Difference Between Turnip and Parsnip

Few vegetables are not used frequently, as due to that, not many are aware of them, especially the white root vegetables. Turnip and Parsnip are both white root vegetables, and not many people know their differences or more information about them. The reason could be that it is not used for cooking more commonly; in Indian cooking also not many people prefer eating these.

Turnip vs Parsnip

The main difference between Turnip and Parsnip is that Turnip is bitterer. When compared to Parsnip, only small turnips are sweet. Both of them have different nutritional values. Parsnip mostly has high nutritional content in terms of proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, calories, etc. therefore, in the case of dieting, meal turnip is a better option than Parsnip due to its low fat and calorie. Both of them also differ in terms of allergies, health benefits, and Glycemic Index.

Turnip vs Parsnip

Turnip is a vegetable of white and purple/violet in appearance. It tastes bitter and sweet and can be grown in temperate climates. They are beneficial for reducing cancer risks, for a heart patient, for lowering down the blood pressure level, etc., its leaves can be allergic to touch sometimes. They can be eaten as raw as a salad with some spices.

Parsnip is a white cream vegetable also called a cousin of turnip. It is sweet and can be eaten without cooking. They can be added to salads, soups, and pickles. It was used mostly during the earlier period for making jams, medicine for toothache, etc. they are very versatile as they can be added to more than one type of dish.

Comparison Table Between Turnip and Parsnip

Parameters of ComparisonTurnipParsnip
CaloriesFewer caloriesMore calories
CarbohydratesFewer carbohydratesHigh in carbohydrates
ProteinLess in proteinHigh in protein
Glycemic IndexHigh Glycemic IndexLower Glycemic Index

What is Turnip?

Turnips are used less frequently in modern cooking than it was used earlier. This is due to its less versatile nature or because not many prefer its taste. But earlier, they used to be an important part of cooking and were harvested in a large quantity.

Consuming turnips have the following benefits:

  1. Relieving intestinal problems: it is rich in fibers that result in lowering down any intestinal problems.
  2. Lowering blood pressure level: it has potassium that is a very powerful nutrient for lowering down the blood pressure level by releasing sodium from the body.
  3. Reducing cancer risk: turnip is a cruciferous vegetable that has a high level of sulforaphane in it that is useful in reducing the risk of having cancer.
  4. Weight loss and digestion: as mentioned above, it is rich in fiber that helps reduce any indigestion-related problems. Also, it is low in calories, and after eating it, a person does not feel hungry for a longer duration, which results in not gaining excess weight due to high calories and overeating.

Facts about turnip:

  1. They are not related to potatoes.
  2. Turnip’s roots and leaves can both be used in cooking.
  3. Most of them are bitter.
  4. They are sometimes grown for feeding the livestock.
  5. People use turnip as a pickle too.
  6. They are considered food for poor and humble vegetables.

What is Parsnip?

Parsnips are similar-looking vegetables to turnips. Cultivation of this has decreased so much due to less usage in cooking nowadays. Not many people know that it is rich in many nutrients and can be beneficial for reducing several health problems.

Benefits of consuming Parsnip include:

  1. Supports Immune System: it is rich in vitamins that are helpful in more production of white cells so that the body can easily fight off the bacteria that might entire our body and ultimately supports the Immune System.
  2. Improves Digestion: due to the presence of fibers in high quantity, the food inside the body gets digested easily, and it also avoids problems such as constipation, etc.
  3. Supports Cardiovascular System: it is rich in proteins, potassium, and minerals that altogether contribute to in well functioning of our heart, balances the blood pressure level, and avoids any kidney-related diseases. Therefore supports the entire cardiovascular system.

Facts about Parsnip:

  1. Earlier parsnip was also used in place of sugar for making Jams and cakes.
  2. It was used in making wine and beer due to its easy fermentation property.
  3. Its stem can reach 60 inches in height.
  4. After consumption of parsnip, walnuts, parsley and figs should be avoided as they can lead to allergies.
  5. It was also used as a treatment for toothache.
  6. It was believed that it contains aphrodisiac properties.
  7. It completes its lifecycle in a short span of 2 years.

Main Differences Between Turnip and Parsnip

  1. When compared in terms of nutrition, turnip is far behind the Parsnip that is rich in several nutrients, such as iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, etc., along with vitamins and folate. Turnip has fewer nutrients and vitamins in comparison.
  2. Parsnip contains more than twice the calories of a turnip. Therefore it could be a good option for someone who wants to gain weight.
  3. Parsnip also has more than twice the carbohydrates of a turnip. It has 18% of the essential carbohydrates that we need for proper functioning. While turnip only contains 6 % of carbohydrates and this is due to low sugar in it.
  4. Parsnip is also had higher protein content as compared to turnip. Therefore it contains all the benefits of protein-rich food.
  5. Turnip has a higher Glycemic Index than the Parsnip.
  6. Both of them have separate benefits. For example, for low calorie and low-fat diet, turnip is a more suitable option, while for a low glycemic Index, Parsnip is an ideal choice.
  7. Also, parsnip may be allergic to some people due to the presence of psoralen that can cause the problem of photodermatitis and also some oral allergies while turnip does not contain this substance.


Hence, everything is clear now. Most people use their names interchangeably due to a lack of information. In modern cooking, they are not very common. But for a chef or cook, it is very important to the taste and other information about them so they can choose according to their dish’s need which vegetable they need.

Both of them are similar in taste and texture. Even they are called cousins. Sometimes they are used in place of one another due to all these similarities. Few delicious dishes that can be made using these are Vegan Parsnip Chowder, Roasted Turnips with Garlic, etc.


  1. https://aocs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1007/BF02532563
  2. https://dl.acm.org/doi/abs/10.1145/300515.300516
  3. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1558-5646.1986.tb05746.x
  4. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.0014-3820.2003.tb00292.x
  5. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf048041s
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