Mashed Turnips

  • 6 cups peeled, cubed turnips (about 4 big ones)
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons margarine
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Choose turnips the size of your fist or smaller. Cut off the tops in a thin layer. Peel the turnips with a vegetable peeler. Don’t bother cutting off the root end, instead peel it clean with the vegetable peeler. Cut the turnips into medium sized chunks. Measure up 6 full cups of them.

Bring the water to a boil in a large pot on the stove. Add the salt and sugar. When the water boils, add the turnips. Boil for about 20 minutes, or until the turnips are tender. Drain well. Add the margarine and evaporated milk. Using electric beaters mash the turnips until they are smooth. Taste and add more salt and plenty of pepper. Makes 4 servings.

These really hit the spot when mashed potatoes seem like the only thing worth living for but you only have turnips in the house. If desired, you can divide the mixture up between small baking dishes and treat them like twice baked potatoes. Add bacon-bits, sour cream, shredded cheese, steamed broccoli, a big scoop of chili, or tomato sauce and parmesan cheese. Microwave or bake until heated through.

The secret to getting turnips to take on the mild taste of potatoes is to boil them in water that has been both salted and sweetened. Without the salt and sweetener turnips have a stronger flavor that some people find objectionable. If you’ve never had turnips treated this way then you are in for a real treat.

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fhurlbutt - April 9, 2010

i love turnips and fortunately can get them free in the fall from farmers who plant them to keep away gophers in their alfalfa.

Deborah - July 25, 2010

This is awesome for mellowing the turnips down. I used a tiny but of regular skim milk instead of evaporated, and more butter than was strictly necessary. Will definitely make again!

fred - October 15, 2010

tried another recipe for turnips, this one for the greens. clean,devein and tear greens.boil for awhile then add long cooking rice. boil until rice is done. add one or two spoonfuls of peanut butter to the mix. let melt in and then dig in. i love it. wheatberries can be substituted for the rice if rice is too expensive.

josh - June 12, 2011

Yes, these are good but I like my mashed turnips with plenty of fresh minced garlic and some heavy cream instead of milk. Take that and a bowl of fresh asparagus seasoned with pepper, NOW you are talking!

Kim - June 15, 2011

I always hated turnips growing up, but my husband showed me a way to cook them that I just LOVE:

Cut up your turnip (you might call them rutabagas – the large ones that are the size of a child’s head) into 1/2″ cubes or smaller. Cut up an equal amount of carrots into 1″ chunks. Boil until turnips are soft. Drain well and mash with some butter. You don’t want to mix them with your beaters as it’s best if it’s a little “chunky”. Serve with a little more butter, salt and pepper.


    Sun - January 5, 2012

    Kim, while rutabegas are turnips, not all turnips are rutabegas, and they taste different. This recipe is for purple tops.

Carol Cripps - June 15, 2011

i like swedes (yellow turnips) mashed like that, too. I also add a little grated nutmeg to them. Here’s another way I like them:

Cover with water
1 medium Swede, chopped
Add a dash of salt to taste

Cook the swedes until they’re tender, then drain and mash.

Beat together:
the mashed swedes,
1/2 cup sour cream,
1 egg yolk, beaten
generous pinch of nutmeg

Make sure you beat in the sour cream first, to cool the mixture so the egg yolk doesn’t cook! Then beat the egg white till stiff, and fold in. Pour into a buttered dish and dot the top with butter. Bake at about 350 for 20 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned. If your swede is really big, use two egg yolks and two egg whites, and a little more sour cream.

I’ve fed this to veggie-hating kids, and had them clean out the dish! I hope you like it, too.

DJ White - September 16, 2012

I’ve always made mine w/salt & sugar, that’s how my momma made then and I loved them! In fact I’m making some right now, I’m going to mash them and then pour a chicken mushroom w/garlic sauce over them and pig out for dinner. Going to pair it with some old fashion pea salad and jalapeno/cheese rolls and I’ll going to be in heaven!

Amy - November 18, 2012

yum! I picked up some sweet turnips at the farmers market and really didn’t know what to do with them. Generally, when I look up recipes on the internet, I use the recipe as a guide. Today was no exception. I read this recipe then went to work. I added more sugar to the water than was called for and I didn’t have powdered milk. I just boiled the chopped turnips (skin on) in salted/sugared water (I used more than this recipe called for – just dumped some in). When the turnips were finished, I strained them and hand mashed them with 1/2 pack of cream cheese, 1/2 stick of butter, a splash of 2% milk and some more salt…yum! It was a little watery, so I put it back through the strainer and …. magnificent! I think this would be even better if it was 1/2 sweet potato and 1/2 turnip.

Lo - January 7, 2013

Made these tonight. They were pretty good. Next time, I may roast them and mash them after that. I liked them much better than mashed cauliflower.

Joy - October 20, 2013

I substituted cream cheese for the milk and it was so good!!

Leigh - November 7, 2013

We love turnips and I’m always on the lookout for another recipe. What a great tip about getting a good mild flavor. Thanks!

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