Tart and Creamy Rhubarb Buttermilk Sherbet

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The first time I tried rhubarb, I was 22 years old. How I managed to live so long without enjoying the earthy tang of that vibrant stalk, I have no idea. But now that I’ve been introduced to its beauty, I find every excuse to use it all season long.

With the perfect balance between bright sorbet and smooth ice cream, sherbet is the ideal summer treat. Check out the super simple method to dreamy summer bliss now: https://foodal.com/recipes/desserts/rhubarb-buttermilk-sherbet/

Lately, frozen is my favorite form of consumption. And this rhubarb buttermilk sherbet hits all the right spots. It’s creamy, tangy, tart, and sweet, not to mention super simple to make.

Rhubarb and buttermilk are a natural pair. The bright, tart flavors of fresh rhubarb fade as it cooks, revealing its sweet earthy undertones. When combined with tangy buttermilk, the interplay of the subtle tart, the creamy tang, and the touch of sweet dance on the tongue in flavorful harmony.

Make This Rhubarb Buttermilk Sherbet | Foodal.com

With the perfect balance between bright sorbet and smooth ice cream, sherbet is the ideal summer treat. Our recipe for rhubarb buttermilk sherbet is tart, tangy, and not too sweet, not to mention a beautiful pink hue! Check out the super simple method to dreamy summer bliss now – it's sure to become your new go-to! https://foodal.com/recipes/desserts/rhubarb-buttermilk-sherbet/

Very similar in process to making sorbet, sherbet is differentiated by the addition of dairy. It’s lighter than ice cream, and faster to make – basically the perfect dessert.

Chopped Rhubarb and Sugar | Foodal.com

Though the fruit in sorbet and sherbet is typically raw, rhubarb must be cooked in order to break down its fibrous stalks, and unlock the earthy flavor notes.

Macerating the raw stalks in sugar first accelerates this process, by drawing water out of the vegetable. Once cooked and cooled, the rhubarb just needs a quick buzz in the blender with buttermilk, and it’s ready to churn.

The Recipe

Rhubarb Buttermilk Sherbet Recipe | Foodal.com
Rhubarb Buttermilk Sherbet
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
12 servings
12 servings
Rhubarb Buttermilk Sherbet Recipe | Foodal.com
Rhubarb Buttermilk Sherbet
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
12 servings
12 servings
  • 4 cups rhubarb
  • 1 cup granulated Sugar plus more as needed
  • 2 cups buttermilk
Servings: servings
  1. Prepare ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Be sure to freeze the bowl ahead of time if required!
  2. Wash the rhubarb and trim its base and stems, if necessary. If your rhubarb has a clean cut on each end, there is no need to trim, but if the ends have browned or the stems are a bit green, you’ll want give them a clean break to remove these parts.
  3. Chop the rhubarb into one-inch pieces, stir together with sugar in a medium-sized pot, and let sit at room temperature for one hour to macerate.
  4. Cook the rhubarb, sugar, and all its juices on low heat, stirring regularly, until the chunks of rhubarb have disintegrated.
  5. Chill over an ice bath for one hour, stirring every fifteen minutes.
  6. Blend the rhubarb with the buttermilk in a blender, food processor, or with an immersion blender.
  7. Conduct an egg test: place a clean, dry egg in the base to test its sugar ratio. If the egg sinks, remove it and blend in additional sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until the egg stays afloat.
  8. Churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.


Cooking by the Numbers…

Step 1 – Prepare your ice cream maker

Every machine works a bit differently. If yours requires a frozen bowl, make sure you freeze it 12-24 hours in advance! If using a rock salt maker, be sure you have the ice and salt necessary to churn.

To make this batch, I used the KitchenAid KICA0WH ice cream maker attachment, a frozen bowl designed for my KitchenAid stand mixer. To read more about this particular model, check out Foodal’s review here.

Step 2 – Wash and trim your rhubarb

If you’ve picked rhubarb straight from your garden, you will definitely want to be sure to wash and trim it. The leaves of rhubarb are poisonous, so make sure no small leaves or stems remain.

Chopping Rhubarb | Foodal.com
Step 3. Chop the rhubarb.

If you purchased your rhubarb at the market or grocery store, it has likely already been cleaned up for you. Nevertheless, it is good to check the ends and make sure you trim the tips if they have browned.

Step 3 – Chop, stir, and let sit

Combine Rhubarb with Sugar | Foodal.com
Step 3. Combine rhubarb with sugar.

Chop the rhubarb into roughly one-inch pieces. Place in a medium-sized pot and stir together with the sugar. As this sits at room temperature, the sugar will draw water out of the vegetable.

This creates a nice rhubarb juice, and begins to break down the fibrous stalks.

Combining the Rhubarb with Sugar | Foodal.com
Step 3. Stir the rhubarb and sugar together, to begin to break down the vegetable.

Step 4 – Cook your rhubarb

Cook the rhubarb, sugar, and all of its juices on low heat. Stir regularly so that nothing burns on the bottom of the pot. In about 20 minutes, the chunks of rhubarb will start to break down into a smooth sauce.

Step 5 – Chill the rhubarb

Transfer the chopped fruit into a glass or metal bowl. Nest this in a larger bowl of ice and stir regularly. After an hour, the rhubarb should be chilled completely, and cool to the touch.

Rhubarb in Ice Bath | Foodal.com
Step 5. Chill your cooked rhubarb in an ice bath.

Step 6 – Blend

Blend the rhubarb and buttermilk together with a blender, food processor, or immersion blender until completely smooth.

To make this batch, I used my Cuisinart 2-speed immersion blender. Check out Foodal’s review of this immersion blender, as well as several other models, here.

Our recipe for rhubarb buttermilk sherbet is tart, tangy, and not too sweet, not to mention a beautiful pink hue! Get the recipe now: https://foodal.com/recipes/desserts/rhubarb-buttermilk-sherbet/
Step 6. Blend your sorbet base – I used my immersion blender for this step.

Step 7 – Perform the egg test

The egg test is the best way to determine whether you have enough sugar in your base. Without enough sugar, the sherbet will freeze solid and be difficult to scoop.

Because the exact amount of sugar in rhubarb differs with each stalk, it is helpful to have a way of testing your batch before freezing. With enough sugar, the egg will float at the top of the puree.

Place a clean, dry egg in your base. If it floats, you are good to go. If not, remove the egg and blend in additional sugar one tablespoon at a time, until the egg can stay afloat.

Churning the Sherbet
Step 8. Churn the sorbet in an ice cream maker.

Step 8 – Churn

Churn your sherbet according to the manufacturer’s instructions. For my KitchenAid attachment, this meant turning the machine on, pouring in the base, and letting the mixer go for about half an hour.

Most ice cream makers will freeze the base up to soft-serve texture. It can be delicious straight from the bowl, but if you desire a firmer texture, you can also transfer to a lidded container and pop in the freezer for a few hours.

Rhubarb Buttermilk Sherbet | Foodal.com

This tart treat is a fun new way to use rhubarb. Without the heavy cream or eggs of ice cream, sherbet is a light alternative that doesn’t sacrifice flavor.

Its eye-catching hue matches its vibrant taste, which is sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.

If you’re begging for even more desserts featuring this gorgeously hued ingredient, try our recipe for rhubarb strawberry crumble for an easy treat, or our homemade pie.

What other types of sherbets do you enjoy making? Let us know in the comments how this sherbet worked for you!

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With the perfect balance between bright sorbet and smooth ice cream, sherbet is the ideal summer treat. Our recipe for rhubarb buttermilk sherbet is tart, tangy, and not too sweet, not to mention a beautiful pink hue! Check out the super simple method to dreamy summer bliss on Foodal now – it's sure to become your new go-to! Get the recipe now.

Photos by Kendall Vanderslice, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.

About Kendall Vanderslice

Kendall’s love of food has taken her around the world. From baking muffins on a ship in West Africa and milking cows with Tanzanian Maasai, to hunting down the finest apfelstrudel in Austria, she continually seeks to understand the global impact of food. Kendall holds a BA in Anthropology from Wheaton College and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University, and has worked in the pastry departments of many of Boston’s top kitchens. Based in Somerville, Massachusetts, Kendall helps to run a small community supported bread bakery and writes about the intersection of food, faith, and culture on her personal blog, A Vanderslice of the Sweet Life.

12 thoughts on “Tart and Creamy Rhubarb Buttermilk Sherbet”

  1. Okay seriously, this site is trying to get me to purchase an ice cream machine!! I’m about one more blog post away from buying one. This treat sounds and looks amazing!

  2. Thanks for this Kendall!

    Another helpful blog post! However, I can’t agree this time with the flavour because of the rhubarb!

    It’s not all bad news though, my girlfriend LOVES rhubarb, I mean LOVES, it’s crazy. I don’t like the taste, makes me feel a bit sick.

    Despite that though, if I pretend that I love rhubarb, then this sounds like a lovely thing, I guess I’ll reconsider my opinion on rhubarb in the near future.

  3. Well this is something new! I haven’t heard that you can make ice-cream/sorbet of rhubarb! I haven’t really ever liked the taste of it, and I never thought that you could put it into an ice-cream machine and produce something out of it. I’m a huge ice-cream lover and I’m in love with almost all of the tastes so I bet this would be something that I would try – it just looks so cute! Thanks!

  4. I had already dusted off my ice cream maker, after reading your sorbet recipes, and now I’m definitely going to try out this one too! I’ve never tried this fruit (or vegetable?) and I’m very curious about it. I’ve always liked tangy and tart flavors so I’m certain that I’ll love it! I’ll make sure to follow all your tips, the egg test worked like a charm when I made your mango sorbet. This sounds like a delicious and refreshing treat, just what I needed now that summer is approaching, thank you so much for sharing it!

      • I’m so glad that the egg test has worked for you both! Rhubarb has quickly become one of my springtime favorites, my roommates devoured this sherbet. They say it is the best of all the sorbets and ice creams I’ve made for them thus far.

  5. I never knew that there was a difference between sorbet and sherbet. I just figured they were different ways of saying and spelling the same thing for different regions/countries. Now I know. My husband loves rhubarb and I always love a good sweet and trade dessert. This is definitely on the list of things to make once we c=get our ice-cream maker. Some fresh herbs might be a nice addition to this too.

  6. Thank you for reminding me about the egg test to check the sugar level. My grandmother used to do that when I was little, but I can’t remember what she was making. I bought an ice cream bowl for my Kenwood mixer last year and mainly used it to make strawberry ices. This year I shall get it into action earlier – my rhubarb is just about ready to pull and this recipe sounds delicious.

  7. I’m 20 (almost) 21 years old and I have no idea how am I still alive without giving this ice cream a try, it looks amazing! And, well, I haven’t heard about rhubarb before reading this post, so I think it’s not really popular on my country but I will definetly look up for it, I really need to try this ice cream.
    Thank you so much for sharing, anyway! 🙂

  8. Hmmm, this should be interesting, I really never tried Rhubarb Buttermilk Sherbet before… It would truly be an interesting experience.

  9. And if rhubarb is out of season, use frozen. Works great too and maybe a little better because the rhubarb would have been frozen at its peak. I live in Texas so any fresh rhubarb would have taken a long trip. Also, throw a handful of mini chocolate chips to raise this to a whole new level.


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