Simple Parsnip potato chunky mash
Side Dish

Simple Sweet Parsnip and Potato Chunky Mash

Cooks in 20 minutes Difficulty Easy 0 comments

If you love the sweet flavor of parsnip, you will flip for this simple sweet parsnip and potato chunky mash. It’s so simple it practically makes itself, and it offers a nice break from the typical mashed potato dish that we eat so much of in the fall/winter season.

I love coming up with new ways to present that age-old potato. It’s one of the most versatile veggies on the planet, but let’s face it, it can get dull. Enter the parsnip! I love this root vegetable’s sweetness while offering a unique, almost floral flavor. Mashed with white potatoes and a generous amount of salted butter, you have a truly delicious flavor combination.

I have left a bit of chunkiness in the dish to offer more texture than a super smooth mash. It pairs really well with pork or chicken dishes!

For more ways to prepare mashed potatoes, see our article on four ways to prepare mashed potatoes.

sprinkle with dried parsley or chives

Let’s make this simple sweet parsnip and potato chunky mash!

First, we must be sure to choose firm white parsnips. If they start to go squishy, they will cook way too fast when done in the same pot as the potatoes. We also want to choose large parsnips because they will be similar in size to our white potatoes when cut up. Uniformity in size is essential when cooking the two roots together.

Add the vegetables in a medium to large saucepan and cover everything with just enough water. Put uncovered on your stovetop and crank it up to high heat. We want to get that water to a rolling boil. Once the water has reached boiling, you will want to reduce it slightly to avoid having the water boil over.

I can’t tell you how many times over the years I have been cleaning up burnt water-yes that can happen-on the stove. Which is why I recommend cooking your potatoes with the lid off. Yes, you will lose some moisture due to evaporation, but that’s alright because we’ve got enough there to get the job done right.

The whole boiling of the roots is a tedious waiting game when making dinner. But it also offers you time to work on the entree.

You will know that the potatoes and parsnips are done when the potatoes are fork-tender. I try to find the largest piece in the pot to test. That way, I know the rest will be done as well.

Drain the vegetables in your colander and return to the cooking pot. You will use your regular old potato masher to mash the soft parsnips and potatoes. When you have started mashing, it’s an excellent time to plop in that salted butter. Everything is still piping hot, allowing the butter, even if it’s cold right from the fridge, to melt quickly.

Once the butter has melted and only once it has been fully incorporated, do we add the milk or cream if you are using it. Why? Because the butter is actually coating the vegetables, giving them a silky texture. So what’s the point of the milk or cream?

The cream or milk is used in mashed potatoes to thin the mixture slightly and add richness of flavor. Typically, mashed potatoes would be made by heating the cream or milk so that it will adhere better and take less work to mix in. Thus, the result is a creamier, hotter potato. But in this instance, we are using it straight from the fridge-gasp- I know, scary.

We aren’t working this to a smooth whipped potato, so it’s unnecessary. In fact, we are aiming for a chunky mash. Why? We wanted to have variety at the dinner table. Growing up, I ate a lot of mashed potatoes, and being part Irish means potatoes virtually every other night.

I wanted to make a different version of the classic dish, and this chunky parsnip mash will be a repeat at your winter dinner table! It’s that good. Sprinkle the hot parsnip and potato mash with some dried parsley or chives and serve while hot!


White Potato: The white potato is perfect for this side dish because its flesh is a great all-purpose potato. It’s slightly waxy and will hold up to the mash without becoming mealy. Because we are going for a chunky mash, this potato is ideal.

Parsnip: This white root vegetable is often overlooked in the grocery aisle as it offers a sweet yet celery-type flavor, which not everyone appreciates. It’s the very unique flavor that we love in this side dish. Parsnips also lend themselves well to mashing and pureeing.

Salted Butter: This full-fat butter adds salt to the mash, so no more needs to be added afterward. The richness of butter makes mashed potatoes sing and offers a silkiness to the dish.

Milk: We used 2% milk in this dish. The butter is already adding a lot of full fat, and we can cut back on that since the parsnip brings so much flavor to this easy side dish.

enjoy the chunky potato parsnip mash

Substitutions for this delicious side dish

White Potato: The white potato is used for its medium starch content, allowing it to hold up well to boiling and mashing. However, you can get away with using another medium starch-content potato such as Yukon Gold or Yellow Fin.

Salted Butter: With the added salt in this whole-fat butter, you won’t need to add salt. However, if you don’t have salted butter, you can use unsalted and add a pinch of salt to the potatoes. Or you can use Becel, margarine, or a plant-based vegan option.

Milk: If you are making this dish for a Thanksgiving or Christmas side dish, you may want to increase the fat content so it seems more sumptuous and less plain. Feel free to switch the 2% milk out for a higher fat-content cream.

Expert Tips and Serving Suggestions

The biggest tip is to be sure that you have cut the parsnip uniformly to the size of potato pieces before boiling. The softer vegetable is also a bit fibrous, so it will cook to the desired consistency when your potato pieces are fork-tender. That’s important since they are all getting cooked in the same pot.

If you are making this for dinner and it’s finished before the rest of your meal, you can put the entire saucepan (only if oven-safe) into the warm oven. Set your oven to 170 degrees or the lowest point it will reduce. The mash will stay warm without drying out until the rest of your stovetop meal is complete.

Serve this subtly sweet side dish with a pork loin and green beans. Or scoop up a serving with a crispy roast chicken and side salad!

You can serve this with anything that you would serve mashed potatoes with!

Simple Parsnip potato chunky mash (1)

Simple Parsnip and White Potato Chunky Mash

Amber Bondar
This simple side dish is made with flavorful parsnips and white potatoes. The chunky style mash make a great dinner accompaniment in the winter months and offers a pleasant change from the average run of the mill mashed potato.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American, Canadian
Servings 6


  • 1 Cutting board
  • 1 Paring Knife
  • 1 Vegetable peeler
  • 1 Chopping Knife
  • 1 Medium to Large Saucepan
  • 1 Potato Masher
  • 1 measuring cup
  • 1 Colander


  • 3 Whole Parsnip Larger in Size
  • 7-10 White Potatoes Medium in Size
  • ½ Cup Salted Butter
  • Cup 2% Milk
  • Water Enough to cover for cooking
  • Optional *Dry Parsley or Chives For Garnish


  • First peel the parsnips and potatoes cutting them to uniform size.
  • Place in the saucepan and just enough cover with water to cover all.
  • Bring to boil uncovered on high heat.
  • Reduce temperature to keep from boiling over.
  • Continue to cook until the potatoes are fork tender. Approximately 15-20 minutes.
  • Drain the vegetables in the colander and then return to the pot.
  • Add the butter and use the masher to start mashing the vegetables.
  • Once the butter is fully mixed in add the cold milk.
  • Continue to mash only until blended. Mixture should still be chunky.
  • Put in serving dish and sprinkle lightly with dry parsley or chives.
  • Serve immediately.
Keyword baked potato, easy side dish, mashed potato, parsnip, winter side dish

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