HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Watery Rhubarb Pie

I made a strawberry rhubarb pie on Saturday and it came out watery, even if it did taste terrific. I added no butter or any liquid of any sort, and yes, I did add about three tablespoons flour mixed in with the sugar. Someone told me that rhubarb has to be roasted for hours before used, to dry it out. That doesn't sound right, but maybe... Can anyone suggest what I'm doing wrong?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. No, you don't dry out your rhubarb. If you are finding it too runny, then I would use cornstarch rather than flour. It has more thickening power. I would sprinkle some on the bottom of the pie shell before filling. Or you could add some tapioca when you toss the fruit with the sugar. Young rhubarb has more water than older, summer rhubarb, also.

    2 Replies
    1. re: sarah galvin

      Thanks, you may be right, Sarah, becasue this does not happen in the summer.

      1. re: sarah galvin

        Yes, I just baked what is a tasty, but terribly watery rhubarb pie! The difference from my last one is that I used rhubarb from a local farmers market and the stalks are much bigger. Based on the discussion here, I'm assuming that is what made the difference. I used a recipe from Cooks.com and they use flour. I will try tapioca next time. Still, I'm a bit surprised since using fresh, farmer rhubarb would have been what most people used a century ago...so...what did those farmer's wives do to make a non-watery rhubarb pie?!!

      2. I use Minute Instant Tapioca to thicken mine. The portions are are on the side of the box. It is still going to be a bit juicy, that is the nature of the vegetable.

        1 Reply
        1. I totally agree with the above suggestions about using Minute tapioca to thicken instead of flour or cornstarch. I believe you will even find the right proportions to use on the tapioca box.

          Tapioca is great thickener for other pies as well. I also use it for apple, blackberry, and blueberry.

          1. i agree that tapioca is better for thickening fruit pies (except apple or pear) than flour. I use tapioca flour that I get at an asian store.

            Also, with strawberry rhubarb pie, i find that if i dont let the pie cool completely before cutting it, it tends to be runny. I think the rhubarb and strawberry juice thickens more than most pie juices as it cools.

            1. Rhubarb is inherently liquid once it's cooked. I'd never even dream of making a pie with it.

              7 Replies
              1. re: Harters

                Interesting - rhubarb pie is a classic in the States! As is strawberry rhubarb pie.

                1. re: MMRuth

                  so classic, in fact, that rhubarb used to be called "pie plant" in some parts of the states—and probably still is!

                  1. re: missmasala

                    Thanks - I'd never heard that before.

                    1. re: missmasala

                      My husband's favorite pie is Rhubarb, just plain rhubarb. No strawberries or anything else messing it up. I made one for his birthday last weekend.

                  2. re: Harters

                    "Rhubarb is inherently liquid once it's cooked."

                    If that's the case, what are all those chunks in my rhubarb pie?

                    1. re: FrankJBN

                      I didnt say there aren't chunks. I said it's inherently watery.

                      Cook rhubarb and you get a lot of juice. This is a very good thing. Just not in pie.

                      That said, maybe we have different rhubarb here than you have there. Whilst I can find many recipes for compote, fool, crumble and tart, I only see one for pie (and that one doesnt have a pastry base, just a top (so no base to get soggy)

                  3. My mother in law, makes a Creamed Rhubarb Pie that is terrific. It will make non-rhubarb pie lovers a believer.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: TrishUntrapped

                      Trish... recipe? Please please? Rhubarb addict seeking converts here...

                      1. re: Vetter

                        We grew up on rhubarb pie on the Canadian prairies. My favourite and would never think of adulterating it with strawberries!

                        Rhubarb Custard Pie

                        One unbaked 9" unbaked pie shell (make your own or buy one)


                        4 cups, approx rhubarb cut into 1" pieces
                        3/4 cup white sugar
                        2 T. flour
                        1 T. lemon juice
                        1/8 t salt


                        3 eggs
                        1 cup heavy cream
                        2 T melted butter
                        1/4 t nutmeg
                        2 T sugar

                        Filling: Toss mixture and turn into pie shell. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes

                        Topping: Beat eggs slightly; stir in cream, butter and nutmeg. Pour over hot rhubarb in pie shell. Bake 10 minutes; sprinkle with sugar and bake 10 minutes more or until browned.

                        1. re: Vetter

                          Mother in law's Creamed Rhubarb Pie

                          Dough for a 9 inch Double Crust Pie

                          3 cups rhubarb, sliced in pieces
                          1 1/2 cups sugar
                          3 tablespoons flour
                          1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
                          1 tablespoon butter
                          2 beaten eggs


                          1. Line 9 inch pie pan/dish with bottom crust.
                          2. Place rhubarb in large bowl.
                          3. In a medium sized bowl, blend together the sugar, flour, nutmeg and butter.
                          4. Add the 2 beaten eggs to the flour mixture and combine till smooth.
                          5. Pour mixture over the rhubarb and stir gently.
                          6. Place rhubarb mixture in the crust and cover with top crust.
                          7. Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 40 -50 minutes depending on your oven.

                      2. One other idea I've used when I don't have tapioca. You can make a rhubarb crisp. Those are always nice and juicy, and it goes especially nice over vanilla ice cream!

                        1. I'm surprised that no one is suggesting that the strawberries might be the issue. Anyway, count me among those who prefer straight rhubarb pie.

                          I've noticed that the wateriness does vary from case to case, but I'm not sure it's relative to the season. My Spring pie this year was not watery--I used only some flour as thickener; I also use some dabs of butter--but I did have the cut rhubarb in the fridge for a couple of days, even though it was from my backyard.

                          Extra thickening strategies might work, but I prefer just to live with some occasional wateriness. By the way, any leftover pie can be left in the fridge if need be, and it sets up fine there.