How to Cook French-Fried Turnips

by A.J. Andrews

Items you will need

  • Kitchen knife
  • Bowl
  • Cold water
  • Wide, heavy-bottomed stainless-steel or cast-iron pan
  • High-heat oil
  • Probe thermometer
  • Paper towels
  • Slotted spoon, deep-fryer basket or spider strainer
  • Kosher salt and freshly chopped herbs (optional)

Although many people see French-fried veggies as low-carb alternatives to potatoes, they stand alone as side dishes and don't have to exist in the shadow of the almighty fry. French-fried turnips, for example, have a satisfying crunch and tender interior with a mild peppery flavor reminiscent of radishes and mustard greens -- definitely a change of pace from potatoes. In terms of sauces, you can take turnips to places you can't take potatoes. French fries just wouldn't be right with any sauce other than quality ketchup, but turnip fries go well with numerous varieties of chutneys, compotes and confitures, so the possibilities are many.

Step 1

Peel the turnips and cut them into French-fry dimensions: 1/4 inch wide by 1/4 inch tall by 3 inches long. The easiest way to cut turnips into French fries is by first squaring off the sides and ends with a knife to form a square. Slice the squared turnip into 1/4-inch-wide slabs, then stack the slabs and cut them into 1/4-inch-wide strips.

Step 2

Place the turnip fries in a bowl of cold water to hold them while you prepare the oil.

Step 3

Fill a wide, heavy-bottomed, stainless-steel or cast-iron pan that measures at least 8 inches tall with about four inches of high-heat oil. Peanut oil works best for frying vegetables because it has a mild taste and a high smoking point, but you can use canola, safflower or regular vegetable oil, also.

Step 4

Heat the oil on the stove over medium heat for about 10 minutes and check the temperature in the center with a probe thermometer. Raise or lower the heat so it stays between 350 and 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 5

Drain the turnips and place them in an even layer on paper towels and pat them dry. Lower the turnip fries into the oil using a slotted spoon, deep-frying basket or spider strainer.

Step 6

Fry the turnip fries until they turn golden-brown and float on top of the oil, about 15 minutes after the oil returns to 375 F.

Step 7

Remove the turnip fries using a slotted spoon or spider strainer and place them in an even layer on a plate or pan lined with paper towels. Blot the turnip fries with paper towels to remove excess oil and place them in a mixing bowl.

Step 8

Season the turnip fries to taste with kosher salt and freshly chopped herbs while still hot, and toss to coat.


  • You can oven-fry turnips in a 425 F oven. Cut the turnips into French fries, coat them liberally with oil, and roast them until crispy and golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Photo Credits

  • Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images

About the Author

A.J. Andrews' work has appeared in Food and Wine, Fricote and "BBC Good Food." He lives in Europe where he bakes with wild yeast, milks goats for cheese and prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers level II exam. Andrews received formal training at Le Cordon Bleu.