How to cook roast parsnips

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  • Roast parsnips are a delicious accompaniment to any roast, and you can learn how to roast and cook parsnips the right way with our simple recipe.

    How to cook roast parsnips in the most full and flavoursome way for a sweet and delicious side dish with any meal.

    In season from September to March, it is said that the best flavoured parsnips are those that have been left in the ground until after the first frosts. Choose small to medium-sized parsnips if possible. Large ones tend to be tough and fibrous in the middle.

    Generally you can cook parsnips just as you would potatoes, peel (or just scrub baby ones), halve, quarter or cut into chunks and then boil, roast or mash. Using a mixture of half potatoes and half parsnips in many dishes works really well too, particularly mash. Classic potato dishes such as Potato Dauphinoise – thinly sliced potatoes layered and baked with garlic and cream and topped with Gruyere cheese – is delicious made with parsnips instead. Rosti cakes using par-boiled coarsely grated parsnips instead of potatoes is a winner too.

    Parsnips go well with most foods, particularly a roast dinner so make sure they’re on your Christmas dinner menus, sausages and game. To balance their sweetness, cook parsnips with spices such as fresh chilli, harissa paste or curry paste – this works well for roasting and for soups. To enhance their sweetness, coat them in honey and mustard which will caramelise during roasting for extra stickiness. And for added richness and smoothness mash with butter, cream and black pepper for a luxury cottage pie topping.

    Do you have to peel your parsnips before roasting them?

    Yes you should peel your parsnips before roasting them, especially the larger ones. If you leave the skin on, you’ll likely end up with a tough, woody texture which no one really wants. If you have really small, younger parsnips you c0uld probably get away without peeling them if they’re prooving difficult or unless you like the tough texture!

    Can you roast parsnips without boiling them first?

    Yes of course you can! A lot of people like to parboil their parsnips first as then they are less likely to be dry and chewy after the roasting process, however you can skip straight to the roasting for crispier, firm parsnips. If you did want to boil them first, you should put your whole or halved parsnips in salty boiling water for roughly 8 minutes. Once their done, pat them dry and then continue on with the roasting step.


    • 4-6 medium-sized parsnips
    • 3tbsp sunflower oil or olive oil
    • Salt and freshly ground pepper