Mashed Turnips

Mashed turnips in a bowl

Diana Miller / Getty Images

  • Total: 40 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Servings: 4 servings
  • Yields: 2 cups

Turnips may get a bad rap, but they're absolutely delicious when cooked properly. This recipe mashes turnips with the richness of butter and sweetens the dish with a hint of sugar. The taste is amazing and enough to convert any turnip non-believers in your family!

The mashed turnips make an excellent side dish and alternative to mashed potatoes, particularly during the cold season when the root vegetable is at its best. Serve it alongside chicken or pork dishes and a salad for a healthy, well-balanced dinner.


  • Kosher salt (to taste)
  • 1 pound turnips (peeled and cut into a large dice)
  • 2–3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat and season with salt.

  3. Once boiling, add the peeled and diced turnips. Cook until fork-tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.

  4. Drain the turnips and place them back into the pot. Add the butter, sugar, pepper, and season with salt to taste.

  5. Using a potato masher, mash the turnips with the butter and seasonings until it reaches your desired consistency. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.

  6. Serve hot and enjoy!


  • The turnips you select can have a big impact on the flavor of this dish and turnips are known to be somewhat spicy. Generally, if you want a soft, delicate flavor, choose small, young turnips. The older and larger the turnip, the more flavorful it will be. Cooking does mellow the flavor considerably, but you'll still notice the difference.
  • Use a sharp knife to check the tenderness of the turnips. If you can insert the blade with little to no resistance, the turnips are ready.
  • It's easy to turn the mashed turnips into a vegan dish. Simply use vegan margarine or a similar dairy-free substitute for the butter.
  • Don't skip the sugar unless you're on a sugar-free diet. It brings out the natural sweetness of the vegetables.

Recipe Variations

  • A variety of herbs and spices can be added to the mashed turnips. Try a couple of tablespoons of finely chopped sage or rosemary, a clove or two of roasted or sautéed garlic, or a pinch of paprika or ground ginger.
  • If your turnips came with the greens, don't throw them away! Rinse and finely chop the turnip greens and add them while mashing. Or turn them into their own turnip green side dish.
  • For slightly creamier and lightly tart mashed turnips, add a heaping tablespoon of sour cream with the butter.
  • Add other root vegetables such as a carrot, potato, rutabaga, or parsnip to the boiling water if you like. Make sure all of the different vegetables are very tender before draining.