Serves a Crowd

Naughty Rhubarb Scones

June 26, 2021
27 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 45 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 12-16 scones
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. - Midge —Midge

Test Kitchen Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • 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)
  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.
Contest Entries

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  • jacky
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    Laura Morgenfeld
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    Zeta R. Lay

Recipe by: Midge

I’m a journalist who’s covered everything from illegal logging in Central America to merit pay for teachers, but these days I write mostly about travel. I’ve been lucky enough to find myself in some far-flung locales, where poking around markets and grocery stores is my favorite thing to do. Cooking, especially baking, is my way of winding down after a long day; there’s nothing like kneading bread dough to bring you back to earth.

120 Reviews

Sara K. March 1, 2023
This is entire extended family’s favorite scone. Rhubarb isn’t as plentiful in states and so I often sub in a cup of softened raisins or craisins (just pour boiling water on them and steep for a minute or two and drain). You just use more cream if you use something other than rhubarb.
Claire May 12, 2022
Feel free to envy? Really?
Mary B. August 18, 2021
Substituted 3 cups of drained sour cherries for the rhubarb
Added 1 tsp each of vanilla and almond extract
Had to bake an extra 14 minutes due to high altitude
jacky June 22, 2021
Made these today using 4 peaches. This recipe handled the extra fruit nicely. I chilled the scones 10 minutes before baking. Very pleased with the result.
THEToughCookie June 16, 2021
I made these scones for the first time on Monday. I froze the unbaked scones (aluminum free baking powder), then wrapped them individually, and stored in the freezer. I pulled out the runt of the litter this morning to taste test it. They are sensational! I hope they last in the freezer for 2 weeks til out of town guests come for the 4th. Rhubarb rhules!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
LDM December 26, 2020
I recently made these again, using cranberries instead of rhubarb. So delicious! Might want to put in a little orange zest. This is a great recipe. Love it.
NNNicki December 24, 2020
This recipe is excellent and is my absolute go to whenever I make scones. I first made these with about 2 cups of rhubarb and half cup of white chocolate chunks. The scones turned out perfectly. This morning I adapted it to include about 1.5 cups diced pears and 3/4 cup pomegranate seeds. Another winner! We agreed these are better than our favorite coffee shop scones. I never have heavy cream on hand, so I mix about 1/2 cup 5% fat Fage yogurt and 1/4 cup coconut milk until it's smooth and it's the perfect substitute.
Leslie June 30, 2020
Like many others, I love this recipe! These scones are crisp on the outside and moist on the inside. I added a 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom, which complimented the rhubarb beautifully.
Laura M. June 9, 2020
I love this recipe and make it multiple times every spring when my rhubarb comes in. Scones are moist and have a great texture. I pulse everything in the food processor but mix the rhubarb in by hand before adding the cream.
Claire May 12, 2022
Thank you for the tip.
Zeta R. June 3, 2020
Love this recipe! Our family has been fortunate enough to receive gifts of rhubarb from both friends and family this spring. My daughter and I made these scones to go with our first homemade batch of lemon curd - so good! We both appreciate tart things. I skipped sprinkling sugar on top (even though the crunchy caramelization of sugar is super tasty) as I try to cut back on sugar in small ways wherever I can. There was enough in the scones and the lemon curd. Thanks for sharing this simple recipe :-)
LDM May 31, 2020
I just made these scones, and they were absolutely delicious! My only concern was how much rhubarb to actually use. 3 stalks can vary quite a bit depending on the size of the stalk. I went for about 2 cups, which was perfect. I gave a couple away as gifts, and we ate the rest. Makes a delicious rhubarb shortcake for dessert, too, with rhubarb sauce and ice cream, if you so desire. I'll definitely make them again.
Claire May 12, 2022
Thank you for the tip. Stalks is rather vague so measuring in grams or cups is appreciated.
Marcelline May 30, 2020
I discovered rhubarb and this recipe 5 years ago and I wanted to say that no matter what else I make with rhubarb, this recipe is always the one that gets me. It is my favorite way to use rhubarb, showcasing its subtle tart flavor. Every rhubarb season, I come back to this one! Thank you so much for this simple and reliable recipe!
GirlWomanPerson February 3, 2020
Made this recipe with rhubarb I had chopped, poached in sugar syrup and dehydrated. Worked wonderfully. Very easy and a nice balance of flavors. Love it!
crystalx July 17, 2019
These are super good! Just enough sugar to cut the edge of the tart rhubarb. I used around 300g of rhubarb, which was good. Really nice and fluffy.
Candace July 3, 2019
I am not one to ever write reviews. No particular reason why, but I had to share that I tried out this recipe today and they were sooo good!!! Definitely hard to eat just one.
Thank you for sharing this recipe I will be making them again next summer when I can get my hands on more Rhubarb :)
Christine May 26, 2019
I used frozen rhubarb I defrosted in microwave and drained. Also didn't have vanilla sugar, so I just worked a little pure vanilla extract into some granulated sugar with my fingers and it was a tasty topping to these delicious scones. So, so good!
Debbie C. May 12, 2019
This makes a great scone, but you do have to make some changes. Scones can not tolerate the addition of wet items, so mixing the rhubarb with sugar and drawing out the juices does not make sense. I skip that step, and add 2T of the sugar (that was to be used for that purpose) to the batter. I also fully make the dough with the butter, dry ingredients and the cream (plus 1/2 tsp vanilla since I don't have vanilla sugar) before adding the rhubarb. Once the ball of dough has formed in the food processor, I mix in the cut up rhubarb quickly by hand, so that it does not cause the batter to get too wet. I think about 1 1/2 - 2 cups of rhubarb works best -- any more and it will be hard to get the dough to hold together. With these changes, these have become one of our spring favorites. When rhubarb is in season, I make a bunch and freeze them so we can enjoy them for a while.
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.