Ten Ways to Cook a Turnip

Turnips at the Farmer's Market

This headline from the Tuscaloosa News, The Real Food Challenge: Ten Ways to Cook a Turnip, made my “ears” perk up. The post turned out to be about the challenge of learning to cook with unfamiliar vegetables found at the local farmer’s market. I decided to help her out with a list of ten ways to serve turnips, one of my favorite foods. Turnips are cheap, nutritious and easy to grow.

As always, it’s best to start with fresh turnips. They get tougher and taste stronger as they age.

Ten Ways to Serve Turnips

  1. My mother peeled, sliced and served turnips raw at the dinner table. I suspect my father was the only one who ate them that way, but it’s worth a try.
  2. Grate them into salad.
  3. Slice them thinly and sauté them on both sides in a small amount of oil or cooking spray. Sprinkle with black pepper.
  4. Turnips add rich flavor to any kind of broth or stock.
  5. Grate and add to soup. You will have people guessing.
  6. Roast turnips whole, quartered or sliced in the oven, with a sprinkling of olive oil and whatever herbs you have on hand. I sometimes make a large tray of roasted beets, turnips, sweet potatoes, onions, and whole garlic cloves.
  7. Grill them.
  8. Cook turnips as you would potatoes (although they cook much faster, since they are not as dense). Removing the thin peel after cooking prevents waste and preserves the nutrients just under the skin. Cube and make a salad with beets, sweet potatoes, and your favorite salad dressing.
  9. Mash cooked turnip into mashed potatoes.
  10. Turnips add rich flavor to pot roast or any kind of meat or vegetable stew.

Need more ideas? Check out Ten Terrific Turnip Recipes.

What do you make with fresh turnips?

If you enjoyed this post you might like the following:

Rapes in Potage (Turnips)

How to Use Up Celery

Recipe: Fresh Tomato Sauce in the Pressure Cooker

Getting the Most Out of Your Conventional Oven



Photo credit: iLoveButter


  1. I find Israeli turnips to have a sharp taste that’s best neutralized by roasting or carmelizing to bring out the sweetness. In soup or stew, this sharp taste comes forward and nobody in my family likes it. They eat turnips to make me happy if I’ve carmelized them by a long, slow saute or roasting.

    • Mimi:
      1. Try small, fresh ones if you haven’t.
      2. When I put them in soups or stews, they are only one of a number of vegetables so the taste isn’t overpowering.

  2. A favorite dairy salad in my house (and I had this growing up) was either diced radishes or shredded turnip, diced cucumbers and onions, salt, pepper and a dollop of sour cream. Mix and eat.

    Here is a recipe I made once for a medieval feast.

    Rapes in Pottage [or Carrots or Parsnips]
    1 lb turnips
    1 lb carrots, or parsnips
    2 c chicken broth (canned, diluted)
    1/2 lb onions
    6 threads saffron
    3/4 t salt
    powder douce: 2 t sugar, 3/8 t cinnamon, 3/8 t ginger

    Wash, peel, and quarter turnips (or cut into eighths if they are large), cover with boiling water and parboil for 15 minutes. If you are using carrots or parsnips, clean them and cut them up into large bite-sized pieces and parboil 10 minutes. Mince onions. Drain turnips, carrots, or parsnips, and put them with onions and chicken broth in a pot and bring to a boil. Crush saffron into about 1 t of the broth and add seasonings to pottage. Cook another 15-20 minutes, until turnips or carrots are soft to a fork and some of the liquid is boiled down.

  3. Thrifty soul says

    Try preparing turnips like scalloped potatoes, alternating a sprinkle of flour and dotting with butter and a few finely chopped onions in a shallow baking dish. A little salt, a little pepper, repeat. Pour hot milk over the top and top with shredded cheddar cheese and cover with foil, removing the foil for the last 10 minutes of baking to brown a little. Bake for an hour or so until the turnips are tender and the sauce is thickened. A little dusting of sugar under the final layer doesn’t hurt, either, if you know you have strong-flavored veggies. Yum!

    Turnips’ sharp flavor is usually minimized if you get the smaller ones that are heavy for their size. That usually means they haven’t gone pithy and are youngest. Also, you

  4. I cube them and boil them in stock, then mash. My favorite way I made them was alongside my (otherwise failed) corned beef on St. Paddy’s Day last year.