What Do Turnips Taste Like?

Turnips, often mistaken for radish, are root vegetables and have been commonly used for their medicinal benefits for years. Although it does not look like the tastiest root vegetable, it can be prepped and seasoned to taste rich and sweet in flavor. Turnips can be eaten raw or made into a delicious dish. What do turnips taste like?

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Turnips taste bitter and spicy when eaten raw. Younger turnips tend to taste sweet and crunchy. Age influences the taste of turnips, and unlike young turnips, mature turnips taste similar to potatoes with a pungent aftertaste. Mature turnips can taste sweet if you cook and prepare them properly.

Are you eager to include turnips in your dishes? Do you want to know what they taste like? If you are not keen on root vegetables, think again. Read on to discover what turnips taste like, how to make turnips taste good, and if they taste similar to another well-known root vegetable, radish.

What Do Turnips Taste Like?

Turnips are packed with vitamins and minerals and are quite popular in the South-Eastern United States during the fall and winter seasons.

Despite the numerous appetizing ways you can prepare and season turnips, it is not as well-known as one might think. Identifying the vegetable is relatively easy with their leafy greens, purple top, and creamy white bottom.

Although mature turnips taste slightly like potatoes, cabbage, or radish, people often make the mistake of grouping them with those types of root vegetables. They are actually related to kale, brussels sprouts, arugula, and broccoli.

Turnips can be eaten raw, but the bitter and spicy aftertaste that follows is not pleasant for most people. There are many recipes for raw and cooked turnips. Younger turnips tend to taste much sweeter than mature turnips, almost like carrots, but it ultimately relies on how it is cooked and seasoned.

How Do You Make Turnips Taste Good?

Turnips have a distinct taste. This root vegetable can be seasoned and cooked however you like, and depending on what course you are planning to make, the turnips’ taste might differ slightly.

If you are ready to know what turnips taste like and you would like to prepare a dish, here are a few ways to make them taste good:

Steamed Turnips

Whenever I am in the mood for turnips, I usually steam them. It takes some time, but it is definitely worth the wait.

Once your turnips are tender and ready for seasoning, you can add a bit of butter to increase the flavor. Seasoning is the best part, and I find the best spices and herbs that go with steamed turnips are garlic, lemon, nutmeg, parsley, cinnamon, and even cheese!

Of course, you can experiment with spices and herbs until you are happy with the taste of your steamed turnips; however, season it carefully so the flavor does not overpower the turnips.

Salad Turnips

If you want to try something new for a Christmas or Thanksgiving side dish, a turnip salad is definitely the way to go. It can be colorful and flavorful. Usually, we use raw turnips for turnip salad, but you can cook them beforehand if you prefer.

Thinly slice raw turnips for the salad and, for the tastiest result, use a blend of olive oil, salt and pepper, lemon, vinegar, and though it may seem strange fruits as well. These ingredients will make for a refreshing turnip salad!

Mashed Turnips

Mashed turnips are a great alternative to mashed potatoes, and it is healthier too. It is a simple dish, so flavoring is important.

Mash the turnips with butter and a small amount of sugar for a creamy, sweet and rich taste. These two ingredients will take away the bitterness of the turnip.

Add some salt and pepper, rosemary, a clove of garlic, and a dash of paprika to really spice things up.

Sautéed Turnips

A sautéed turnip dish is quick and simple. It can take you about five minutes to cook. To make the turnips taste good, cook them with onions and butter, and do not forget to season them with salt and pepper. Drizzle it with fresh lemon juice to really bring out the taste.

These are the basic turnips dishes you can prepare to make turnips taste good. Vegetables do not have to be bland.

Salad with Turnips

Do Turnips Taste Like Radish?

Turnips are often mistaken for radish because of their similar looks and flavor, but there are slight differences in taste and appearance. It might be due to the root vegetables belonging to separate but somewhat similar plant families.

Turnips are part of the Brassica Genus (plants in the mustard and cabbage clan), and radish forms part of the Raphanus (a genus in the flowering plant clan).

Turnips are larger in size and firmer than the crispy texture of radishes, and while turnips tend to be bitter, their taste is milder than the peppery tang of the radish.

While age can affect the taste of turnips, as I mentioned before, younger turnips taste sweet and mature turnips taste bitter; the radish color gives us an idea of how it will taste. Red and pink radishes do have some sweetness to them, while black radishes are peppery.

Overall, turnips do have a unique taste, and even though it is significantly similar to radish, when you eat them, you will be able to taste the difference between these two root vegetables.


Turnips are a delicious addition to your family dinner and can differ in taste based on how you prepared it. Once you have tasted turnips, you will indeed include them in your monthly grocery list.

There are many ways to bring out their distinct taste, and you can use a variety of spices and herbs that complement their flavor. If you dislike root vegetables but want to find out why people are hyped about turnips, then I dare you to take a bite. Don’t knock it until you have tried it!

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