How to Boil Turnips

While not one of the most attractive vegetables, the turnip is certainly one of the most nutritious. Turnips are packed with Vitamins A and C, as well as minerals like phosphorus, niacin and iron. In addition to nutritional benefits, turnips offer cooking versatility and a long shelf life. The boiling method is one of the easiest ways to enjoy turnips, and is just a stepping stone on the way to more complex preparation choices.

Step 1

Cut the tails and stems off the turnips with a sharp knife, leaving only about 1 inch of stem connected to the bulb. You can leave the greens on or remove them, depending on your taste. For the most nutritional benefits, leave them on.

Step 2

Choose a pot large enough for the amount of turnips you wish to boil, fill it with tap water, and then place it on your stove top burner. Bring the water to a boil using the highest heat setting available. When you see bubbles rise to the surface, the water is boiling.

Step 3

Add the turnips to the water and make sure the water completely covers them. If your turnips are wider than 3", cube them to shave approximately 5 to 10 minutes off your boiling time.

Step 4

Add a potato to the water if your turnips are especially large. Personal chef Patty Knutson from recommends at least one potato to help absorb the bitter taste that often accompanies older and larger turnips.

Step 5

Simmer the turnips for 25 to 30 minutes, covered, keeping a close eye on the pot to avoid over-boiling or water overflow.

Step 6

Add salt and pepper to enjoy as a basic side dish, or prepare for use in your customized boiled turnip recipe.

Things You'll Need

  • Turnips

  • Knife

  • Pot

  • Water

  • 1 Potato

  • Salt

  • Pepper


Use turnips as a substitute for potatoes. They are an extremely versatile root vegetable and can be prepared in most of the same ways you prepare potatoes.


Boil large turnips -- those over 3" wide -- uncovered to let some of the bitter fumes escape.

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