How to cook turnips: complete guide

how to cook turnips

Guide outlines everything from what to look for when buying, how to cook turnips, prep and cooking tips plus great recipes to try.

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Turnips (Brassica rapa) are a classic winter vegetable. They have been forgotten in modern recipes but have now made their big comeback. Their tart-sweet taste may take some getting used to at first, but with our delicious recipes you will quickly get used to it. Here we show you how to prepare turnips and refine your favorite dishes with the tuber.


  • What you should know about turnips
  • Buy turnips
  • Prepare turnips
    • How to cook turnips: preparation
    • Peeling and cutting
    • How to cook turnips: Boil, steam, fry or bake
  • Recipe: turnip pancakes
  • Recipe: Potato and turnip casserole

What you should know about turnips

The turnip is quite undemanding and is therefore grown in many parts of the world with a moderate climate. However, it has its origins in Scandinavia , from where it came to us. For a long time the turnip was considered an emergency food. In wartime it was often the only thing that there was to eat in winter. However, it is beginning to shed this image and appears more and more frequently in recipes.

The turnip season starts in September and ends in April . You can recognize them by their round to oval shape and the beige-colored to red-brown shell . The pulp, on the other hand, is yellowish . The tubers are again so popular in the kitchen , mainly because of their high vitamin C and mineral content . They are also good for a low-calorie diet.

Advice on buying turnips

When buying turnips, make sure that the skin is not damaged or has wormholes. A good turnip is firm and has a fairly smooth skin. By the way, the smaller beets are considered more tender and aromatic . Very large turnips tend to be quite woody.

How to cook turnips: Preparation

Preparing turnips is really not difficult or very time-consuming. It was not for nothing that it was one of the farmers’ favorite vegetables.

Before starting the preparation, you must wash the turnips thoroughly under running water . Rougher dirt, which is so difficult to remove, can be tackled with a vegetable brush. Now dry off the beets.

You can now peel the turnips . Start by cutting off the end and the base of the stalk. The resulting areas will help you peel and process the turnips. It is best to use a paring knife, which can closely run along the skin. Now you can cut them into slices, cubes or coarse pieces and process them further.

Cutting made easy

Cutting the beet can be a challenge, especially for older people with weak hands. Here we give you tips on how to conquer the beet without much effort.

The most important thing is the right tool. The tubers can only be cut with little effort with a sharp knife . We recommend using a long bladed knife to cut the turnips. However, you can also use a long and sharp chef’s knife or Sontaku knife.

Cut beets step-by-step:

  1. Place the turnip on one of the flattened sides that you cut off when you peeled it. This means that the beet cannot roll away when you cut it.
  2. Now cut the beet in half from top to bottom.
  3. Place the halves on the cut surface and cut them in half too.
  4. Now you can cut the quarters into slices or cubes in the size you want.


Turnips are very slippery, especially after they have been washed . Therefore, dry the beets well before peeling or cutting them. This will reduce the risk of slipping with the knife and injuring yourself.

How to cook turnips: Boil, steam, fry or bake

Of course, you can cook the turnips as normal. Bring plenty of salted water to the boil for this . For firm turnip pieces, cook them covered for between 25 and 35 minutes . Puree requires very soft beets that have been cooked for about 40 minutes. Cook the turnips in broth for flavor.

To steam , simply place the turnips in a steamer that does not touch the water. The cooking time remains the same as when cooking. The lid stays on the pot all the time.

Prepare turnips in the pan, add a little oil beforehand. The pieces should be a little smaller for this. This will finish frying you in 7 minutes. Turnips can also be baked in the oven. For example as turnip fries , baked vegetables , chips or in a casserole .

How to cook turnips: recipes

Turnips are a great substitute for potatoes . The turnip stew is very popular , but the small beets also taste great in Bolognese , as lasagna , puree , soup , side dishes and with pasta dishes. The turnip also goes well with other popular vegetables in autumn and winter such as pumpkin and black salsify. Also delicious: turnips with fish .

Turnip burger

You can serve turnip pancakes as an accompaniment to meat dishes, as a snack or as a patty on a fresh vegetarian burger.

Ingredients :

  • 500 g turnips
  • 1 onion
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp potato flour
  • 50 g diced ham (optional)
  • Clarified butter
  • nutmeg
  • salt
  • pepper

Preparation :

  1. Wash the turnips thoroughly and peel them. Now cut the turnips in half. Take a grater and finely grate the turnips. Now place the rasps of turnip in a sieve and press the liquid out of them.
  2. Carefully peel the onion and finely dice it. Now put the rasped turnip, diced onion, egg, diced ham and potato flour in a bowl. For the vegetarian version, just leave out the ham. Mix well and then season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  3. Shape the mixture into 12 turnip buffers with a diameter of approx. 6 cm. Put some clarified butter in a pan. If the lard is hot, fry the pancakes on both sides until golden brown. Turn regularly. Before serving, you should drain the turnip pancakes on kitchen paper.

Recipe for potato and turnip bake

Potato casserole sounds kind of boring. Refined with turnips, the dish becomes more exciting and has a new flavor note.

Ingredients for 4 persons:

  • 500 g potatoes (mainly waxy)
  • 300 g turnips
  • 100 g stale rolls
  • 300 ml whipped cream
  • 200 ml of milk
  • 3 bay leaves
  • butter
  • 1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 bunch of marjoram
  • salt
  • pepper
  • nutmeg

Preparation :

  1. Grease a baking dish with butter. Now put the cream in a saucepan with the milk and bay leaves. Boil the liquid and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Let it steep briefly.
  2. Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and turnips with a paring knife. Cut or slice both into thin slices. Now you can get the bay leaves out of the cream and mix in the vegetable slices.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees top and bottom heat. Pour the potato and turnip mixture into the baking dish and put the dish in the oven for 40 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, chop the parsley and marjoram. Work the rolls into coarse crumbs and mix them with the herbs. Take the casserole out of the oven and spread the breadcrumbs on top. Now let the casserole bake for another 15 minutes.
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