Rutabaga vs. Turnip

What's the Difference?

Rutabaga and turnip are both root vegetables that belong to the Brassicaceae family, but they have distinct differences in taste, appearance, and culinary uses. Rutabaga, also known as swede or yellow turnip, has a yellowish-orange flesh and a slightly sweet and nutty flavor. It is larger in size and has a rougher skin compared to turnip. On the other hand, turnip has a white or cream-colored flesh with a more peppery and slightly bitter taste. It is smaller in size and has a smoother skin. While rutabaga is often used in stews, soups, and roasted dishes, turnip is commonly used in salads, stir-fries, and pickling. Overall, both vegetables offer unique flavors and can be enjoyed in various culinary preparations.


Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash
Scientific NameBrassica napobrassicaBrassica rapa
ColorPurple or yellowWhite or yellow
TasteSweet and nuttyMild and slightly bitter
TextureFirm and denseFirm and crisp
SizeGenerally largerGenerally smaller
UsageCooked or roastedCooked or raw
Photo by Vanessa Bucceri on Unsplash

Further Detail


Rutabaga and turnip are two root vegetables that are often confused due to their similar appearance and taste. However, they have distinct attributes that set them apart. In this article, we will explore the differences and similarities between rutabaga and turnip, including their taste, nutritional value, culinary uses, and growing conditions.


When it comes to taste, rutabaga and turnip have subtle differences. Rutabaga has a slightly sweeter and milder flavor compared to turnip. It has a hint of cabbage-like taste, making it a popular choice for soups, stews, and roasted dishes. On the other hand, turnip has a more peppery and earthy flavor, which can be described as a cross between radish and cabbage. Its taste is more pronounced, making it a great addition to salads and stir-fries.

Nutritional Value

Both rutabaga and turnip are low in calories and high in nutrients, making them excellent choices for a healthy diet. Rutabaga is a good source of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. It also contains antioxidants that help protect the body against free radicals. Turnip, on the other hand, is rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate. It also contains minerals like calcium and iron. Both vegetables are low in fat and cholesterol, making them suitable for weight management and heart health.

Culinary Uses

Rutabaga and turnip can be used in a variety of culinary preparations, adding flavor and texture to dishes. Rutabaga is often used in soups, stews, and casseroles. It can be mashed, roasted, or added to root vegetable medleys. Its sweet and mild taste complements other ingredients well. Turnip, on the other hand, is commonly used in salads, stir-fries, and pickling. It can be grated, sliced, or cubed to add a crunchy texture and peppery flavor to dishes. Both vegetables can also be used as a substitute for potatoes in mashed dishes, providing a healthier alternative.

Growing Conditions

Rutabaga and turnip have similar growing conditions, but there are slight differences in their preferences. Rutabaga prefers cooler climates and can tolerate frost, making it suitable for growing in northern regions. It requires well-drained soil and full sun exposure. Turnip, on the other hand, is more adaptable to different climates and can be grown in both cool and warm regions. It prefers fertile soil and partial shade, especially in hotter climates. Both vegetables can be grown from seeds and require regular watering and proper soil preparation for optimal growth.


Visually, rutabaga and turnip have some similarities, but there are noticeable differences in their appearance. Rutabaga is larger in size compared to turnip, with a round or oval shape. It has a yellowish-brown skin and a pale yellow or orange flesh. Turnip, on the other hand, is smaller and has a round shape. It has a white or purple skin and a white or yellow flesh. The skin of turnip is often smoother compared to the rougher texture of rutabaga's skin.


In conclusion, rutabaga and turnip may share some similarities, but they have distinct attributes that make them unique. Rutabaga has a sweeter and milder taste, while turnip has a more peppery and earthy flavor. Both vegetables offer nutritional benefits and can be used in various culinary preparations. When it comes to growing conditions, rutabaga prefers cooler climates, while turnip is more adaptable. Understanding the differences between rutabaga and turnip can help you make informed choices in the kitchen and garden.

Comparisons may contain inaccurate information about people, places, or facts. Please report any issues.