7 Best Substitute For Korean Radish

Korean Radish Substitute

Korean radish, an essential ingredient in many traditional dishes, possesses a unique blend of mild sweetness and peppery zest. This crunchy and flavorful root vegetable, known as “mu” in Korea, brings a distinctive taste and texture to recipes, enhancing their appeal. However, its availability may vary across different geographies, necessitating the need for substitutes. Identifying the best alternatives involves considering not just flavor and texture profiles, but also the nutritional benefits they bring to the table.

Among the myriad of vegetables available, some are remarkable stand-ins for Korean radish. From the closely related Daikon radish, the crunchy white turnip, to the sweet and nutty parsnip, each offers unique qualities that can adeptly mimic the role of Korean radish in a recipe. These substitutes allow culinary enthusiasts to recreate traditional Korean dishes with similar taste and texture, even when Korean radish is out of reach. Armed with this knowledge, the world of cooking opens up, allowing for limitless exploration and experimentation.

What is Korean Radish?

Korean radish, or “mu,” as it’s known locally, is a type of white radish with firm crunchy texture and slightly sweet, peppery taste. This winter radish plays a starring role in a variety of Korean dishes, such as the popular “kimchi” and “mu-guk” (radish soup). Its unique flavor profile and texture set it apart from other radishes, making it a treasured ingredient in Korean culinary traditions.

The Magnificent Seven: Substitutes For Korean Radish

  • Daikon Radish
  • White Turnip
  • Jicama
  • Watermelon Radish
  • Kohlrabi
  • White Beetroot
  • Parsnip

Best Substitutes For Korean Radish

When choosing substitutes for Korean radish, it’s important to consider aspects like texture, taste, and the specific culinary application. Let’s dive into each of these options.

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Daikon Radish

Daikon, or Japanese radish, is arguably the closest substitute for Korean radish. Visually similar, Daikon is larger in size but shares the crunchy texture and slightly sweet taste of its Korean counterpart.

Primarily used in Japanese and other Asian cuisines, Daikon radish is a common ingredient in salads, stir-fry dishes, and pickles. Its size and relatively mild flavor make it an ideal stand-in for Korean radish in dishes like kimchi, where it can absorb the flavors of other ingredients without overpowering them.

Nutritionally, Daikon is low in calories and rich in vitamin C and potassium. Its health benefits include aiding digestion and boosting the immune system. The ease of finding Daikon in most grocery stores makes it a convenient substitute for Korean radish.

White Turnip

White turnips, though smaller and rounder than Korean radishes, offer a comparable crunch and a slightly sweet, peppery flavor. These qualities make white turnips a plausible substitute in many dishes.

Turnips have been a staple in European cuisines for centuries, used in everything from soups and stews to pickles. While they have a stronger flavor profile than Korean radish, their ability to soak up the flavors of the ingredients they are cooked with can help balance this difference.

In terms of nutrition, white turnips are a powerhouse of nutrients. They are an excellent source of vitamins C, K, and A, and are packed with dietary fiber. They’re also a good source of calcium, making them a nutritious substitute for Korean radish.


Next on our list is jicama, a root vegetable native to Mexico, that offers a unique combination of crunch and sweetness. Jicama’s texture and mildly sweet taste make it a fitting substitute for Korean radish, especially in raw applications.

Traditionally used in Mexican and South-East Asian cuisines, jicama is enjoyed both raw and cooked. It is popular in salads, slaws, and stir-fry dishes. When used as a Korean radish substitute, it retains its crisp texture even when cooked, much like Korean radish does.

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Jicama is low in calories but rich in dietary fiber and vitamin C. It’s a great addition to any diet and offers a distinctive alternative to Korean radish in your culinary adventures.

Watermelon Radish

Watermelon radish, named after its vibrant pink interior, is another worthy alternative to Korean radish. Its crisp texture and mildly sweet and peppery taste make it a versatile substitute.

This radish, a part of Chinese cuisine, is ideal for salads and pickling, but can also be cooked. It’s the perfect replacement for Korean radish in salads, adding both color and crunch.

As for its nutritional value, watermelon radish is a good source of vitamin C and other antioxidants, giving your dishes a healthy boost while delivering in terms of taste and texture.


Kohlrabi, a German turnip, has a similar texture to Korean radish but a somewhat sweeter flavor. Its ability to maintain its crunchy texture during cooking makes it a suitable replacement in recipes that call for Korean radish.

Kohlrabi is commonly used in European and Indian cuisines, either raw in salads or cooked in soups and curries. When substituting for Korean radish, it’s best used in cooked dishes, as its sweet flavor might dominate when used raw.

In terms of nutrition, kohlrabi is rich in dietary fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. It’s also a good source of vitamin B6 and magnesium, providing a nutritious alternative to Korean radish.

White Beetroot

White beetroot, with its firm texture and sweet flavor, can be an interesting substitute for Korean radish. While its taste is sweeter and less peppery, it still holds up well in both raw and cooked applications.

White beetroot can be used similarly to its more common red cousin, in salads, soups, and pickles. Its unique flavor and crisp texture can bring a refreshing change to dishes traditionally made with Korean radish.

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From a nutritional standpoint, white beetroot is an excellent source of dietary fiber, folate, and vitamin C. It also contains potassium and manganese, making it a healthful substitute for Korean radish.


Last but not least, parsnip, a root vegetable related to carrots and parsley, makes for an unconventional but interesting substitute. While parsnip’s sweet, nutty flavor and softer texture set it apart from Korean radish, it can work well in cooked applications.

Parsnip is a staple in European cuisine and is often used in soups, stews, and roasted vegetable dishes. When substituting for Korean radish, consider using it in recipes where the radish is cooked, as parsnip’s flavor and texture can complement these dishes well.

Parsnips are rich in dietary fiber, vitamin C, and folate. They also contain potassium and manganese, adding a nutritional punch to any dish.

Substitutes for Korean Radish: Nutritional Profile

Daikon Radish0g180.1g4.1g1.6g0.6g
White Turnip0g280.2g6.5g1.8g0.9g
Watermelon Radish0g160.1g3.4g1.9g0.7g
White Beetroot0g430.2g10g2g1.6g

*Values are per ¼ cup serving, raw.

Concluding Thoughts

Finding the perfect substitute for a unique ingredient like Korean radish might seem daunting at first, but as we’ve seen, there are many vegetables that can fill in admirably. Whether you opt for the Daikon radish’s close resemblance, the parsnip’s distinct flavor, or the jicama’s unique crunch, these substitutes not only provide the needed diversity in flavor and texture but also contribute a wide array of nutritional benefits. So, the next time you find yourself without Korean radish, feel confident in choosing from these suitable alternatives and keep the culinary magic going.

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