They may look like white carrots (they're related), but parsnips are also in the same family as parsley root and celeriac. These pale, sweet root vegetables make a rich addition to soups and stews, and an excellent roasting companion for beef.

Nutritional Highlights

  • Parsnips are a good source of vitamin C, providing 10 percent of your Daily Value
    of this essential antioxidant in 85 grams (boiled), which is a little more than a cup.
  • This root veggie delivers plenty of dietary fiber, helping speed your digestion.
  • Parsnips are a good source of folate, too, which is necessary for proper cell
    growth and development.


The parsnip originated in Europe, where smitten Britons mistook it for a turnip relative (hence the name). Even then, people loved the parsnip for its slightly sweet, celery-like taste and nutty aroma. Parsnips thrived in Northern Europe and later the U.S., in part because the root needs cold winter temperatures in order for its sweet flavor to fully develop.


There are several different parsnip cultivars, which differ mainly by how large their
edible roots are and how fuzzy the taproot is with fine, hair-like roots.

When are Parsnips in Season?

You can get your hands on good parsnips all year, but their peak season, the time when their flavor is at its best, is from January through March, when freezing temperatures bring out parsnips' full flavor.

How to Choose Parsnips

Good parsnips have a long, cream-colored taproot and firm flesh. Avoid any that feel soft, bendable or mushy. Also, be sure you're choosing parsnips and not celery roots—the two are often displayed next to one another in the grocery store. Fortunately, celery roots usually still have their green leaves attached, which can help you tell the two apart.

How to Store Parsnips

Parsnips are best if wrapped in a damp paper towel, placed in a plastic bag and kept in the fridge. Stored in this way, parsnips will stay fresh for about two weeks.

How to Cook with Parsnips

Generally, you can treat parsnips like carrots, in terms of washing, peeling and cooking.
If you plan to steam your parsnips, you don't need to peel them, since their skins
can be slipped off afterward.

Key Measurements

Most recipes will ask for individual parsnips (peeled, chopped) or cups (also peeled
and chopped).


Because of their similarities, carrots are an obvious replacement, either raw, roasted
or cooked in a stew. Other substitutes that have a similar flavor or rooty texture include sweet potatoes, turnips, parsley root and celeriac.

Parsnips in Recipes

Ready for some hearty winter meals? Serve a Harvest Vegetable Roast, which includes parsnips, red potatoes, Brussels sprouts and butternut squash.

Then there's Slow Cooker Winter Vegetable Stew, a family favorite...

...and Healthified Better-than-Grandma's Chicken and Noodles, a warm, delicious dose
of nostalgia.

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