10 Best Parsnip Substitutes


Parsnip is a white-colored root that looks very similar to carrots. It is originally from Eurasia but it is popular worldwide especially in winter. Most people like to use it in soups since it gives a unique taste to many different kinds of warm dishes.

You can cut it to any shape you want or even grate it. And then you can cook it, bake it or roast it. It has quite a strong taste alone. But combined with other vegetables the result is just amazing.

Some of us like parsnip but others find its taste too strong. If that is the case for you or you just want to replace parsnip with something else for whatever reason, you have so many options to choose from.

The best substitutes for parsnips are carrot, parsley, turnip, radish, kohlrabi, salsify, arracacha, celeriac, sweet potato and potato.

This article will show you when and how to use these veggies in your favorite recipes as parsnip substitutes.

Parsnip Substitutes

If your recipe calls for parsnip but you don’t have any at home, all you need to do is take a look at your fridge. I am certain you can find there something to use as an alternative. This guide will help you to choose the best parsnip substitute for your dish.

1. Carrot


Carrot is the best alternative to parsnip because they are cousins. They have the same size and shape. Meaning is very easy to use carrots as a parsnip substitute.

Simply follow your recipe and instead of parsnips, use carrots. The only difference is that carrots normally need a few minutes less to cook.

It is a good choice if you don’t like that strong taste of parsnip because carrot has a milder and sweeter taste. The easiest to find is orange carrot.

However, if you want your dish to look like the original one, use white carrots. Also, it is better to use full-sized carrots as a parsnip substitute instead of baby carrots.

2. Parsley


Aren’t parsley and parsnip the same? No. They look almost identical and they have a very similar taste but they are two different roots. Still, you can use parsley in all your recipes instead of parsnip.

I think you can never go wrong with parsley. You can bake it, roast it or fry it. Or you can make a delicious parsley soup or purée.

3. Turnip


Another winter vegetable you can replace parsnip with is turnips. Turnips can be difficult to find in supermarkets. But if you do find them, you can use them to make delicious dishes.

It tastes best when steamed roasted or stir-fried. If you use it instead of parsnips, your results will be less sweet. However, you can adjust it with seasonings or honey. Also, try to find younger turnips because the older ones have more of a bitter taste.

4. Radish


Radish is very similar to a turnip. Thus, it is also a good substitute. It gives an excellent flavor to many roasted or stir-fried dishes.

Regarding the sweetness, radish is somewhere between parsnip and turnip. Meaning, you need to adjust with the flavor a bit, but not as much when you use turnip.

Or if you don’t mind having something a bit bitter and less sweet, just follow the instructions of your recipe with parsnip.

5. Kohlrabi


Do you have some old kohlrabi at home and you don’t know what to do with it? It is not too fresh and juicy anymore, but you don’t want to throw it away?

When kohlrabi gets older, it becomes a bit stronger and less sweet. At this point, it works very well as a substitute for parsnip in many dishes.

The best is to make a warm meat or vegetable soup with it. When you boil the kohlrabi in the soup it becomes soft and tasty.

6. Salsify


Salsify might be the least popular vegetable on the list. But if you find it you can use it in many recipes instead of parsnip. It looks like a branch from the outside, but inside it is creamy white. It is also called oyster plant because it has a similar flavor to oysters.

As a parsnip substitute, you can use it mostly in soups and stews. Just boil your salsify and remove its peel before you use it as it can be too hard to eat.

7. Arracacha

Arracacha or Peruvian parsnip looks very similar to regular parsnip. When it is cooked it also tastes just like parsnip which makes it an excellent parsnip substitute.

It is delicious when fried or baked. But you can also serve it as a side dish. It is also common to use it as a filling in gnocchis and dumplings.

The only disadvantage of arracacha is that it is quite difficult to find it if you don’t live in South America.

8. Celeriac


Celeriac or celery root is a brownish white-colored root with an earthy flavor. It has a different taste to parsnip yet in many recipes it works well as a substitute.

Just like parsnip, you can boil, braise, or roast celeriac. You can also make soups, purées, and stews from it. You might need to cook it a little bit longer as celeriac is harder than parsnips.

9. Sweet potato

Sweet Potato

Sweet potato is a winter vegetable. However,  you can find it in supermarkets all year around. It is a great substitute for parsnip mostly in baked and roasted dishes.

If you use it as an alternative for parsnip, try to find darker ones with thicker skin. It will taste more similar to parsnips. And keep in mind that sweet potato is softer than parsnip so you don’t need to cook it for so long.

10. Potato

Russet Potatoes

If you are looking for a parsnip substitute and you have nothing on hand from the list above, then potatoes can save you. It is not as good as the other alternatives on the list. However, it is for sure better than nothing.

I think I don’t have to explain to you how to use potatoes. You can either bake, cook or fry them. I recommend adding some more seasoning when used as a parsnip substitute.

Related Questions

Can I use jicama to substitute parsnip?

Yes, you can. Jicama is also called a Mexican turnip. You can use it as a parsnip substitute just like turnips.

Do I need to peel the parsnip?

Young and small parsnip doesn’t necessarily need to be peeled. But if you use bigger ones the taste of the peel can be quite hard. Therefore, I recommend peeling them beforehand.

Can I eat raw parsnip?

Parsnip can be eaten raw. But it is not so common. It has a better taste when cooked, baked, or roasted.

What does parsnip taste like?

Parsnip has quite a distinct taste. That’s why it is used in so many different recipes. It has a sweetness similar to carrots. But with an earthy nuttiness.

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