Old-fashioned Rhubarb Dumplings

Each spring I eagerly await the arrival of rhubarb at the local market.  I bought some rhubarb last week-end,  so I was thrilled to find a  hundred-year-old recipe for Rhubarb Dumplings in a hundred-year-old cookbook.

The Rhubarb Dumplings were tender with a refreshingly tart rhubarb filling embedded in a sweet custard-like sauce.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: The Housewife’s Cook Book by Lilla Frich (1917)

And, here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Rhubarb Dumplings

  • Servings: approximately 12 dumplings
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Rhubarb Dumplings

2 – 2 1/2 cups rhubarb, cut in 1-inch pieces

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

1 egg

shortcake dough (see below)



whipped cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 425° F. Put sugar, flour, and egg in a small bowl; stir to combine. On a pastry cloth or other prepared surface, roll shortcake dough to 1/4 inch thickness; cut into squares, 4-inches by 4-inches. Put heaping 1/8 cup (2 tablespoons) in the center of each square, then cover with 1 tablespoon of the sugar and egg mixture. Fold dough so that the points overlap on top of the rhubarb mixture. Put the dumplings in a large flat baking dish, about 1 inch apart. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. If desired, serve with whipped cream.


2 cups flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup shortening

3/4 cup milk

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Cut in the shortening; then add the milk. Stir gently with a fork to create a dough.

The old recipe only called for 1 1/2 cups of rhubarb. When I made this recipe, I had difficulty measuring 2 tablespoons of rhubarb for each dumpling. (Rhubarb is just too thick to fit well on a spoon.) So I used a 1/8 cup scoop, and put a heaping scoop of rhubarb in each dumpling, I ended up running out of rhubarb before I’d used all the shortcake dough, so I cut up an additional stalk of rhubarb. I think in the end that I used 2 – 2 1/2 cups of rhubarb. The dumplings were excellent, though if I made them again, I might put even more rhubarb in each dumpling.

40 thoughts on “Old-fashioned Rhubarb Dumplings

  1. I’m not so fond of rhubarb (and good, fresh rhubarb’s hard to find here), but these dumplings look wonderful. I’m already pondering which fruit I’ll try them with.

  2. I have never had rhubarb. I think the thought of it being a vegetable always freaked me out. This recipe makes it sound good, though!

  3. I know I’ve said this before, but yours is one of two blogs I follow that I hope never goes away because it will likely be in my retirement when I can finally take advantage of all these amazing recipes! (And for the other blog, read all the wonderful books.)

    1. Thank you for the kind words. I’m honored to hear that this is one of your two favorite blogs. I have so much fun doing this blog – so I anticipate that it will be around for a long time. 🙂

  4. My rhubarb is about 6″ high. Should be big enough in a couple weeks to try your recipe. Did you know that rhubarb plants can live 100 years?! Last year I was looking for a rhubarb jam recipe and the only ones I found had other fruit (strawberries, oranges etc.) or jello in them. Don’t know how far back I would have to go to get a pure rhubarb jam recipe. However, after some experimentation, I came up with one that’s pretty good.

    1. Wow, I had no idea that rhubarb plants can live so long. I’m going to have to look and see if there are any hundred-year-old rhubarb jam recipes in my old cookbooks. I don’t think that strawberry-rhubarb recipes or the ones with jello were around a hundred years ago – though the only rhubarb jam type recipe that I’ve ever made for this blog was called Pineapple and Rhubarb Conserve and contained pineapple, oranges, and rhubarb.

  5. I almost didn’t read the recipe because I thought “rhubarb dumplings?? eww”. But I am glad I did. See I was thinking dumpling like the things you drop into hot soup or stew to cook. We would probably call those rhubarb dumplings a turnover here.

    They look tasty. Our rhubarb is coming up, all leafy growth so far. We grow a lot of rhubarb…one of our main crops.

    1. The word “dumplings” apparently has several meanings. The kind that go into soups and stews, and the fruit kind. These are similar to apple dumplings.

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