What do turnips taste like? Here Is a complete guide

What do turnips taste like?

When it comes to sexiest or appealing root vegetables, turnips wouldn’t win an award. Most people going grocery shopping will totally avoid this unique root, turnips. According to their assumption, the root vegetable tastes bad. But, what do turnips taste like? Find out in this article!!!

We like to think that root vegetables like turnips, potatoes, rutabagas, radishes, and others have an earthy or bitter taste. In fact, we all like to think of vegetables as being bitter. But, root vegetables like turnips taste amazing and are great additions to dishes.

Not only will this vegetable make your meal taste out of this world, but it also delivers great health benefits to your body when consumed. Before finishing this article, you will know what turnips taste like, and wouldn’t hesitate to make a delicious meal out of them.

What do turnips taste like?

There are tons of questions to this answer. When asking a question like this, you should expect to get different answers. This is because turnips could be cooked differently- boiled, fried, roasted, etc., and therefore would offer different tastes.

Turnips taste like a lovely cross between a cabbage and a radish.

Having to taste this root vegetable when it is young, will leave notes of peppery spice, a mild and delicate sweetness in your mouth. Hence, young turnips are crispy, sweet, and have a taste reminiscent of carrots. When turnips age and become mature, they taste like potatoes.

Turnips do taste bitter only when eaten raw. But, if you cook them well, you would notice their sweet smell and taste.

Depending on its size, this root vegetable can offer a different taste. Small turnips have a tangy or sweet taste- like celery. And large turnips, taste earthy, woodier, and spicier when cooked.

Turnips have lots of flavors depending on how it is cooked, their size, and the age of the turnip you consume.

Turnips greens are made of a stem and leave and it has the same flavor profile as the roots. They are great for Asian stir-fries when picked fresh and tender.

What flavors go with turnip

To reduce the slightly bitter taste in turnips, you have to pair it with perfectly spiced foods. There are suitable seasonings, vegetables, and proteins that can make your turnip meal extremely delicious.

Seasoning Vegetables Protein
Rosemary Carrot Beef
Thyme Parsnip Bacon
Garlic Sweet potato Turkey
Cilantro Potato Veal
Ginger Rutabaga Chicken
Paprika Onion Lamb
Sage Zucchini Mutton

What are turnips

Turnips are root vegetables. They are grouped with beetroot, potato, and radish and belong to the same family as cauliflower, cabbage, and rapini. Usually, their skin is creamy white in color with a purple top while their flesh is crisp and fleshy.

Both its bulbous white and purple taproot including its leafy greens are edible. This root vegetable is available all year round but they grow well in the fall.

Turnips have the ability to lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of cancer, relieve intestinal problems, aid in weight loss and digestion.

Nutritional value of turnips

Turnips are a healthy root vegetable that is loaded with lots of nutrients but is low in calories. They have high levels of vitamin A, C, K, fiber, folate, and calcium. The healthiest way to eat turnips is by consuming them raw.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Data Central database, one cup of raw turnip cubes contains the following:

  • 4 calories
  • 17gram (g) of protein
  • 13g of fat
  • 36g of carbohydrate
  • 66g of sugar
  • 34g of fiber
  • 39milligrams (mg) of calcium
  • 39mg of iron
  • 3mg of magnesium
  • 1mg of phosphorous
  • 13micrograms (mcg) of vitamin K
  • 3mg of vitamin C
  • 5mcg of folate
  • 351mg of zinc

How to choose a turnip in the store?

Are you wondering how or where you can buy the best turnips? We have the perfect answer right here. Most times, the reason for the terrible taste you notice from consuming turnips is because you picked an over-stored one.

Usually, when turnips begin to taste really bad, it is just because it Is old or has stayed for so long. It might have developed excessive pungent flavor and a fibrous texture.

You will know an old turnip from its appearance. Old turnips look larger and have a slight pink tinge which is different from the others.

How do you choose the best turnip, though? First of all, you should aim at selecting young produce with a slightly bitter taste. Always look for turnips smaller than size, say from 3” in diameter and below. The skin should be smooth with purple, yellow, or white color. Avoid turnips with blemishes, bruises, or cracks.

Do you have to peel turnips?

Yes, and no. You could decide to consume all of the parts of this root vegetable because they are edible- from the leaves to the root and all. But, you can also just decide to peel off its skin before eating or cooking.

To peel a turnip, opt for a peeler or paring knife just as you will for a potato.

Can you eat raw turnips?

You may be wondering since I can’t eat a potato raw, can I eat raw turnips? Yes, you can.

Raw turnips can serve well in salads and you could shred them into slaw and enjoy. Also, you could enjoy its crunchy taste by adding them raw to sandwiches, wraps, and even burgers.

Most people do not like the idea of eating raw root vegetables especially turnips. But, if you like it and want to purchase it, then opt for young turnips. Ensure you pick turnips with small bulbs and a perfect size. They shouldn’t be wrinkled or bruised.

Raw turnips have a wonderful and complex taste.

What is a good substitute for turnips?

You could use good substitutes for turnips if it is unavailable. These substitutes depend on what characteristics of turnips you are looking to complement. For instance, if you need a root vegetable that has a similar flavor to turnips, then rutabaga is the perfect substitute. They are both similar in texture and consistency only that rutabaga has a sweeter taste.

If the reason for the substitution is because you do not like the flavor of turnips but your recipe calls for them, then the best substitution is white potato.

If you want an intense flavor, then combine cabbage with radish in a raw dish and if it is a cooked dish, combine cabbage with mustard greens.

Other best substitutes for turnips include celery roots, carrots, parsnips, jicama, salsify, parsley, sunchoke, fresh water chestnuts, and swede. They are all similar to turnips in taste and texture.

How to cook turnips

Turnips are a versatile root vegetable and can be enjoyed in lots of ways. It’s nearly impossible to cook them incorrectly. If your question is how can I cook turnips, then you have your answer below.

To cook turnips, you have to peel them. Young turnips usually peel easily but mature ones require a Y-peeler. You could either boil or roast turnips.

If you decide to boil it, you can serve them as a side dish with fresh herbs like rosemary or basil or use garlic butter instead. Boiled turnips can also be mashed just as mashed potatoes.

If roasting it is the perfect option for you, then firstly toss them with olive oil or good spices like rosemary or citrus to enhance its flavor, crunchiness, and butteriness to its edges. For roasted turnips, a great tip is to add honey or maple syrup to them to glaze them better.

Roasted turnips pair excellently and taste delicious when combined with other root vegetables like carrots, beets, radish, and potatoes

You could add turnips to stews and soups that are filled with other vegetables. Turnips are actually perfect for garnishing.

How to reduce the bitterness?

One of the reasons people do not frequently consume turnips is because of the bitter flavor in the mature plants. There are two best ways to reduce the bitterness in turnip:

  1. For the leaves

You could reduce the bitterness in turnips greens by blanching them first followed by frying in olive oil. Blanching helps to reduce the bitterness.

  1. For the root

To reduce the bitter flavor in turnips root, start by peeling and chopping the turnip. The next step is to cover it with olive oil and season well. Store the chopped turnip in an airtight container and refrigerate for an hour. You can now decide to either mash, roast, stir-fry, or make casseroles with the less bitter turnips.


The answers to the question “what do turnips taste like” is right here in this article. Turnips have a mild and pungent taste with subtle hints of spiciness and bitterness. They have a crunchy and crisp texture just like carrots.

You could enjoy them by either roasting or boiling. Combining turnips with other root vegetables offers a delicious and amazing taste. Turnips are worth trying if you haven’t tried it before. Not only do they taste sweet and peppery when cooked, but they also have a crunchy taste when roasted.

Have you tried turnips before? Share your taste experience with us in the comments section below.