Turnip Puff or Rutabaga Puff

A tasty purée of root vegetables, either purple-topped turnips or, as pictured here, the lovely sunny-fleshed rutabagas. It's a favorite Thanksgiving vegetable casserole from my Canadian family.

Rutabaga Puff (or Turnip Puff) ♥ KitchenParade.com, a delicious purée of root vegetables, either turnip or the sunny-colored rutabaga, also called a 'swede'. A Thanksgiving favorite, especially in Canada.

Real Food, Fresh & Seasonal. Budget Friendly. Easy to Make-Ahead for Thanksgiving or a Family Meal. Weight Watchers Friendly. Vegetarian & Easily Converted to Vegan. Rave Reviews.

  • "Delicious! This is my niece's favorite casserole and [now] one of ours as well." ~Joan
  • "[a vegan version of the] casserole turns out beautifully." ~Anonymous
  • "... enjoyed it very much." ~Pauline

The Facts of Life

One small boy to another: "Of course I know the facts of life! Wash your hands. Brush your teeth. Eat your vegetables."

Tee hee ...

No Bucking Tradition

In some families, it’s a fact of life that it’s risky to buck tradition at Thanksgiving. Every year, it’s Grandma’s same cornbread stuffing and Cousin Isabelle’s favorite sweet potatoes.

Here, the requisite vegetable has been my Auntie Gloria’s Squash Puff. Then I learned that she and my Canadian family have supplanted squash with turnip.

Both are fall vegetables. Both versions are mashed. But somehow a squash puff and a turnip puff are entirely different. And since there’s no choosing between the two, now both are essential!

Turnip pairs well with roast beef and turkey both. So if your Thanksgiving menu is already cast in the irons of family custom, consider adding a Turnip Puff to the less rule-ruled Christmas meal.

Our Best Thanksgiving Vegetable Recipes ♥ AVeggieVenture.com, from vegetable side dishes to make-ahead casseroles to slow cooker vegetables to vegetables for a crowd to vegetarian main dishes to salads to appetizers and even pies.

So What Is a Vegetable "Puff"?

We know about cream puffs (pastry!) and Dutch puffs (pancakes!) and even the little French cheese puffs (warm from the oven? swoon ...).

In contrast, a vegetable "puff" is one of two things:

  • A bite-size appetizer made with a cooked vegetable, like the Spinach Puffs here with Three Quick Appetizers.
  • A vegetable casserole made with puréed or smashed cooked vegetables, usually with a little baking powder to make the casserole "puff" up, not as high as a soufflé but still, a little bit lighter and fluffier in texture.

My Canadian family must really like vegetable puffs because both my recipes originate with them! First came the wonderful Squash Puff, you'll see it on my Thanksgiving table every year, whether I'm cooking or taking a dish somewhere else.

And now, just below, a single recipe that calls for either purple-topped turnips or what I call "rutabagas" or "swedes" but which, read on, Canadians call "turnips".

Because You Want to Know Something Funny?

After publishing this recipe back in 2006, word arrived that Canadian supermarkets label what I call "rutabagas" turnips. So my Canadian family actually makes this Thanksgiving casserole with rutabagas, not purple-topped turnips. Ha!

The good news is that I make this dish with both and both are excellent. If I were to prefer one, it's the Rutabaga Puff, if only for its sunny yellow color and slightly sweeter flavor. But truly, you'll not go wrong with either.

But here's an image that I hope will make it easier to know what you're looking for.

What Is a Turnip? A Rutabaga? A Swede? ♥ KitchenParade.com

Left – Turnips, at least this is what they're called in the U.S. Turnips are about the size of a small fist. The skins are quite thin, easy to remove with a vegetable peeler. Inside, the flesh is firm and very white in color. Some turnips have purple-colored caps, others caps are pale gold or light green. Turnips have a lovely delicate flavor, we keep them on hand as a low-carb substitute for turnips. For more information about turnips, please see turnips at A Veggie Venture.

Right – Rutabagas, also called swedes (and Swedish turnips) and in Canada, apparently called turnips. I know, confusing! Rutabagas can be quite large, larger than a large grapefruit, say. The skins are a pale, dull brown in color. But you may not be able to even see the skin, that's because rutabagas are some times dipped in wax so they'll keep longer. Inside, the flesh of a rutabaga is dense and a pretty warm gold in color. Rutabagas have a distinctive flavor. We love-love-love rutabagas! For more information about rutabagas, please see rutabagas (swedes) at A Veggie Venture.

What Makes This Recipe Special

  • Just turnips or rutabagas plus pantry ingredients
  • Do all the prep ahead of time, then pop into the oven to bake
  • It's decidedly savory, even with a small touch of sugar
  • It has good texture, creamy but with some texture
  • It contrasts beautifully with the sweet foods that appear at Thanksgiving
  • It reheats well because, well duh, Thanksgiving leftovers!
  • With rutabagas, beautiful golden color for the table
Rutabaga Puff (or Turnip Puff) ♥ KitchenParade.com, a delicious purée of root vegetables, either turnip or the sunny-colored rutabaga, also called a 'swede'. A Thanksgiving favorite, especially in Canada.


Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time-to-table: 75 minutes
Makes 4 cups
  • 3 pounds (about 1300g) purple-topped turnips (about 6 large) or rutabagas (about 1 large)
  • Well-salted water
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup panko or dry bread crumbs (see ALANNA’s TIPS)
  • 2 tablespoons melted salted butter

COOK THE TURNIPS or RUTABAGAS Peel the turnips or slice the skins off the rutabagas, then cut into roughly equal-size pieces. Cook in boiling salted water until soft. (Stop here and refrigerate if preparing a day before.)

MIX THE PUFF Mash the turnips or rutabagas in a large bowl with a mixer, sorry a potato masher just doesn't work. Mix in the butter, flour, brown sugar, then the eggs, baking powder, salt, pepper and nutmeg and combine well. Transfer to a buttered casserole dish.

TOPPING Combine the panko or bread crumbs with butter and sprinkle evenly across the center, leaving the outer edge uncovered. (Stop here and refrigerate if preparing a few hours before.)

BAKE Bake at 375F/190C until lightly browned on top and the edges, about 30-40 minutes if starting from room temperature, about 50 minutes if starting cold from the refrigerator.

ALANNA's TIPS Both a Turnip Puff and a Rutabaga Puff reheat beautifully with other Thanksgiving leftovers. Be sure the cooked turnips or rutabagas have cooled down before adding the eggs. We don't want them to cook until the casserole hits the oven! Try irregularly shaped and thus extra-crispy Japanese breadcrumbs called panko (pronounced PAHN-ko) found at specialty food stores and some supermarkets.
FOR MORE INFO If you "skipped straight to the recipe," please scroll back to the top of this page for ingredient information, ingredient substitutions, tips and more. If you print this recipe, you'll want to check the recipe online for even more tips and extra information about ingredient substitutions, best results and more. See https://www.kitchenparade.com/2006/11/turnip-puff.php .
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Half Cup: 138 Calories; 7g Tot Fat; 4g Sat Fat; 68mg Cholesterol; 16g Carb; 3g Fiber; 7g Sugar; 361mg Sodium; 4g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 3 & PointsPlus 4 & SmartPoints 6 & Freestyle 4 & myWW green 4 & blue 4 & purple 4 & future WW points

More Thanksgiving Vegetable Recipes

Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple ♥ KitchenParade.com, familiar ingredients somehow create unexpected layers of flavor and color. Festive for holiday buffets and tables.

Perfect Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes (Party Potatoes) ♥ KitchenParade.com, rich, fluffy mashed potatoes, perfect for parties and family gatherings.

Squash Puff ♥ KitchenParade.com, an old family recipe traditional at Thanksgiving, a welcome savory make-ahead casserole, just creamy winter squash topped with pumpkin seeds. Rave reviews! Weight Watchers Friendly. Vegetarian.

A Veggie Venture:
Motherlode of Thanksgiving Vegetable Recipes

~ World's Best Green Bean Casserole ~
~ Fresh Candied Yams ~
~ Cauliflower Cream ~
~ more Thanksgiving Vegetable Recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture, my food blog about vegetables

Let's Plan Thanksgiving

~ more Thanksgiving Recipes, Menus & More ~
Thanksgiving Recipes, Menus & More, organized for easy browsing & targeted searches ♥ KitchenParade.com

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(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

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~ panko ~

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Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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2006, 2010, 2015, 2019, 2020 & 2022 (repub)

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Anonymous7/17/2007

    "Both are root vegetables."

    I know you did't write that. It's a problem with my eyes.


  2. OH MY. Kevin, you are so right.

    When I wrote this column (a year ago), when I re-proofed it (a month ago), and when your note arrived (last night), I was writing 'squash' but thinking 'sweet potato'.

    Only this morning did it come to me the error you discovered. Drat.

    On this planet we call Earth, squash, indeed, grows above ground while turnips and sweet potatoes, below ground.

    Many thanks for the eagle-eyed editor's correction.

    PS I changed 'root vegetables' to 'fall vegetables'. Drat.


  3. Looks yummy. I love cooking with root veggies. They are surprisingly sweet. Can't wait to try this.

  4. Delicious! This is my neices favorite casserole and since she shared it with us, has become one of ours as well. Even our children who wouldn't dream of eating a rutabaga normally, lap this up. Thank you!

  5. Just an addition to my prior comment. As vegans we leave out the eggs and use Becel Vegan margarine(casein and dairy free)instead of butter The casserole turns out beautifully.

  6. Pauline on Pinterest7/31/2020

    Received a locally grown rutabaga this week. I tried this recipe and enjoyed it very much. It may be on the Thanksgiving table this year.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna