How to Cook Purple Turnips

by Jackie Lohrey

Purple turnips on a wood table.

EvaintheKitchen/iStock/Getty Images

Purple turnips can have a mild, slightly sweet taste -- or they can taste like wood. A successful outcome depends less on whether you bake, boil, saute or steam purple turnips than it does on careful selection. The younger and smaller they are, the better they will taste, so pick early or search through your grocer's produce display for turnips with a diameter of 3 inches or less. Turnips are a good source of vitamin C, potassium and iron, and they have only 36 calories per cup. The “right” purple turnips can be a tasty and healthy addition to your weekly dinner menu.

Rinse and scrub 2 lbs., or about 12 small purple turnips, under cold running water, using a vegetable scrubber to remove dirt and residue from the peel.

Peel each turnip using a vegetable peeler. Cut each one into 1-inch cubes with a sharp kitchen knife.

Add 1 tbsp. of the butter, margarine or olive oil to a skillet. Set the heat to medium. Add the maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg and black pepper, according to your taste preference. Stir to combine.

Add the purple turnip cubes and enough water to equal a depth of 1/4 inch. Turn the burner to high and let the liquid come to a boil.

Lower the heat to medium and cover the pan. Let the turnip cubes simmer until they are fork tender, about 7 to 8 minutes. Remove the cover and continue cooking another 3 minutes, or until the liquid cooks away.

Add 1 tbsp. of butter, margarine or olive oil, parsley and lemon juice. Shake the pan or toss the turnip cubes lightly with a spoon to make sure the cubes are evenly coated with the maple syrup glaze.

Transfer the turnips to a serving bowl with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle on black pepper according to your taste preference. Serve hot and enjoy.


  • You can also cook purple turnips by boiling the cubes on your stove for about 10 minutes or steaming in a vegetable steamer for 12 minutes. Other seasonings that enhance the flavor of purple turnips include vinegar, curry powder, chives, oregano, marjoram and thyme.

Photo Credits

  • EvaintheKitchen/iStock/Getty Images

About the Author

Based in Green Bay, Wisc., Jackie Lohrey has been writing professionally since 2009. In addition to writing web content and training manuals for small business clients and nonprofit organizations, including ERA Realtors and the Bay Area Humane Society, Lohrey also works as a finance data analyst for a global business outsourcing company.