Old-Fashioned Mashed Turnip Recipe


Hundred-year-old Christmas menus sometimes included Mashed Turnips as a vegetable side dish, so I was pleased to find a 1918 recipe for Mashed Turnips. This rustic side dish has a delightful earthly, sweet, yet slightly bitter, flavor.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book (1918)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Mashed Turnip

  • Servings: 3 - 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

6 medium turnips


1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons butter

Wash and peel turnips; cut into slices or quarters. Put in a saucepan and cover with water; add salt.  Using high heat bring to a boil, then reduce heat, and simmer until turnips are tender (approximately 35 – 45 minutes).  Remove from heat and drain. Mash the cooked turnips, then stir in pepper and butter. Serve immediately.

16 thoughts on “Old-Fashioned Mashed Turnip Recipe

  1. Don’t think I’ve ever had mashed turnips,have eaten plenty of them raw ,also diced and cooked with the leaves…mashed would be fun to try.

  2. John and I agree on most things. On turnips, it’s a double agreement. We have yet to taste a turnip that we liked, so we agree we don’t have to try any more. I’m happy there are people on the earth who like them, and we gladly leave our share to others.

    Merry Christmas!

    1. ME too Marcia! Around these parts, if you didn’t have a pot of Turnips (technically Rutabaga) boiling it just wasn’t Thanksgiving. The smell immediately transports me in a good way! Still love them and glad the old farmers still grow them here.

  3. Would just like to point out that most old recipes and older generations are usually referring to orange American Rutabaga when they say “Turnips”. They have a far superior flavor w/ a slight sweetness compared to the spicy, sharp tasting white turnips we know here. When Europeans came over back in the day they were called Turnips back home and so called them that here and it has stuck in a lot of areas that had a lot of immigrants 100+ years ago. In my areas these “Turnips” (Rutabaga) are still a popular cold weather crop grown and traditional mashed for Thanksgiving. Most of the older farmers and locals still call them turnips. Anyone trying this recipe, be sure to use Rutabagas or your dish will not turn out good. I like it w/ a splash of cream of milk and nutmeg. When prepared properly these are delicious and a healthy alternative to mashed potatoes. Many people mash them with potatoes to mellow the flavor and you can also add a carrot to the mash for color and sweetness! I personally will not buy from the store as they’re coated in wax and are a subpar flavor to farm fresh. They are also much tougher to cut into (they’re already tough enough).

    1. Thanks for sharing the information about American Rutabagas. Based on my limited personal experience, I’ve always thought that rutabagas were much more popular in the upper midwest than in other regions of the U.S. .

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