Easy Mashed Rutabagas

Easy mashed rutabagas in a white bowl

The Spruce

Prep: 16 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Total: 51 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
161 Calories
11g Fat
16g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 161
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 6g 32%
Cholesterol 27mg 9%
Sodium 799mg 35%
Total Carbohydrate 16g 6%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Protein 2g
Calcium 86mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Rutabagas are a root vegetable and are sometimes referred to as the Swedish turnip. You can use rutabagas as you would use almost any other root vegetable, which means they're a great substitute for mashed potatoes, and also delicious when combined with potatoes and then mashed. Serve these mashed rutabagas as a side dish to any meat or poultry entrée (think roasted chicken), or alongside a ham or pot roast. The recipe comes together very quickly and you can do the mashing right in the pot you've cooked them in. Save some of the cooking water if you feel the need to thin them out a little bit after mashing and adding the butter, salt, and pepper.

Rutabagas are in the brassica family and are thought to be an ancient cross between a turnip and a cabbage. They're mildly sweeter than turnips but still retain some bitterness; some people describe the taste as bittersweet.


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  • 2 to 3 pounds rutabagas
  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Peel rutabaga and cut into chunks.

    Chunks of rutabaga in a bowl
    The Spruce
  2. Put the rutabaga in a large saucepan and cover with water.

    Rutabaga chunks covered with water in a pot
    The Spruce
  3. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt.

    Rutabaga chunks seasoned with salt
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  4. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 25 to 30 minutes or until tender.

  5. Drain and let the rutabaga dry in a colander or in the pan with the top ajar.

    Drained and cooked rutabaga chunks
    The Spruce
  6. Mash the rutabagas with the butter, 1 teaspoon salt, and the black pepper.

    Mashed rutabaga with salt, pepper, and butter
    The Spruce

Recipe Variations

  • If you find that rutabagas are too bitter for you, add a tablespoon of sugar and stir to combine, to accentuate the sweetness.
  • Mashed rutabagas are delicious with this sage brown butter sauce.
  • Add 1/2 cup of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or parsley.
  • Instead of using all rutabaga, use a combination of other root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips and/or Yukon gold potatoes along with rutabaga.
  • Fold in caramelized onions and/or roasted garlic at the end.
  • Add a few tablespoons of buttermilk, a dash of cinnamon, and a tablespoon of maple syrup to play up this veggie's sweetness.

How to Store and Freeze Rutabaga

  • You can freeze rutabaga for future use in recipes, by either blanching chunks and then freezing them, or freezing a puree.
  • Mashed rutabagas will keep in the refrigerator covered in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days.
  • To freeze, pack mashed rutabaga into freezer storage bags and squeeze out as much air as possible. Freeze for up to 12 months. Reheat frozen mashed rutabaga in a saucepan over medium-low heat, adding a little milk or butter if need be. Cook, stirring frequently until the rutabaga is hot.