Canning Rhubarb Pie Filling: Quick Pies Later!

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Canning rhubarb pie filling is a great way to use all those beautiful stalks from your garden. Rhubarb is one of the first things we harvest each spring.

closeup of an unbaked rhubarb pie with a lattice top and hearts sitting on top of a kitchen range with a jar of rhubarb pie filling

Preserving rhubarb as pie filling is one of my favorite ways to use up the abundance. The garden hasn’t really started yet, so there is usually plenty of time to can rhubarb pie filling to use all year. I use it to make quick rhubarb pie, rhubarb crisp, or to top ice cream!

I first tried this recipe last year when we had a particularly large quantity of rhubarb. It is now my favorite way to preserve rhubarb and I will be canning it this way from now on. A springtime dessert can now be enjoyed all year.

Is Rhubarb a Fruit or a Vegetable?

Rhubarb is technically a vegetable, but legally a fruit. In 1947, the US classified rhubarb as a fruit because tariffs were lower on fruits than vegetables. Since it was used in pies, cakes, and other desserts, they justified classifying it as a fruit.

What a great way to sneak vegetables into your family diet. Just pretend they are fruit!

closeup of rhubarb plant at ground level

Tips for Canning Rhubarb Pie Filling

This is a fairly simple canning recipe with only a handful of ingredients. This recipe uses the water bath canning method. A boiling water canner is less technical than a pressure canner and less expensive to buy, so this is a great recipe for beginning canners.


Rhubarb: Remove the leaves and any damaged spots and chop the rhubarb into 1/2 inch pieces. Smaller, tender rhubarb works best in the recipe. If your stalks are larger and more tough, you may need to peel them it to prevent stringy strands in your pie filling. If you harvest the rhubarb early in the season, you don’t need to peel it.

Sugar: Use regular white sugar in this recipe.

Lemon Juice: The added lemon juice in this recipe ensures that the acidity level is safe for canning.

Clear jel: Clear jel is what thickens the pie filling. It is the only thickener that is safe to use for canning.


How to Make Canned Rhubarb Pie Filling

Preparing Jars

Wash quart jars and bands in hot water and gather lids. (Note: you can use pint jars, but I have found that 1 quart of pie filling is just right for one pie, so it is best to can fruit pie fillings in quart-sized jars.)

Preparing the Rhubarb Pie Filling

Combine the fresh rhubarb and the sugar in a large glass or stainless steel bowl. Stir it well so that the rhubarb is completely coated in the sugar. Let this mixture sit at room temperature for 2 hours.

After 2 hours, you should see quite a bit of liquid in the bowl. Strain the rhubarb from the rhubarb juice and save the juice. Place the rhubarb slices aside to use later.

Fill your water bath canner with water enough to cover the quart jars and set on the stove to boil.

Add 6 cups of reserved rhubarb juice (if it’s a little short, you can add water), lemon juice, and clear jel to a large pot and whisk to combine. Bring this mixture to a boil over medium heat. Stir frequently to prevent burning. The mixture should start to thicken after 1 minute of boiling.

Add the rhubarb slices to the mixture, stir continuously and bring back to a boil. Boil for 1 more minute.

Remove from heat.

Ladle mixture into prepared hot jars, leaving 1 inch headspace.

Remove any air bubbles, wipe jar rims, and place lids and bands on the jars.

Canning the Rhubarb Pie Filling

Place jars in water bath canner. When the water in the canner comes back to a boil, set your timer for 30 minutes (make adjustments to processing time based on your elevation. See next section!) After the time is up, remove jars from the canner and place on a kitchen towel on the counter. Let jars sit for 24 hours.

Check to make sure the lids sealed. Sealed jars can go on the pantry shelf. Any jars that didn’t seal should be placed in the fridge and used within 3-5 days. Jars that didn’t seal can also be placed in the freezer for later use.

Elevation Adjustments for Canning Rhubarb Pie Filling

Elevation adjustments are as follows:

  • 0 to 1,000 Feet in Elevation: 30 minutes
  • 1,001 to 3,000 Feet in Elevation: 35 minutes
  • 3,001 to 6,000 Feet in Elevation: 40 minutes
  • Above 6,000 Feet in Elevation: 45 minutes
closeup of jars of rhubarb pie filling

How to use Canned Rhubarb Pie Filling

This canned pie filling can be used to make a delicious strawberry rhubarb pie, rhubarb crisp, or as a topping for vanilla ice cream! This rhubarb pie filling is wonderful on its own in a pie (all you need is a pie crust). It’s also great mixed into oatmeal for breakfast. Canning rhubarb pie filling and having it ready in the pantry saves so much time and makes desserts a breeze.

rhubarb pie after baking

Pin for Later

pinnable image of a rhubarb plant and canned rhubarb pie filling with the words, "canning rhubarb pie filling: quick pies later"
closeup of jars of rhubarb pie filling

Canning Rhubarb Pie Filling: Quick Pies Later!

Yield: 6 Quarts
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes

This simple canning recipe uses a handful of ingredients and rhubarb pie filling is a great addition to your pantry shelves. Use this to make a strawberry rhubarb pie, rhubarb crisp, or to top your ice cream.


  • 10 pounds rhubarb, chopped
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup clear jel


  1. In a large glass or stainless steel bowl, combine the rhubarb and sugar. Mix well so that the rhubarb is coated in sugar.
  2. Let the rhubarb mixture rest for 2 hours.
  3. In the meantime, get the water boiling in the canner, and wash jars and bands in hot water. Get lids ready.
  4. After 2 hours, there should be quite a bit of liquid in the bowl with the rhubarb. Strain the liquid from the rhubarb and set the rhubarb pieces aside.
  5. Add 6 cups rhubarb liquid (if you don't have 6 cups, add water until you do), lemon juice, and clear jel. Whisk together well until clear jel is dissolved.
  6. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir frequently to prevent burning. The mixture should start to get thick after 1 minute of boiling.
  7. Add the rhubarb pieces to the mixture and stir. Return the mixture to a boil, continuing to stir frequently to prevent burning. Boil for 1 additional minute.
  8. Remove from heat and ladle into hot jars, leaving 1 inch headspace.
  9. Remove air bubbles, wipe jar rims, and place lids and bands.
  10. Process quart jars for 30 minutes (adjusting for elevation if needed).
  11. When done, remove from canner and let jars sit for 24 hours.
  12. Check that each jar sealed and store at room temperature for up to 2 years. If a jar did not seal, either freeze it, or place in the refrigerator and use within 3-5 days.


*This recipe can be canned in pint jars, but I don't recommend it as 1 quart jar is the perfect amount for 1 pie.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 48 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 101Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 4mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 2gSugar: 22gProtein: 1g

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