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How to Cook Rutabaga: 3 Easy Recipes + Tips & Tricks

Learn how to cook rutabaga in 3 different ways! Rutabaga is delicious, inexpensive, and very versatile. In this post, I am showing you how to make roasted, boiled, and mashed rutabaga.

Roasted Rutabaga in a white dish on marble background. Top view.

What is Rutabaga?

Rutabaga is a cross between cabbage and turnip. It’s a large round root vegetable with yellow flesh.

Rutabaga has been around for a few centuries and is popular in Northern Europe. Depending on the region, it is also known as swede, Swedish turnip, yellow turnip, neep, or snagger.

Rutabaga vegetable root.

Rutabaga Root

What Does Rutabaga Taste Like?

Raw rutabaga is crunchy and quite mild. Cooked rutabaga tastes very much like a turnip. Roasted rutabaga reminds me of cauliflower with a light turnip flavor. In general, the flavor profile of rutabaga is savory-sweet with some bitter notes.

How Do You Serve Rutabaga?

Whether you are looking for a low-carb replacement for potatoes or a hearty side dish for Thanksgiving dinner, this funny-looking vegetable will not disappoint.

Rutabaga can be served cooked or raw. Raw rutabaga tastes excellent in salads and can be eaten as a snack.

Cooked rutabaga is great served as a side dish with meat, fish, or chicken. It’s also perfect for grain and vegetable bowls. You can also add it to soups and stews.

Roasted rutabaga on a baking dish.

How to Prepare Rutabaga for Cooking

Despite the strange appearance, rutabaga is pretty easy to handle. Here are a few tips on prepping rutabaga for cooking.

How Do You Clean Wax off a Rutabaga?

If you purchased rutabaga at a grocery store or a farmers market, it’s most likely covered in wax. You don’t have to remove the wax before peeling rutabaga, but if you still decide to do it, it’s quite easy.

Here is how to remove wax off rutabaga in a few easy steps:

  1. place the rutabaga into a sink under running hot water;
  2. let it warm up for about one minute to soften the wax;
  3. using the dull side of a knife scrub the wax off;
  4. rinse well and wipe the rutabaga with a paper towel.

Do You Have to Peel Rutabaga Before Cooking?

Rutabaga skin is edible, but it might have a stronger flavor. In addition, if you purchased rutabaga at a grocery store, it’s most likely covered in wax. Larger rutabagas also have tough skin that is often bruised. For these reasons, I prefer to remove the skin before cooking the vegetable.

How Do You Peel and Cut Rutabaga?

Rutabaga is a dense vegetable, but it’s surprisingly easy to peel and slice.

If you didn’t remove the wax fist before peeling the rutabaga, thoroughly wash it after peeling it under running water. If you intend to roast it, wipe it with a paper towel.

Peeled rutabaga.

Peeled Rutabaga

Always peel rutabaga before slicing it and don’t attempt to cut off large chunks. If you try to slice the vegetable in half, your knife will most likely get stuck. Instead, slice off thin slices starting from the outside and then cut them into desired shapes.

What to Keep In Mind When Cooking Rutabaga

Rutabaga is a very dense vegetable and takes a long time to cook. So, to have the rutabaga ready in a reasonable amount of time, cut it into relatively small pieces before cooking:

  • for roasted rutabaga, slice it into small cubes around 1/3 of an inch;
  • for other methods, such as boiling or stewing, slice it into 3/4 inch slices.

How to Cook Rutabaga – 3 Basic Methods

There are many different ways you can prepare rutabaga. Here you will find three basic methods that will help you start cooking this under-appreciated vegetable more often.

Method #1 – Roasted Rutabaga

This perfectly caramelized roasted rutabaga is incredibly flavourful. It’s very easy to make, and you can serve it the same way you would any other roasted root vegetables.

Roasted rutabaga in a white dish.

Roasted Rutabaga

Ingredients:

  • 1 large rutabaga (about 2 pounds)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

Method:

  1. To make roasted rutabaga, cut it into small dice, about 1/3 of an inch (photo 1).
  2. Place the cubed rutabaga into a bowl. Add the olive oil, maple syrup, garlic powder, and salt. Mix to make sure rutabaga is evenly coated in oil (photo 2).
  3. Transfer the rutabaga to a baking sheet and place it into the preheated oven. Bake the rutabaga at 375F for about 45 minutes or until it’s cooked through. Make sure to mix it once or twice during cooking (photo 3).
  4. Take the rutabaga out of the oven and sprinkle with apple cider vinegar before serving (photo 4).
Step by Step photo collage of roasted rutabaga.

How to Make Roasted Rutabaga

Method # 2 – Boiled Rutabaga

This boiled rutabaga is soft and satisfying. Add some olive oil or melted butter and season it with freshly ground black pepper to make it even more delicious.

Boiled rutabaga in a white dish. Seasoned with ground black pepper.

Boiled Rutabaga

Ingredients:

  • 1 large rutabaga (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • salt to taste
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil or butter
  • freshly ground black pepper

Method:

  1. To make boiled rutabaga, start by peeling and cutting it into 3/4 inch cubes (photo 1).
  2. Place the rutabaga into a pot and add water. Rutabaga floats in the water, so make sure to add enough of it for the rutabaga to boil. Add the bay leaf and thyme (photo 2).
  3. Bring the water to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook for about 20 to 25 minutes until rutabaga is fork-tender. Carefully drain the water. Remove the bay leaf and thyme. (photo 3).
  4. To serve, add the olive oil or melted butter to rutabaga and generously season with black pepper (photo 4).
Step by step photo collage of boiled rutabaga.

How to Make Boiled Rutabaga

Method # 3 – Mashed Rutabaga

This mashed rutabaga is a great low-carb substitute for mashed potatoes. Serve it as is or add some olive oil, butter, cream, or sour cream to make it richer.

Mashed rutabaga in a white dish.

Mashed Rutabaga

Ingredients:

  • 1 large rutabaga (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • salt to taste
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil or melted butter

Method:

  1. To make mashed rutabaga, start by peeling and cutting it into 3/4 inch cubes (photo 1).
  2. Place the rutabaga into a pot and add water. Rutabaga floats in the water, so make sure to add enough of it for the rutabaga to boil. Add the bay leaf and thyme. Bring the water to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook for about 20 to 25 minutes until rutabaga is fork-tender. (photo 2).
  3. Carefully drain the water. Remove the bay leaf and thyme. Mash the rutabaga with a potato masher for a chunky texture or use an immersion blender or a food processor for a smoother texture (photo 3).
  4. Add the olive oil or melted butter and serve (photo 4).
Step by step photo collage of mashed rutabaga.

How to Make Mashed Rutabaga

Now It’s Your Turn!

So, what do you think about rutabaga? Have you tried it? Do you like cooking it? What’s your favorite method of cooking rutabaga? Please share it with us in the comments below. And, if you found this article helpful, please give it a 5-star rating!

How to Cook Rutabaga

How to Cook Rutabaga

Yield: 4 to 6 portions
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Learn how to cook rutabaga three different ways! Roasted, boiled, or mashed rutabaga makes the perfect healthy side dish for the Thanksgiving dinner and other occasions. Cooked rutabaga is great for meal-prep and can be added to salads and grain bowls.

Ingredients

For the Roasted Rutabaga:

  • 1 large rutabaga (about 2 pounds)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

For the Boiled Rutabaga

  • 1 large rutabaga (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • salt to taste
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil or butter
  • ground black pepper

For the Mashed Rutabaga:

  • 1 large rutabaga (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • salt to taste
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil or butter

Instructions

Roasted Rutabaga


1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Slice the rutabaga into 1/3 inch cubes.

2. Place the sliced rutabaga into a bowl. Add the olive oil, maple syrup, garlic powder, and salt. Mix to make sure rutabaga is evenly coated in oil. Transfer to a baking sheet. Spread the rutabaga into a single layer. Place the baking sheet into the preheated oven.

3. Bake rutabaga for about 45 minutes or until it's cooked through. Make sure to mix it once or twice during cooking.

4. Take the rutabaga our of the oven and sprinkle with apple cider vinegar before serving.

Boiled Rutabaga

1. Peel and cut rutabaga it into 3/4 inch cubes.

2. Place the rutabaga into a pot and add water. Rutabaga floats in the water so make sure to add enough of it for the rutabaga to boil. Add the bay leaf and thyme.

3. Bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and cook for about 20 to 25 minutes until rutabaga is fork-tender. Carefully drain the water. Remove the bay leaf and thyme.

4. To serve, add the olive oil or melted butter to rutabaga and generously season with black pepper.

Mashed Rutabaga

1. Peeling and cut rutabaga into 3/4 inch cubes.

2. Place the rutabaga into a pot and add water. Rutabaga floats in the water so make sure to add enough for the rutabaga to boil. Add the bay leaf and thyme. Bring the water to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook for about 20 to 25 minutes until the rutabaga is fork-tender.

3. Carefully drain the water. Remove the bay leaf and thyme. Mash the rutabaga with a potato masher or use an immersion blender or food processor to puree it.

4. Add the olive oil or melted butter and serve.

Notes

1. Store cooked rutabaga in the refrigerator in a glass container with a tight lid or freeze it for up to 3 months.

2. Nutrition information provided for boiled rutabaga cooked without anything else added.

Nutrition Information
Yield 4 Serving Size 1/4 of recipe
Amount Per Serving Calories 54Total Fat 0.3gSaturated Fat 0.1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0.2gCholesterol 0mgSodium 9mgCarbohydrates 12.3gFiber 3.2gSugar 7.1gProtein 1.7g

Nutrition facts provided on this website are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a qualified health care provider for personalized diet advice and make sure that each of the ingredients is allowed in your diet.

Did you make this recipe?

If you tried this recipe, please give it a 5-star rating! To do this, click on the stars above. You can also leave a review or comment below. And don't forget to tag me @mariaushakova.blog if you share a picture on Instagram!

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Barbara

Thursday 12th of August 2021

My Mom always made rutabagas with fried rib tips. She would use two to three rib tips, cut them up season them and fry them. Then she would peel the rutabagas, cut and wash them off. Put the rib tips and the rutabagas in a pot of water season with salt, pepper,onion powder, a little garlic powder and sugar to take away that bitter taste. Make a pan of cornbread, it was the best. I'm going to try some smoked turkey with mine this time around.

Maria

Tuesday 17th of August 2021

@Barbara, This sounds amazing! Thank you so much for sharing :)

Toni

Friday 16th of July 2021

This is one of my favorite vegetables. I use it with sweet potatoes in thick soup with a bit of curry powder. Swede as we call it is a family favorite with our roast dinners, boiled with carrots and mashed together with salt, black pepper and a bit of butter. Makes great baby food too if puréed.

Maria

Friday 16th of July 2021

@Toni, Sounds great! Thank you for sharing!

Joseph

Thursday 18th of March 2021

This was just the information I was looking for. I have only used rutabaga in soup. This one was too big, so I am grateful for the suggestions. I will try roasting tonight

Maria

Friday 19th of March 2021

@Joseph, So glad you found the information helpful! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment :)

Melora

Monday 30th of November 2020

We have always loved rutabaga in my family but I always had a hard time peeling it with a knife. Today, I tried using a vegetable peeler and was amazed by how EASY it is! Wish I’d tried it years ago. Tonight we are having boiled and mashed bagas. Just add LOTSA butter, salt and pepper. Yumm. Next time I will try the roasted recipe!

Maria Ushakova

Monday 30th of November 2020

Sounds great!

B K

Sunday 30th of August 2020

My favorite use for rutabaga is in a beef stew. The most flavorful meat is beef shank: minimum veggies are rutabaga, celery, yellow onion; black peppercorns, bay leaf, salt to taste. I cook potatoes separately and add to the serving bowl. Top with a dollop of sour cream for that extra touch.

Maria Ushakova

Monday 31st of August 2020

Wow! This sounds like a very filling meal. Perfect for winter!

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