This simple mashed potatoes and parsnips recipe is a perfect way to dress up your holiday dinner! This is a tasty and easy mashed potatoes dish that will leave your guests begging for the recipe. The parsnips add a sweet flavor with a slight bite that add all kinds of interesting to the regular ho-hum mashed potatoes!
👩🏻🍳 Why this is the BEST recipe for mashed potatoes
If you are a fan of mashed potatoes, but want to change things up a little, try adding parsnips to your next batch.
What is a parsnip, you may ask? Parsnips are kind of like carrots, but they are pale in color. They have a little bit of sweetness and nuttiness to them, and a hearty texture similar to potatoes. They work really well with potatoes to create a smooth, creamy side dish just like mashed potatoes but with a bit of a flavor twist!
Parsnips are a fall and winter root vegetable, which makes them perfect for Thanksgiving and other holiday meals. They are high in fiber and low in calories, and add so much flavor to this dish without adding any extra effort, because you treat them just like you treat the potatoes.
While the turkey or ham or roast is the star of those holiday meals, the side dishes play a important supporting role. That's why it was my goal to come up with a recipe for EASY mashed potatoes that would be super simple to make, yet still have them raving over it's deliciousness.
And, by the way, you can make this ahead of time, so that you have one less thing to fuss about on the day of your Thanksgiving or holiday meal! Yay!!!
🥘 Ingredients Needed
- potatoes - the foundation of the recipe. Russet potatoes work best!.
- parsnips - the secret ingredient to making this side dish extra special.
- butter, milk, salt and pepper - add creaminess and flavor.
- Wash and peel the potatoes and parsnips and cut into large chunks.
- Place in a medium saucepan of boiling water for about 30-35 minutes, until the chunks are fork soft. Drain
- Place the chunks in a bowl, and mash using a hand masher, an electric hand mixer, or food processor. Add in the butter and milk as you go, plus salt and pepper to taste.
- Place in a serving bowl and garnish with fresh herbs for a truly special presentation for your parsnip and potato mash!
No, the potatoes don't need to be soaked. Some people like to soak them prior to cooking to help to remove some of the starchy molecules that can cause mashed potatoes to seem a bit pasty, but you would have to cut the chunks very small to expose enough surface area to remove enough of those molecules to have any effect.
It depends on the parsnip. If the peel seems tender, then you don't need to peel. However, if it seems like it's a little tough, then peel the parsnips very thinly with a vegetable peeler or sharp knife.
Turnips and rutabagas are close cousins of the parsnips, so either of those could be used in place of parsnips. Even though parsnips look like carrots, carrots wouldn't be a good substitute in this parsnip and potato mash recipe. (However, for roasting instead of boiling and mashing, carrots would be a good substitute.)
Absolutely! You can make it 2-3 days ahead of time and store in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop, adding some extra milk if the potatoes are too thick. PRO-TIP: Leave out the butter when making them and add it in when reheating for a more freshly mashed flavor!
Place them back on the stove top or in the microwave and heat, uncovered. They will thicken up as the steam escapes from the heated mash. If you are too strapped for time to wait for this method, try adding some flour, cornstarch, or even a little Parmesan cheese to thicken things up quickly!
💭 Top Tips
- Got lumps in your mashed potatoes? That is not necessarily a bad thing - my family loves them lumpy. But if you want a really smooth mash, and you think the reason for the lumps is that the parsnips and potatoes were not cooked quite enough, add a little more milk and cook the mashed mixture over low heat until the lumps begin to soften, and then remash.
- If your parsnips are pretty big, use only one instead of two. Or alternatively, add in another potato and also increase the milk and butter.
- Using a hand mixer or food processor as opposed to a manual hand masher will also result in smoother mashed potatoes and parsnips.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
- Alternatively, you can freeze your leftover mashed potatoes and parsnips as well. Either place all the leftovers in a high-quality airtight container, or freeze them in individual portions! Simply scoop the portions onto a baking sheet covered in wax paper, then place the baking sheet in the freezer. Once the portions are frozen, transfer them to silicone zipper bags or an airtight container and place back in the freezer.
- To reheat your frozen parsnip and potato mash, thaw overnight in the refrigerator prior to reheating, or simply reheat from frozen in the microwave on 50% power until hot.
Make this 1-2 days before your holiday meal. That way you have one less thing to worry about on the big day! Simply reheat before serving, adding a little extra milk and butter if needed.
- Add garlic. Cook about 1 tablespoon of minced garlic in 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat until aromatic, then add to your parsnips and potatoes while you are mashing them.
- Add thyme, and sub olive oil for the butter. Cook about 1 tablespoon of thyme leaves in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat until aromatic, then add during the mashing step.
- Stir in chopped chives. Add about 1/3 to 1/2 cup chopped chives. Save some extra to sprinkle on top for a pretty presentation!
- Use rosemary. Add a spring of fresh rosemary into the water when you are boiling the parsnips and potatoes. Discard before mashing.
- Love parsnips? Skip the potatoes and make this dish a purely parsnip mash!
🥗 Suggested Main Dish Pairings
Here are some great main dishes that would just LOVE to share the dinner table with this easy potato and parsnip mash side dish.
🍞 Additional Side Dish Recipes
Need more side dishes? I've got you covered! Three of my favorites are below, or visit my side dish category page for many more options!
➕ More Parsnip Recipes
Looking for another parsnip recipe or two? If you're like me, you've just discovered a whole new vegetable to incorporate into your meal plan!
While turning this recipe into a parsnip mash (swap in more parsnips to replace the potatoes) is one great option, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy parsnips as well. Try this Roasted Parsnips recipe, or this super easy Carrots and Parsnips dish cooked in the microwave!!
If your family is a huge fan of mashed potatoes, or you have teenage boys (lol), you might want to double this recipe!
Easy Parsnip and Potato Mash
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📋 Recipe Card
Easy Mashed Potatoes and Parsnips
- 3 large russet potatoes
- 2 parsnips
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1/2 cup milk
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. While it's heating, wash and peel the potatoes and parsnips and chop into large chunks.
- When the water boils, place the parsnips and potatoes in the saucepan and cook for 30-35 minutes, until the chunks are fork-tender.
- Drain the water, place the chunks in a large bowl and mash them (use a hand masher, electric hand mixer, or food processor.) As you are mashing, add in the butter, milk, salt, and pepper to incorporate.
- Serve garnished with fresh herbs or a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese!
- Is your mash too lumpy? Place back on the stove with a little extra milk, cook for a while longer, and mash again.
- Is your mash too thick? Add more milk or butter, a little at a time, until it reaches the desired consistency.
- Is your mash too thin? Place on the stove or in the microwave and cook a little longer, uncovered, until it thickens up.
- Store leftovers in the fridge for 3-4 days or the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, simple place on the stove or in the microwave and cook until hot. Add a little milk if it's too thick.
- Store individual portions in the freezer by placing each scooped portion on wax paper on a baking sheet and freeze. Once the portions are frozen, transfer them to a container or ziplock bag to keep in the freezer until ready to use.
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