Creamy Mashed Parsnips & Potatoes


Creamy Mashed Parsnips & Potatoes

See? I eat vegetables. (Sorry, couldn’t resist!)

This is one of my favorite takes on mashed potatoes. It’s rich, buttery, and gets a delightfully mellow sweetness from the parsnips. Soft bits of onion add a really nice texture and contrast to the creaminess of the potato and parsnip.

Creamy Mashed Parsnips & Potatoes

If you can boil water and chop up a few veggies, you can make this dish. There’s a minimal amount of spice, which really lets the flavor of the parsnips come through.

This dish is a great companion to almost any kind of meat. I like to serve it with thick, grilled sirloins or crisp-skinned roast duck.

A note on parsnips and elephant garlic

My mother would probably die if she heard me say this, but: I love parsnips. Kind of hard to believe, since I was one of those kids who hid her asparagus behind the couch so she wouldn’t have to eat it. (What, you didn’t all do that?) But there you have it.


Parsnips look like white carrots, and get an extra bump of sweetness after the first frost of the year, when the cold converts the root’s starch to sugar.

Oh, and some of you have asked me about elephant garlic. I get it at my regular grocery store here in Boston. They keep it near the regular garlic. Here’s one clove, next to my vegetable peeler for scale. (Big, eh?)


In reality, elephant garlic is closer to being a leek than actual garlic. It has a milder, more complex flavor than regular garlic. I use it when I want a subtle garlic flavor, without the overwhelming bite. It’s perfect for a creamy dish like this.

Creamy Mashed Parsnips & Potatoes: The basic technique

Like I said, this is really easy to make:

+Peel your veggies and chop them up
+Boil them ’til soft and drain
+Mash with butter
+Infuse with cream
+Season with a little salt and white pepper

Creamy Mashed Parsnips & Potatoes

5 medium white potatoes
5 parsnips
1 large white onion
1 clove elephant garlic
kosher salt
4 Tbls. butter (that’s 1/2 a stick)
1/4 cup-1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp. white pepper

Yields 4-5 cups, depending on the size of your veggies.

Creamy Mashed Parsnips & Potatoes: Peel your veggies

Set a large pot of water on the stove to boil. Then grab your veggies.

A big pile of veggies

Peel the parsnips, potatoes, onion, and elephant garlic. Cut the ends off the parsnips and elephant garlic and discard them. Cut the eyes out of the potatoes.

Peel your veggies

What a mess!

Oh, what a mess!

Creamy Mashed Parsnips & Potatoes: Cut up your veggies

Cut the potatoes, parsnips, onion, and elephant garlic up into small-ish pieces. Make them all about the same size/thickness so that they cook evenly.

Here’s how to break down a parsnip so that it’s fairly even. Slice the smaller end into rounds.

Chop, chop, chop!

Then divide the large end in half and cut into pieces.

Chop, chop, chop! Chop, chop, chop! Chop, chop, chop!

Collect your chopped veggies together.

Chopped veggies

Creamy Mashed Parsnips & Potatoes: Cook the veggies

By the time your veggies are peeled and chopped, your water should be boiling. Toss in some kosher salt to taste.

Salt your water

Add the chopped veggies to the boiling water.

Add the veggies to the water

When you add the veggies to the pot, the water will likely stop boiling. That’s just fine.

Boil the veggies

Keep the heat on high and let the water come up to a boil again.

Boil the veggies

Boil the veggies until they’re fork tender. Depending on how small you chopped them, start testing for doneness after 10 or 15 minutes.

To see if your veggies are cooked through, fish a piece of potato out of the water. With a fork, crush the potato. Basically, you’re testing to see just how “mashable” your veggies are. This one here is done nicely:

Check the veggies for doneness

If the potato isn’t completely soft, toss it back in the pot and keep boiling. After a few minutes, repeat the test. Do this until your veggies are cooked through.

When your veggies are done, drain them well.

Drain the veggies well

Creamy Mashed Parsnips & Potatoes: Mash the veggies

Set your empty, hot pot on a board. Add the butter to the pot to get it melting.

Add the butter to your hot pot

Toss the veggies back in the pot with the butter.

Add the veggies back to the pot

Mash them up with a masher. (For a finer texture, you could put them through a ricer.)

Mash the veggies

As you mash, you’ll automatically work the melted butter in with the veggies.

Mash away

You want them to look about like this:

Mash away

The potato and parsnip should be fairly smooth, and shot through with bits of onion.

Mashed veggies + butter

Add the cream to the pot. Add a little at a time, and mash to combine. This will help you control the consistency of the final dish. If you add too much cream and make your dish soupy, you can’t get it out again. Better to go slowly.

Add the cream

How much cream you use will depend on the water content of your veggies, and how stiff you’d like them to be.

Add the cream slowly

Mash the mixture gently to incorporate the cream.

Mash in the cream

When they’re done, they should look about like this:

All mashed up!

When you’re happy with the consistency, stir in the white pepper. Taste and add a little kosher salt if you think it needs it.

Add the white pepper

Creamy Mashed Parsnips & Potatoes: Serve and enjoy!

To be even more decadent, top each serving with a pat of cold butter.

Creamy Mashed Parsnips & Potatoes

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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie serves as an Associate Creative Director at PARTNERS+simons, a boutique ad agency in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.


  1. Ha! My mom was shocked when I started blogging and she saw vegetables in my dishes, I was one who also didn’t want anything to do with them as a kid. Great recipe, I don’t think I’ve ever had a parsnip before. One more thing I need to try.

  2. This is great! My boyfriend is 40 and hadn’t eaten a vegetable for 34 yrs. My best game is to now hide the veggies 🙂
    Does anyone have any more tips???