Cool Creamy Rhubarb Swirl Dessert


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Cool Creamy Rhubarb Swirl Dessert Recipe

For years, the recipe for this amazing rhubarb swirl dessert disappeared into a basket filled with recipes I had intended to try. What a sad mistake!

Way back in 2011, my classmate and friend Denise gave me this recipe. At the top of her typewritten recipe, she wrote, “real gooooood!” I couldn’t wait to tell her that she was right! After one taste, I mourned the years I lost without having it!! Each bite is a little gift from heaven.

Rhubarb will soon be producing wildly, and rhubarb aficionados have hungrily awaited the season. When spring finally delivers a fresh crop, we can’t get enough! And when a new recipe comes along, we all do a little happy dance.

diced rhubarb

Begin with three cups of finely diced rhubarb. Pour a cup of sugar over it, stir it up, and let it sit for an hour or so. The sugar will draw out some of the natural juice. Next, simmer it gently until the rhubarb is soft and tender, about 10 minutes.

Now that I’ve made it once, I would tell you to let it sit in the saucepan you will use to cook it.

add jello to rhubarb

Once the rhubarb is tender, add a small box of strawberry or raspberry jello and stir it well while still warm. Then, put the mixture in the refrigerator to cool. (Lick the pan- I did!)

rhubarb mixture ready to cool

If you put the mixture into a glass measuring cup with a pouring spout, will be a handy way to drizzle the jello mixture quickly over the pudding mixture. The spoon contracts cold and speeds up the cooling process. I stirred it a few times until it was chilled and syrupy.

making the crust

While that cools, make the crust. It works great to do it all in your food processor! Break up the crackers a bit, then pulse until they become crumbs. Add the sugar and the butter and pulse again, scraping down the sides a couple of times until everything looks like coarse brown sugar.

Of course, if you don’t have a food processor, you can put the crumbs in a zip lock bag and crush them with a rolling pin the way we did forever!

Next, pat the crumb mixture into a 13 x 9 pan. I used a glass pan to show off the layers! Bring up the sides a bit and bake it at 375 degrees for about 6-8 minutes. Set it aside to cool while you make the pudding.


The instant pudding is made almost like the package directions, except use only 1 1/2 cups of milk. I had French vanilla pudding in the cupboard, so that’s what I used in case you wondered about the color. 😊

Now, fold your defrosted Cool Whip into the pudding until it’s all nicely blended. Isn’t it pretty?

mixture of whipped topping and  and pudding

Assemble The Beautiful Rhubarb Swirl Dessert

Put that beautiful pudding mixture on top of the crunchy crust and smooth it around evenly. (Once again, feel free to lick the bowl and the spatula, I did!) Then, dribble the rhubarb mixture over the pudding layer.

rhubarb mixture on pudding layer

Next, use a table knife or skinny straight spatula to swirl the rhubarb gently into the pudding. Don’t disturb the crust when you’re doing this! Swirl just enough to see both the creamy pudding and the bright red rhubarb mixture! It’s a marbled work of art!

swirled together pudding and rhubarb

The hardest part is letting it sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving it! After an hour or so in the fridge, you can spoon it into dessert cups. But if you can stand to leave it for a few hours or overnight, it will cut neatly into squares.

rhubarb swirl

As you can see, I couldn’t wait!! But the next day, it had firmed up and cut into lovely square servings that I plated.

Here Are A Few Tips On Rhubarb

If you’re lucky enough to have a rhubarb bed, the best time to harvest is from spring to early summer, usually from April through June.

If your plants are four or more years old, you can pull stalks into early fall. Just make sure you stop harvesting well before frost to ensure the plant survives through the winter. You should only harvest stalks from younger plants for about three weeks. Do not harvest any rhubarb in its first year.

If you notice tall cauliflower-looking seed pods shooting up, remove them as soon as you see them because they will reduce the yield. When rhubarb “bolts” this way, it puts a lot of energy into producing the flower and seed. A well-tended rhubarb bed can keep growing for over 100 years! One of my plants is from stock that old!

Too much rhubarb? I’ll bet you have friends that would love some, but it’s easy as pie (I couldn’t resist!) to freeze rhubarb. Just wash, trim, and dice it. Then, lay the pieces on parchment or foil-lined cookie sheets and freeze uncovered until it is firm.

Folks in the food business call this process IQF “individually quick frozen.” Then, scoop the rhubarb into freezer bags and use it to make cobblers, pies, jam, bread, or this yummy dessert!!

Defrost frozen rhubarb and drain off any excess liquid before using it in baked goods. It will keep for a year in your freezer until you have another crop! Frozen rhubarb and even canned rhubarb are becoming more available in grocery stores which lets us make rhubarb desserts any time we want!

Rhubarb Swirl Dessert! It’s a beautiful, easy, and perfect dessert for the season! Make some tomorrow! Here are some of our favorite rhubarb recipes! Strawberry Rhubarb Jam, Rustic Rhubarb Bread, Magic Rhubarb Pudding Cake.

How do you like YOUR rhubarb?

Printable recipe:

Yield: 15 servings

Rhubarb Swirl

rhubarb swirl

Fluffy vanilla pudding swirled with strawberry-rhubarb sits beautifully on a crisp graham cracker crust.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 25 minutes


  • Two inner packs of graham crackers
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1 small box instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 t vanilla (optional but yummy)
  • One 8-ounce tub of whipped topping, defrosted.
  • 3 cups raw rhubarb diced fine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 small box strawberry jello (or raspberry jello)


  1. Crush graham crackers in a food processor.
  2. Next, add sugar and butter.
  3. Pulse until everything is combined.
  4. Press mixture into 9" x 13" pan, and bring sides up slightly.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees for 6-8 minutes. Cool.
  6. Put rhubarb in a saucepan. Pour sugar over rhubarb and stir well. Let it sit for an hour. Rhubarb will release some of its juice.
  7. Add strawberry Jello and simmer until rhubarb is tender. Cool in the refrigerator until syrupy.
  8. Prepare a box of vanilla pudding according to package directions but only use 1 1/2 cups of milk and add 1/2 tsp vanilla.
  9. Fold in whipped topping and let sit for 5 minutes to thicken.
  10. Put the pudding/whipped topping mixture on top of the cooled crust.
  11. Spoon or dribble the rhubarb mixture over the filling. Use a table knife to swirl the rhubarb mixture through the pudding. Be careful not to go too deep. You do not want to disturb the crust.
  12. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. It cuts neatly into squares if you keep it in the fridge overnight.


Light and not too sweet. Cut in squares or spoon into a serving dish. Garnish with strawberries if you like.

Cool Creamy Rhubarb Swirl Dessert
Cool Creamy Rhubarb Swirl Dessert


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