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11 Best Substitutes for Parsnips in Recipe – Chef’s Choice

Parsnip is among the most widely used vegetable, and it is versatile.

You can make a puree out of it, bake it, roast it or fry it. Whatever you plan on doing with it, this vegetable stands out from the crowd because of its unique flavor.

Now you might love parsnip to bits, but excess of everything is bad. So, you need a variety in your diet.

If you are trying to break up your habit of overeating parsnip, we have some fantastic suggestions regarding parsnip substitutes that you should try.

Here is everything you need to know about parsnip and its substitutes.

10-Second Summary

If you need parsnip but can’t find it, here are some popular options you can use in a 1:1 ratio:

  • Carrot: use carrots which can be pureed, grilled, and even stir-fried
  • Turnips: use turnips if you want a similar flavor & taste profile
  • Sweet potatoes: use sweet potatoes if you want a sweet meal

Top 11 Parsnip Substitutes

Looking for a substitute for parsnip? Here are 11 perfect substitutes that are just as tasteful and healthy.

1. Carrots


Carrots are close relatives of parsnip. They both are pretty similar in appearance except for the color, of course.

However, because of the similarity, you can use carrot instead of parsnip. Carrots come in orange, white, and purple colors, and all these are a perfect parsnip substitute.

The best thing about carrots is that they are low in calories and are super nutritious. They have an earthy and slightly sweet flavor and are versatile. So, you can puree them, grill them, stir fry them and even steam them.

2. Turnips


When it comes to flavor, turnips are closely related to parsnip. It has the same earthy and sweet flavor; however, the sweetness is not as prominent as parsnip.

Thus, if you are looking for a less sweet substitute, I prefer you choose turnip. Moreover, turnip is very low in calories and has literally no fat.

3. Sweet Potatoes

sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a very healthy root vegetable. They are widely known for their starchy and sweet flavor and smooth texture.

Unlike regular potatoes, sweet potatoes have a sweet taste and dark orange to pale yellow interior. These are available around the year. Because of their sweetness, they are an ideal substitute for parsnip in several dishes.

4. Celery Root

celery root

Don’t confuse celery root with celery. The two have nothing in common.

Celery root or celeriac is a root vegetable with a bulb. It is low in carbohydrates and is usually used in stews and soups. This root vegetable also goes well if you don’t have parsnip. In fact, mashed celery root is very tasteful.

5. Parsley Root

parsley root

When you hear parsley, the first thing that comes to your mind is fresh green leaves which don’t resemble parsnip in any way. But we are not talking about the leaves here.

Parsley root is the main focus of discussion today. The only difference between the two in appearance is that parsley root is whiter than a parsnip.

Moreover, if you are looking for a substitute that contains a high amount of nutrients and minerals, go for parsley root. This nutrient-dense option won’t let you down.

6. Radish


Radish is usually found in two colors, i.e., purple and red. Because of the color, most people don’t consider it as a good parsnip substitute.

However, I think it works just fine, especially in stir fry. The radish also has a sweet flavor, but you can feel a peppery note to it as well.

7. Rutabaga


This root vegetable is a turnip-wild cabbage hybrid and is known for its sweet flavor which flavor makes it an excellent replacement for parsnip.

It is nutrient-rich and is quite a unique vegetable but adds so much flavor in stews, soups, and mash.

8. Salsify


Despite resembling parsnip in appearance, salsify has a very different flavor.

It is also known as an oyster plant. That’s because its taste resembles that of an oyster a lot. The vegetable is not very common in America but can easily be found in European countries.

9. Peruvian Parsnip

peruvian parsnip

Also known as arracacha, this vegetable is a smaller version of regular parsnip. It also has a similar flavor. As a result, it is an ideal vegetable for replacing parsnip.

10. Kohlrabi


It is another root vegetable that is not very common in America. It is usually found in European countries. This vegetable’s flavor resembles that of turnip. Moreover, as the vegetable ages, its flavor becomes more intense and sweeter.

11. Potato


Now, who doesn’t love potato? They are packed with so much flavor and aroma. Using potato as a parsnip substitute is a great idea thanks to its amazing taste.

If you love potato, you would happily use it as a substitute.

Why Should You Replace Parsnip?

Before we move towards the substitutes for parsnip, let us talk first about why you should replace them.

Well, there can be many reasons for replacing this root vegetable. Here are a few:

  • Are you bored of eating the same thing: Believe me or not, it happens! Sometimes you just get tired of eating the same vegetable or combination, and your tastebuds ache for something new or different. So, if you want something less sweet in flavor than parsnip, you can find several substitutes.
  • Looking for variety: As I said before, eating the same thing can be boring because there are so many vegetables, so why not try all of them. Having a variety can be exciting, especially if you like to experiment.
  • Allergies: Some people are allergic to parsnip as well. Especially wild parsnip is known for causing allergies in some people. So, if you found out that you also have parsnip allergies, you definitely need a parsnip substitute.
  • Can’t find it: Although parsnip is available throughout the year, sometimes it happens that you can’t find fresh produce. If that happens, not finding the fresh vegetable can kill your mood. However, it doesn’t have to be that way! I mean, there are plenty of parsnip substitutes available that are just as tasteful as parsnip.

FAQs About Parsnip Substitute

Are Parsnips a Good Substitute for Potatoes?

Parsnips are flavorful and can be fit for any meal, but you should note that they have more sugar and carbohydrates than potatoes.

How to Choose the Right Parsnip Substitute?

There are three criteria on which you can choose the right parsnip substitute. These are:

  • Flavor: Parsnip has an earthy and sweet flavor. When you replace it with any other vegetable, you would have it to give you more or less the same taste. So, you can use vegetables like turnip, parsley root, Peruvian parsnip, celery root, and salsify.
  • Availability: Availability is very important. You can’t use Kohlrabi or salsify in America when you can’t find it, can you? So, choose a vegetable that is readily available and is fresh.
  • Use: If you are making a puree, you would want the color to be creamy. So, you can’t use reddish for that, can you? However, if you are making stir fry, you can use radish in place of parsnip. Similarly, for a mash, celery root or turnip will work best. So, choose a substitute according to what you are cooking.

What Does Parsnip Taste Like?

Parsnip is known for its unique flavor. Although it is available throughout the year, it is actually a winter vegetable.

It has a distinctive earthy, nutty aroma, and sweet taste. The flavor profile makes it a very comforting ingredient that brings in warmth. It is a widely used ingredient in soups and stews, especially during winters.

Parsnip is a very versatile vegetable, and you can use it in many different ways. Its sweetness is also used in making desserts. Because of the unique blend of sweetness, nuttiness, and earthiness, parsnip brings in comfort, warmth, and coziness. It is a perfect ingredient to give your tastebuds a treat.


Parsnip is undoubtedly an amazing root vegetable. It is available throughout the year and is widely used in making stews, soups, stir fry, puree, and roast.

You can enjoy its earthy and sweet flavor in many ways. However, there can be times when you can’t find it at the grocery stores or don’t feel like eating it.

If you don’t want to get out of your comfort zone, you can look for vegetables that offer more or less the same flavor. In that case, you can easily find a parsnip substitute.

The 11 substitutes mentioned above for parsnip are the most widely used and readily available vegetables. They might have a flavor of their own but also satisfy the need for earthiness and sweetness of the parsnip.

So, try these substitutes for parsnip and let us know which vegetable you found to be the closest to parsnip? Till then enjoy cooking!

I’m Jennifer Schlette, a Registered Dietitian and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. I love cooking, reading, and my kids! Here you’ll find the healthiest recipes & substitutions for your cooking. Enjoy, and be well, friends!

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