17 Parsnip Recipes That Will Make You Fall for This Underappreciated Root Vegetable

Photo: Romulo Yanes

Get to know the parsnip, a pale and exceptionally interesting root vegetable that should be part of your fall and winter repertoire. It's delicious roasted, mashed, in soups, as part of vegetarian entrées, and even in dessert. Check out these tempting parsnip recipes.

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Romulo Yanes

The pale parsnip is so much more than a carrot with the color photoshopped out of it. Parsnips are delicious and interesting, and they absolutely deserve our attention. Despite the fact that they're usually eaten just once or twice in winter, or else brought to the Thanksgiving table where they are lost in a cornucopia of side dishes, these hearty root vegetables have serious culinary backbone. That's why we firmly believe that parsnips should feature on our dinner and lunch menus far more often than they do.

Parsnips are typically a cold-season root vegetable, and they're ideally harvested after the first frost (a cold snap makes them sweeter). Adaptable and healthy, high in fiber, vitamin C, and minerals (especially potassium), they are versatile enough to carry a vegetarian entrée, diversify a salad, or create a creamily comforting soup. Perhaps one of the reasons that this blond taproot remains underutilized and undervalued is that it is sold naked. Unlike bunched carrots with their tops on, parsnips are displayed without their eye-catching foliage. There is a good reason for this: Exposure to their leafsap can cause a photosensitive contact dermatitis, similar to poison ivy, as anyone who has inadvertently hiked through a feral patch can attest. But removing their leaves before sale keeps everyone safe.

So, how do you prep and cook parsnips? They can be peeled before use, but their skins are an additional source of flavor, so scrubbing up a batch to roast is a cinch. Refreshingly crisp when uncooked, they turn mellow and soft after boiling—easy to mash and purée. Roasting emphasizes their sweetness. They can even be used in dessert! We highly suggest trying our Spiced Parsnip Cupcakes. We promise, you'll be glad you did.

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Light and Bright Beef Stew

Light and Bright Beef Stew
Con Poulos

Fresh dill and white wine balance the sweetness of parsnips and leeks in this slow-cooked and brothy beef stew. It's just the thing to make when the weather turns cold.

03 of 18

Roasted-Squash-and-Parsnip Soup

roasted squash and parsnip soup
Mikkel Vang

Your new favorite soup recipe features winter squash, parsnips, apples, and nutty brown butter. It's spiked with aromatic fresh thyme and musky sage for even more flavor.

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Shaved Parsnip and Grapefruit Salad

shaved parsnip salad grapefruit
Romulo Yanes

The assertive flavors of bittersweet grapefruit segments and flat leaf parsley offset the sweet crispness of raw parsnip in this vibrant salad.

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Parsnip-Pumpkin Seed Fries

Linda Pugliese

Powdering pumpkin seeds and tossing the parsnips in the nutty coating adds crunch to these caramel-chewy fries.

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Roasted Carrots and Parsnips with Minty Yogurt Sauce

roasted parsnips carrots
Louise Hagger

Roasting emphasizes the sweetness of both root vegetables, but their textures are delightfully different: silky (carrots) and chewy (parsnips). Their combined caramels are balanced by refreshing minty yogurt and fresh thyme leaves.

07 of 18

Roasted-Parsnip Bread Pudding


Brioche, parsnips, cream, eggs, and white wine come together to make this opulent bread pudding. It checks all the boxes for a main course centerpiece.

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Customizable Vegetable Soup

homemade vegetable soup with toasted bread on cutting board
Marcus Nilsson

For warming many hungry tummies, our customizable vegetable soup allows you to put whatever is in your pantry and refrigerator to good use, ensuring you make the most of what is on hand. Be sure to choose parsnips!

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Orecchiette with Sausage, Chard, and Parsnips

Romulo Yanes

A rewarding bowlful of sweet sausage, tender parsnips, and magnesium-rich Swiss chard is an easy and hearty reward after a long cold-weather hike.

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Slow-Cooker Root-Vegetable Confit

slow cooker root vegetable confit
Stephen Kent Johnson

If you don't have slow cooker yet, this recipe may convert you: parsnips, beets, carrots, and fennel are poached in a spiced oil and topped with pistachio pesto. Red wine vinegar adds essential acid to the sweet vegetables.

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Chicken Soup with Dill Spaetzli

Sharon Radisch

Abundant fresh dill brightens the dumplings in this soothing chicken and parsnip soup.

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Chorizo, Parsnip, and Olive Bites

Bryan Gardner

For individualized cocktail snack pair spicy chorizo with warm, roasted parsnips, and salty olives.

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Spiced Parsnip Cupcakes

Romulo Yanes

Move over, carrot cake! Parsnips have arrived in cupcake town, and these moist, cardamom-rich confections will be a conversation starter.

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Winter-Vegetable Red Curry

Bryan Gardner

The heat of chile is always a fine foil for the sweetness of parsnips. Spicy red curry paste and rich coconut milk pull together this mouthwatering vegetable curry.

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Spanish Clam Soup

Kate Mathis

Briny clams, smoky paprika, fresh herbs, and sharp white wine are mellowed by soft-cooked parsnips.

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Pork with Pears and Parsnip Mash

David Malosh

A beautifully smooth parsnip and potato mash is the perfect resting place for the delectable gravy for this pan-roasted pork loin.

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Roasted Parsnips with Rosemary

creamy braised parsnips sage

These wedges of parsnip are like chunky fries, their roasted sweetness highlighted by tossing with rosemary before cooking.

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Roasted-Parsnip Soup with Chorizo

Bryan Gardner

Roasting parsnips before puréeing them adds a rich layer of flavor to this soup. The bright caper tapenade is genius finishing touch. For a vegan version substitute vegetable broth and skip the chorizo.

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