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Looking for a great substitute for parsnips? How about 11 easy vegetables that can replace parsnips? Keep reading to find out how you can use items you can easily find in the grocery store, or even in your kitchen as parsnip substitutes. 

substitute for parsnips


What is a parsnip?

A parsnip is a cream-colored root vegetable that belongs to the flowering plant family called Apiaceae. Parsnips are very closely related to carrots and parsley. They also have a sweet flavor similar to that of carrots and are usually eaten cooked but, they can also be eaten raw.


Uses of parsnips

Parsnips are very versatile and are great steamed, boiled, baked, roasted, fried and pureed. Parsnips can be used for:

  • Thickening soups and stews due to the starch it contains
  • Adding rich flavor to stews and soups
  • Making chips and crisps by frying or baking sliced parsnips
  • Roasting and serving as a side dish
  • Making casserole dishes
  • Making wine
  • Adding to salads

Now besides all that, the most important question you want answered is how can I substitute parsnips and I do have the answers for you.

The best and most popular substitutes for parsnips are carrots, turnips, celery roots, sweet potatoes, parsley roots, radishes, salsify and celeriac roots to name a few. I’ve listed them all below with ideas about which recipes they can be used in.

Best substitutes for parsnips

Orange carrots

substitute for parsnips

Carrots are one of the most popular substitutes for parsnips. As stated before, carrots and parsnips are closely related and thus they look very similar in terms of shape and size and you can easily use carrots to replace parsnips in any soup, stew, baked dish or salad.

While they look very similar, their flavor profiles are different. Therefore, while parsnips are have this sweet, nutty, earthy flavor with some starchiness, carrots have a flavor that is sweet, fruity and somewhat bitter without the starch.

As such, the flavor of your dish will be somewhat different if carrots are used in place of parsnips, but it can still be done with some slight adjustments.

Substitution ratio: 1 cup chopped parsnips = 1 cup chopped orange carrots 


White carrots

white carrots - alternative for parsnips

White carrots look almost identical to parsnips and they can be a great parsnip replacement in certain dishes.

White carrots lacks the earthiness that is found is both orange carrots and parsnips, but, it does have some sweetness similar to parsnips that will make it an adequate substitute for parsnips in soups, stews and casseroles and other dishes that require some sweetness.

Substitution ratio: 1 cup chopped parsnips = 1 cup chopped white carrots 



Turnips, like parsnips, have this sweet, nutty, earthy flavor when cooked, that make them the perfect root vegetable to cook in place of parsnips in most dishes. 

Turnips are less sweet than both carrots and parsnips, but, it can properly replace parsnips in a recipe in a pinch, especially in stews, or roasted alongside other root vegetables.

Substitution ratio: 1 cup chopped parsnips = 1 cup chopped turnips


Celery roots or celeriac 

This is a lower carb alternative to root vegetables like parsnips. Celery roots have this crisp, firm texture similar to that of parsnips and, like parsnips it sweetens when cooked. Thus, it is a great way to replace parsnips in a pinch.

The flavor of celery roots, is not very similar to parsnips as celery roots are mild and taste somewhat like celery mixed with parsley with a hint of sweetness.

Nonetheless, in many recipes like fries, chicken soup, mash, roasted root vegetables, or fresh salads, you can easily swap parsnips with celeriac.

You can also use celery roots to replace parsnips in raw food preparation like salads as they’re both snappy and crunchy.

Substitution ratio: 1 cup chopped parsnips = 1 cup chopped celery roots


Parsley roots

Parsley root tastes like a mix between celery roots, parsley and carrots with a wonderful herby aroma. They look a lot like parsnips, but parsley roots have a texture that is crisp and tender when it is raw and smooth and creamy when it is cooked. 

While parsley roots are not sweet like parsnips,  you can substitute parsnips with parsley roots in recipes like salads, stews, soups, fries and roasts. They work especially well in recipes where you have to build up on the flavors of the dish without ingredients.

Substitution ratio: 1 cup chopped parsnips = 1 cup chopped parsley roots

Sweet potatoes

Another great substitute for parsnips is sweet potatoes. Like parsnips, sweet potatoes are great roasted, baked or even added to soups. So, if you happen to run out of parsnips and you can’t go out to get some more, then, consider using sweet potatoes as a good replacement.

While sweet potatoes do have a different flavor and texture to parsnips, they’re both sweet, soft and starchy when cooked, which means that sweet potatoes will work great in a pinch. 

Also, like parsnips, sweet potatoes do taste somewhat nutty and earthy which means that if used as an alternative to parsnips in a recipe, it won’t throw the flavors off completely. 

Substitution ratio: 1 cup chopped parsnips = 1 cup chopped sweet potatoes



Looking for more substitutes for parsnips? Potatoes are another great option. Particularly Yukon gold and white potatoes.

Substitution ratio: 1 cup chopped parsnips = 1 cup chopped potatoes



Radishes, which are very similar to turnips, are another way to substitute parsnips in certain recipes.

Radishes when raw are more spicy and zesty. This characteristic makes radishes look like an unlikely root vegetable to replace parsnips.

However, radishes particularly Daikon radishes are milder in taste and flavor and so they can be used in place of parsnip in various recipes like stir fries, or when you need a roasted root vegetable to replace parsnips.

They work particularly well when they are cooked instead of raw, as cooking will help bring out some of the sweetness in daikon radishes while diminishing the spice.

Substitution ratio: 1 cup chopped parsnips = 1 cup chopped radishes



Rutabaga also called Swedish turnips is a root vegetable that is a cross between and turnip and a cabbage. When raw, rutabaga tastes like a mild turnip, and, when cooked, it tastes almost like Yukon potatoes.

You can use rutabaga to replace parsnips in recipes like mash, casseroles, stews, soups and roasted vegetables. 

Unlike parsnips, rutabagas have firm flesh which makes them hard to peel and cut, so look out for that. 

Substitution ratio: 1 cup chopped parsnips = 1 cup chopped rutabaga



Jicama also called yam bean or Mexican turnips, is another root veggie that can be used as a parsnip substitute.

It has a crisp texture like apples and it is slightly sweet and nutty making it the perfect root vegetable to serve raw in salads in place of parsnips. 

Jicama is also crisp when cooked and has this starchy sweetness that makes it the perfect substitute for parsnips in recipes like soups. It can also be baked in casseroles, fried into chips, or roasted and boiled like parsnips to be served as a side dish.

Substitution ratio: 1 cup chopped parsnips = 1 cup chopped jicama


Salsify Root

Salsify roots are another great alternative to parsnips that you can make boiled, roasted, fried, baked and sautéed.

Use salsify to replace parsnips in recipes like mash, sauces, soups, stews, meat dishes, salads and gratins.

Substitution ratio: 1 cup chopped parsnips = 1 cup chopped salsify


Easy parsnip recipes worth making

Looking for some easy and delicious parsnip recipes to make? Try these out:


Final thoughts

These are some of the easy ways you can substitute parsnips in any recipe. So, whether you ran out of parsnips and only realized this at the last minute, or you just can’t find it while you are grocery shopping, but, you need it for a recipe, some of the ideas above can help you out!

Let me know which ones you’ve tried and how they worked out for your below!

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