Mashed Potatoes and Parsnips with Chives and Parsley

Sometimes parsnips can have a tough, fibrous core that no amount of cooking will tenderize. If you encounter this, cut the parsnips in quarters lengthwise and cut out the tough core.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4.


  • 1 1/2 pounds parsnips
  • 1 1/2 pounds yukon gold potatoes
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 Tbsp chopped chives
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1 Peel the parsnips. Cut them crosswise into 1/2-inch thick medallions. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1 to 1 1/2-inch chunks.

2 Place into a medium saucepan, cover with water, add two teaspoons of salt. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat, cover and let cook for 10 minutes, until a fork can pierce easily. Drain and return the parsnips and potatoes to the warm pan. Cover and let steam in the heat of the pan for 10 minutes.

3 Using a potato masher, mash the parsnips and potatoes until nicely mashed. Don't over mash or they will be gluey. Add butter and salt (omit salt if using salted butter), and mash some more. Stir in the chopped parsley and chives. Add black pepper and more salt to taste.

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  • Linda Augustine

    I made these and served them with coq au vin. They were excellent. I love the flavor the parsnips give the potatoes!
    I enjoy your blog – I hope you’ll visit mine sometime!

    • Elise

      Hi Linda, what a lovely food blog you have! I really like how you have your recipes categorized by season.

  • Eugenia

    I tried this recipe last night. Mind you, we have not had parsnips before, this was a very good compliment for dinner. I would serve this again. Oh, and my son who does not eat mashed potatoes, tried a spoonful of this recipe and said it was “okay”.

  • Jayne @ Tenacious Tinkering

    I’ve never had parsnips before because they’re not native veggies here. If I were to want them, I’d have to get them from some international grocer that brings in imported produce. But you’ve piqued my interest. I’ve never really read about how parsnips taste like. Gotta give it a go!

  • Rene

    I don’t have yukon gold potatoes on hand, but I do have russet. Do you think they would work just as well? I have never had parsnips, so I’m eager to give it a try.

    • Elise

      Sure, they would work just as well. I prefer yukon golds because they are creamier, but russets make terrific mashed potatoes too!

  • Joshua Hampton

    I’m usually indifferent to parsnips, but since I love playing with mashed potatoes, this got me curious. Will definitely give this recipe a try.

    • Keith Otto

      my kids would not eat potatoes unless it was a french fry. I like fried left-over mashed potatoes, golden and crispy, but decided to do things abit different. Chop bacon (cook) add sliced mushrooms, chopped green onions,(add chopped colored sweet peppers if you want. This adds flavor and color), (cook) add mashed potatoes, (heat), mix in abit of sour cream. When all is hot turn into a casserole dish, cover with grated cheese, bake until cheese is all melted and starting to brown. Kids love this, now have to make mashed potatoes just to make this. (P.S. if you put cheese on it, kids will eat it!)

  • Nate

    Whenever I’ve added parsnips to a soup, they have added an overpoweringly strong and spicy taste. Do they change flavor depending on how long since they were picked? Or are there different varieties that taste different? I’ve kind of disregarded them after having some bad experiences, but would be open to trying them again if I knew more.

    • Elise

      Parsnips are strong tasting, like turnips, only sweeter. So they work well in stews with strong flavors, such as a beef or oxtail stew. As for young parsnips versus older parsnips, I think you would find them similar to young versus old carrots. Same flavor, maybe the young ones a little more tender and sweet.

  • Another parsnip recipe

    Here’s another great recipe for parsnips.

    Positively addicting.

    • Elise

      Melissa Clark of the NY Times is brilliant. This recipe with parsnips, bacon, and pasta sounds great!

  • Dawn

    Wow, this looks great. I never used to like parsnips, and father positively hated them. As my husband loves them, one day I tried a recipe very similar to yours – no potato and the parsnips are mashed with butter and a little heavy cream. Lots of black pepper and some nutmeg bring out the slight spicy sweetness of the parsnips. I plated the meal and put a tiny spoonful on my father’s plate. He was most indignant at the miniscule serving once he had tried it! We all enjoyed parsnips prepared this way.

    So I recommend to anyone who thinks they don’t like parsnips – try Elise’s recipe, and if you like nutmeg, consider adding some too!