How to Cook Rutabagas

No one I knew years ago knew how to cook rutabagas. When I was young and even after I married most people put out a garden in the spring. We all wanted enough vegetables that we could eat fresh from the garden and also to can and freeze. When I was a child growing up large families (Not as large as mine) were common. Even after I married, most people my age had several children. I know how hard it is to manage a garden growing enough food for the family.

How to Cook RutabagasHow to Cook Rutabagas

By growing my own garden, I learned to appreciate my dad.  He put so much work into his large garden for us and also to have some extras to sell. It was impossible for Dad, me or anyone to raise every vegetable. Some just had to be eliminated. Most gardeners grew a lot of what the family ate. I found this also true with canning. It is hard to can everything and some things we just do not eat. No one seemed to know how to cook rutabagas because of this. Although delicious, rutabagas were one of those vegetables which could easily be eliminated.

The rutabaga is a winter root crop. Most think the flavor is a cross between cabbage and turnips. I think they are more like turnips but with a sweeter taste. They can also be cooked like turnips. When I first learned how to cook rutabagas I simply added them in an old stew recipe. For years I have made Sister Gloria’s recipe with pork chops, potatoes, carrots and turnips. I thought it would fit right in and it did.

As you learn how to cook rutabagas you will find besides using in stews, they can be added to roasts, they can be boiled, mashed, sautéed and pureed to add to many recipes. Actually, you will probably realize that this is one vegetable which has been extremely overlooked.  Rutabagas are very large in size averaging about 1 ½ pounds (Some 4 pounds), much larger than turnips. One of these vegetables can make a whole meal but will need to be chopped or sliced before cooking. Like potatoes and other winter root crops, rutabagas are very economical, especially if you grow your own. After reading about the health benefits of this vegetable, I think that is reason enough for adding them to the diet.

CHILI WITH WHITE BEANS and pepper salsa

Chili with White Beans and Pepper SalsaChili with White Beans and Pepper Salsa

Learn how to cook rutabagas with white beans and salsa.


  • 2 Cups cooked Great Northern beans
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Medium onions (Peel, dice)
  • 5 Cloves minced garlic
  • 6 Cups chopped cabbage
  • 3 Cups of the bean broth (Or added water if needed)
  • 1 Teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 Large potato (Peel; cut in ½ inch cubes)
  • 4 Cups peeled, diced rutabaga
  • Salt/ pepper to taste

Pepper Salsa

  • 1 Ancho pepper
  • 1 Chipolte pepper in adobe sauce (Minced)
  • ½ Red bell pepper (Seed, chop fine)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Juice from 2 limes
  • ½ Cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt to taste

TO COOK BEANS cover with fresh water and soak overnight.

Drain beans, sort out any stones on bad beans; place beans in pot.

Cover beans with fresh water; bring beans to a boil. 

Cover pot, reduce heat and simmer until tender (About 3 hours).

Drain beans and RESERVE 3 CUPS of the cooking liquid; set aside.

In large Dutch oven or heavy pot heat oil over medium.

Add the onion and sauté 5 minutes stirring occasionally until soft.

REDUCE HEAT TO LOW; add garlic and cabbage.

Sautee stirring occasionally for 5 minutes; add 3 cups of bean broth.

Add oregano, potato, rutabaga to the pot; season with salt.

Cook mixture for 25 minutes until vegetables are tender.

Add the drained beans and mix well; season with pepper (And salt) to taste.

Cook over low heat while making pepper salsa.

FOR SALSA place ancho chili pepper in heavy dry skillet.

Using tongs turn the pepper often over medium heat to char evenly.

Let cool then discard seeds; chop fine and place in bowl.

Add to bowl the chipotle and remaining ingredients; mix well.

Spoon hot chili into bowls; top with a spoonful of the salsa.

Serves about 6.


Crusty Vegetable Bread Recipe SlicedCrusty Vegetable Bread Recipe Sliced
Crusty Vegetable Bread RecipeCrusty Vegetable Bread Recipe

Learn how to cook rutabagas to use in bread baking.

  • 2 Packages dry yeast
  • 1/4 Teaspoon sugar
  • 1 ½ Cups warm water (112F to 115F degree)
  • 8 Cups flour
  • 4 Cups cooked and pureed rutabagas
  • 2 Teaspoons salt

Combine yeast and sugar with warm water; let stand 5 minutes.

Combine flour with rutabaga and salt; add yeast mixture.

NOTE: Add enough warm water if needed to make firm dough.

Knead the dough until smooth and elastic; place in greased bowl.

Cover bowl and let rise in warm place 1 ½ hours or until doubled.

Punch dough down and knead again; divide in half and shape in loaves.

Place loaves in 2 buttered loaf pans (9X5 inches).

Cover loaves lightly and place in warm place; let rise 1 hour until risen.

PREHEAT OVEN TO 425F degrees.

Bake loaves about 50 minutes until golden brown.


Learn how to cook rutabagas with kohlrabi, another overlooked vegetable.

  • 1 Medium kohlrabi (Peel; slice ¼ inch; cut slices in half)
  • 1 Medium turnip (Peel; slice ¼ inch; cut slices in half)
  • 1 Small rutabaga (Peel; slice ¼ inch) cut slices in quarters)
  • 4 Medium carrots (Cut in half crosswise)
  • 4 Medium leeks (White portion only; sliced)
  • 12 Fresh cauliflowerets

Mustard Sauce

  • ¼ Cup butter
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • ¼ Teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 Teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 Cup milk
  • 1 to 2 Teaspoons spicy mustard

Place all vegetables in a large Dutch oven; cover with water.

Bring vegetables to a boil; cook until tender crisp.

FOR SAUCE melt butter in a small saucepan.

Stir in flour; cook and stir 2 minutes.

Add salt and pepper to the pan; gradually stir in milk.

Cook and stir until mixture comes to a boil.

REDUCE HEAT; cook and stir until thickened about 1 minute.

Remove from heat; stir in mustard.

Drain the vegetables; serve vegetables with warm mustard sauce.

Serves 8.


Learn how to cook rutabagas with this Deep South recipe (So I was told).

  • ½ Pound streak o lean * See note below
  • Pinch sugar
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 Rutabaga
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter

NOTE: This southern recipe uses what is called streak o lean. When I was young Dad would call this salt pork because it is salt cured instead of being smoked. Instead of having a strip of fat through the meat, this has a strip of lean through the fat. It is very salty  and good for seasoning. It must be cooked properly if eaten by itself. We would cover it with water and bring to a boil. Then we drained the water off, dipped it in flour and browned in a skillet. It is really delicious like this on a sandwich.

FOR THIS RECIPE place meat in pot with sugar and pepper.

Add enough water just to cover; cook while preparing rutabaga.

NOTE: Water will cook out; if needed add a little more.

Peel rutabaga and cut in cubes (about 1 ½ inch).

Add rutabaga to the meat and more water if needed.

Cover pot and cook until tender about 45 minutes.

When ready to serve check to see if any added salt is needed.

Drizzle with melted butter and serve; serves about 4.

CLAPSHOT RECIPE (Mashed rutabaga and potatoes)

Learn how to cook rutabaga like in the Orkney Islands (North of Scotland)

  • 2 Pounds rutabaga (Peel, rinse and cut in 1 inch chunks)
  • 2 Pounds floury potatoes (Peel, rinse and cut in chunks)
  • 1 Small finely chopped onion
  • 4 Tablespoons chives
  • Salt/ pepper to taste
  • 2/3 Cup butter (Divided)

Place rutabaga chunks in saucepan with a little salt.

Place potatoes in separate pan with a little salt.

Cover BOTH PANS with cold water; bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat, cover and simmer BOTH are tender.

NOTE: Cook potatoes and rutabaga in separate pans until tender about 15-20 minutes.

Drain BOTH thoroughly and place in large mixing bowl.

Add onion, chives and 8 TABLESPOONS of the butter.

Mash mixture until smooth; season with salt and pepper.

Spoon mixture into a warm serving dish; top with remaining butter.

Serve immediately; serves 8.

OPTION: Preheat oven to 425F degrees.

Spoon mixture into oven proof casserole dish. 

With back of spoon make indentations in top of mixture. 

Open an egg into each of these indentations.

Season and dot with butter; bake 8-10 minutes until set.


Learn how to cook rutabagas in this hot vegetable soup from the town of Tregaron. This is an ancient market town in Ceredigion, Wales known for being on the route for driving cattle, horses, pigs and other animals. Eating establishments were known to serve many hot broths, soups and stews.

  • 2 Medium potatoes (Peel; cut in 1 inch chunks)
  • 2 Large carrots (Peel; cut in 1 inch pieces)
  • 2 Parsnips (Peel; cut in chunks)
  • 1 ½ Pound rutabaga (Peel; cut in 1 inch chunks)
  • 1 Large leek (Trim; slice)
  • 1 Pound beef shank (Can use any beef roast meat)
  • 1 ½ Pounds smoked jowl bacon (Slab)
  • ¼ Cup butter
  • Water
  • 1 ½ to 2 Pounds shredded cabbage
  • 1/3 Cup fine oatmeal
  • Salt/ pepper to taste

Prepare potatoes, carrots, parsnips, rutabaga and leek; set aside.

Cut beef and bacon into 1 inch chunks; set aside.

Melt butter in large Dutch oven; add beef and bacon.

Cook and stir for 5 minutes; add all the vegetables to the Dutch oven.

Cook and stir 5 minutes; cover mixture with water (2-3 quarts).

Add the shredded cabbage to Dutch oven; stir in the oatmeal.

Cover and simmer about 45 minutes; adjust seasoning to taste.

Serve immediately; serves 6.


Learn how to cook rutabagas as a vegetable soup.

  • 4 Lean short ribs
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Water
  • 1 Large onion (Peel; chop)
  • 1 Can (28 Ounces) whole peeled tomatoes
  • 4 Carrots (Peel; slice)
  • 1 Large white potato (Peel; cube)
  • 1 Parsnips (Peel; slice)
  • ½ Head chopped cabbage
  • 1 Large bag frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 Box frozen corn
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1-2 Tablespoons salt
  • 1 Teaspoon black pepper
  • Fresh parsley

Heat oil in Large Dutch oven; add short ribs and onion.

Cook until browned; fill pot HALF full with water.

Add tomatoes, carrots, potato, parsnips and cabbage.

Bring to a simmer; simmer for 30 minutes.

Add the frozen mixed vegetables and corn; season 

Add sugar, salt and pepper to taste; simmer for 1 ½ hours.

Cool soup to room temperature and then refrigerate.

When fat on top hardens skim it off; reheat to serve.

Ladle into bowls and garnish with fresh parsley. 


  • 1 Small rutabaga (Peel, dice)
  • 1 ½ Cups water
  • ½ Teaspoon salt
  • ¼ Cup evaporated milk
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • ½ Teaspoon nutmeg

Combine rutabaga, water and salt in saucepan; bring to a boil.

Cover, REDUCE HEAT and simmer 20 minutes until very tender.

Drain well and place in food processor; add milk, sugar and butter.

Process until very smooth about 1 minute; spoon into serving dish.

Sprinkle top with nutmeg; serves 4.


Learn how to cook rutabagas into a delicious side dish.

  • 2 Pounds rutabaga (Peel, cut in 1 inch cubes)
  • 6 Tablespoons butter (Divide)
  • ¼ Cup chicken broth
  • Salt/ pepper to taste
  • Ground mace
  • ¼ Cup dry sherry
  • Place rutabaga in saucepan with salt; cover with water.

Bring to a boil and cook 10 minutes until very tender.

Drain rutabaga and push through a ricer; return to saucepan.

Over low heat stir in 4 TABLESPOONS butter; stir in broth.

Season rutabaga with salt, pepper and a pinch of mace.

Beat until smooth; beat in REMAINING butter and sherry.

Beat 2-3 minutes longer over low heat; serve immediately.


Learn how to cook rutabagas with pecans.

  • 1 Large rutabaga (Peel, dice) 1 ¾ Cups water
  • ½ Teaspoon salt
  • ½ Cup chopped pecans
  • 3 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons maple syrup

Combine rutabaga, water and salt in a saucepan.

Bring to a boil, cover and REDUCE HEAT.

Simmer 15 to 20 minutes until tender; drain well.

Sauté pecans in butter in a large skillet for 3 minutes.

Add rutabaga and syrup; toss gently over low heat.

Serves 6.


Learn how to cook rutabagas as a tasty casserole.

  • 1 Package (16 Ounces) dried chickpeas
  • 3 Quarts water
  • 3 Tablespoons minced garlic (Divided)
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • ¼ Cup butter
  • ½ Pound whole fresh mushrooms
  • ½ Teaspoon thyme
  • ¼ Teaspoon rosemary
  • ½ Teaspoon oregano
  • 1 Cup dry white wine
  • 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 6 Turnips (Peel; cut in quarters)
  • 4 Large red potatoes (Peel; cut in quarters)
  • 1 Rutabaga (Peel; cut in 1 inch pieces)
  • 2 Onions (Peel; cut in eighths)
  • 6 Carrots (Peel; cut in 2 inch pieces)
  • ½ Teaspoon salt
  • ½ Teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ Cup cooking oil (Or olive oil)
  • 2 Cans (14 ½ Ounces each) vegetable broth
  • ½ Cup dry bread crumbs

Wash and sort chick peas; place in Dutch oven.

Cover with cold water; soak overnight.

Drain chick peas; add 3 quarts fresh water to chick peas.

Add 1 TABLESPOON garlic and bay leaf to chick peas.

Cook over medium high heat 2 hours or until tender.

Remove from heat and discard the bay leaf; set aside.

PREHEAT OVEN TO 500F degrees.

Melt the butter in large skillet over medium high heat.

Add 1 TABLESPOON garlic, mushrooms and next 3 ingredients.

Cook and stir 5 minutes; stir in wine and tomato paste.

Cook and stir for 2 minutes; add to chick peas and set aside.

Combine remaining 1 TABLESPOON garlic, turnip and next 7 ingredients.

Place vegetable mixture in roasting pan; bake for 20 minutes stirring once.


Spoon vegetables over the chick peas in Dutch oven.

Pour the broth over the vegetables; sprinkle with breadcrumbs.

Bake for 1 ½ hours or until vegetables are tender; serves 6-8.