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Rhubarb Chicken (Savory Rhubarb Recipe)

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Flavorful and tender rhubarb chicken, a savory rhubarb dish to celebrate spring. Tender chicken thighs and an amazing sweet and sour sauce.

rhubarb chicken with lots of red sauce with turmeric

Have you ever tried a savory rhubarb recipe? You definitely should! Start with this rhubarb chicken, once you had this, you will be willing to try anything made with rhubarb! Like, for instance, this chicken rhubarb curry,  this rhubarb fish curry or this amazing rhubarb soup with omelet and bacon.

A rhubarb recipe again, I can’t help it, I like it so much, and now is the time to eat it. In a few weeks, it will all be over… Of course, you can easily freeze it and enjoy it the whole year but still, I like it better fresh and eaten at the right time.

What can I say about this recipe? The sauce was unbelievable! I loved the tender chicken pieces inside and everything else, but the sauce was the killer. Actually I could have eaten the sauce as it was, just mopping it up with bread, and not really miss the chicken… A sweet and sour, spicy due to a large amount of black pepper, delightful sauce.

chicken and rhubarb in a bowl close up

Tips for making the rhubarb sauce

  • You can use whole chicken quarters/legs, which you can divide at the joint.
  • Or you can buy already separated thighs and drumsticks.
  • I prefer to skin the chicken parts whenever making a stew or curry, I don’t like the floppy skin.
  • When adding the black pepper to the sauce, start with 1 tablespoon of it, then add up to 2 tablespoons according to your taste.
  • I used about 1 ½ tablespoon and didn’t find the sauce too hot, it was just right for me, and there was no complaint about it being too hot from the children either. It probably depends a lot on the sort of black pepper you use.
  • The chicken parts need to simmer very slowly for a longer time, about 1 1/4 hours. That will make them incredibly tender and flavorful.
chicken thighs and drumsticks in a red sauce with lemon slices

Step by step

  • Slice the onions and the garlic.
  • Peel and chop the rhubarb. Use the peel to make Rhubarb Syrup, for instance.
  • Fry the meat parts on one side, turn and cook on the other side.
  • Fry the onions and the garlic.
  • Stir in the pepper and turmeric.
  • Add the tomatoes.
  • Now add the rhubarb, honey and lime juice.
frying onions with spices, tomatoes and rhubarb in a large pot
  • Add the stock and stir well.
  • Return the meat to the pot.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Simmer, uncovered for 1 1/4 hour.


  • We had the rhubarb chicken with rice this time, but baguette or crusty white bread are also great for mopping up that delicious, sweet, and tangy rhubarb sauce.
savory rhubarb recipe with chicken and tomato sauce

More savory rhubarb recipes:

Rhubarb Soup – An easy to make soup – tangy, aromatic and topped with bacon omelet.

Chicken Green Curry – A very flavorsome chicken green curry coconut milk, raisins, and apples.

Rhubarb Fish Curry – A special kind of curry with fish, rhubarb and bananas. It might sound strange, but it really works.

savory rhubarb recipe with onions and garlic
rhubarb chicken in a bowl with rice on a grey table cloth

Chicken with Rhubarb Sauce

Savory rhubarb chicken recipe to celebrate spring. Tender chicken thighs smothered in a delicious sweet and sour sauce.
4.4 from 33 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: German
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 4 -6
Calories: 414kcal
Author: Adina


  • 10 oz red onions
  • 5 large garlic cloves
  • 4 skinless chicken thighs
  • 4 skinless chicken drumsticks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons roughly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 can 400 g/ 14 oz chopped tomatoes
  • 5 tablespoons honey more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 lb rhubarb
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • fine sea salt


  • Preparations: Halve the red onions and slice them thinly. Slice the garlic cloves thinly as well. Skin the chicken and divide the chicken legs at the joint, if necessary. Clean and peel the rhubarb, then chop it into small pieces.
  • Fry chicken: Heat the olive oil in a thick-bottomed or nonstick pot and fry the chicken pieces until golden brown all over, about 5 minutes per side. Don't try to move the chicken pieces during the first 5 minutes, the meat will stick to the pan. Once it is browned, you will be able to turn it easily. Take them out of the pan and set aside.
  • Cook vegetables: Fry the onions and garlic without adding any extra oil to the pan for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add a splash of water, if the onions start to stick. Add the pepper and turmeric and fry shortly while stirring all the time. Add the chopped tomatoes and let them cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Simmer: Add the honey, lime juice, and chopped rhubarb. Return the chicken back to the pan and add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down, and simmer on medium-low heat and uncovered for about 1 1/4 hour, stirring from time to time.
  • Adjust the taste with salt and maybe more honey or lime juice if you find that necessary.


Serving: 1/6 of the dish | Calories: 414kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 178mg | Sodium: 490mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 20g
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Recipe Rating


Monday 21st of June 2021

Hi, I have someone who is using your recipe and got to a point where she had browned everything and made the sauce but had to leave to run errands. She's hoping she can transfer this into the stove later to finish the dish. She was hoping she could put it in the oven at 350 or 375. Is it possible?


Tuesday 22nd of June 2021

Hi Jennifer. Only saw the comment now. I hope it worked with the crockpot.


Monday 21st of June 2021

We actually told her to put it in a crockpot and simmer it there.


Wednesday 2nd of June 2021

I am very confused by the good reviews. I made the recipe as written. I questioned the Tablespoon or more of pepper but put it in (1 Tbsp) as directed. We were very disappointed with the results. The pepper overpowered the rhubarb, lime, onion, garlic and everything else. We are having a bumper crop of rhubarb so I will try it again but cut back to a teaspoon of pepper. We can always add more later.


Wednesday 2nd of June 2021

That sounds ok, I hope it works for you better that way.


Tuesday 1st of June 2021

Are you using diced or crushed tomatoes? I used diced tomatoes because that's what we call chopped tomatoes where I live, but the photo looks like you're using crushed.


Tuesday 1st of June 2021

@Adina, thanks for answering. Made this last night and my 16-year-old, who is super picky, ate 3 drumsticks. That's amazing because he doesn't eat onions, tomato (except in sauce form) or rhubarb (ever).


Tuesday 1st of June 2021

Hi Jennifer. It doesn't really matter that much, use what you have. I normally use chopped/diced tomatoes for this recipe, the cubes are pretty small. Sometimes I use canned whole tomatoes which I crush myself with the hand directly in the pot.


Tuesday 13th of April 2021

Made this tonight and it was really lovely. This was my first time cooking rhubarb and I was thrilled to find a savoury recipe. Made it exactly as written and served over broccoli rice. Delicious!


Wednesday 14th of April 2021

I am so happy to hear it, Roxanne. Thank you for writing. I am looking forward to the fresh rhubarb so I can make it again.

Emily Wilson

Monday 25th of May 2020

Fantastic dish! Halved the chicken stock and only used 3T-ish of honey. Had over couscous with minced herb medley to great effect.


Monday 25th of May 2020

So happy to read this, Emily. :) Couscous sounds great!