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Sassy Rhubarb Swirl Just Might Be This Month's Most Delightful Discovery

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Last Modified: May 24, 2020
Published: May 24, 2020

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Rhubarb Swirl! Your sweet, creamy filling atop a buttery, crunchy crust leaves me week in the knees! Oh, my deliciousness, where have you been? Why did I wait so long to meet you in my sunny spring kitchen?

rhubarb swirl dessert

Rhubarb is producing wildly now, and rhubarb aficionados have been hungrily awaiting the season. But, when spring finally delivers a fresh crop, we can't get enough! And, when a new recipe comes along, we all do a little happy dance.

Way back in 2011, my classmate and friend Denise gave me this recipe. At the top of her note, she wrote, "real gooooood!" I can't wait to tell her that she was right! After one taste, I mourned the years I lost without having it!! Each bite is a little gift from heaven.

I have a wire basket hidden in the back of my cookbook cupboard. When I find a recipe that has potential, I throw it in the stack. Sadly this recipe languished there for nearly ten years! Big mistake!

Last year, in a fit of organization, I decided to pull them out and divide them into categories. Next, I sorted them into envelopes by season and I made a plan for sharing recipes that would be appropriate to the time of year.

For example, no watermelon salsa in December or turkey recipes in June. Are you with me?

You Know It's A Great Recipe When They Lick The Fork

I like to take a sample of a new recipe to my boss. He's such an appreciative guinea pig. He came out of his office licking the fork and said, "whoa, this stuff is dangerous! I could eat the whole pan!!" Me too. I think you'll agree.

Here's How You Make Rhubarb Swirl Dessert


Begin with three cups of finely diced rhubarb. Pour a cup of sugar over it, stir it up and let it sit for an hour or so. The sugar will draw out some of the natural juice. Next, you'll simmer it gently until the rhubarb is soft and tender, about 10 minutes.

Now that I've made it once, I would tell you to let it sit right in the saucepan you're going to use.

rhubarb and jello

Once the rhubarb is tender, add a small box of strawberry or raspberry jello and stir it in well while it's still warm. Then, put the mixture in the refrigerator to cool. (Lick the pan- I did!)

Pour the mixture into a glass measuring cup with a lip so you can drizzle it quickly over the pudding mixture. The spoon contracts cold into the rhubarb and speeds up the cooling process. I stirred it a few times until it was chilled and syrupy.

rhubarb-Jello mixture, cooked.

While that cools, make the crust. It works great to do it all in your food processor! Break up the crackers a bit, then pulse until they become crumbs. Add the sugar and the butter and pulse again, scraping down the sides a couple of times until everything looks like coarse brown sugar.

Next, pat the crumb mixture into a 13 x 9 pan. I used glass to show off the layers! Bring up the sides a bit and bake at 375 degrees for about 6-8 minutes. Set it aside to cool while you make the pudding.

vanilla pudding

The instant pudding is made almost like the package directions except use only 1 1/2 cups of milk and add a bit of vanilla. I had French vanilla pudding in the cupboard, so that's what I used in case you wondered about the color.

Now, fold your defrosted Cool Whip into the pudding until it's all nicely blended. Isn't it pretty?

At Last You're Ready To Assemble The Beautifully Sswirled Dessert

Put that beautiful pudding on the crunchy crust and smooth it around evenly. (Once again, feel free to lick the bowl and the spatula, I did!) Then, dribble the rhubarb mixture over the pudding layer.

assembling rhubarb swirl dessert

Next, use a table knife or skinny straight spatula to swirl the rhubarb gently into the pudding. Don't disturb the crust when you're doing this! Swirl just enough to see both the creamy pudding and the bright red rhubarb mixture! It's a marbled work of art!

rhubarb swirled into pudding

The hardest part is letting it sit in the refrigerator at least an hour before you serve it! Then, after an hour or so, you can spoon it into dessert cups. But if you can stand to leave it for a few hours or overnight, it will cut neatly into squares.

rhubarb swirl topped with a strawberry

As you can see, I couldn't wait!! But the next day, it had firmed up and cut into lovely square servings that I plated.

Yield: 15 servings

Rhubarb Swirl Dessert Recipe

rhubarb swirl topped with a strawberry

Fluffy vanilla pudding swirled with strawberry-rhubarb sits beautifully on a crisp graham cracker crust.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes



  • 2 inner packs of graham crackers
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup softened butter


  • 1 small box instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 8 ounce tub whipped topping, thawed

Rhubarb Swirl

  • 3 cups raw rhubarb diced fine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 small box strawberry jello (or raspberry jello)


  1. CRUST The easiest way to make the crust is to crush graham crackers in food processor. Next, add sugar and butter. Pulse until everything is combined. Press mixture into 9" x 13" pan, bring sides up slightly. Bake at 375 degree for 6-8 minutes. Cool.
  2. RHUBARB SWIRL Put rhubarb in saucepan. Pour sugar over rhubarb and stir well. Let it sit for an hour. Rhubarb will release some of its juice. Add strawberry Jello and simmer until rhubarb is tender. Cool until syrupy.
  3. FILLING Prepare box of vanilla pudding according to package directions but only use 1 1/2 cups of milk and add 1/2 tsp vanilla. Fold in whipped topping and let set 5 minutes.
  4. ASSEMBLE Put pudding/whipped topping mixture on cooled crust. Spoon or pour rhubarb mixture over filling. Use a table knife to swirl rhubarb mixture through the pudding. Be careful not to go through crust, Rerigerate for about an hour before serving.


Light and not too sweet. Cut in sqaures or spoon into serving dish. Garnish with strawberries if you like.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 217Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 88mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 0gSugar: 26gProtein: 2g

Rhubarb Is Simply One Of The Many Ways God Shows He Loves Us

If you're lucky enough to have a rhubarb bed, the best time to harvest is from spring to early summer, usually from April through June.

If your plants are four or more years old, you can pull stalks into early fall. Just make sure you stop harvesting well before frost to ensure the plant survives through the winter. You should only harvest stalks from young plants for about three weeks. Do not harvest any rhubarb in its first year.

If you notice tall cauliflower-looking seed pods shooting up, remove them as soon as you see them because they will reduce the yield. When rhubarb "bolts" this way, it puts a lot of energy into producing the flower and seed. A well-tended rhubarb bed can keep producing for over 100 years! One of my plants is from stock that old!

Too much rhubarb? I'll bet you have friends that would love some, but it's easy as pie (couldn't resist!) to freeze it. Just wash, trim and dice it. Then, lay the pieces on parchment or foil-lined cookie sheets and freeze, uncovered until it is firm.

In foodie-speak, that's called IQF, "individually quick frozen." Then, scoop it into freezer bags and use it to make cobblers, pies, jam, bread, or this yummy dessert!! It will keep for a year in your freezer until you have another crop!

Here Are More Of My Favorite Rhubarb Recipes

One Bowl Rustic Rhubarb Bread

Rhubarb Crumble Recipe

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam Recipe

Rhubarb Swirl Dessert! It's a beautiful, easy, and perfect dessert for the season! Make some tomorrow! How do you like YOUR rhubarb?

If you enjoyed this recipe today, please share it on your social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. I’d sure be tickled and ever so grateful, thank you! 

If you haven’t already, check out my Facebook page where I’ll be posting easy, delicious and family-friendly recipes every week!

Love, GB (Betty Streff)

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5 comments on “Sassy Rhubarb Swirl Just Might Be This Month's Most Delightful Discovery”

  1. […] Rhubarb Swirl Dessert Recipe […]

  2. I've been looking for rhubarb recipes as my mother gave me some and I've never cooked with it before. I don't think I've even tried it before! This looks like a tasty options I'm going to try thanks.

    1. I got it years ago from a classmate!! It is delicious and it's beautiful too! I hope you'll let me know how it turns out!

  3. Just wondering if anyone has used sugar free jello & pudding along with an artificial sweetener when making this? Trying to cut back on carbs.

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