Honest Fare

Pretty Provisions and Notes from the Kitchen

Parsnip Potato Purée

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Parsnip Potato Purée, Honest Fare by Gabrielle Arnold

How are you guys in the parsnip department? Do you eat them and love them? Are you afraid of them? Have you never considered them in your life? I happen really enjoy their nutty and sweet aromatic flavor, this time of year in particular.

I like making parsnips for people cause most of us don’t eat them often so they’re always a nice surprise. This mash/purée is especially tricky like that cause it looks like regular ole’ mashed potatoes, but then the aromatic flavor hits and you’re like “wow!”

I actually made this very mash a couple weeks ago for a catering gig and was amused watching the guests’ faces light up out of the corner of my eye all night. So many people came running over to tell me that they never eat parsnips and how great they are.


Now, the fact that I chose to make 20lbs of this is a testament to the fact that it’s realllly easy! Like carrots, you can choose to scrub clean before cooking or peel. For this, I peeled.


Then I chopped the parsnips and potatoes (a ratio of about 3 to 1) and boiled them in salted water with a couple bay leaves until mashably soft. Why add potatoes? Cause it’s nice to balance the sweetness of the parsnips, which can be sort of strong at times. I simmered some half and half cream (use milk if you want a lower fat version), a little bit of butter, garlic and fresh thyme leaves in a saucepan. Then I combined and mashed and whipped it all together with some additional salt and pepper to taste.


And there you go – something just different enough for your Thanksgiving table to pleasantly surprise all your guests with!


Fun fact: Parsnips were favored in medieval Europe when sugar was rare and honey expensive, and were actually used as a sweetener until the the 19th century. The juices were evaporated, and the brown residue was used as honey. In Italy, pigs bred for the best-quality Parma ham are still fed on parsnips. That was my Alton Brown moment.


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Prep + cook time: 30 mins Serves: 4-6 Note: You can easily increase or decrease this recipe depending on portions needed. Just keep the parsnip to potato ratio at about three to 1. Use milk instead of cream for a lower fat version, but compromise that rich and creaminess a little…

You need:

  • 1lb. parsnips
  • 2 medium-sized potatoes (3/4lb)
  • couple sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bayleaves
  • 6 oz. half and half cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Peel and chop parsnips and potatoes. Bring pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Boil parsnips and potatoes with bay leaves until both potatoes and parsnips are very soft and break apart easily with a fork.
  2. Remove thyme from stems and set aside. In a separate saucepan, simmer half and half cream, garlic, thyme, butter and pinch of salt and pepper until garlic becomes soft.
  3. Strain potatoes and parsnips, leaving a nice amount of moisture on them and even a tad of starchy water in pot. Pour cream mixture over and mash/whip to desired consistency. Add additional salt or pepper to taste and top with some fresh thyme leaves.



  1. Posted November 18, 2010 at 12:40 PM | Permalink

    I love parsnips!! This sounds lovely!

  2. Posted November 18, 2010 at 12:46 PM | Permalink

    I just love root veggies! and your puree is so enticing! (I have that same bowl :)….it looks so beautiful in your photographs!

  3. Posted November 18, 2010 at 9:49 PM | Permalink

    So different! But it sounds so delicious!

  4. Kathy
    Posted November 23, 2010 at 12:38 PM | Permalink

    I’ve been looking for something to do with parsnips. I’ve never tried them because I’ve never known how to cook them. This looks really yummy.

  5. Posted November 23, 2010 at 1:22 PM | Permalink

    Wow, I just found your site and it’s gorgeous! I’ve already bookmarked it and look forward to reading more of your wonderful and creative recipes.

  6. Posted November 23, 2010 at 1:42 PM | Permalink

    I’ve been wondering about parsnips. I too just stumbled on to your website from 101cookbooks. Love it!

  7. Posted November 23, 2010 at 10:28 PM | Permalink

    I so agree — poor ignored parsnips! We love them roasted with olive oil and salt until caramelized outside, creamy within. But I love a puree also, entirely parsnips, with a swish of cream and a good hit of fresh nutmeg. Oh, my…

  8. Kathryn
    Posted November 24, 2010 at 11:43 PM | Permalink

    Hi Gabi,
    Random and rather unrelated question, but where are the gorgeous little dishes from?

  9. gabi
    Posted November 25, 2010 at 11:15 AM | Permalink

    Anthropologie ;)

  10. Posted November 28, 2010 at 12:42 AM | Permalink

    I want to directly grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates, but I cant find it, do you have one?

  11. gabi
    Posted November 28, 2010 at 12:47 PM | Permalink

    haha. Subscribe to RSS is located in the top right sidebar, directly under the search field.

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