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Rhubarb Custard Dessert Bars

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Rhubarb Custard Dessert Bars have a delicious bottom crust, a gooey custard center, and a creamy whipped topping. Besides all of that yummy goodness, the recipe can easily be modified to be gluten-free!

All pictures within this post are of the gluten-free version! 

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Fresh Rhubarb

Every year I look forward to rhubarb season. In the mid-west, the growing season runs late April through early June. In the picture above you can see my mom’s row of rhubarb. This one row has provided us with a bountiful harvest year after year.  

Rhubarb is a perennial vegetable (which means it grows back year-after-year) and is used in all sorts of recipes, especially desserts and jams. It really is easy to grow and thrives in cool weather. 

Red & Green Rhubarb

The stalks of the rhubarb plant are the only part of the plant that is edible. The leaves of the plant are actually poisonous and therefore are cut off and discarded. 

Years ago my mom planted two different varieties of rhubarb, red and green. I asked her if she remembers the names of the varieties but she said that she couldn’t remember.

Personally, neither of us can’t tell a difference in flavor although red rhubarb is supposed to be more tender than green. Both mom and I mix together the red and green rhubarb in recipes so maybe that’s why we can’t tell the difference in flavor. 

Harvesting Rhubarb

Rhubarb stalks are harvested when they are 12 – 18 inches long (as seen in the picture above). Mom and I use a sharp knife to cut the stalks off near the base of the plant although you can also grab the stalk at the base and pull or twist it off. 

Cleaning Rhubarb

Next, we rinse each stalk of rhubarb with cool water, cut off any bad spots, and pat it dry. At this point, we either make something with the fresh rhubarb or we cut it into bite-size chunks, place in labeled freezer baggies, and use it later.

Some of our favorite rhubarb recipes are these Rhubarb Custard Dessert Bars, as well as Homemade Rhubarb Strawberry Pineapple Jam, Rhubarb Pie, and Easy Rhubarb Cake

Step One

Rhubarb Custard Dessert Bars begin by making a bottom crust. First, chop two cold sticks of butter into small chunks and place them into a mixing bowl.

Step Two

Next, add flour and sugar to the bowl. 

Step Three

Using a pastry cutter, ‘cut’ the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. 

Step Four

Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan, evenly pat the butter mixture into the bottom of the pan, and bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes. 

Step Five

Meanwhile, while the crust is baking, chop the stalks of rhubarb into little chunks and place them in a mixing bowl. 

Step Six

The custard filling is made by combining chopped rhubarb, sugar, flour, eggs, and heavy whipping cream. 

Step Seven

After the 10 minutes are up, remove the crust from the oven. (Remember all of the pictures in this post are of the gluten-free version so if you use all-purpose flour your crust may look a little different.)

Step Eight

Next, pour the rhubarb egg mixture over the crust. 

Step Nine

Bake at 350 degrees F for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the center is set. 

Step Ten

Remove the bars from the oven, set aside, and cool to room temperature. While the bars are cooling make the topping. Combine softened cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until well blended. Fold in whipped heavy cream. 

Step Eleven

When the bars are cool, spread the whipped topping evenly over the top.

Step Twelve

Cover the Rhubarb Custard Dessert Bars and chill for a couple of hours or overnight. Cut into bars when ready to serve and refrigerate any leftovers. 

Rhubarb Custard Dessert Bars
Yield: 2 Dozen Bars

Rhubarb Custard Dessert Bars

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

A delicious and refreshing springtime dessert.


  • CRUST:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (GF Option: use a gluten-free flour blend + 1 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum -unless flour contains it already)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cold salted butter (2 sticks)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 7 Tablespoons all-purpose flour (GF Option; use gluten-free flour + 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum - unless flour already contains it)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 5 cups finely chopped fresh rhubarb (can use frozen; thaw and drain off any excess liquid)
  • 2 packages (3 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (GF Option: use a gluten-free brand)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped


  1. In a bowl, combine the flour and sugar, cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press into a greased 13" x 9" baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, for filling, combine sugar and flour in a bowl. Stir in heavy cream and eggs. Fold in the rhubarb. Pour over crust. Bake at 350 degrees F for 50 - 60 minutes or until custard is set. Cool.
  3. For the topping, beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth; fold in whipped heavy cream. Spread over top of bars.
  4. Cover and chill for 2 hours or overnight. Cut into bars. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

What’s your favorite rhubarb recipe?



More great recipes:




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