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How Do I Cook Rutabaga?

Amanda R. Bell
Amanda R. Bell

Rutabaga is a versatile root vegetable that can be cooked in a variety of ways depending in what dish you are using. No matter the cooking method that you choose, start by washing, peeling, and cutting up the rutabaga. You can then toss it in oil and roast it in the oven, or boil it for a quick side. Other popular ways to cook rutabaga include steaming or stir-frying it.

Before you start cooking, you will need to rinse, peel, and potentially cut up the produce. To start, rinse it under cold, running water, using a brush or your hands to scrub off any dirt. Although you will be removing the outer layer, doing so without rinsing the vegetable first can cause the dirt to get on the flesh of the rutabaga. Despite being edible, the skin is generally bitter even after you cook rutabaga, and may be coated in wax to preserve the vegetable during shipping; for this reason, peel it off using a sharp paring knife. At this point, you can dice, slice, or leave the rutabaga whole; however, cutting it up significantly reduces the cooking time.

Prior to cooking, rutabagas must be peeled and cut.
Prior to cooking, rutabagas must be peeled and cut.

As with many root vegetables, one of the most popular ways to cook rutabaga is to roast it. For this method, dice the vegetable into chunks that are uniform in size and toss the pieces with a small amount of oil. Add any spices or seasonings that suit your tastes and a small amount of salt to aid in the browning process. Place everything on a baking sheet and cook the pieces at a moderately hot temperature for anywhere from 45 minutes to over an hour; generally, the rutabaga should be removed from the oven when they are just fork-tender.

Boiling is one of the more versatile ways of preparing rutabaga, allowing one to cook it whole or in pieces for a quick side dish, or even to make the vegetable tender enough to be mashed as one would potatoes or cauliflower. To boil rutabaga, place it in a pot of cold water and bring it up to a rolling boil. Salt the water, turning the heat down slightly so that it stays at a steady, low boil, and let the rutabaga cook until it reaches your desired texture. Generally, you can cook rutabaga with this method in 10 to 25 minutes depending on the size of the pieces. Once cooked, you can season and serve the vegetable, add it to another dish, or mash it up.

Chunks or slices of this vegetable can be steamed or stir-fried for a quick and easy side dish or meal. You can cook rutabaga by putting pieces in a steaming tray over a pot of simmering water, covering the pot, and then allowing the vegetable to steam until tender. Smaller chunks or slices of rutabaga can also be tossed in a hot pan with a small amount of oil and seasoned to one’s liking, then stir-fried either alone or with other ingredients. Steaming this vegetable usually takes between 20 and 30 minutes, while stir-frying generally takes less than 10 minutes.

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Discussion Comments


I think boiling rutabagas with other root vegetables such as carrots and potatoes makes a tasty dish. The flavors of the different root vegetables compliment each other very nicely.


I love to roast rutabagas with seasoning and olive oil. This makes a unique side dish for an Italian meal.

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    • Prior to cooking, rutabagas must be peeled and cut.
      By: snyfer
      Prior to cooking, rutabagas must be peeled and cut.