5 Ingredients or Fewer

Tarty Rhubarb-Thyme Compote

April 29, 2010
1 Ratings
  • Makes 1 1/2 - 2 cups
Author Notes

My mother often made a rhubarb sauce in the spring to have on hand as a treat, usually with vanilla ice cream. Rhubarb is often paired with strawberries to temper its tartness, but as I get older, I appreciate a bit of tartiness in a woman (or a man, for that matter), and certainly in my compote. Although thyme is usually served in savory dishes, with rhubarb it adds an earthiness and depth of flavor that takes this beyond a typical sweet treat. In this super simple recipe, the thyme flavor is subtle because I still want the rhubarb to be the star of the show, but you could play with it to suit your taste. I love this compote best for breakfast spooned on toast, over a scone, on pancakes, or swirled into yogurt. But Mom was on to something pairing it with vanilla ice cream. - Margy@hidethecheese —Margy@hidethecheese

Test Kitchen Notes

This pink compote is very pretty. The little flecks of thyme add a subtle herbiness. Adjust the sugar to the sweetness of your rhubarb to get your desired level of tartness. - Stephanie
—The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 5 stalks rhubarb, scrubbed and sliced crosswise (about 3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  1. In a medium bowl, toss the rhubarb with the sugar and let it sit for about 10 minutes. This will pull some of the liquid out of the rhubarb so you will need less water when you cook it.
  2. In a small saucepan, mix the rhubarb with the lemon zest and thyme. Add a few tablespoons of water to make sure that the bottom of the pot is entirely coated with water. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and let simmer until the rhubarb is very soft, about 20 minutes. Check the pan every few minutes to make sure that there is enough liquid to maintain a simmer. If needed, add a bit more water.
  3. When it is done, mash the rhubarb a bit, but leave some chunks. Scoop the compote into a jar and let it cool in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.
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See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Rivka
  • Margy@hidethecheese
  • Jennifer Pastore
    Jennifer Pastore
  • lripley

7 Reviews

Jennifer P. May 14, 2019
How long does this stay fresh in the refrigerator?
Rivka April 30, 2010
this looks mighty tasty. May give it a whirl this weekend.
Did you make it, Rivka? I hope you liked it! I have a pile of rhubarb in my fridge and I may need to make more tonight myself.
Rivka May 6, 2010
Margy, I haven't made it yet, but I opted to test a ramp recipe for EPs instead of a rhubarb recipe so that I could make this with what rhubarb I have left!
Rivka May 8, 2010
Margy -- made this compote this morning to have on yogurt. I worry that it'll be gone before Monday -- it's so simple, and so good! The thyme is the perfect complement to the tangy sweetness of the rhubarb; I'd never have thought to combine them, but it's really a great combination.
Margy@hidethecheese April 30, 2010
I'm glad you think so! Thanks.
lripley April 30, 2010
This sounds like an ideal "spring" spread. Thanks for sharing