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Rooted in Flavor: What Does Rutabaga Taste Like?

Rutabaga may be large and sort of dumpy-looking, but it’s a versatile veggie that you can cook in multiple ways.

Whether mashed, boiled or added to a stew, it tastes pleasant and pairs nicely with numerous dishes.

You can also cook Rutabaga in other ways besides the above and serve it with various dishes.

Rutabaga is also nutritious and a low-calorie veggie so adding it to your diet can be a great idea.

But what does Rutabaga taste like? Is it sweet, sour, bitter or bland? You have come to the right place if you’re also wondering the same.

What is Rutabaga?

Rutabaga or Swede is a root vegetable, a form of Brassica napus.

It’s also called Swedish turnip or turnip.

However, every region has a name, so you’ll likely hear it called by many names.

Russia, Scandinavia or Finland is considered as the place where Rutabaga originated.

It’s commonly consumed as food in many parts of the world and also fed to livestock.

People in Ireland, the Isle of Man, Scotland, Northern and Western Islands also made lanterns from Rutabaga during Halloween.

The primary harvest season for Rutabaga is between October and November, but you can find it till March.

Its availability can also depend on the climatic conditions of a particular place.

It’s both considered an autumn or winter crop depending on the climate.

Rutabaga is versatile and can substitute for various root vegetables, so it’s a suitable veggie when you’re short of carrots, potatoes, turnips, or others.

Since it can replace other vegetables, let’s find out its flavor.

What Does Rutabaga Taste Like?

Research indicates that rutabaga is a hybrid of wild cabbage (Brassica oleracea) and turnips.

Hence, it’s fair to think that Rutabaga tastes similar to its cousins.

But does it taste exactly like them?

When compared to turnips, rutabagas are generally much larger than turnips.

They have a brownish-yellowish shade, while turnips are white-purple.

So you can easily differentiate between the two.

Regarding the taste, Rutabaga has a more subtle flavor than turnips.

It’s sweet but not as sweet as carrots, while turnips have a more pungent taste and incline more towards radishes.

Rutabaga also has a mildly bitter flavor but not as much as turnips.

That’s when you eat rutabagas raw but how does it taste when cooked? Its taste changes from sweet and bitter to a flavor akin to potatoes but without losing the sweet note.

The bitter taste fades away when you cook Rutabaga in any way.

Hence, you’ll enjoy the cooked version even if you don’t like it much when it’s raw.

Its flesh is yellow and it has a firm and slightly grainy texture.

It’s no wonder why Rutabaga can substitute for so many different root veggies because it can always save the day.

Rutabagas can also remain fresh and edible in the ground for a long time and you can postpone their harvest for up to a year.

Rutabagas harvested when young are mildly flavored, whereas older swedes tend to be sweeter.

So you can buy according to requirements.

How to Cook and Serve Rutabaga?

Rutabagas taste great whether raw or cooked, so when planning to serve the root veggie, you won’t have problems.

Rutabagas are incredibly versatile and suitable for sweet and savory dishes.

No matter what you cook, any rutabaga dish will taste flavorsome.

Earlier, we learned that Rutabaga could stand for various root vegetables.

So whatever you can make with potatoes, carrots, turnips and other root veggies, you can make with rutabagas too.

Among others, rutabaga mash is of the most popular dishes made with the veggie.

You can use rutabagas if you don’t have potatoes but want to eat mash.

Making rutabaga mash is just like making potato mash.

You peel, chop and boil the veggie with salt and mash the chunks with butter, then add more salt and black pepper.

Aside from mash, you can also make a whole lot of other dishes like.

  • Spiralized rutabaga noodles.
  • Rutabaga gratin.
  • Swede cake with brown butter frosting.
  • Rutabaga soup.
  • Rutabaga stew.
  • Rutabaga fries.
  • Roasted Rutabaga with beets and balsamic vinegar.
  • Apple and Rutabaga salad.
  • Rutabaga hash.
  • Rutabaga hasselback.

Besides these dishes, you can make many more dishes, whether fried, boiled, roasted or baked.

You can also make many other sweet dishes besides the cake mentioned above.

You can enjoy the rutabaga dishes with beef, chicken, seafood, grains and other vegetable dishes.


Rutabaga is flavorful and versatile so it can be a helpful veggie when other root veggies aren’t available.

Now that you know its taste and versatility, cook and enjoy it whenever you want.

Swede also contains plenty of nutrients to enjoy the flavor and receive all the goodness from the veggie.

You can also incorporate it with other items because it tastes good with most foods.

If you have some space in your backyard, you can grow it during the season and enjoy eating fresh swedes.

What Does Rutabaga Taste Like? Does it Taste Good?

Wondering about the flavor of rutabaga? Discover its unique taste profile and whether it's pleasing to the palate.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Food Taste
Servings 1 Serving


  • Rutabaga
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  • Depending on the ingredients used, the cooking method, and the type of dish, the taste of the food can vary greatly.
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Keyword What Does Rutabaga Taste Like
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