Mashed Rutabagas

| October 19, 2014 | 19 Comments

Mashed Rutabagas Recipe, as seen on Taste of
Follow our easy step-by-step, photo illustrated recipe for making Mashed Rutabagas. This root vegetable has been dated back to the early 1600’s, and is a cross between a turnip and a cabbage. Often overlooked by many folks, Rutabagas can be prepared many different ways and will delight your family with a brand new taste treat. Printable recipe included.


Mashed Rutabagas, slider.
Mashed Rutabagas Recipe:


Just before I turned six years of age, my family moved from the countryside to the “big” city. They were following my older brother and sister, who had now graduated from high school and moved away from farm life, to take jobs in the grocery business in town.

Mama took her first and only public job she ever held, at a business about a block from where we now lived. Daddy cleared out several lots behind our house and returned to raising vegetables and a few hogs. By fall, Daddy setup a produce stand beside the road in front of our house and started selling the vegetables he grew, and some that he would purchase.

It seems we always sold Tomatoes at 3lbs. for a $1.00. Daddy bought bananas by the stalk and would hang them from the ceiling inside the fruit stand. That was always an attraction. Eventually, the local bread route salesman started leaving us fresh loaves of bread to sell. Seems the whole family was involved in the grocery business in one way or another.

Thankfully, Daddy allowed me to stay at home throughout the summer days and watch the fruit stand. I could sit and watch cartoons while keeping an eye out through the screen door for any car that pulled up. He’d go out early in the mornings and come home with a sweat covered shirt from working all the gardens. He’d have lunch, rest awhile, then when the day began to cool, he’d head back out to do more.

I totally hated garden work. Nothing ruined a good afternoon of play more than hearing that I had to go help pull weeds or chop rows in the gardens. Walking bare foot through fresh plowed dirt behind the tractor could be fun sometimes, but please don’t ask me to chop anything. I was more suited to the “selling” part, and I think I did pretty good. I learned to count change back, and how to treat customers fair and square at a very early age.

Selling produce, from that stand in front of our house, has given me a great admiration for the farmers, produce stands, and Farmers Markets all around our area. I visit our local North Carolina State Farmers Market often, if only to walk through and look at all that’s offered. I find myself stopping at about just everyone I see when travelling, and I enjoy every minute of browsing. It brings back good memories.

We’re blessed to have many such places within North Carolina. If you’ve never visited our major markets, I do hope you’ll put it on your list. There are many other great markets, like Western Wake, Carrboro, and others that operate on Saturday mornings throughout the growing season. It’s awesome to see the new interest these places are bringing. And, all the folks are always eager to talk about their products and how it’s raised.

Many of our recipes come from items purchased at the North Carolina State Farmers Market. The Winter months don’t offer as much variety as the Summer months, but there’s always something good to be found, even Rutabagas.

I hope you’ll like our recipe and that you’ll give it a try. I’ll look forward to hearing your Farmer’s Market stories in the Comment section below. And, if you try the recipe, be sure to come back and let me know how you like it. Ready for some fresh Rutabagas? Alright then, grab a sharp knife and… Let’s Get Cooking.


mashed-rutabagas, nc state farmers market
You’ll find a lot of friendly farmers at our local NC State Farmers Market in Raleigh. This is just one corner booth in the 30,000 square feet Farmers Building portion. The part I really like about shopping here is that everything sold in the Farmers Building must be grown in our state. You know you’re getting the best local produce possible throughout the year.


Mashed Rutabagas, Linda Johnson Family Produce booth.
The Linda Johnson Family Produce booth has been in their corner location for many years. They’re there throughout the year, on the hottest of days and the coldest of days, happy and willing to help their customers. My friend Barbara (left) and one of her helpers (center) helped my brother (right) and me pick out fresh vegetables on our visit during one of the last days of Winter. It was pretty cold, but we enjoyed lots of great stories about the market from Barbara and talking with her about farming in general.


Mashed Rutabagas, fresh produce.
The winter months at the market find all kinds of “greens” available. These Rutabagas Barbara had for sale, just kind of caught my attention as being something “different.” As I mentioned, they are a cross between turnips and cabbage, and certainly look a lot like turnips. The variety of items available at market changes from season to season of course. Summer will find the Farmer’s Building filled with local farmers selling all types of fresh and local produce, and bustling with shoppers. Well worth a visit any time of the year though.


Mashed Rutabagas, you'll need these ingredients.
Mashed Rutabagas: You’ll need these ingredients.


Mashed Rutabagas, scrub under cold running water.
Even if I’m going to peel them, I like to wash all my vegetables prior to using them. For the Rutabagas, scrub them under some cold running water to remove any dirt that might still be hanging on to them. They are a root vegetable and are generally pretty clean when purchased, but I still like to give them a good cleaning.


Mashed Rutabagas, cut off the ends.
You’ll need a good sharp knife when working with Rutabagas. One of the reasons folks don’t cook them often is because they’re a bit hard to peel. More kitchen accidents are caused by dull knives than sharp ones. Take your best sharp knife and carefully cut off the top and bottom ends.


Mashed Rutabagas, peel carefully.
You could use a sharp paring knife to peel away the skin, or a good vegetable peeler works really well. Just use caution, take your time, and you’ll be ready to get cooking in no time.


Mashed Rutabagas, slice and cube.
By cutting the ends off, you have a flat smooth surface to help stabilize the vegetable while you slice it. I stand mine up on end, slice it in sections, then cut those sections into cubes.


Mashed Rutabagas, all cubed up and ready for cooking.
Just work carefully and you’ll have them all cubed up and ready in no time.


Mashed Rutabagas, add some water and a little bacon grease to a medium sauce pot.
Add some cold water to a medium size sauce pot. Then, add the Bacon grease.


Mashed Rutabagas, add the salt.
Add the Salt.


Mashed Rutabagas, add a little black pepper.
Add the Black Pepper.


Mashed Rutabagas, add the sugar.
Add the Sugar. Mama always added a little sugar to about all of her vegetable dishes. I come by it naturally.


Mashed Rutabagas, add the diced rutabagas.
Add the diced Rutabagas. You need just enough water to slightly cover them.

Place the pot over Medium-High heat and bring to a slight boil. Cover the pot, then reduce the heat to just a notch or two below Medium heat.


Mashed Rutabagas, cook until fork tender.
They will need to simmer about 30-45 minutes, or until fork tender.  Drain off the liquid when they’re done.


Mashed Rutabagas, could be served as is.
You could easily serve them diced with a little butter on top.


Mashed Rutabagas, chop them up.
For Mashed Rutabagas, place them in a larger bowl and chop them up a bit.


Mashed Rutabagas, mash well.
Use a potato masher and mash them up real good, just like mashed potatoes. Give them a taste test to see if they need anything else. A little Butter stirred in will give them added flavor.

As I finish this, I can’t help but wonder what Mama and Daddy would think, if they knew, that just last night I attended a class at our local Cooperative Extension Service on “Starting a Vegetable Garden.” It’s not really likely that I’ll be able to have one, I just thought I might be able to learn even more about my latest interests. They’re also offering some Demonstration Classes coming up this Summer. I’m thinking about it.


Mashed Rutabagas, serve warm and enjoy.
Serve warm and Enjoy!


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Mashed Rutabagas printable recipe from Taste of

Mashed Rutabagas

  • Author: Steve Gordon
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 - 6 Servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dishes
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American


Follow our easy step-by-step, photo illustrated recipe for making Mashed Rutabagas. This root vegetable has been dated back to the early 1600’s, and is a cross between a turnip and a cabbage. Often overlooked by many folks, Rutabagas can be prepared many different ways and will delight your family with a brand new taste treat.



  • 12 lb fresh Rutabaga
  • 1 Tablespoon Bacon Grease
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper


  1. Scrub the rutabagas well under cold running water.
  2. Slice off the top and bottom ends.
  3. Using a paring knife or peeler, carefully peel the rutabaga.
  4. Slice the rutabaga into 1 inch thick slices.
  5. Cut each slice into 1 inch cubes.
  6. Fill a medium size stock pot about half full of cold water.
  7. Add bacon grease.
  8. Add salt
  9. Add black pepper
  10. Add sugar, stir well.
  11. Add rutabagas.
  12. Place pot on stove over Medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
  13. Cover the sauce pot, reduce to just below Medium heat.
  14. Simmer for 30-45 minutes, or until fork tender.
  15. Remove from heat and drain off the liquid.
  16. Can be served as is or mashed.
  17. To mash: Use a potato masher and mash to desired consistency.
  18. Add additional seasoning to taste, if desired.
  19. Add Butter, stir gently.
  20. Serve warm and Enjoy!

Keywords: Mashed Rutabagas Recipe, made from scratch, North Carolina State Farmers Market, southern recipes, Our State Magazine


Your Comments:  Ever tried Rutabagas?  Do you like them? If not, what is it about them that you dislike? I’d love to hear your comments on our recipe. It will only take you a minute or two to share your thoughts with us in the section below. Just remember, all comments are moderated. That just means that I personally read each and every one of them before they are approved for our family friendly home here on the Internet. I also try to reply to as many of your comments as possible, so please check back for that. Your comment will not appear immediately, but I will do my best and get it online just as soon as possible. Thank you in advance.

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Be Blessed!!!


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Category: Side Dishes

About the Author ()

Award Winning Food Preservationist, Fisherman, Author of three cookbooks. "From Mama's Big Oval Table, From Mama's Big Oval Table - BOOK TWO and Carolina Christmas Sweets and Appetizers." Online Contributor to Our State Magazine Newsletter.

Comments (19)

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  1. Peepaw Glenn says:

    Rutabagas are great! If you throw out the tops, you’re missing a treat. Cook as you would any other green. Very sweet. Better to me than collards or turnip greens. I plant mine rather thick and harvest the greens when thinning.

  2. A much easier way to peel the veggie….put on a microwave safe plate and cook until it appears shiny. This process is actually melting a wax like coating which will make the rutabaga easier to peel. It will be a little hot when you take it out of the microwave so be careful. The skin will almost fall off. Another advantage of starting the peeling process in the microwave is that the rutabaga gets soft, depending on how long you cooked it when melting the wax covering on it. Make sure to put paper towel underneath the rutabaga when you put it on a plate or else it will harden up on it and you will have to work a little harder to clean it up
    You can also use paper plates. Just be careful when handling them so you don’t get burned. Hope you can understand what I am trying to say. Happy cooking!

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Marilyn, Thank you for sharing the information with us. I’ve never tried this, but it sounds like an easy way to peel that tough skinned rutabaga. I appreciate your input and I appreciate your visits. I do hope you’ll visit with us often. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  3. Dorothy Berry says:

    Oh boy, this recipe takes me back to my English childhood! We often had rutabaga in winter (which we called swede) because Dad used to grow them. They were great in stews too. We didn’t use bacon grease – bacon was on ration coupons. But with lots of butter and pepper. I loved them. Haven’t had them in years, in fact I’ve never seen them here in South Africa, but now I’ll start looking hard – maybe our heritage seeds/seedlings company can point me in the right direction! My late husband came from Wales and there they used to mash them up with equal quantities of potato. But no pepper – and I’m a pepper freak! Now I just HAVE to see if I can find them here.

  4. Theda says:

    Steve, my momma would cook a sweet potato with the rutabagas, drain, add butter,salt and pepper. Yummy..She said the sweet potato took away some of the bitter in the rutabagas.

  5. Alicia Hopper says:

    Just recently I’ve had a crazy craving for Rutabagas. Remembering my grandmother who has been gone over 30 years. This was her go to vegetable during the holidays. They are hard for me to find at times but this is going to be a constant at my house from now on. The bacon flavor and butter is what gives it that unique flavor. My grandmother not only put the sugar in it but just a hint of cider vinegar as well.

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Alicia, I think the bacon flavor and butter really help as well. I hope you get to try some again soon. Thank you for sharing your memories of them with us, I bet your Grandmothers were awesome. Thank you for your visit today. I do hope you’ll stop by again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  6. Debbi says:

    I have a recipe that is similar to yours and we are just plain city raised. Instead of bacon I add sliced bacon, garlic and some onion, but my best part is adding the butter to the mashed rutabags. Since they are so hard to peel, I only prepare during holidays instead of potatoes instead.

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Debbi, Butter just makes about everything better doesn’t it? Smile. Thank you for sharing your comments about Rutabagas with us. I hope you get the chance to enjoy some over the holidays this year. I agree, they are hard to peel. I appreciate your visits and do hope you’ll stop by again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  7. Jeffrey Smith says:

    My grandmother used to make hers with bacon grease also. We don’t consider it a southern dish as she was of German heritage and born in Staten Island New York .
    It varies a bit throughout the family as some add onion and or garlic and maybe a pinch of nutmeg.
    We make them on holidays as they are one of those special dishes that brings fond memories.
    I haven’t tried adding any sugar but it sounds like a good thing to try.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Jeffrey, I think sometimes we just go ahead and claim a recipe as our own here in the South. Add a pinch of sugar to it and we’ve made it Southern. Smile. I hope you get to try some soon. I appreciate your visit today and I hope you’ll stop by again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

    • Mary says:

      I made this. Added cheese mild cheddar and some garlic crutons

  8. RL says:

    I love fried rutabaga – just like my mom used to make. After it’s peeled, I slice it as thin as I can, and put it in the cast iron frying pan with some butter, salt, and pepper (okay, these days I cut back on the salt). Put a cover on it and let it saute – stirring it every once in a while to make sure it doesn’t burn. When it is all cooked down – finish it off with a spoon of brown sugar. Rutabaga is also my favourite vegetable in stew these days – and even though my dad would never eat fried rutabaga when my mom cooked it, he loves it in the stew.
    So glad I found your website, especially for the read.

  9. SN Moore says:

    This is the recipe I remember ! Perfect
    Thank you!

  10. bob crowley says:

    i also slice the ends to get a flat surface in order to slice the rutabagas up effectivly, but i ll take and old knife and a hammer and hammer the back of the knife and the blade thru the rutabaga, repeating the process until they are in small enough pieces that i can leave aside the hammer and proceed with just the knife

  11. Steve, I would not eat rutabagas as a child. Once when my mother and I visited our cousin Mary in Pamlico County she cooked rutabagas with Boston Butt. I really liked the taste and have been eathing them ever since. Most of the time, I will use a pork chop or more than one to season the rutabagas.
    My mother loved Collard sandwiches with a slice of thick onion on top of the collards. I could not eat the raw onion, I like collards with corn meal dumplings [cook dumplings in black-eye peas] and corn bread.

  12. Harry says:

    Dad use to fix these for me years ago.He would dice them up,boil um and when done I’d put the pot licqor on the rice along with the rutabegas.Fast forward years ahead and I still get cravings for them made his way.The use of bacon grease is easier that a piece of fatback.I love um!Thanks for the tips!

  13. rich green says:

    Food for thought.As we all know rutabagas are a pain to peel and cut up.The solution is .Boil in water slightly salted until 3/4 done.Drain and cool.Peel and cut.Saves a lot of hard work than peeling them raw and cutting.

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