How to Cook Turnips: The Ultimate Guide | Easy and Tasty Recipes

Turnips are a versatile and nutritious root vegetable that have been enjoyed for centuries. They are low in calories but high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making them an excellent addition to any diet. However, many people are unsure of how to cook turnips, which can lead to them being underutilized in the kitchen.

In this guide, we will take you through everything you need to know about cooking turnips, from choosing the right ones to preparing and cooking them in a variety of ways. Whether you’re a seasoned home cook or a beginner in the kitchen, this guide will give you all the tips and tricks you need to make delicious and healthy turnip dishes. So let’s get started and discover the wonderful world of turnips!


Turnips are one of the most underrated root vegetables in the culinary world. They may not be as popular as potatoes or carrots, but they are equally delicious and nutritious. Turnips have a slightly sweet and earthy flavor that makes them perfect for savory dishes. If you’re new to turnips, this guide will help you learn how to cook them like a pro.

Cooking turnips can seem daunting at first, but it’s actually quite simple once you get the hang of it. There are various cooking methods you can use depending on your taste preference and the recipe you’re making. Some of the most popular ways to cook turnips include boiling, roasting, and mashing.

Boiling turnips is a great option if you want to preserve their natural sweetness. To do this, simply peel and cut the turnips into bite-sized pieces, then boil them in salted water until they are tender. Roasting turnips is another delicious way to cook them. Toss the chopped turnips with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast for 25-30 minutes until they are caramelized and tender.

If you’re looking for a comfort food dish, mashed turnips are a great alternative to mashed potatoes. Boil the turnips until they are soft, then mash them with butter, cream, salt, and pepper. The result is a creamy and flavorful side dish that pairs well with roasted meats.

In addition to these classic turnip dishes, there are many other creative ways to incorporate turnips into your cooking. You can make turnip soup, turnip salad, turnip fries, and more. With its versatility and unique flavor profile, turnips are a great ingredient to experiment with in the kitchen.

Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a beginner cook, learning how to cook turnips opens up a whole new world of culinary possibilities. So next time you’re browsing the produce aisle, don’t overlook this humble root vegetable. Give turnips a chance and discover all the delicious meals you can create with them.

Choosing the Right Turnips

Fresh vs Ripe Turnips

When it comes to cooking turnips, should you go for the fresh ones or wait until they ripen? This is a common question that many beginners have when learning how to cook turnips. Although both fresh and ripe turnips can be used in various recipes, there are some differences between the two.

Fresh turnips are those that have just been harvested and are still young and tender. They are usually smaller in size and have a sweeter flavor compared to their ripe counterparts. Fresh turnips also have a firmer texture, which makes them ideal for use in salads or sliced as a snack. Since they have a milder taste, fresh turnips pair well with other vegetables or herbs, making them perfect for soups or stews.

On the other hand, ripe turnips are those that have been left in the ground for a longer time. They are larger in size and have a stronger flavor than fresh turnips. Ripe turnips also tend to have a softer texture and may not hold their shape very well when cooked. Because of their stronger flavor, ripe turnips work well in recipes where they can stand out on their own, such as roasted turnip dishes or purees.

So, which one should you choose? It ultimately depends on your personal preferences and the recipe you are making. If you want a milder taste and firmer texture, then fresh turnips are the way to go. However, if you want a bolder flavor and don’t mind a softer texture, then ripe turnips are a better option.

One thing to keep in mind is that freshness is key when it comes to turnips. Whether you choose fresh or ripe turnips, make sure they are firm and free from any bruises or soft spots. This will ensure that they retain their flavor and texture, no matter how you decide to cook them.

Seasonal Turnips

Seasonal Turnips

Turnips are a versatile root vegetable that can be enjoyed year-round. However, they are at their best during certain seasons when they are in season and harvested fresh from the fields. In this section, we will explore the different types of seasonal turnips and when they are available.

Spring Turnips

Spring turnips, also known as Japanese or Hakurei turnips, are small and delicate with a sweet and crisp flavor. They typically appear in markets from early spring to early summer. These turnips are best eaten raw or lightly cooked to preserve their delicate texture and subtle taste. They are often used in salads, pickled or roasted with other spring vegetables.

Summer Turnips

Summer turnips have a slightly stronger flavor than spring turnips and come in various sizes, ranging from small to medium. They are usually available from late spring through summer. Unlike spring turnips, summer turnips can be cooked in a variety of ways, such as roasting, grilling, sautéing, and braising. They are often served as a side dish or added to soups and stews for extra flavor and nutrition.

Fall Turnips

Fall turnips, also known as rutabagas, have a cream-colored flesh with a mild, sweet flavor. They are larger than spring and summer turnips and require longer cooking times due to their denser texture. Fall turnips are typically available from late summer to fall and can be roasted, mashed, boiled or added to soups and stews. They pair well with hearty flavors like bacon, sage and thyme.

Winter Turnips

Winter turnips are similar to fall turnips and sometimes referred to as “storage” turnips. They have a yellowish flesh and a stronger flavor than other turnip varieties. Winter turnips are harvested in late fall and can be stored for several months, making them a great winter vegetable. They can be roasted, mashed, boiled, or added to soups and stews for a comforting and hearty meal.

In conclusion, turnips are a delicious and nutritious vegetable that can be enjoyed throughout the year. By understanding when different types of turnips are in season, you can choose the best ones for your dishes and take advantage of their unique flavors and textures.

Preparing Turnips for Cooking

Washing Turnips

When it comes to cooking turnips, washing them properly is an essential first step. Not only does washing the turnips remove any dirt or debris, but it also helps to preserve their natural flavor and nutrients. Here are some tips on how to wash your turnips effectively:

  • Start by filling a clean sink or large bowl with cold water.
  • Place the turnips in the water and swirl them around gently.
  • Use a vegetable brush to scrub the turnips lightly, paying special attention to any areas with stubborn dirt or spots.
  • Rinse the turnips thoroughly under running water.
  • Pat them dry with a clean towel before using.

It’s worth noting that you don’t need to peel your turnips before washing them. In fact, leaving the skin intact can help to retain even more nutrients. However, if the turnips have been waxed or have particularly tough skin, then peeling may be necessary.

By taking the time to properly wash your turnips, you’ll ensure that they’re clean, safe to eat, and full of flavor. So next time you’re prepping your turnips for cooking, remember to give them a good wash!

Peeling Turnips

Peeling Turnips

Peeling turnips is an essential step in preparing them for cooking. Whether you are boiling, roasting, or mashing turnips, you need to peel them first to remove the tough and bitter skin.

When it comes to peeling turnips, there are different methods you can use depending on your preferences and the tools you have available. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Peeler: A vegetable peeler is the easiest way to peel turnips. Hold the vegetable firmly and start peeling from the top to the bottom, following the contour of the turnip. Make sure to apply enough pressure to remove all the skin and avoid leaving any rough patches.

  • Knife: If you don’t have a peeler, you can also use a sharp knife to peel turnips. Cut off the top and bottom of the turnip, then slice off the skin in sections, following the shape of the vegetable. This method requires more skill and precision, but it can be very effective if done correctly.

  • Blanching: Another way to peel turnips is by blanching them. This method involves boiling the turnips whole for a few minutes, then shocking them in ice water. The heat and cold will cause the skin to loosen up, making it easier to peel off with your hands.

Once you have peeled your turnips, you can proceed with your chosen cooking method. Remember to wash them thoroughly and remove any remaining dirt or debris before cooking.

In summary, peeling turnips is a simple yet crucial step in preparing them for cooking. Using a peeler, knife, or blanching method can all be effective ways to remove the skin and ensure you get the most flavor out of your turnips.

Cutting Turnips

Cutting Turnips

Cutting turnips is a crucial step in preparing them for cooking. Here are some tips to help you cut your turnips perfectly:

  • First, wash and peel the turnips using a vegetable peeler.
  • Cut off the top and bottom of the turnip using a sharp knife.
  • Stand the turnip up on one of its flat ends to make it more stable.
  • Cut the turnip in half lengthwise using a sharp knife.
  • Place each half flat side down and slice them into even pieces or cubes.

Make sure to cut the turnip pieces or cubes to a consistent size so that they cook evenly. You can also experiment with different cutting techniques depending on the recipe you’re using. For example, if you’re roasting turnips, consider cutting them into wedges instead of cubes for a more rustic look.

In addition to being a staple in savory dishes, turnips can also be used in desserts. Cutting them into thin slices and baking them with cinnamon and sugar can result in a delicious and unique dessert.

Remember to always use a sharp knife when cutting turnips to avoid any accidents. With these tips, you’ll be cutting turnips like a pro in no time!

Cooking Turnips

Boiling Turnips

Boiling Turnips

Boiling turnips is one of the easiest and most popular ways to cook this root vegetable. It’s a great method for dishes like stews, soups, and casseroles. In this section, we’ll go over everything you need to know about boiling turnips.

To start, it’s important to choose the right turnips for boiling. Look for ones that are firm and unblemished, without any soft spots or signs of rotting. You can also boil turnips with the skin on, which helps retain their flavor and nutrients.

When preparing turnips for boiling, start by washing them thoroughly under running water. Then, peel them if desired and cut them into uniform pieces. This will ensure even cooking and a consistent texture.

To boil turnips, add them to a pot of boiling water and let them cook until they’re tender. This usually takes about 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces. You can test for doneness by piercing the turnips with a fork – if they’re easily pierced, they’re ready.

Once the turnips are cooked, drain them and season them as desired. You can add butter, salt, pepper, herbs, or spices to enhance their flavor. Boiled turnips can be served as a side dish or used in recipes like stews or soups.

Overall, boiling turnips is a simple and versatile cooking method that can be used in many different recipes. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced cook, it’s a great way to enjoy the flavor and health benefits of this delicious vegetable.

Roasting Turnips

Roasting Turnips

Roasting is an excellent way of cooking turnips, as it brings out their sweetness and enhances their flavor. The process involves baking the turnips in the oven until they are tender and caramelized on the outside.

To roast turnips, start by preheating your oven to 375°F. Then, wash and peel the turnips, and cut them into wedges or cubes, depending on your preference. Next, toss the turnips in olive oil, salt, and pepper, making sure that they are evenly coated. You can also add other herbs and spices, such as thyme, rosemary, or paprika, to give them more flavor.

Once the turnips are well-seasoned, spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet, making sure that they are not too crowded. Roast them in the oven for about 25-30 minutes or until they are golden brown and tender when pierced with a fork.

When roasting turnips, you can also experiment with different flavors and textures by adding other vegetables or ingredients to the mix. For instance, you can roast turnips with carrots, parsnips, or sweet potatoes for a colorful and nutritious side dish. You can also sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese on top of the turnips before roasting them to add some cheesy goodness.

Roasted turnips are not only delicious but also packed with nutrients. They are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants, which can help boost your immune system and promote overall health.

In conclusion, roasting turnips is a simple and tasty way of cooking this underrated root vegetable. Whether you eat them as a side dish or a snack, roasted turnips are sure to delight your taste buds and provide you with many health benefits.

Mashing Turnips

Mashing Turnips

Mashed turnips are a delicious and healthy side dish that can complement any meal. With their creamy texture and mild flavor, they are a great alternative to mashed potatoes. If you’ve never tried mashed turnips before, you’re missing out on a real treat.

How to Make Mashed Turnips

Making mashed turnips is very easy. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 medium turnips
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Peel the turnips and cut them into small pieces.
  2. Boil the turnips in salted water until they are tender (about 20 minutes).
  3. Drain the turnips and add the butter and milk.
  4. Mash the turnips with a potato masher or an immersion blender until they are smooth.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.


Here are some variations to the basic mashed turnip recipe:

  • Garlic Mashed Turnips: Add 2 cloves of minced garlic to the turnips while they are boiling.
  • Cheddar Mashed Turnips: Add 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese to the mashed turnips.
  • Bacon Mashed Turnips: Cook 4 slices of bacon until crispy, crumble them, and sprinkle them over the mashed turnips.

Health Benefits

Turnips are a great source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. They are low in calories and high in antioxidants, making them a great choice for anyone looking to improve their health.


Mashed turnips are a tasty and healthy side dish that can be enjoyed by everyone. Whether you’re looking for a new way to enjoy turnips or just want to try something different, give mashed turnips a try. You won’t be disappointed!

Recipes with Turnips

Turnip Soup

Turnip soup is a comforting and delicious dish that can be enjoyed all year round. There are many different ways to make turnip soup, from using simple ingredients like onions, garlic, and chicken broth, to adding cream or spices for extra flavor. Here are a few tips to help you make the perfect turnip soup:

  • Start by washing and peeling your turnips. Cut them into small pieces so they cook quickly and evenly.
  • Sauté some onions and garlic in a large pot until they are soft and fragrant. Then add your turnips and cook for a few more minutes.
  • Pour in enough chicken or vegetable broth to cover the turnips and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer until the turnips are tender.
  • Use an immersion blender or transfer the soup to a blender to puree it until smooth. If you want a creamier soup, add some heavy cream or coconut milk at this point.
  • Season the soup with salt, pepper, and any other spices you like. Serve hot with crusty bread or crackers.

One of the great things about turnip soup is that it’s versatile and can be customized to your liking. For example, you could add carrots or potatoes for a heartier soup, or use apple cider instead of broth for a sweeter flavor. You could also experiment with different herbs and spices, like thyme, rosemary, or cumin, to give your soup a unique taste.

Overall, turnip soup is a simple and satisfying meal that’s perfect for chilly nights or when you’re feeling under the weather. Give it a try and see how you can create a delicious bowl of comfort food with just a few ingredients!

Turnip Salad

Turnip Salad

Turnips can be used in a variety of dishes, including salads. Turnip salad is a quick and easy dish that is packed with nutrients and flavor. This salad is perfect for those who want to add more vegetables to their meals.


To make turnip salad, you will need:

  • 2 large turnips
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley


  1. Peel the turnips and slice them thinly.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper.
  3. Add the sliced turnips, red onion, and parsley to the bowl and toss to coat.
  4. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.

Tips for Making Turnip Salad

  • Use fresh turnips for the best flavor and texture.
  • Slice the turnips thinly so they are easier to eat.
  • Add other vegetables like carrots or cucumbers to the salad for extra crunch.
  • Top the salad with crumbled feta cheese or chopped nuts for added flavor.

Turnip salad is a simple yet delicious way to enjoy this versatile vegetable. It’s perfect as a side dish or as a light lunch. Give it a try and see how easy it is to incorporate turnips into your diet.

Turnip Fries

Turnip Fries

If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to regular french fries, turnip fries are a fantastic option. They’re low in calories, high in fiber and vitamin C, and have a deliciously crispy texture. Plus, they’re easy to make and can be customized with your favorite seasonings.

To make turnip fries, start by preheating your oven to 425°F (218°C). While the oven is heating up, wash and peel your turnips and cut them into thin sticks or wedges. Toss them in a bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you like, such as garlic powder, paprika, or rosemary.

Spread the seasoned turnip fries out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, making sure they’re in a single layer and not touching. Bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping them halfway through, until they’re golden brown and crispy.

There are endless ways to enjoy turnip fries. Serve them as a side dish with your favorite protein, dip them in ketchup or BBQ sauce, or sprinkle them with parmesan cheese for a cheesy twist. You can even use them as a healthy substitute for croutons in salads.

Overall, turnip fries are a tasty and nutritious snack or side dish that’s easy to make at home. Give them a try and see how delicious healthy eating can be!
In conclusion, turnips are a versatile and nutrient-rich vegetable that can be cooked in many ways. Choosing the right turnips, preparing them properly for cooking, and experimenting with different cooking methods can help you create delicious and healthy meals. Whether you prefer boiled, roasted, or mashed turnips, or you are looking for new recipes to try, turnips can add flavor and texture to your dishes. So next time you’re at the grocery store, don’t hesitate to pick up some fresh turnips and give them a try. You might just discover a new favorite vegetable!

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