Delicious Buttered Rutabagas




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Buttered Rutabaga ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

Buttered Rutabagas were a staple on our Thanksgiving table when I was growing up and I’m revisiting them today ~ these delicious pale orange turnips are misunderstood and probably the most overlooked veggie in the produce section.

Buttered Rutabagas are a delicious old time side dish for your holiday table! ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

One of the best things about eating seasonally is the thrill of rediscovery.

It’s been a year since I’ve cooked with rutabagas and turnips, and I’m really enjoying our reunion.  Rutabagas are mild, slightly sweet, slightly bitter, and not at all starchy. When cooked properly, they’re utterly delicious.  This rustic root veg has been around for centuries, but my first experience of them was on my grandparent’s Thanksgiving tables.  There’s nothing fancy about these buttered rutabagas, but they have a deliciously satisfying flavor and texture that plays well with so many other foods.

buttered rutabaga is a simple, rustic side dish full of flavor and nutrition ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

Rutabagas (or neeps, sweedes, baigies, snadgers, or narkies, depending on where you live) originated as a wild cross between a cabbage and a turnip, and it happened somewhere in Scandinavia or Russia.

They’re not particularly attractive, to say the least, which might explain why they’re not more popular.  They’ve been associated with livestock feed and wartime shortages ~ and they’re definitely ‘homey’, but when you cook them until they’re just tender like I do, and top them with lots of butter and a sprinkle of sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper, they’re SO GOOD!

TIP: Don’t save rutabaga just for the holidays, they make a great side for everyday meals like chicken and pork.  I love to add them to soups in place of potatoes. 

Buttered Rutabaga, a quick and easy rustic side dish for the holidays ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

One of the things about raw rutabagas is that they are rock solid.  Like winter squash, these root veggies are dense and tough to cut.  I’m so glad I just received my sample of the new Misen knife.  It’s ultra comfortable in my hand, and razor sharp, in fact it glided right through the rutabagas that I’m so used to wrestling with.  These knives are affordable and stunning and I highly recommend them as gifts for the chef’s in your life.  (The packaging is jaw dropping, too, just wait and see!)  Check out their web site for the lowdown.

Buttered Rutabagas ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

I like to cut my rutabaga into a fairly small dice so it will cook quickly and evenly.  I think it looks pretty, too, but as I remember it, the rutabaga on my grandparents’ holiday tables was cut in large, uneven hunks.  Go with whatever fits your style :)

TIP: Rutabagas come in all sizes, from petite to giant.  I like to use the smaller ones when I can find them, they’re more tender and flavorful.

Preparing Buttered Rutabaga ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

If you don’t like rutabaga or turnips, there might be a scientific reason, some people are genetically more sensitive to the bitter tastes in root veggies and find them unpleasant.

I like the flavor, I think it’s more appealing than overly sweet and starchy sweet potatoes, for instance.  If you’ve never had them then there’s only one way to find out if you like or dislike them…give them a try!

TIP: You can eat rutabaga raw, too, try shredding it into a slaw

Cooking Buttered Rutabaga for the Thanksgiving table ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

You can serve rutabaga roasted, mashed, braised, boiled, or even fried!  I simply cover these in cold water and boil for just about 10 minutes, or until barely tender.  Drain, and add butter, salt and pepper.  It’s that simple.  You can keep them warm, covered, at the back of the stove until needed.

Buttered Rutabagas ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

TIP: You can definitely prep the rutabaga beforehand, peel and cut it the day before and store it in a zip lock baggie in the fridge.

Buttered Rutabaga
Rate this recipe
155 ratings

Servings: serves 6-8

Buttered Rutabagas are a delicious old time side dish for your holiday table! ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

Ingredients

  • 2-3 lbs rutabaga
  • butter
  • salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper

Instructions

  1. Peel the rutabaga. Trim the ends, and then cut into an even dice. I went with a 1/2 inch size, you can do larger if you like.
  2. Put the rutabaga in a large pot and cover with cold water. Add 1 tsp salt and bring to a boil. Cover, turn down the heat and cook until just tender, but not soft or mushy. Mine took only 10 minutes.
  3. Drain and return to the pan. Add butter, salt, and pepper to taste. Keep warm on the stove until needed.

 

don’t forget to pin these delicious buttered rutabagas!

 

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52 Comments

    Leave a Reply

  • Reply
    Linette Arnold
    October 15, 2019 at 12:18 pm

    Because they can be a bit bitter, my mom always added a little sugar when she mashed them. Yummmmmmy!!

  • Reply
    Susan cernanec
    October 5, 2019 at 1:46 pm

    I love this easy recipe for rutabagas doing right now as a matter of fact. Thanks so much. Susan

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 5, 2019 at 7:19 pm

      I need to go get some, I haven’t had any since last winter!

  • Reply
    Lisa
    September 1, 2019 at 7:25 pm

    Can you cook white turnips (not the greens) in the same way you cook rutabagas? Is there a method for cutting that makes the job easier? Thanks.

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 1, 2019 at 7:43 pm

      Yes, although turnips cut and cook a little easier and quicker, they’re less dense than rutabaga. Buttered turnips are amazing.

  • Reply
    KimC
    August 6, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    I love rutabagas. They always graced my grandmother’s table on Thanksgiving. My grandmother was from Alabama and they were always cooked with rinsed salt pork, water and a “spec” of sugar as she used to say. Once cooked, they were mashed and served; absolutely delicious.

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 6, 2019 at 3:47 pm

      Thanks for this Kim, the salt pork water is so interesting!

  • Reply
    Emma Karnes
    February 16, 2019 at 9:09 am

    Tried your recipe, it’s pretty good although I like to boil them longer and chop them finer than you. All but one of my seven siblings, my parents, aunts, uncles, and grandmother absolutely LOVE rutabagas and I cook them in a lot of different ways. Recently I used them (along with the cabbage and meat) to make AMAZING runzas, and we also like them mashed, boiled, in pasties, and I even tried them fried which was very good. Please post more recipes with rutabagas!

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 16, 2019 at 9:20 am

      Thanks Emma, I will definitely do that. I was surprised at the amount of interest that this recipe got, I think there are a lot of rutabaga lovers out there who are dying for some rutabaga recipe inspiration :)

    • Reply
      Bridgette Garcia
      May 6, 2019 at 3:10 pm

      Hello, I’m so excited to try rutabagas again. Can I boil them before I peel them just to make it a little easier?

      • Reply
        Sue
        May 6, 2019 at 3:21 pm

        I’ve never tried that, Bridgette, but to boil a whole rutabaga would be hard, I’m not sure it would cook evenly.

  • Reply
    Eric Vogel
    January 1, 2019 at 8:06 am

    Miss Sue, My Mother was raised in south Georgia and we as kids were all taught to cook rutabagas. she had an old fashioned approach, salt pepper and a touch of soda. works very well but nobody I know other than my family will eat. how can I make a more desirable dish with them?
    Thanks Eric V

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 1, 2019 at 8:10 am

      You might try giving them the brown sugar pecan streusel treatment that I use on my sweet potato casserole :) Works like a charm!

      • Reply
        Sue
        January 1, 2019 at 8:13 am

        ps scroll down the comments, Eric, other readers have left some delicious ideas as well.

  • Reply
    John Little
    November 30, 2018 at 7:22 pm

    I grew up eating rutabaga and crave it when winter approaches. My mother was a farm girl from northern Ohio with some Pennsylvania Dutch in the family tree, so we ate many fresh vegetables with butter and often added vinegar at the table. Either apple cider vinegar or grape vine vinegar will do. With the sweetness of the rutabaga it gives a sweet-and-sour effect and maybe disguises any bitterness. She would cut the rutabaga into quarters and then slices before boiling.. I prefer to steam the slices to help retain flavor.

    • Reply
      Sue
      November 30, 2018 at 9:27 pm

      I never thought about vinegar cutting the bitterness of veggies, that must be why we use it in our red cabbage.

  • Reply
    Jan
    November 22, 2018 at 11:56 am

    I pressure cook mine as did my mother. Keeps all the Flavor and nutrients and cooks in 5 minutes. A staple in my house and a specialty for holidays. You either love them or you hate them – no middle ground. In a pinch I can microwave a small one, peel it and chop it up. Add butter and salt & pepper. So easy and so good!

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 24, 2018 at 9:26 am

      I’ll have to try this in my Instant Pot!

  • Reply
    Marylou
    November 22, 2018 at 5:28 am

    Love rutabaga.. I slice it into maybe 1/2 “ slices, cut those in half……then peel it, easy that way. No struggles..lol. But my question to you is…I’ve had, maybe 3 times in my life, cooked rutabaga and it never cooked for me…do you know why? It never softened up one bit! Did this ever happen to you? Like I said, it was always at Thanksgiving cooking, and I remember 3 different times where it stayed as hard as when I diced it…thanks, Happy Thanksgiving, Marylou

    • Reply
      Sue
      November 22, 2018 at 7:08 am

      I love your tip Marylou, I’ve learned to do that with winter squash but didn’t think about rutabaga, brilliant! I have had the cooking issue occasionally with beets, where they never seem to soften, but not with rutabaga.
      Happy Thanksgiving to you too :)

  • Reply
    Priscilla
    November 17, 2018 at 5:11 pm

    I came across your post this holiday season as I was replicating an old family recipe and wanted to see other ways to cook rutabaga. Instead of butter my family uses bacon fat and tops the cooked bacon on top with some maple brown sugar. Gotta try it this way soon though.

    • Reply
      Sue
      November 17, 2018 at 5:25 pm

      omg your mom’s recipe sounds pretty amazing, mine isn’t nearly so luxurious!

  • Reply
    jason
    December 30, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    Used rutabaga in a stew yesterday. Wanted to use the rest of it today. Fixed this recipe instead of potatoes to go with a meatloaf. Everybody liked it. Will use it as a sub again.

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 31, 2017 at 4:22 am

      Love this with meatloaf, Jason, and I also like the sound of rutabaga in stew ~ yum!

    • Reply
      Carol c moreno
      January 1, 2018 at 7:02 am

      I’ve learned a certain recipe for rutabaga we also call yellow turnips. The only thing I hate is cutting them they are so hard I need to buy a nice sharp knife. Anyway I cut up and boil but I boil longer then 10 minutes because I mash them like mashed potatoes and I add butter sugar and milk they are so delicious this way . I don’t make them as much as I’d like because they are so hard. Today I am making them my son can’t wait and to tell you the truth ….I can’t either lol.

      • Reply
        Sue
        January 1, 2018 at 7:11 am

        I’ve made them like this and love them that way too Carol ~ the more butter the better! I’m intrigued by the sugar, I bet a little bit is really nice.

        • Reply
          Carol c moreno
          January 1, 2018 at 7:26 am

          Yes sue my ex husband taught me to make them this way and it is addicting lol so delicious I really have to look in to getting that sharp knife though so I can make them more often .

    • Reply
      spot
      April 9, 2018 at 3:00 pm

      rutabagas are so hard to cut up but you can just boil them whole then cut them up. That’s what I do! It’s much easier!

      • Reply
        Sue
        April 9, 2018 at 3:32 pm

        I never tried that, but wouldn’t they get overcooked on the outside before the inside gets tender?

  • Reply
    MARGE BRADBERRY
    November 23, 2017 at 8:24 am

    I just simmered a big pot of diced up rutabaga with a little salt added to chicken broth. Drained and added butter. Soooooooooooo good. My granddaughter Allison who is 19 now acquired a taste for rutabaga when she was five. I had it at a restaurant as a side many years ago and loved it so duplicated at home what they did in the restaurant. I sprinkled a little parsley on my for added color.

    • Reply
      Sue
      November 23, 2017 at 8:42 am

      How nice that your daughter has such good taste! The kids in our family didn’t cotton on to rutagabas until they were adults, and some not even then! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Marge.

    • Reply
      cathy meketa
      November 18, 2018 at 10:02 am

      I cut the ends off, place paper towel in my steamer basket and steam them skin on for about 10 minutes. They peel so easy and the wax remains in the paper towel. Then I cut them into desired size and steam them until tender. They ar sweet and so flavorful as I find the boiling loses a lot of flavor. When tender, salt, pepper, butter and they are good to go.

  • Reply
    Jime
    October 3, 2017 at 6:11 pm

    I’ve always loved rutabagas. I also live turnips, especially when cooked with turnip greens! Delicious!

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 3, 2017 at 6:15 pm

      They really are good, and you never ever see them in restaurants…so you basically have to cook them at home. I’ll have to try them with turnip greens, although come to think of it I don’t think I ever see those at my grocery store…I’ll check my farmers market.

  • Reply
    Bev Ringhiser
    August 14, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    Had a lot of rutabaga from a friend and found your recipe. I followed recipe but added garlic powder, a couple dashes of tumeric and sprinkled parsley. Delicious! Rutabaga will now be on our menu more often! Thanks!

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 14, 2017 at 8:36 pm

      The garlic and turmeric sounds so good!

  • Reply
    Al
    June 14, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    I love rutabagas this way. As a kid and adult I was one of a few who would eat them and I think it’s partly because folks aren’t familiar with rutabagas. I’ve added a little sugar with the butter for those who haven’t yet acquired the taste.

    • Reply
      Sue
      June 14, 2017 at 7:34 pm

      Like so many acquired tastes, once you fall for them, you fall hard!

  • Reply
    Jules @ WolfItDown
    December 1, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    I absolutely looooove turnip! It is awesome with tomato sauce. My mother and I could literally have that as a meal ^ ^ This sounds lovely! xx

  • Reply
    Sippitysup
    November 23, 2016 at 10:45 am

    My T-Gives menu is set, but I love this so much I know they will grace my table very soon. Buttered veggies is so reminiscent of my childhood. GREG

    • Reply
      Sue
      November 23, 2016 at 1:41 pm

      Butter makes everything better ~ have a great Turkey Day Greg!

  • Reply
    John/Kitchen Riffs
    November 23, 2016 at 8:08 am

    Rutabagas and parsnips tend to be one of those things people eat for Thanksgiving. Then forget about for the rest of the year. Me too, too often, although I’ve gotten much better at using them than I used to be. So good! And these rutabagas look terrific — they really do take to butter, don’t they? Thanks! And Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    November 23, 2016 at 4:43 am

    My Mom insists that turnip be on every Thanksgiving table. She would love this simple, but delicious recipes! Happy Thanksgiving, Sue!

  • Reply
    Susan
    November 22, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    Nice idea for serving rutabagas. I haven’t cooked them in a while because my husband doesn’t seem to care much for them. My favorite way to prepare them is to roast them with olive oil and black pepper. Yum. I’ve been pushing my husband’s food boundaries since we married 8 years ago, and I’m thinking it may be time to push them again… Besides which he does like his butter on his veggies, so this preparation might work better for him.

  • Reply
    Joan Teskey
    November 22, 2016 at 11:13 am

    My maternal side of family emigrated to Canada 3 generations ago.from England
    we had wonderful buttered mashed turnips for many meals
    The problem is that only recently did we find out that those wonderful “turnips” were rutabagas!!!!!!!

    • Reply
      Sue
      November 22, 2016 at 12:50 pm

      Funny you should mention that, Joan, because I said that yesterday’s red cabbage came from my German great grandmother, and I think these rutabaga must have come from the British side of the family. I think rutabaga are called turnips in certain areas!

      • Reply
        Roy L Vestal
        November 23, 2016 at 12:10 am

        Some areas of NC call them rudabaga-turnips.

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    November 22, 2016 at 10:07 am

    This is quite embarrassing, but I’ve never eaten a rutabaga. Guess what’s going to be on my shopping list? I can’t wait!

    • Reply
      Sue
      November 22, 2016 at 12:50 pm

      Ooooh Chris, you need to get with the program, they’re so good!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    November 22, 2016 at 6:45 am

    Now I know why there was a run on rutabagas at the store! Not a one in sight :( I can’t believe how simple this recipe is with such a beautiful result. Love it! Happy Thanksgiving Sue!

  • Reply
    Angie@Angie's Recipes
    November 22, 2016 at 3:09 am

    Love rutabaga! So delicious when properly prepared. Yours looks fab.!