9 Best Substitute For Parsnips

Parsnips Substitute

Parsnips, a root vegetable closely related to carrots and parsley, are a staple in many kitchens. Appreciated for their sweet and slightly nutty flavor, parsnips bring a delightful complexity to various dishes, whether roasted, mashed, or incorporated into a hearty stew. Their versatility in cooking, coupled with their high nutritional value, make parsnips a popular ingredient amongst both home cooks and professional chefs.

However, finding a parsnip substitute can sometimes be necessary, whether due to dietary restrictions, availability issues, or simply a desire to explore new flavors. This article highlights several excellent substitutes for parsnips, each bringing their own unique qualities to your dishes. From the earthy tones of celeriac to the comforting familiarity of white potatoes, these substitutes ensure your culinary creativity never misses a beat when parsnips are absent. So, let’s get started, as understanding these alternatives will make your cooking experience more versatile and adaptable.

What is Parsnips?

Parsnips are a type of root vegetable closely related to carrots and parsley. They are typically longer than carrots, with a creamy white color and a sweet, slightly nutty flavor that becomes more pronounced when cooked. Parsnips are highly versatile, finding their place in a variety of dishes ranging from stews, roasts, soups, and purees. They are also a powerhouse of nutrition, packing a hefty punch of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. But what do you do if you don’t have parsnips on hand? Well, that’s where our parsnip substitutes come into play.

Your Root to Success: Substitutes For Parsnips

  • Carrots
  • Turnips
  • Rutabaga
  • Celeriac
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Jicama
  • Jerusalem Artichokes
  • Kohlrabi
  • White Potatoes

Best Substitutes For Parsnips

Finding the right substitute can make all the difference in your recipe. It’s not just about the flavor but also about the texture, color, and the way the substitute cooks. Let’s delve into the details of our top parsnip substitutes.


A member of the same family as parsnips, carrots make an excellent substitute. They share a similar shape, size, and texture, making them a perfect swap in recipes calling for whole or chopped parsnips.

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Carrots have a sweet, earthy flavor that can mimic the sweetness of parsnips, though they lack the subtle nutty undertone. When cooked, carrots develop a robust and pleasingly soft texture similar to that of parsnips. They are incredibly versatile and can be used in a wide array of dishes, just like parsnips.

Carrots’ color is another aspect to consider. Unlike the white parsnips, carrots have a vibrant orange hue that can add a dash of color to your dishes. However, if you are keen on maintaining the color, you can opt for white carrots.


Turnips, though not as sweet as parsnips, can be a viable alternative. Their flavor profile has a mild bitterness, which may not exactly mimic parsnips but can add an interesting twist to your dish.

In terms of texture, turnips, when cooked, become tender and slightly creamy, much like parsnips. They are a great addition to stews, roasts, and soups, holding up well to various cooking methods.

Turnips are usually white with a hint of purple, making them visually similar to parsnips. Their nutrient content is also on par with parsnips, making them a healthy alternative.


Rutabaga, a cross between turnip and cabbage, is another potential substitute. With a sweet, mildly earthy flavor, rutabaga can recreate the sweet aspects of parsnips in your dishes.

Rutabaga’s texture is also comparable to parsnips, offering apleasingly soft, creamy consistency when cooked. This makes them an ideal swap in purees, stews, and other dishes where the texture of parsnips is vital.

Rutabaga’s exterior is purple-tinted while its interior is yellow, slightly different from the typical white of parsnips. However, the color difference shouldn’t affect the taste or overall look of your dish in a significant way.


Celeriac, or celery root, might be less known but makes a great substitute for parsnips. It possesses an earthy flavor profile with a slight hint of celery-like freshness. Though not as sweet as parsnips, celeriac can bring a unique note to your dish.

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When cooked, celeriac turns tender and creamy, similar to parsnips. It can be used in any cooking method that involves parsnips. Whether roasted, boiled, or pureed, celeriac can be relied upon to carry the day when parsnips are absent.

Color-wise, celeriac is creamy white, like parsnips, maintaining the visual aspects of your dish. As a bonus, it’s loaded with a wide array of nutrients, making it a healthy substitute.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a slightly different but effective substitute for parsnips. They share a comparable sweetness, although sweet potatoes have a more pronounced earthy flavor.

The texture of cooked sweet potatoes is similar to parsnips, being soft and creamy. This makes them suitable for dishes that require a similar mouthfeel to parsnips, like mashed vegetables or soups.

In terms of color, sweet potatoes can vary from white to orange and purple, potentially changing the visual appeal of your dish. Still, if the color isn’t a primary concern, sweet potatoes can make an excellent, nutrient-rich alternative.


Jicama, though not as commonly used, can serve as an excellent raw substitute for parsnips. Its flavor profile is crisp, sweet, and nutty, which closely mimics raw parsnips.

In terms of texture, raw jicama has a satisfying crunch similar to raw parsnips, making it a good alternative for salads or other dishes where raw parsnips are used.

While jicama’s exterior is brown, its interior is white, which resembles the appearance of parsnips. It’s also packed with a number of beneficial nutrients, providing a healthful twist to your dishes.

Jerusalem Artichokes

Jerusalem artichokes, also known as sunchokes, can be an interesting alternative to parsnips. Their sweet, nutty flavor bears a good resemblance to the taste of parsnips.

When cooked, Jerusalem artichokes become soft and creamy, like parsnips. They can be roasted, boiled, or pureed, holding up well under different cooking methods.

While Jerusalem artichokes’ exterior is typically brown and knobbly, their interior is creamy white, somewhat mirroring the look of parsnips. Their impressive nutritional profile makes them a wholesome alternative.


Kohlrabi, with its mild, sweet flavor and crunchy texture, can work as a raw substitute for parsnips. While its flavor isn’t as robust as parsnips, it can add a pleasant, sweet crunch to your dishes.

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When cooked, kohlrabi becomes tender, although it doesn’t get as creamy as parsnips. However, in dishes where the texture isn’t as crucial, kohlrabi can be a fine alternative.

Kohlrabi’s exterior is usually green or purple, but its interior is a creamy white color. Plus, it boasts a variety of nutrients, which adds to its suitability as a parsnipsubstitute.

White Potatoes

A common staple in most kitchens, white potatoes can also substitute for parsnips in certain recipes. They might lack the distinct sweet and nutty flavor of parsnips, but they offer a familiar, comforting taste.

White potatoes, when cooked, achieve a soft and creamy texture, which mirrors the texture of cooked parsnips. They can be used in a variety of dishes such as stews, roasts, and purees, and they hold up well under different cooking methods.

The color of white potatoes is almost identical to that of parsnips, making them a good match visually. They also come with a decent array of nutrients, making them a worthy and readily available substitute.

Substitutes for Parsnips: Nutritional Profile

VegetableGlutenCaloriesFat (g)Carbs (g)Fiber (g)Protein (g)
Sweet Potatoes0g860.120.131.6
Jerusalem Artichokes0g730.117.41.62
White Potatoes0g770.117.52.22

*All values are for ¼ cup serving and are approximate.

Conclusion: The Power of Parsnip Alternatives

While the unique flavor of parsnips is hard to replicate exactly, various root vegetables come close enough and can bring their own charm to your dishes. Having an arsenal of alternatives ensures you can still whip up your favorite recipes even when parsnips are missing from your pantry. Whether it’s the sweet crunch of carrots, the earthy undertones of celeriac, or the comforting familiarity of white potatoes, each substitute adds its unique twist, elevating your culinary creation. Now that you are armed with this knowledge, go forth and experiment in your kitchen – the root to success is in your hands!

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