April 20, 2023

Rhubarb custard shortbread bars

Rhubard custard shortbread bar on a serving plate.

Rhubarb custard filling is put on a shortbread crust and topped with a vanilla cream for a delicious spring and summer time dessert full of texture and flavor.

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Rhubarb season is a favorite of mine. I grew up with a large rhubarb patch in my yard, so it's something that I've enjoyed since I was a kid. 

When you are growing or buying rhubarb to eat, it's always important to remember that the leaves are not meant to be eaten, only the stalks. Make sure to remove any leaves before preparing rhubarb to eat.

Rhubarb is famously used in strawberry rhubarb pie, which seems to be a favorite of many people. However, there are so many ways to enjoy rhubarb and many recipes that use it

Side view of the layers of the rhubarb custard shortbread bars.

Check out this round-up of 25 Rhubarb Recipes that Aren't Strawberry Rhubarb Pie.

These rhubarb custard shortbread bars make a delicious dessert that also is pretty elegant. Serve this for Mother's Day, Easter, or any special occasion where you need a lovely dessert. 

The shortbread crust is simple to make and press into the bottom of the pan. Then the filling and topping are relatively simple to make as well. 

There are several steps to make all of the layers; however, none of the steps are complicated and it's worth the time for this rhubarb dessert. 

Topping on a rhubarb custard shortbread bars.

The creamy vanilla topping goes onto the custard layer when the bars are fully cooled and right before you want to serve the bars. 

I use the inside of a vanilla bean because I frequently have them on hand and I love the little flecks of vanilla bean in the topping. However, you can absolutely use vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste in place of that.

Yield: About 18 bars
Author: Amy (Savory Moments)
Rhubarb Custard Shortbread Bars

Rhubarb Custard Shortbread Bars

Rhubarb custard filling is put on a shortbread crust and topped with a vanilla cream for a delicious spring and summer time dessert full of texture and flavor.


For the crust
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
For the filling
  • 1-3/4 cups sugar
  • 7 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 3 large eggs
  • 5 cups sliced rhubarb (sliced about 1/4" thick)
For the topping
  • 6 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1-inch vanilla bean, scraped or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar for the crust. Cut in the butter with your fingers or a pastry cutter until it resembles a crumb.
  3. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 13"x9" baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Whisk together the sugar, flour, salt, half and half, and eggs until smooth. Stir in the rhubarb.
  5. Pour over the pre-baked crust and bake for another 45-48 minutes, just until the filling it set. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
  6. Before serving, prepare the topping. Using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
  7. Then beat in the whipping cream and vanilla until soft peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese and then spread evenly on top of the bars.
  8. Slice into squares or rectangles and serve. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Did you make this recipe?
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I hope you give these rhubarb custard shortbread bars a try! Let me know in the comments below.

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Serving of a square of rhubarb custard shortbread bars.

This post was originally published in 2017 and has been updated in 2023 with a recipe card, new text, and more to improve reader experience.

Check out these other rhubarb recipes:

Old-fashioned Magic Rhubarb Pudding Cake

Old-fashioned Rhubarb Crumble

Rhubarb Oatmeal Bars 

Chocolate Chip Rhubarb Brownies

Rhubarb Sour Cream Bread 


  1. Love the combo of scrumptious shortbread cookies with rhubarb =) Bravo!

  2. What a neat way to use rhubarb! Love the stuff, and am always looking for new recipes. This is a winner! Thanks.

  3. Shortbread and rhubarb are a fantastic combo!

  4. happy belated mother's day! i'm glad your day was special. :)
    these bars are extremely unique and look very tasty--bravo!

  5. these are so creative! they sound amazing.

  6. So happy you had a great Mother's Day! These look like the perfect bar to celebrate with!

  7. Oh wow...rhubarb custard sounds delicious in this bars...I love the creamy layer with the shortbread...
    Have a wonderful weekend Amy :)

  8. I always LOVE a good rhubarb recipe--gotta love things that grow practically FREE in the garden : ) pinned it to my cookies and bars board so I can find it again. Thanks for linking up to the Friday Frenzy!

  9. The layers of flavor and texture in this sound just wonderful. I am so glad you had a nice Mother's Day.

  10. mmmmm rhubarb season is COMING!! I can't wait. We have so many plants and get to enjoy is all summer long. I even froze quart bags of it and used it all winter. We're out now!

  11. I can't wait to try this! I love everything about it from the shortbread (yum) to the rhubarb! <3 P~

  12. These look awesome! Headed to the farm monday, fingers crossed the rhubarb is in! We've had such a cool wet spring here!

  13. WOw, this sounds amazing! I haven't cooked with rhubarb before, but I've eaten it many times. I think this is a great place to start!


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