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Canning Rhubarb Pie Filling

Make and preserve this delicious rhubarb pie filling recipe for tasty desserts all year long!

Rhubarb tends to be on the first harvests after winter in the north and it’s productive, making it an ideal preservation project.

Whether you’re interested freezing or canning it, this rhubarb pie filling is a versatile thing to have on hand for quick desserts throughout the year.

3 quart canning jars with lids and rings sealed full of red chunks and liquid with text overlay that reads: How to Can Rhubarb Pie Filling.


This is a very simple recipe with just a few ingredients. Before you get started, make sure you have everything on hand.


Obviously, rhubarb is needed. A full 5 pounds of rhubarb is called for in the recipe and that makes just a bit over 3 quarts.

Harvest bright red, ripe rhubarb from the garden. Clean it well and slice into 1 inch chunks. It makes for a nice texture to have a mixture of stalk sizes from thin to thick.

Stalks of red rhubarb sitting on a towel with chopped pieces and a knife sitting to the right.


The recipe as written has plenty of sugar while also keeping the natural tartness of the rhubarb in tact. Feel free to add more or less sugar based on your own personal preference.

Lemon Juice

In water bath canning, the addition of lemon juice helps balance PH and keeps everything safe. It also helps balance sweetness.

Further, lemon juice adds to some of the thickening power by helping rhubarb’s own pectin gel more.

A jar of rhubarb pie filling sitting on a table in the sunlight.


For canning, clear jel, a type of modified cornstarch is the safest way of thickening pie fillings. It is not considered safe to use regular flour or cornstarch and results can’t be guaranteed. Keeping a jar of Clearjel on hand for canning is always a good idea.

Adding Other Fruits

This recipe was specifically tested only with rhubarb. It is likely that other fruits could be added. Just have a total of 5 pounds of fruit to begin. Strawberry rhubarb is always a favorite combination, you may want to add less sugar to account for the natural sweetness of the berries.

Prep Time

Start making the pie filling early in the day. The rhubarb does need to sit in some sugar for a bit to release juice. This takes a couple of hours, at most. While that time is hands-off time, do plan to have that time set aside and be ready to finish the process once the juice has been released.

3 sealed quart jars full of rhubarb pie filling.

Can or Freeze

Can this recipe in a water bath canner to keep it shelf stable. As with all home canned goods, use it up within 1 year.

If you want to skip the rhubarb canning process, freeze it instead. Simply put the filling into bags or jars, leaving 1″ headspace and freeze.

Thaw in the refrigerator before using in recipes. Use up frozen pie filling within 6 months for optimal freshness.

Larger Batch

This recipe does make just a bit over 3 quarts. Unlike jam, you can feel comfortable making a double batch assuming you have a large enough pot for 10 pounds of sliced rhubarb.

Jar Size

A quart jar is just enough to make one 9″ pie in my opinion. With that in mind, I canned the pie filling in quart jars.

However, one could can this in pint jars to use for other things, if desired.

How to Use

Obviously, canning rhubarb this way is ideal for making homemade pies. Simply pour a quart into an unbaked pie shell, top with another pie crust and bake.

That isn’t the only way to use it however.

Consider using the pie filling as a base for a type of cobbler or crisp.

Use the pie filling in some old-fashioned rhubarb oatmeal bars.

A rhubarb oatmeal bar sitting on a white plate with a fork and napkin next to it.

Warm the pie filling up just slightly and serve on top of poundcake or ice cream.

Make milkshakes with ice cream and rhubarb pie filling.

Slather pancakes or waffles with the pie filling as a special breakfast treat.

Mix some into oatmeal or yogurt for added flavor and sweetness.

Try using the rhubarb pie filling instead of the apple pie in this cake recipe.

Do give this pie filling as gift to friends and family. It’s a welcome change to the standard jam or jelly and has potentially more use depending on the recipient.

3 sealed quart jars full of rhubarb pie filling with text overlay reading: how to make & can rhubarb pie filling.

Looking for more rhubarb recipes?

If you have a bunch of rhubarb, you’re trying to use up, consider making some strawberry rhubarb jam with this tasty and low sugar recipe.

If you just want to get the rhubarb canned up simply now and be creative with it later, this basic rhubarb canning recipe will get you on your way.

Be sure to freeze rhubarb if you have a bunch of it to to enjoy throughout the year.

To enjoy fresh rhubarb in season, be sure to check out these easy, from scratch rhubarb recipes.

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Yield: 3 Quarts

Rhubarb Pie Filling

3 sealed quart jars full of rhubarb pie filling.

Make this wonderful homemade rhubarb pie filling for a sweet and tart treat from the pantry shelves even when rhubarb isn't in season!

Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 15 minutes
Processing Time 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes


  • 5 Pounds Rhubarb, sliced
  • 2 1/2 Cups Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Cup Clearjel


  1. In a large stainless steel bowl, combine the rhubarb and sugar. Stir well to coat the rhubarb completely with the sugar.
  2. Let the fruit sit at room temperature and release its juice. About 2 hours should be sufficient.
  3. Meanwhile, get boiling water going for the canner and prepare jars, lids, and rings.
  4. Strain the fruit from the juice. Set the rhubarb slices aside.
  5. Measure out 3 cups of juice. If it's a little short, add water to make 3 cups of liquid.
  6. In a large pot, whisk together the rhubarb juice, lemon juice and clear jel.
  7. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. The mixture should thicken after about 1 minute of boiling.
  8. Add the rhubarb slices to the mixture, stirring to coat. Return the mixture to a boil, making sure to stir to prevent scorching.
  9. Remove from heat.
  10. If choosing to freeze, ladle into freezer safe containers, leaving at least 1 inch headspace.
  11. Seal and let cool to room temperature. Place in freezer.
  12. If choosing to can, ladle into prepared jars, leaving 1 inch headspace in jars.
  13. Remove air bubbles and wipe jar rims. Place lids and rings.
  14. Process quart jars for 20 minutes (pints need just 15 minutes), adjusting processing time for elevation.
  15. When done, remove from canner and let jars sit and cool.
  16. Check seals, remove rings, and store.
  17. Put any jars that didn't seal in the refrigerator or freezer to use up.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1/4 Cup

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 50Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 2mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 1gSugar: 11gProtein: 0g

We try but can not promise the accuracy of these nutrition results.

Thanks for sharing!


Friday 22nd of September 2023

can you pressure can rhubarb pie filling

Kathie Lapcevic

Friday 22nd of September 2023

We can't confidently say. We've never seen instructions for pressure canning / recommended times, etc. The clear gel will make it thicker than other fruit products that do have pressure canning recommendations.

Sue Wallin

Monday 4th of September 2023

I appreciate the detailed instructions! Love the taste of the finished product, I was able to make 6 pints to be used for rhubarb pies. Thank you for posting!

Kathryn Shea

Wednesday 30th of August 2023

Hi I love rhubarb pie and filling. Almost 2 years ago I stop eating grains, potatoes and sugar due to inflammation. It’s been a tremendous life changer for me. No longer in pain, pain meds in my rear view mirror. Can Splenda be used as a replacement for sugar? Thank you.

Angi Schneider

Thursday 31st of August 2023

We've never used a sugar replacement in canning so we can't speak to that but you might find this article helpful.

Hariette McGeough

Friday 11th of August 2023

I’m excited to try this recipe, I have a recipe for Saskatoon pie filling n I love it.


Tuesday 11th of July 2023

I made this and it turned out great. I added 1/2 packet of unsweetened strawberry Kool-aid to the sauce to give it some more flavour and a rosy color.

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