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This creamy, cool Layered Rhubarb Pudding Dessert is a potluck favorite with layers of buttery sweet graham cracker crust, tart rhubarb, marshmallows, and thick layer of light vanilla pudding and whipped cream. Grab a spoon and dig right in!
We love rhubarb so much that we stock up on it when it’s in season so we can enjoy it year round. Be sure to check out my tips on how to freeze rhubarb and try some of my other rhubarb recipes like Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars next!
Rhubarb Pudding Dessert
Every year when rhubarb starts showing up at the grocery store and farmer’s markets, I grab as much as I can to take home and use it while it’s fresh. Rhubarb is a vegetable that we treat more like a fruit by adding sugar to balance it’s natural tartness and using in dessert recipes like this one.
My family absolutely went CRAZY for this layered rhubarb pudding dessert. Paul said it’s his new favorite rhubarb recipe that I have made and is already requesting it again.
The creamy, sweet vanilla pudding on top is made with a couple packages of instant vanilla pudding, then lightened up by stirring in whipped cream (or cool whip, if you want). It’s the perfect balance to the punchy, sweet-tart rhubarb underneath.
And the graham cracker crust and sprinkles on top add a textural element that we love!
This is a great recipe for a potluck or family reunion because it feeds a crowd. It’s barely sliceable since the pudding layer on top is so light, but if you are careful it can be done.
The sturdy graham cracker crust on bottom and the middle layer of rhubarb thickened with cornstarch and set with a packet of strawberry jello help a lot in this regard. Otherwise I might just recommend digging into it with a large spoon and calling it good!
Ingredients in rhubarb pudding dessert
- Graham cracker crumbs: You can pulse them in your food processor or just cheat and buy a box of precrushed graham cracker crumbs at the store.
- Granulated sugar: This is used both in the crust and in the rhubarb filling layer.
- Salted butter
- Fresh or frozen rhubarb: Don’t worry if your rhubarb is the green variety. It tastes the same and the packet of strawberry jello will turn it a vibrant red color anyway.
- Cornstarch: This helps thicken the rhubarb filling.
- Strawberry jello: Strawberry & rhubarb are a natural flavor pairing and the jello doesn’t overwhelm the rhubarb, which is still the star of this dish.
- Miniature marshmallows
- Vanilla or cheesecake pudding mix: Even though the original version only called for one packet of instant vanilla pudding and there is only one in the picture, we ended up liking this dessert best with two packages of vanilla pudding for an even thicker layer on top.
- Milk: This is for adding to the vanilla pudding mix, although you won’t use quite as much as the package directs.
- Powdered sugar
- Heavy cream: I prefer real whipped cream over cool whip, but really either will work in this recipe. And summer recipes are all about ease, right? So I won’t judge if you use cool whip instead.
How to make rhubarb pudding dessert
This recipe is practically no-bake except for the bottom crust, which makes it a perfect hot weather treat. And you can absolutely just mix the crust ingredients together and press them into the baking dish, then freeze and skip the baking part if you wanted. I like to bake it only because it sets the crust a little firmer for a little bit more crunch, but either approach works just fine and sometimes in the summer you just don’t want to heat up the oven!
Don’t forget to set aside a little of the crumb mixture for sprinkling on top of the pudding layer.
Make the rhubarb filling by combining chopped rhubarb in a medium saucepan with sugar, cornstarch, and a little water. Cook this down over medium heat until the rhubarb softens and the filling thickens and turns clear. Then stir in the packet of strawberry pudding and pour over the graham cracker crust.
Immediately sprinkle the miniature marshmallows on top of the hot rhubarb layer. They will absorb the heat of the hot filling beneath and puff up a bit, which gives them their own unique textural element in this dessert.
Set the baking dish in the fridge to chill and set the rhubarb layer. Once it is cold, make the pudding layer by combining the pudding packets in a large bowl with the milk and whisk together for 2 minutes. Let it sit for 5 minutes to thicken up.
Meanwhile, beat the heavy cream in a bowl with a handmixer until soft peaks form. Fold the thickened pudding into the whipped cream, then spread evenly over the rhubarb and marshmallow layer. Sprinkle the reserved graham cracker crust crumbs on top, then chill in the fridge for at least an hour to help the pudding layer set up a bit more.
Layered Pudding Dessert Variations
Really I think you could use almost any fruit filling with this recipe if you don’t have rhubarb on hand and I’m sure it would be wonderful. I can see making this with peaches and peach jello, cherries and cherry jello, or strawberries and strawberry jello.
And the crust could be made with golden Oreos, Biscoff cookies, or Nilla Wafers instead of graham crackers.
More dessert recipes like this
- No-Bake Chocolate Eclair Cake
- Lemon Icebox Cake
- Raspberry Pretzel Salad
- Strawberry Pretzel Icebox Pie
- Coca-Cola Jello Salad
- Fresh Strawberry Pie
- Homemade Banana Pudding
- Grasshopper Ice Cream Pie
Graham Cracker Crust Layer
- 1 1/2 cups finely crushed graham cracker crumbs (about 1 sleeve of graham crackers)
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons salted butter, melted
- 4 cups fresh or frozen rhubarb, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces.
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 small package strawberry jello
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 cups mini marshmallows
- 2 (3.4 ounce) packages vanilla instant pudding
- 3 cups cold milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
Graham Cracker Crust Layer
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Mix with a fork until combined, then set aside 1/4 cup of the crumb mixture for later.
- Press the remaining crumb mixture into a 9x13-inch baking dish. Bake for 8-10 minutes until set.
Rhubarb Filling Layer
- In a large saucepan, combine the rhubarb, sugar, and cornstarch and toss to combine. Add the water, then cook, stirring frequently over medium heat, until the rhubarb softens and the filling thickens, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the package of strawberry jello.
- Pour over the graham cracker crust then sprinkle with the marshmallows. Set in the fridge to chill completely, about 1 hour.
- In a large bowl, whisk the cold milk and vanilla pudding mix together for 2 minutes until it starts to set. Set aside.
- Prepare the whipped cream by beating in a large bowl with the powdered sugar using a hand mixer until soft peaks start to form. Fold the vanilla pudding into the whipped cream, then spread over the chilled rhubarb layer.
- Sprinkle with the reserved graham cracker crumb mixture.
- Chill for at least 2 hours to firm up, then slice and serve.
- This can be made at least 1 day in advance and will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 165Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 88mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 1gSugar: 15gProtein: 2g
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.