Simple Creamy Garlic Mashed Parsnips Recipe

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It’s hard to think there was once a time where the humble potato was not ubiquitous around the world. Before the Colombian Exchange, there was not a single potato in Europe. What did people eat, you might ask? Rutabagas, turnips, and parsnips.

If you are looking for a high flavor potato alternative, look no further than parsnips. 

What are Mashed Parsnips?

Mashed parsnips is a substitute for mashed potatoes. Mashed in this case refers to the dish, not the preparation of the parsnips. While it is possible to mash the parsnips, the most common preparation is to puree them. 

Prepared garlic mashed parsnips recipe with entrée on a plate

What is the Difference Between Mashed Parsnips and Parsnip Puree?

Most of the time mashed parsnips and pureed parsnips are the same dish. Parsnips are much less starchy than potatoes, so they do not become as gloopy when pureed in a food processor or blender. 

If you are looking to physically mash your parsnips, you can still boil them down and pass them through a ricer or metal sieve. Roasted parsnips will be very hard to mash as they do not break down easily without liquid. 

Our Approach to Mashed Parsnips

Our approach to mashed parsnips is to split the parsnips up into 2 batches. One batch will go into the oven and roast to develop nutty caramelized flavors. 

The other batch will be boiled so we can maintain a soft luxurious texture to the final dish. The added benefit of boiling the parsnips is you get parsnip flavored water which can be used to dilute the texture of your final product. 

Parsnips and cream on a food processor

What Makes Good Mashed Parsnips

Good mashed parsnips benefit from a little bit of fat just like mashed potatoes. In our recipe, we’ll be using a bit of cream to bind and fill out the texture of our mashed parsnip puree. 

What Do Parsnips Taste Like?

Parsnips are much closer in texture and taste to a carrot. They famously have a very slight licorice or anise flavor to them as well. This means, parsnip dishes will always be a tiny bit sweeter than a potato version. 

What Pairs with Mashed Parsnips?

Mashed parsnips can be used anywhere you would use mashed potatoes. Some of the most common applications are with hearty foods like steak, bone-in ribs, or pot roast dishes

Tools Required

Parsnips, garlic bulb and cream on a table

To make mashed parsnips you will need a cutting board, baking sheet, medium saucepan, and a food processor. 

Garlic mashed parsnips with meat garnished with herbs served on a black plate placed on a blue surface

Creamy Garlic Mashed Parsnips

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Course: Sides
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 2 – 4 Servings
Calories: 334kcal


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups parsnips
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • Salt


  • Wash, peel, and chop the parsnips
  • Chop the 4 cloves garlic
  • Take half the parsnips and roast them with the salt, olive oil, and garlic for 1 hour at 350°F
  • Take the other half of the parsnips and boil for 10 minutes or until fork tender (be sure to save the boiled water for the next step)
  • Add all parsnips to blender with cream and 1/4 cup of the boiled water you used to cook the parsnips in
  • Blend on high until pureed
  • Serve with melted butter, cracked pepper, and herbs of your choice


Calories: 334kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 34mg | Sodium: 23mg | Potassium: 551mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 438IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 79mg | Iron: 1mg
Author: Beginner Food
Beginner Side Dish Guide

Nathaniel Lee is an avid cook, drawing on his decades of home cooking and fine dining experience. He is a contributing chef at Mashed, and his recipes and contributions have been featured in Tasting Table, Edible Arrangements, Insanely Good Recipes, and The Daily Meal.