Beets vs Turnips: A Comprehensive Comparison

Beets and turnips are two root vegetables with distinct characteristics and culinary uses. Beets are known for their vibrant, deep red colour and earthy flavour. On the other hand, turnips have a milder flavour compared to beets. They are various colours, including white, purple, and yellow, and have a slightly peppery taste. But there are some differences also.

Some more differences are discussed in the article. The differences between Beets and turnips can help you appreciate the nuances of these two classic dishes. We will also discuss the similarity and many more queries about them. So, let’s explore what makes Beets and turnips so special!

Beets vs Turnips

What are Beets?

Beets are a root vegetable that belongs to the Amaranthaceae family. They are known for their vibrant red colour, although they can also be found in different varieties with colours like golden, white, and striped. Beets have been cultivated for centuries and are popular in various cuisines worldwide. This versatile and nutritious vegetable adds vibrant colour and a unique flavour to various dishes.

What are turnips?

Turnips are versatile and nutritious vegetables that add unique taste and texture to various dishes. Their versatility and availability make them popular for home cooks and professional chefs. Turnips have a distinctive round shape and come in different varieties with varying skin colours, including white, purple, and yellow.

Overview of Beets vs Turnips

Look at the short key points regarding the differences between Beets and Turnips. It will give you a quick overview of the differences. 

ColourRed, various huesWhite, purple, yellow
FlavorSweet, earthyMild, slightly peppery
Culinary UsesRaw, roasted, boiled, pickled, juicedCooked in stews, soups, roasted, mashed
TextureTenderTender to slightly crunchy
Nutritional ProfileHigh in fiber, folate, manganese, antioxidantsHigh in fibre, folate, manganese, antioxidants
Edible PartsRoot and greens (beet greens)Root and greens (turnip greens)

Detailed Differences Between Beets vs Turnips

Beets and turnips are two distinct root vegetables that differ in various aspects. Here are the detailed differences between beets and turnips:


Beets are known for their vibrant colours, including red, golden, white, or striped shades. They have a round or elongated shape with smooth skin. I found Turnips white, purple, or yellow in colour. They have a round shape, but some varieties have a more elongated or bulbous shape. The skin is smooth or slightly rough.


Beets have a unique flavour profile characterized by sweetness and an earthy undertone. Some varieties have a slightly bitter taste. Turnips have a milder flavour compared to beets. They have a subtle sweetness combined with a slightly peppery or mustard-like flavour.

Culinary Uses

Beets are versatile and can be consumed in various ways. I enjoyed raw in salads, roasted as a side dish, boiled and added to soups, pickled for preservation, or even juiced for their nutritional benefits. Beets are used in desserts like beet-infused cakes and brownies.

I cooked and used Turnips in savoury dishes. I have added it to stews, soups, and casseroles, roasted with other vegetables, mashed as a potato substitute, or sliced and used in stir-fries. Turnip greens are also edible and can be prepared similarly to leafy greens like spinach or collard.


Beets become tender and have a smooth, soft texture when cooked. Turnips have varying textures based on size and cooking methods. Smaller turnips are more tender, while larger ones. It is slightly fibrous. They have a crunchy texture when raw and a softer texture when cooked.

Nutritional Profile

Beets are rich in dietary fibre, folate, manganese, potassium, and antioxidants such as betalains. They are also a good source of vitamin C. Turnips are low in calories and high in dietary fibre, providing benefits for digestion. They contain vitamins C and K and minerals like potassium and calcium.

Edible Parts

The bulbous root and the beet greens (the leafy tops) are edible. Beet greens are packed with nutrients and can be cooked and consumed like other leafy greens. Similar to beets, the root and the turnip greens are edible. Turnip greens are highly nutritious and can be cooked and used in various dishes.

Which One is Better?

I believe both beets and turnips have their merits and are delicious in different ways. I enjoyed the beets’ sweet and earthy flavour and their versatility in various dishes. They add a unique touch to my meals, from roasted beet salads to beet-infused desserts. On the other hand, I also appreciate the mild and slightly peppery taste of turnips. They are great in savoury dishes like stews or roasted vegetable medleys. Ultimately, the “better” choice comes from personal preference and the specific recipe or meal I’m preparing.


Both beets and turnips offer a variety of health benefits. Beets are high in fibre, vitamin C, and potassium, which can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. They also contain nitrates, which can improve athletic performance and cognitive function. Turnips are also high in fibre, vitamin C, and vitamin K, which are important for bone health. They also contain antioxidants that can help protect against cancer and other diseases. Both vegetables are nutritious and a great addition to a healthy diet.

What are beets and turnips?

Beets and turnips are root vegetables belonging to the same family but have different characteristics and flavours.

Can you eat the leaves of beets and turnips?

Yes, both beets and turnips have edible greens. Beet greens are darker and slightly bitter, while turnip greens are lighter and have a more delicate flavour.

Are beets and turnips nutritious?

Yes, both vegetables are packed with essential nutrients. Beets are rich in folate, manganese, and vitamin C. Turnips are a good vitamin C, fibre, and potassium source.

How are beets and turnips cooked?

Beets can be roasted, boiled, steamed, or pickled. They can be used in salads, soups, or desserts like beet brownies. Turnips can be roasted, sautéed, mashed, or used in stews and stir-fries.

Which vegetable is sweeter, beets or turnips?

Beets are sweeter than turnips. They have a natural sweetness that intensifies when cooked. On the other hand, Turnips have a milder flavour with a hint of peppery notes.

Are beets and turnips interchangeable in recipes?

While beets and turnips have distinct flavours, they can use interchangeably in some recipes. For example, you can substitute boiled and mashed turnips for mashed beets or vice versa.

Which vegetable is better for soups and stews, beets or turnips?

Both beets and turnips are used in soups and stews. Beets add a sweet and vibrant colour to the dish, while turnips provide a milder flavour and a slightly different texture.

Are there any varieties of beets and turnips to choose from?

Yes, there are numerous varieties of beets and turnips available. Some popular beet varieties include Red Ace, Chioggia, and Golden Beets. You can find Purple Top, Tokyo Cross, and Hakurei varieties, among others, for turnips.

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