Easy Roasted Turnips with Rosemary

published Jul 22, 2021
Roasted Turnips

Turnips are a versatile vegetable that you can have lots of fun experimenting with


Prep15 minutes

Cook1 hour

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a white bowl of roasted turnips cut into roughly one in chunks with a spoon, napkin, and small bowls of salt and pepper nearby
Credit: Tara Holland
Roasted Turnips

Turnips are the unsung (some may even say unloved) hero of the root vegetable world. The European root vegetable, cousin of the radish and cabbage family, may be associated as more of a winter veg — I have strong memories of having turnips mashed with potatoes or carrots and served alongside a steaming beef stew on bitterly cold days — but turnips are available year-round and shouldn’t be forgotten in the warmer months. You can serve them raw and sliced thinly in salads, or you can add them to your crudité platter.

The winning way to serve them, in my humble opinion, is roasted, where the caramelization can override the (sometimes) slight bitterness that turnips get a bad reputation for. Sometimes less is more, so just simply roasting with salt can be delicious. However, a grind of fresh black pepper, although not necessary, can enhance the turnip’s natural peppery flavor. 

Sprinkling with herbs just before serving can complement and lift roasted turnips. Rosemary, suggested in the recipe below, is a delicious addition, as are finely chopped chives and parsley. Roasting with 1 teaspoon ground sage or coriander tossed with the oil and salt also works exceptionally well. 

You could even sauté diced turnips with some chopped thick-cut bacon using the rendered fat to add some saltiness and deliciousness, or you could mash along with a dash of cream and some Parmesan. All of this to say — turnips are a versatile vegetable that you can have lots of fun experimenting with.

Selecting the Best Turnips and What to Look Out For

Here’s what to keep an eye out for when choosing and buying turnips at the market.

  • They should have a lilac or purple hue near the root.
  • Look for a firm, hard, and smooth texture.
  • Turnips shouldn’t have spouts or spots.
Credit: Tara Holland
Roasted Turnips

How Do You Reduce the Bitterness in Turnips?

Usually, the bitterness tends to be worse when turnips are past their prime. The younger they are, the less likely they are to be bitter. Some believe that adding a potato or even an apple to a pot of boiling turnips or a sprinkle of sugar before roasting removes some bitterness. Roasting or boiling with carrots can also help add sweetness to counteract the bitterness. 

Should You Peel Turnips?

Turnip skin is edible, but depending on how old the turnip is or how thick the skin is (which can sometimes be fibrous), peeling is a better option if you don’t know how fresh your turnips are. However, if you’d rather not peel, you can wash them using a scrub sponge.

Roasted Turnips

Turnips are a versatile vegetable that you can have lots of fun experimenting with

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 1 hour

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 2 pounds

    turnips (about 6 medium)

  • 1 1/2 tablespoon

    olive oil

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    Kosher salt

  • 1

    large sprig fresh rosemary (optional)

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper


  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 425°F.

  2. Meanwhile, peel turnips and trim the knobbly stems. Depending on the turnips' size, either quarter or cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces.

  3. Spread the turnips out in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with
    1 1/2 tablespoon of oil, season with 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Use your hands to toss until combined.

  4. Roast, turning the turnips occasionally, until tender and lightly caramelized in places, about 1 hour.

  5. Meanwhile, strip the rosemary leaves and finely chop until you have 2 teaspoons, if using; set aside.

  6. Transfer the turnips to a serving dish then sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and 2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.