Naughty Rhubarb Scones

April 29, 2010

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: My mom, who churned out many a tasty scone in her day, wasn't so hot on the idea of rhubarb in scones, "too tart, honey." Boy was she ever wrong. Rhubarb's tang is the perfect foil for the super rich scone (I subbed heavy cream for the milk and upped the salt in my mom's recipe, hence the naughty). You almost don't need jam, but if you went that route, strawberry would be a natural, and clotted cream for the full-on naughty experience. - MidgeMidge

Food52 Review: WHO: Midge is a journalist, mostly on the travel beat (feel free to envy her).
WHAT: A cream scone that needs no jam or butter.
HOW: Slice rhubarb, toss into a quick-leavened dough, pat, slice, bake.
WHY WE LOVE IT: As long as there's rhubarb to be had, this is our go-to weekend brunch and teatime snack.
The Editors

Serves: 12-16 scones
Prep time: 45 min
Cook time: 20 min


  • 3 stalks rhubarb
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup vanilla sugar
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream (up to 3/4 cup)
In This Recipe


  1. Preheat oven to 425° F.
  2. Slice rhubarb stalks 1/4 " thick. Toss with 3 tablespoons of the sugar.
  3. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in large bowl or bowl of food processor.
  4. Cut butter into flour mixture by hand (or whiz with food processor) until butter is the size of small peas.
  5. Blend in 1/4 cup of the sugar.
  6. Blend in sliced rhubarb. (If using the food processor, just pulse -- you want the slices left mostly intact.)
  7. Blend in cream until a soft dough forms. (note: you may need to add more than 2/3 cup depending on the weather,etc.)
  8. Transfer dough to floured surface and divide in half. To make triangular scones, flatten into 6-inch disks and cut each circle into 6-8 scones. Sprinkle with remaining sugar.
  9. Arrange on ungreased cookie sheet and bake about 20 minutes or until reddish-brown on top.

More Great Recipes:
Bread|Quick Bread|American|Grains|Milk/Cream|Rhubarb|Serves a Crowd|Summer|Spring|Vegetarian|Snack|Side

Reviews (101) Questions (3)

101 Reviews

Kendall T. June 24, 2017
12-16 servings of local-coffee-shop-level scone goodness. I used three large stalks of rhubarb and only let it macerate for about 10 minutes. Whisked dry ingredients in a stand mixer, added butter/rhubarb/cream by hand. They're a little soft after being sealed in a container overnight. Probably best to serve these fresh or freeze individual, unbaked scones after step 8 and bake when ready to eat.
Kendall T. June 24, 2017
Solution to softness after baking ahead of time—warm scones in the toaster for a few minutes to achieve a reminiscent crust texture to the just-baked scone that contrasts well with the soft and airy interior crumb.
BarnOwlBaker May 29, 2017
Just made these with garden rhubarb (skinny stalks!) and measured my cut rhubarb at 2 1/2 cups for this recipe. My scones came out great, super tasty, 16 total. Thanks for a new idea for my favorite spring fruit.
Mirta May 29, 2017
Thanks. Useful.
C May 17, 2017
FYI -- My rhubarb made the dough too wet to handle once the liquid was added. Obviously the problem could be fixed before hand (strain the rhubarb before adding; use less cream), but the fix is pretty easy if you find you have dough that is too wet to turn out and pat down like a scone. You can use the drop biscuit method with this recipe instead. Using an ice cream scoop, put blobs of dough on a cookie sheet. Use wax paper or saran wrap to press the blob into a flat disk about 1/2 - 3/4" thick. You can also just press all of the dough into a single round blob or into a 9 inch cast iron skillet, bake it longer (c. 45 min or so), then slice the finished product into individual triangles. Wet dough is not the end of the world! There is plenty of butter in this to get a good product at the end.
K August 27, 2016
A nightmare! I sliced rhubarb in food processor. That made the dough too, too wet! Baked 20 min., then 15 more, finally 6 min. Convection..... Result, never cooked through. I learned my lesson!
jelloooojen July 26, 2016
I only had blueberries on hand, so decided to give it a shot. I quartered the recipe, used cake flour and maybe a tad too much of butter (yeah, was like eyeballing the butter) so as a result, these spread a little too much and became flat. It tastes REALLY good though. It was like a pie and a scone had a baby, so crumbly, bursting with juices and a slightly crunch on top. Thanks for the recipe :) WIll make again!
karin.anderson.52 June 5, 2016
Highly addictive! These scones are so good that we had a hard time not to eat them all at once. I exchanged a quarter of the all-purpose flour for einkorn flour.
whym May 28, 2016
This recipe is the best scone recipe I've ever had. I followed it as close as I could, substituting regular sugar for vanilla sugar, and sprinkling sugar on top of the scones before they went in the oven. The scone batter itself is nice and sweet, while the rhubarb is tart and moist, creating the perfect texture and flavor. I fully intend to make these again! (And again. And again.) Thanks for sharing this recipe!
Tammy May 19, 2016
This is the problem with our society today....we label our food wonder so many struggle with what to eat and how much...nothing is naughty...all things in moderation!
Jen F. September 2, 2015
I added some cinnamon and used some brown sugar mixed with the white sugar. Also used buttermilk in place of all that cream. Ah-mazing. So delicious. Will make these again for sure!
hAndyman May 16, 2015
I don't know why I had never made rhubarb scones before. These are excellent. I made these last year and again today, no subs. I used 250 g of rhubarb last year and used 310 g picked just before starting to make them this morning.
Thanks Midge! Made 12 yummy scones!
Shauna M. May 5, 2015
Made these today using 250g fresh rhubarb and 250ml whipping cream (UK version of heavy cream). Turned out really well. I made 12 scones and took about 23 mins at fan oven 210C. Great recipe, found the balance of sweetness to be just right and they're delicious warmed in the oven and even without butter/jam. Yum!
bottomupfood May 1, 2015
These were delicious! Thank you for the recipe. I used 5 medium stalks of rhubarb. Agreed that having a recommendation as to volume or weight or rhubarb instead of units would be helpful.
Mel September 22, 2014
Can I make these ans freeze them? Will they taste the same?
maryvelasquez June 30, 2014
Thank you for this naughty recipe. I followed it to the letter and it was perfect.
Author Comment
Midge June 30, 2014
mainesoul June 9, 2014
I made these yesterday. I didn't have heavy cream but I did have light cream and creme fraiche. I put a good size dollop of the creme fraiche in my measuring cup and then brought it up to 3/4 cup with the light creme. They were fantastic. Perfectly moist.
Sugar O. May 21, 2014
Bought some rhubarb today to make this recipe, and as another commenter requested, it would have been very helpful if the author had included a weight measurement for the chopped rhubarb. I bought three stalks; however, one single stalk yielded nearly 2 cups chopped -- if I chop all three, I will have 5-6 cups of rhubarb -- which seems like way too much for this recipe! Also - "vanilla sugar" - most sugar doesn't come flavored with vanilla, so it would be helpful to add a note at the end, for how to make vanilla sugar.
MSpiegel May 21, 2014
Rhubarb freezes very well. I chop it up and put it in sandwich-size ziploc bags, which hold about 2 cups each. You don't even thaw it before using it, so it's very handy, and nice to have on hand when the short rhubarb season is over.
CatalunaLilith May 21, 2014
Vanilla sugar is your normal sugar (usually white granulated, but I've had success with unrefined cane sugar as well) stored in an airtight jar with a vanilla bean or two, for at least a week. You can used a fresh bean, but since you only need the aroma of he vanilla it's typical to used a bean that you've already scraped the insides of for another recipe
Marla C. June 23, 2014
I made these and replaced the butter with coconut oil, and the cream for coconut milk with a squeeze of fresh lemon. Into the vanilla sugar for the topping, I added a hefty pinch of coarse sea salt. Devine!
Jen F. August 31, 2015
Scrape a vanilla pod and use the seeds to your baking. Pop the empty vanilla pod into your sugar jar and voila! Vanilla sugar.
I want to make these dairy-free
Any thoughts on using coconut milk or cream?
eakesin June 14, 2018 - this is a great template for making vegan scones. I would use more sugar, though, than in this vegan recipe with rhubarb.
gailllc May 19, 2014
If you find the bites of rhubarb too tart, toss the sliced rhubarb with some sugar and let it sit for a few hours. It will melt, then wick up the sugar (along the lines of the kids' experiment of celery wicking up colored water). Drain and use without other changes.
Maz April 23, 2014
Do you use self raising flour or plain
Jasmina May 9, 2014
use regular all-purpose flour. this is because the baking powder and salt turns the all-purpose flour into self rising flour.
Mulzee March 23, 2014
I just made these and they are divine! Super easy to make as well. I made a double batch and put half in the freezer for later. Hopefully the frozen versions will turn out as good as these fresh ones. Thank you for the recipe!!