Turnip Gratin

This recipe serves four, but it can easily be doubled. If you double it, use a 9x13 casserole dish. This recipe works best with young turnips with relatively high moisture. Large old turnips, or storage turnips, that are tougher and drier may need to be blanched for more than 3 minutes.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 2 medium sized young turnips (about 1/2 pound total), peeled, and sliced 1/8-1/4 inch thin
  • Olive oil
  • 3-4 slices white bread (enough to make two single layers in the pan), crusts removed
  • A few slices of onion, very thinly sliced, enough to cover the pan in one layer
  • 4 ounces Gruyere cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8x5 baking pan or casserole dish


1 Blanch raw turnip slices: Preheat oven to 325°F. Blanch the raw turnip slices in salted boiling water for 3 minutes. Remove from water and drain.

2 Layer bread, turnip slices, onions, cheese in casserole dish: Coat the inside of the casserole dish with olive oil. Place a layer of bread on the bottom of the casserole dish. Layer on half of the turnip slices in a single layer, season with salt and pepper.

turnip-gratin-method-1 turnip-gratin-method-2

Layer on all of the onions. Sprinkle with half of the cheese. Add another layer of bread, turnips, and cheese. Sprinkle again with salt and pepper.

turnip-gratin-method-3 turnip-gratin-method-4

3 Bake: Place casserole on top rack of oven. Bake at 325°F for 25 minutes. For the last few minutes, if you want, and you are using a pan (metal or ceramic) that can safely handle broiling temperatures, broil for a couple minutes to brown the top.

Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

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  • Susan

    I have made this dish several times with great success. I have used various white cheeses that are sharp, including Asiago, manchego, aged Gouda and my personal favorite, Prairy Breeze from Iowa. It has small calcium crystals in it and the tiny crunch is amazing. It is available online. Usually I only eat the greens and wondered what to do with the turnips themselves.
    If you are lucky enough to have leftovers, it is terrific reheated with a poached or fried runny egg. The most delicious brunch item ever and your veg friends will love you forever!

  • Sara

    Delish! Subbed provolone because that is what i had on hand. Thank you for sharing :)

  • Ellie

    Just going to throw this together, with fingers crossed! Has anyone assembled this ahead of time then cooked it when the company arrives? I just blanched the turnips, cooked the onions in butter and brown sugar and thought I may pour a little cream over it at the last minute if it can be made ahead.

  • Kristine

    My husband and i had this tonight and it tastes amazing. While its true it can be just a bit dry, esp the bread area at the bottom, we might dip the bread in cream or beaten eggs next time for added moisture. A must try! This will be a staple turnip meal in the household :D Thanks!

  • Nicole

    I had the same problem with the items not bonding(lack of liquid) the first time I made this dish as well. After a day or two the items finally did bond and this dish was wonderful as leftovers. What I do now is chop all the ingredients rather than slicing (everything including bread is in bite size pieces), blanch the turnips about 5 minutes instead of 3 and it’s really a great dish now. I’ve even had two other family members ask me for the recipe.

  • Carolie

    I think a lot here has to do with where you get your turnips. Made this once with farmer’s market turnips (very young, fresh and firm!) and it was great! Made it again with big turnips from the grocery store, and they must have been old and woody, because it was terrible, with NO liquid! So…guess the moral is to make sure your turnips are fresh and haven’t been sitting around in a warehouse or a truck for weeks!

  • athina

    I loved the flavor of this dish,(turnips and gruyere? yum!) but would definitely make a recommendation regarding the onions. I sauteed and caramelized them in butter prior to layering them into the casserole- raw onions can be offensive to some-especially in this type of dish.also, my bread layer seemed out of place, maybe needs to be buttered?or liquid added? If anyone had success in adding liquid, how much did you add, and did you use cream? milk? stock? how were the results?

  • Joel

    Sorry – didn’t work for me. Dish was dry and turnip undercooked. recommend simmering the turnip a bit longer or perhaps making the cheese into a light cheese sauce. Thanks anyway! :-)

  • Sandy Miltich

    I found this recipe a few weeks ago, thought I’d saved it somewhere but no….so after buying the Gruyere cheese I spend all afternoon today searching for it again.

    My husband loved it! I cut it into squares and we almost ate the whole thing, just enough left for left-over work lunch addition. It was like a grilled turnip/cheese sandwich, YUM! I wouldn’t change anything. In fact, my husband suggested that it would make a nice appetizer if cut into smaller squares for our upcoming wine tasting group next Sunday. And I used supermarket turnips. If I got them from our local farmers’ market we probably would have finished the whole thing!

    The onions were a nice addition, sliced thinly, they cooked perfectly. And I bet a Cheddar would also be nice! I liked the bread & used a mix of whole grain and some plain supermarket “whole wheat” I needed to get rid of. If you used a liquid, such as eggs & milk, you’d end up with a custard of sorts, and we liked the separate flavors/textures. I used two turnips (had 3) and could have used the other one.

    Being Canadian, or more specifically a Newfoundlander, I love rutabagas, especially fresh from the farm and have always avoided turnips because the ones I had as a young adult, new to the US, were very strong……so nice to have discovered a “new” vegetable.

    Definately a keeper recipe!

  • Ashley

    I absolutely loved this recipe and added it to my cooking blog! Thanks for sharing and making me a Gratin aficionado!! :)

  • Devery

    Made this delicious recipe tonight as a side to pork tenderloin. I wouldn’t have known there was any bread in it if I hadn’t put it in there myself. It was nicely amalgamated with no obvious layers; mine certainly didn’t require any additional liquids added. Thanks for reminding me how much I love turnips !

  • Torrey

    Neither of us are big turnip fans, but this is delicious. I’m not sure what a “medium” turnip is – I needed three to make the layers, and used more cheese. Turned our great – will definitely make this again.

  • Lynn

    I had a chunk of warmed leftover gratin with a poached egg on top for sunday brunch. good!

  • Debbie

    I was looking for something that would present well at the dinner table and have everyone ask how I made it. This was the clear winner for the dinner. Everyone loved it and were equally surprised when I told them it was made with turnips. Looks like I have a staple to bring to holiday gatherings.

  • Sara

    I made this for Thanksgiving yesterday and it was my first time eating turnips. I buttered the bread and used Monterey Jack cheese instead of Gruyere because that is all I had, but it was delicious. Even my dad, who hates turnips, had seconds. The rest of the family loved it.

  • Sarah

    How embarrassing. I brought this to Thanksgiving and it was a real flop. Like the other posts who have actually made the dish, I am bewildered by the lack of liquid imparted into the bread. On the plate the food was basically two parts, delicious turnips, cheese, and onion, and then this really sad white bread. Just flopped out on the plate, wanting to bond with the cheese and veggies. I should have trusted my instinct to add liquid, milk, cream or even a little chicken stock, but I am a beliver in making a new dish exactly by the recipe the first time. My mistake.

    I’m so sorry it didn’t work for you! We made it again, for the fourth time, this time for Thanksgiving, and again, it was a hit. Perhaps the turnips we are getting from the farmer’s market here have more moisture in them? ~Elise

  • David

    Nice one!
    Of course, like everyone else, I modified your good idea.
    I mandolined: turnips, parsnips, red potato and rutabaga 1/8″ thick.
    I used left-over Oroweat whole wheat sliced bread (a bad experiment gone very wrong) buttered on both sides, I don’t care for OO and cheese fat.
    Onion mandolined VERY thin and on both layers.
    I was skeptical about the lack of additional liquid but the finished result was bloody great. Had it with TJ’s Vegan Italian sausages (the best of the bunch IMHO)

    Thank you, keep ’em coming

  • Lori

    I tried this last night. My boyfriend is a turnip fiend, and he loved it, but we both thought the bread part was a little odd. Shouldn’t there have been some sort of liquid on the bread? Every recipe I’ve ever had with a bread layer in the middle had some sort of liquid to make it a sort of bread pudding-like, or custard-like layer. It was pretty much a warm piece of bread stuck between the layers of cheese/turnip/onion stuff. The Cheese/turnip/onion part was fantastic, but I think I’ll soak the bread in milk or cream or something for a minute before putting it together next time.

    When we’ve made it the turnips have released enough moisture, and the cheese enough fat, to moisten the bread. But feel free to add liquid if you want. Milk or cream would work fine. ~Elise

  • Brooke

    This was my first time to eat turnips (i was surprised at finding myself to be a first timer) and had no idea what to expect. Yummy flavor! I tried to thinly slice, but my onions were still a little crunchy. I liked that, but when serving to others might saute` first next time. We thought the dish was good, but I do think I will leave out the bread or add more liquid and cook longer next time.

    Great way to introduce your family to turnips, though!

  • Georgia

    Turnips are probably my favorite vegetable. I use them in soups and stews, but my favorite is simply just the turnips alone. I love their flavor and don’t want to mess with other flavors when I want just turnips. I simply peel, slice and boil with a little sugar, a pinch of salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes and a couple grinds of black pepper. When drained I toss with some melted butter. To me that’s the best way with turnips. Add some cornbread and that’s all I want for a meal.

  • LaDonna

    It looked so good, but I should have figured after reading the recipe. The bread in the dish is not needed and did not add anything. The onions were overpowering (I love onions too) and undercooked, BUT the turnips were wonderful. I ended up taking off all the bread and half the onions, then eating it. I will try another recipe with turnips, like the potatoe turnip soup.

    The onions need to be sliced very thin. I’ll make that clarification in the ingredient list. ~Elise

  • Christie @ Fig&Cherry

    Absolutely delicious! I recently had a side of baby turnips lightly pan-fried and sprinkled with micro herbs and black sesame at Momfuku – amazing! Turnips are so underrated! This gratin is a great way to use them :)

  • Kristina C.

    I am more into rutabagas – I’m pretty sure I could make this with rutabagas?? If you say no, I’m going to anyhow! Sounds delish!

    I’m willing to bet that if you like rutabagas, this recipe would work great with them. ~Elise

  • Marla

    Would this be good with kohlrabi?

    It’s worth a try! ~Elise

  • laurel

    This looks awesome. Well, anything involving melty Gruyere is awesome. Is there a particular reason the bread should be white bread? I never have it around, but if it’s essential I’ll pick some up.

    We always have either Italian or French loaf around, which is why I’m suggesting white bread. Whole wheat bread brings in more flavors, I assume it will work fine with this dish, but don’t know. If you try it, please let us know in the comments how it turns out. ~Elise

  • annie

    This looks good~I’m a turnip lover. I like this because my husband is a “I could care less if turnips were to be extinct” person, but it has everything he loves in it except for turnip. I will definitely give it a try, and even if he doesn’t love it, more left over for me.
    What’s the difference between gratin and scalloped stuff?

    I think in this case there is milk or cream in the scalloped versions that isn’t in the gratin. But don’t hold me to this explanation. I’m not an expert on gratin. ~Elise