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Norma Jean’s Rhubarb Nut Bread

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Rhubarb Nut Bread uses tart rhubarb and nuts to make the most delicious quick bread of all times. Straight from Norma Jean’s Kitchen, this recipe will surprise you, and you’ll soon be baking all the rhubarb sweets and treats!

Other delicious quick breads you also might enjoy include my mom’s delicious Easy Banana Bread, an interesting and delicious Honey Cinnamon Zucchini Bread, and the indulgent Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread. For more rhubarb, try my Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins!

Overhead shot of slices of rhubarb nut bread, on a wire rack over a white background.

Memories are forever.

Today is the first Mother’s Day without my beautiful mom. She’s been gone for just a few weeks, and I think of her constantly. I can feel her with me in the kitchen, on my bike rides, and just everywhere. I’m glad I have so many amazing memories of her, and I’m proud to be her daughter.

Mom and Dad had a very hearty rhubarb patch in their yard in St. Joe, Iowa – where they spent the first 56 years of their marriage. I have vivid memories of my parents in the patch, cutting off rhubarb stalks, and bringing it in the house so that Mom could work her magic. She used their rhubarb crop for mostly sweet recipes – rhubarb custard pie, strawberry rhubarb jam, rhubarb nut bread, and so on.

Once us kids were grown, she usually sent us home with a jar or two of the BEST jam ever, along with a loaf of Cracked Wheat Bread or Whole Wheat Honey Bread for toasting. She loved giving away her amazing breads and pies, and so most of their neighbors benefited as well, AFTER Dad got his fair share. 😀

These are some of my favorite memories, and the ones I’ll hang on to as time goes by. I miss the mom I called so often, to ask about a recipe – which then led to a discussion about our sweet boys, her grandsons whom she loved dearly.

Side shot of a pan of rhubarb nut bread, on a white background.

What is rhubarb, anyway?

I’m surprised at how many people have no idea what rhubarb is. When buying it at the store, I’m guessing about 90% of the cashiers have to ask me what it is, which is a pretty good indicator of the mystery that is rhubarb. Read on, friends!

  • Rhubarb is technically a vegetable, but often considered to be a fruit.
  • This plant is known for its brightly colored stalks and distinct tart flavor.
  • It is a hardy perennial, and thrives in cool locations with full sun.
  • It is harvested in the spring and sold by the stalk, like celery.
  • Rhubarb leaves are poisonous, while the stalks can be safely consumed.
  • It’s full of nutrients, like antioxidants, fiber, Vitamins K and C, calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
  • Rhubarb is used predominantly to make sweets, like pies, custards, jams, and quick breads.
Side shot of my hand holding two rhubarb stalks.

Ingredients for Rhubarb Nut Bread

  1. Dairy. You’ll need one egg and buttermilk.
  2. Oil and sugar. Norma usually used canola oil in her quick breads. This helps make it amazingly moist. You will also need brown sugar.
  3. Vanilla. She also used Watkins Vanilla , and so I do too. So much flavor!
  4. Dry Ingredients. You’ll simply need all-purpose flour, salt, and baking soda.
  5. Stars of the show. Rhubarb and pecans, of course! If you don’t like nuts, just leave them out. You can also substitute walnuts for the pecans.
  6. The streusel topping. You’ll need flour, brown sugar, salt, and butter for this easy topping. OR, you can leave it out completely.
Overhead shot of a glass bowl with rhubarb nut bread ingredients, on a white background.

How to make Rhubarb Nut Bread

Guess what? You just need ONE bowl to make this amazing quick bread. 😀

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and prepare two loaf pans with baking spray. (I recently discovered these USA pans that are my current fav, and yes, made in the USA!)
  2. Combine the wet ingredients – the egg, oil, buttermilk, and vanilla. To make your own buttermilk, simply add a splash of vinegar to the milk. Easy and works great in a pinch!
  3. Then add the dry ingredients – the brown sugar, flour, salt, and baking soda. Stir until just combined.
  4. Now for the stars of the show – the rhubarb and pecans. Just gently stir them into the mixture. You can use walnuts instead of pecans, OR leave them out altogether if nuts aren’t your jam. Pour batter evenly into two loaf pans.
  5. Prepare the simple streusel topping by combining the sugar and butter together. Sprinkle it over the top of both loaves.
  6. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes, or until the center is done. I usually test it with a toothpick, and when it comes out clean, it’s done. If you are like my fam, take a few minutes off the baking time for a gooey-er center.
  7. Let the loaves sit in pans for about 10-15 minutes, and then remove the loaves to cooling racks, and let cool. Then EAT!

Enjoy, my friends! And Happy Mother’s Day!

Overhead shot of a hand reaching for a slice of rhubarb nut bread, on a white background.

Kitchen Tools used for this recipe: (Affiliate Links)

Make this Norma Jean bread next: Chewy French Bread

Please let know if you try this recipe. Be sure to comment and leave a review on the blog so I can see what you think. You can also like my Facebook Page, follow me on Pinterest, and catch me on Instagram.

xoxo ~Sue

Overhead shot of slices of rhubarb nut bread, on a wire rack over a white background.

Norma Jean’s Rhubarb Nut Bread

Rhubarb Nut Bread uses tart rhubarb and nuts to make the most delicious quick bread of all times. Straight from Norma Jean’s Kitchen, this recipe will surprise you, and you’ll soon be baking all the rhubarb sweets and treats!
4.93 from 14 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: rhubarb nut bread
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 16 slices (two loaves)
Calories: 362kcal
Author: Sue Ringsdorf

Ingredients

For the bread:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups rhubarb – diced
  • 1 cup pecans (or walnuts) (optional) – diced

For the streusel topping: (optional)

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup cold unsalted butter – cut into small chunks

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two loaf pans with baking spray.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the egg, oil, buttermilk, and vanilla.
  • Add brown sugar, flour, salt, and baking soda, and stir to combine. Don’t over-mix.
  • Next, add the diced rhubarb and pecans (optional), and gently stir in.
  • Pour batter evenly into two prepared loaf pans.
  • Mix the streusel topping by combining the ingredients. Sprinkle over both loaves.
  • Bake for approximately 40 – 45 minutes, or until a toothpick, when inserted, comes out clean. Let the bread sit for 10-15 minutes to fully set. Then remove to a cooling rack.

Nutrition

Calories: 362kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 316mg | Potassium: 148mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 146IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 2mg

24 Comments

  1. Bessie Ashby says:

    This sounds wonderful. How did you know I needed a new recipe . I have had a lot of Rhubarb this year. Keep up the good ones comming

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Oh I’m jealous that you have a surplus! Enjoy the bread!

  2. Can you make this with gluten free flour?

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      I can’t say as I don’t have experience working with gluten free flour.

  3. doris schwegman says:

    how do you get butter and sugar to be crumbly, something is missing ?

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Yes, the topping was something my Mom used, but I just changed it to be more of a streusel topping (like in my banana coffee cake recipe). Hope that helps!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Thanks so much for your feedback, Mary! 🙂

  4. This bread is great! My house smelled so good while it was baking… and tasted delicious! Thank you😁

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Thanks Mary!

  5. Norma McKenney says:

    This recipe caught my eye because my name in Norma Jean. I just made this recipe but substituted 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce and enough oil to make 2/3 cup. I always try to cut down on the oil in my recipes. Still plenty moist.

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Hi Norma! That sounds like a great idea. So glad you enjoyed the rhubarb bread!

  6. Jean Lindsay says:

    I was scrolling through Pinterest and this recipe popped up. I was so excited when I realized whose recipe it was!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Oh, that’s pretty awesome!! Thanks Jean!

  7. This is the second baking in two weeks as my rhubarb patch is growing strong. I would suggest you add how long the breads should stay in the pan for cooling and then slicing. Apparently I took my out too soon and they fell apart…they tasted wonderful though.

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Yes, I’ll add that, Gail! Thanks for the feedback!

  8. Sue Foley says:

    I wanted to make your rhubarb bread but could not find any directions only the ingredients. Would you be willing to post them? I hope 😆

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Hi Sue. Do you see the recipe card on the bottom of the post? The directions are there and you can print it as well. If not, send me your email address and I’ll send it to you that way.

  9. Danalea Warrick says:

    Love this bread, Sue! Used my frozen rhubarb from last summer and it was perfect. Agree – Watkins Vanilla is the only way to go!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      I’m so glad, Danalea! Thanks for the tip that you used frozen rhubarb. I’m going to freeze some myself!

  10. This recipe is crazy good and a favorite of mine from the Norma Jean section. I love the fact that it is different from most recipes. The Watkins vanilla tip is legit. Powerful message and your Mom would/is very proud of your work! ❤️

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Thanks honey! 🙂

  11. Jackie Thill says:

    I had forgotten about this rhubarb bread Sue, but you brought the memory back. My mouth waters just looking at the pictures. Nice job with the whole post. ❤️

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Thanks Jackie! 🙂

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