, it’s still amazingly tasty.

cooked vanilla and rhubarb ice cream custard

After about ten minutes in the ice cream machine, the custard begins to thicken nicely.

churning rhubarb vanilla ice cream

This is the consistency you should be looking for. Keep a spoon handy as quality control is an important part of the recipe. (Um-mm, too soft and creamy… Uh, almost there…Patience, just a few more minutes…oh yeah, perfection at last.) How can you tell when it’s done? Easy, you’ll make sure with three more spoonfuls.

delicious homemade vanilla and roasted rhubarb ice cream

Roasted Rhubarb Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe (truly sweet and simple)


  • 1 pound of rhubarb
  • 3 cups half & half
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean (from any locale)
  • 4 eggs


  1. Roast rhubarb
    1. Clean rhubarb (see photo 1)
    2. Slice the middle lengthwise
    3. Dust on both sides with sugar (see photo 2)
    4. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet
    5. Cook for 15 minutes at 400 degrees
    6. Let cool, and chop into a lovely red mush (see photo 3)
    7. Set aside
  2. Part 1: Ice cream custard – half & half
    1. In double boiler, add half & half
    1. Split vanilla bean and scrape seeds, add bean and seeds to half & half
    2. Stir often
    3. Heat just until bubbles form on the side of the pan
    4. Remove from heat, let it cool for about 10 minutes
  3. Part 2: Ice cream custard – eggs & sugar
    1. In separate bowl, add 3 egg yolks and 1 whole egg
    2. Add 3/4 cup sugar and mix until creamy
  4. Part 3: Cooking ice cream custard
    1. Add one half cup of the warm half & half mixture to the egg mixture, continuously stirring
    2. Add remainder of half & half, one half cup at a time, while stirring
    3.  (Too hot and you’ll get sweetened scrambled eggs)
    4. Return mixture to double boiler and heat
    5. Keep stirring
    6. Heat slowly until thickens and mixture coats the spatula ( see photo 4)
    7. Remove from heat and stir in rhubarb mush, puree
  5. Part 4: Chill mixture
    1. Refrigerate mixture until completely cool (see photo 5)
  6. Part 5: Make ice cream
    1. Pour mixture into ice cream maker and turn on (or get crankin’ if you’re going old scho0l)
    2. It’s ready when thick enough for a spoon to stand
    3. It won’t be hard like store-bought ice cream
    4. Eat immediately or place in covered container in the freezer until served

There you have it. Roasting tones down the rhubarb and vanilla enhances the custard. And hopefully the next time I make ice cream, my apron won’t be made of polar fleece. Happy eating! –TC

Tom | Tall Clover Farm on Foodista


  1. I have got to make this rhubarb ice cream this week since next week my kitchen will be history. And with temperatures today in the 90’s, I should get going on it right now before my kitchen is unbearable from the heat. Another use for my 10 rhubarb plants!

    • Eileen, I raise my cup of joe to your kitchen remodel, and begrudingly to your warm spring temperatures. Current thermometer reading here, 45 degrees.

  2. This is a very interesting recipe. Don’t think I would have ever thought of putting rhubarb in ice cream! You’ve really got me intrigued; enough so that I’m going on a hunt for some rhubarb.

    What do you think about rhubarb sorbet or strawberry-rhubarb sorbet?

  3. Tom – just in time! Although I just found an amazing looking bar recipe: http://www.laraferroni.com/2010/04/22/rhubarb-bars/ so now I need to make a hard decision. I have just enough cream on hand for 1 batch of ice cream which my little guy will only eat if it has nothing in it but vanilla or chocolate. Do I risk the tear storm by adding rhubarb to the ice cream? Perhaps I’ll customize 1/2 batch. This sure sounds good though…

    And we made rhubarb sorbet last year, it was insanely delicious. We make popsicles and rhubarb soda too.

    • Annette the roasted rhubarb has a subtle fresh flavor, so maybe you can fool the little guy, with the vanilla bean seeds as a decoy. “See Honey, look at all those flecks of vanilla.”

  4. Boy, we make frozen rhubarb daiquiris.
    1 can lemonade
    1 can limeade
    2 cans water
    1-2 cans rum (too much, it won’t freeze. too little, freezes solid)
    Then heat
    2 C rhubarb chopped with 1/2 C water & cook till stewed.
    Blend all and freeze. Scoop into glasses & eat with a spoon. Dang!

  5. This ice cream recipe rocks. Your pumpkin pie recipe blew away all others so I suspected this wouldn’t disappoint. I chickened out on adding the roasted rhubarb to the actual churn. My rhubarb wasn’t such a lovely rose color…I feared for the hue the ice cream would become with my green stalks. As a vanilla ice cream topping it’s still delicious.
    Love this blog…your recipes…the garden…boz&gracie…for a minute I forget I’m in the other world that is southern ohio…

  6. Thanks K, I know what you mean with green rhubarb. I once received a green rhubarb sauce, and while it was delicious, I had to close my eyes to eat it. Thanks for the kind words, you made my morning!

  7. MMMMM,…Tom!!

    I will be making this stuning rhubarb ice cream very soon when my freinds are coming over for dinner! It will be a huge hit I am sure!

    You have 2 types of rhubarb: the forced rhubarb, just like this pink one & the normal ones , green & a bit red , like you will find here in Belgium, in everybody’s garden!!

  8. Sounds so delicious that you’ve inspired me to comment. If only I’d seen this recipe before I’d gone to the farmer’s market this week. My rhubard is earmarked for strawberry rhubarb pancakes a visiting friend promised to make as a treat, but it’s such a yummy sounding recipe that I’ve added to my ‘to test’ list.

    Awesome blog.

  9. Sasha, thanks for the kind words. Those pancakes are sounding pretty good too, so good in fact, I may have do a little recipe testing myself.

  10. This recipe looks delicious. And I like the sound of rhubarb daquiris. I am so glad I wandered over here from…. somewhere. Great writing, gardening, and seriously diet-risky recipes. I like it.

    Rhubarb gets the axe tomorrow.

  11. The custard base for this ice cream is chilling in my fridge right now, and it tastes delicious! This is my first time making a custard ice cream, and your directions made it so simple. I can’t wait to taste the ice cream tomorrow. Thanks for the beautiful recipe!

  12. I hope to one day make your recipe. I was just eating some rhubarb compote with vanilla ice cream, which *I KNOW* is different from your recipe, but I thought I’d google rhubarb vanilla ice cream because I thought, “Why isn’t this combination a popular ice cream flavour?” So, in short, much thanks for putting this up. I look forward to making some.

  13. Rhubarb and bulldogs we would get along great! Lots of great stuff on your blog, I just started one at http://www.goodtimetherapy.com and Our bully is in charge of it. I will pass your site along as its a good one and keep it up and if I can get my rhubarb to grow big I will be making some ice cream.


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