Creamy Turnip Soup

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This creamy Turnip Soup is surprisingly delicious made with turnips, potatoes, sweet onions, garlic, and herbs.


Before you turn away, give this easy Turnip Soup a chance! It's super creamy, even though it has no dairy, and is made with a delicious combination of sauteed onions, garlic, turnips, potatoes, and thyme.

It's one of my favorite recipes for introducing turnips to people who haven't tried them before, along with these tasty Roasted Turnips and Crispy Turnip Fries.

Turnips are often overlooked and misunderstood when it comes to vegetables. Most people have either never tried them or only experienced old school bitter, boiled turnips that were mushy and flavorless.

Today, I want all that to change. when picked and prepared correctly, turnips are actually sweet, nutty, and slightly peppery. Think about it as a flavor somewhere between a cabbage and a radish, but sweeter.

They can be so delicious and is a great vegetable to add to your vegetable rotation.

Additionally, turnips are a nutritious, tasty vegetable that's easy to prepare, affordable, and full of vitamins and nutrients.  They are a root vegetable, similar to rutabagas and beets, that grows underground.

You can eat both the root bulb and the greens (delicious sauteed and served on top of this turnip soup), and they can be found year-round.

Nutritionally speaking, turnips are packed with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as calcium, fiber, and folate.  They are a great lower carb, more nutritious substitute for potatoes.

The steps for making turnip soup including cooking the onions, spices, turnips, and potatoes.

Ingredients and Easy Swaps

Here is everything you need to make this delicious turnip soup.

  • Olive oil and butter: Climbing butter and olive oil create the richest flavor in my opinion. All butter or all olive oil would also work.
  • Onions and garlic: Thai recipe uses both a yellow, more tart onion and sweet onion to add a deep flavor. Think onion soup vibes. Combined with garlic, it's the perfect base.
  • Thyme: Herbs are a must in vegetable soup. Use thyme, rosemary, oregano, or a combination.
  • Turnips: Small to medium turnips are best for this soup since they are less bitter than larger turnips. Fresh or frozen turnips will work.
  • Potatoes: To smooth out the flavor of the turnips, potatoes are a perfect choice. If you are looking for something lower carb, swap in carrots, butternut squash, cauliflower, or even heavy cream to mellow out the turnip flavor.
  • Vegetable broth: Any tasty broth will work in this soup. Chicken stock is a great option as well.
  • Garnish ideas: Crispy bacon, crispy sage leaves, Parmesan cheese, diced apples, a drizzle of heavy cream, a dollop of sour cream, or croutons.

What to serve with turnip soup?

There are so many different ways to serve this turnip and potato soup either as a starter, side dish, or the main dish for a meal.  

  • Croutons: Complement the flavors of this creamy soup with some crispy croutons. Start by chopping some hearty bread with olive oil, dried herbs, salt, and pepper. Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes until crispy. Top the soup with homemade croutons and some freshly chopped parsley, green onions, or chives.
  • Add bacon and cheese: Everything tastes better with cheese and bacon. Crisp up some bacon to sprinkle on top of the turnip soup along with some crumbly goat cheese and chopped chives. 
  • Add turnip greens: If you are lucky enough to find turnips with the greens attached, consider cooking them down with some bacon and serving on the top. 
  • Add apples: To bring out more sweetness, sometimes I will top the soup with some fresh, diced apples. It adds a nice texture and also brings out the natural sweetness of the turnips.

Do I need to peel turnips for soup?

Turnip peels can be bitter and fibrous, so it is always a good idea to peel them before using them for soup. Also, since turnips can have a purple or pink skin, this will also ensure that your soup doesn't have a purple or pink hue. 

If you haven't worked with turnips before, they are easy to peel. Simply chop off the top knob where the greens were attached and the root if attached. Then use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin. It peels off easily.

How to pick turnips? How to decrease the bitterness of turnips?

This is the most important step to ensuring that your turnips and turnip soup do not taste bitter.

To put it simply, smaller and younger turnips are sweeter and less bitter. Older and more mature turnips have more bitterness.

Therefore you always want to look for small to medium size turnips to ensure that the turnips have a sweeter flavor. Also when you cook turnips, it naturally removes some of the inherent bitterness in turnips. 

How to Freeze Turnip Soup

Turnip soup can be frozen for up to 6 months in an airtight container.

To make it easy for future meals, try to freeze it in individual or family-size portions so you aren't defrosting soup you won't eat.

Then defrost overnight in the fridge, in the microwave, or stovetop.

Creamy turnip soup in a bowl with parsley, black pepper, and french bread on the side.

What do turnips taste like?

Turnips are a root vegetable that grows underground much like potatoes, rutabaga, or beets. They are a flavor that is slightly sweet and peppery.

It's kind of like a mix of cabbage, cauliflower, and radish. Many people think of them as a low-carb substitute for potatoes since the flavors are similar, but turnips have a stronger flavor. 

Additionally, to ensure the turnips have a sweeter flavor, make sure to always choose turnips that are small to medium in size.

Ideally, they should be as fresh as possible since they get more bitter with age.

Can I make this in the slow cooker? Instant Pot?

This dish can easily be made in the slow cooker or Instant Pot. Make sure to start by cooking down the onions and garlic to bring out the flavor.

Then add the onions to the slow cooker/Instant Pot with the turnips, potatoes, thyme, salt, pepper, and broth.

Cook on low in the slow cooker for 4-6 hours until the potatoes and turnips are tender. Then blend. For the Instant Pot, cook on Manual for 10 minutes and quick release.

Recipe Ideas and Tips

There are so many ways to customize this homemade creamy turnip soup.

  • Low carb: To make this soup low carb or keto friendly, then substitute cauliflower for the potatoes. You could also make this soup with all turnips, but I like how the potato or cauliflower mellows out the flavor of the turnips.
  • Creamier: For a creamier option, finish the soup with some half and half, canned coconut milk, or cream cheese.
  • Make it spicy: Add a hint of heat to this soup by adding some red pepper flakes along with the thyme. 
  • Add herbs and spices: Experiment with different herbs and spices to change up the flavors in the soup. Use Italian seasoning, rosemary, curry powder, turmeric, ginger, or any other combination of flavors you like.
  • Add protein: If you want to add protein to this soup. consider adding some sauteed chicken sausage or bacon.
  • Chunky soup: If you prefer a chunkier soup, only blend half of the soup and leave some of the potatoes and turnips whole.
The Recipe
Turnip soup with potatoes in a bowl with fresh herbs, a wooden spoon, and fresh bread.

Creamy Turnip Soup

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  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 sweet onion, sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 3 medium turnips, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large russet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth)

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Melt the butter and olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions and cook for about 10 minutes until tender and just beginning to brown.

Onions cooking down in butter and olive oil in a Dutch oven.

Add the garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir together and cook for 2-3 minutes until the garlic is very fragrant.

Cooked onions with garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper in a blue Dutch oven for turnip soup.

Add the turnips, potatoes, and broth. Bring to a simmer and turn the heat down to low.

Turnips, potatoes, onion, garlic, and broth in a Dutch oven.

Cover and cook for 25-30 minutes until the potatoes and turnips are tender.

Cooked turnips and potatoes in broth with onions and garlic for turnip soup.

Add to a blender (or use an immersion blender) to blend the soup until creamy. Taste and season with salt and pepper. If the soup tastes bitter, you can add a touch of honey or maple syrup to balance the flavor. You can also add a touch of half and half to balance this flavor if your turnips turn out to be on the bitter side.

Creamy turnip soup in a bowl with fresh herbs and a spoon.
Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1.25 cups
Amount Per Serving
Calories 129
Calories from Fat 40
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5g
Saturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 5mg
Sodium 1089mg
Total Carbohydrate 21g
Dietary Fiber 3g
Sugars 9g
Protein 3g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
On Creamy Turnip Soup
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Linda Abel
August 12, 2023 - 08:05
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Nice and easy to make, tastes lovely too.
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Teresa Roberts
November 12, 2022 - 10:09
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Fantastic!!!!! My go to for comfort!!!!
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February 1, 2022 - 21:17
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A wonderful recipe! I substituted cauliflower for the potatoes since my husband is on a Keto diet.
Before I blended I removed some “chunks” of cauliflower and turnip which I added back in after blending, to add some texture. I also browned and added some hot Italian sausages after the blending part. I saved the greens from the top of the turnips, chopped them and sautéed them in some bacon grease and sprinkled on top before serving. I also swirled the heavy cream just to make it look pretty. Thanks for this recipe!
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