Are Turnips Keto Friendly? Kind Of? Turnip Fries & Scallops Recipe

Keto (Low Carb) | Written by Nathan Petitpas | Updated on 19 June 2024

A person wearing a ring holds a small red turnip against a backdrop of blurry green grass, wondering if turnips are keto-friendly.

Turnips can be included in a keto diet, but they should be eaten sparingly. While they are less starchy than potatoes, they still contain a moderate amount of carbs and are only somewhat turnips keto friendly.7

Understanding how many carbs are in turnips is the first thing that should be considered before incorporating them into a diet or preparing one of the turnip fries and scallop recipes seen below.

What Is the Net Carb Count in Turnips (Turnip Net Carbs)?

For those who have never tried turnips before, their flavor is mildly sweet with a hint of peppery spice; resembling a cross between a potato and a radish. When cooked, the spice is tempered and their texture softens very similar to potatoes as well.

The best news is that turnips are less than 1/3rd of the carbs than that of potatoes, making them a suitable alternative while following a low carb diet.

Are Turnips Keto Friendly?

Anyone following the keto diet knows that veggies can be a touchy subject simply due to the fact that they contain carbs and figuring out how to jump start weight loss by making alternatives to high carb veggies is crucial.

However, incorporating vegetables into a daily low-carb diet is essential to obtain vital vitamins and nutrients. For example, consider the root vegetable turnip: it is compatible with a keto diet.1

A black frying pan holds a colorful assortment of freshly harvested turnips in shades of purple, pink, and white, with vibrant green turnip leaves visible in the white background.

Source: NONAMESONTHEWAY from Unsplash5

Turnips are not a starchy vegetable, but they do contain some sugar, which in turn gives them their carb count. In their raw form, they have a low glycemic index (GI), but cooking them raises their GI significantly, putting them in the high GI category.2

Luckily, combing a higher GI food with protein and fiber can reduce the effects, in turn, making turnips a great option for those on keto when eaten in moderation.3

Turnip and Potato Carb & Nutrient Comparison (Turnips vs Potatoes for Keto)

When it comes to comparing the carb and nutrient content of turnips and potatoes, looking at them side by side can help in determining which is best for a keto diet.

For this example, the below nutrition facts take into account 1 cup of boiled turnips without the skin and 1 cup of boiled Russet potatoes, also without the skin.4

Nutrition Facts for Turnips vs Potatoes

Turnips:

  • Calories = 50
  • Fat= 0
  • Carbs= 11.5
  • Sugar= 6.5
  • Fiber= 4.5
  • Protein= 1.5

Potatoes:

  • Calories = 143
  • Fat= 0
  • Carbs= 31
  • Sugar= 0.5
  • Fiber = 1.5
  • Protein= 1.5

Net Carbs for Turnips vs. Potatoes

  • Turnips = 7 Net Carbs
  • Potatoes = 29.5 Net Carbs

The above specifics reiterate that turnips have less than 1/3rd of the net carbs of potatoes as well as roughly 1/3rd of the calories. While turnips do have a higher sugar content, some of the effects are counteracted by the fiber content, which is also higher.

Ultimately, when deciding are mashed potatoes good for weight loss (or any potato) or are turnips better, for those on a keto diet, turnips are the clear winner.

Turnips Keto Friendly Alternatives

Turnips aren’t the only vegetable that will work for a low carb diet; several veggies can be used similarly as turnips and offer lower carb content as well as a higher fiber count that can easily fit into macros for the day and help achieve nutrient goals.

Wooden shelves display a variety of root vegetables including carrots, turnips, and sweet potatoes, while a rustic wooden signboard for Roots Farm serves as the backdrop.

Source: Aubry Hidalgo from Unsplash6

Turnip Alternatives with Net Carbs

  • Kohlrabi = 3 Net Carbs
  • Daikon Radish = 4 Net Carbs
  • Cauliflower = 5 Net Carbs
  • Jicama = 6 Net Carbs
  • Celery Root = 8 Net Carbs

Root Vegetables To Avoid on Keto

On the other end of the spectrum are root vegetables that are best to limit or avoid while on keto.

For those wondering whether parsnips keto friendly.

These particular veggies have some redeeming qualities, however, they also have a net carb count that can knock diners out of ketosis, especially when portions are not controlled, so they aren’t the best for keto weight loss solutions.

Root Vegetables to Avoid with Net Carbs

  • Beets= 10 Net Carbs
  • Carrots= 11 Net Carbs
  • Rutabaga= 16 Net Carbs
  • Parsnips= 21 Net Carbs
  • Sweet Potato= 22 Net Carbs

Turnip Recipes with Low Carbs + Amount of Carbs in Each

So, we’ve covered the fact that turnips are a great alternative to potatoes and are a good option for those on keto assuming they are eaten in moderation and paired with fiber and protein, but it’s not like turnip fries are on the smash burger keto menu, so it’s important to know where to start.

For those who aren’t familiar with cooking turnips, keto-friendly recipes for this root vegetable are a great place to start. Each of the low carb turnip recipes can be accompanied by a keto main dish and will make an excellent, well rounded meal.

Keto Approved Turnip Fries – 5 Net Carbs

If you’re wondering if you can eat french fries and still lose weight, the answer is probably not efficiently. However, keto turnip fries are a real game changer. They allow you to enjoy a tasty and beloved food while fitting perfectly into a low-carb diet without hindering weight loss.

In the interest of accessibility, the below recipe can either be made in the oven or the air fryer, based on what is available.

Turnip Fries Ingredients

  • 3 Medium Sized Turnips
  • 1 Tablespoon of Oil (Coconut, Avocado, or Olive)
  • ¼ Cup of Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Teaspoon of Oregano

Turnip Fries Directions

  1. If baking the turnip fries in the oven, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly oil a baking sheet.
  2. Begin by washing and peeling the turnips and cutting them into even, fry-shaped lengths about 1 centimeter in width.
  3. Place the raw turnip fries in a bowl and pour 1 tablespoon of oil on top and mix until turnips are well coated.
  4. Sprinkle on a ¼ cup of grated parmesan cheese and 1 teaspoon of oregano and mix until the fries are equally seasoned.
  5. If baking the turnip fries in the oven, spread turnips onto a pre-oiled baking sheet and place in the oven for 25 minutes, flipping over fries halfway through.
  6. If baking the fries in the air fryer, set the air fryer to 385 degrees. Place the turnips in the air fryer tray in a single layer and cook for 15 minutes.

Turnip fries are best served immediately and make a great accompaniment for a bunless burger or sandwich made with low carb bread. Make sure to steer clear of condiments such as ketchup due to the high carb count which can derail hard work.

Turnip Fries Nutrition Facts: Serving Size – ¼ of Turnip Fries

  • Calories = 101
  • Fat= 6.5
  • Carbs= 6.5
  • Fiber = 1.5
  • Sugar = 3.5
  • Protein= 5

Low Carb Turnip Scallops (Scalloped Turnips) – 4 Net Carbs

There is nothing like going to a potluck and adding scalloped potatoes to a plate, but unfortunately, indulging in a side dish such as that can send diners directly out of ketosis. Throwing out carb laden ingredients and opting into making these cheesy scalloped turnips, keto followers can rejoice due to the greatly reduced carb count and the ability to fill in their divided plate at their next get together.

Cheesy Scalloped Turnip Ingredients

  • 3 Pounds of Turnips
  • 1 ½ Cups of Heavy Cream
  • ½ Cup of Butter
  • ½ Cup of Water
  • ¼ Teaspoon of Xantham Gum
  • ½ Teaspoon of Garlic Powder
  • ½ Teaspoon of Onion Powder
  • ½ Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1 Cup of Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Cheesy Scalloped Turnip Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly oil a 13” x 9” casserole dish.
  2. Wash and peel the turnips and, with either a mandolin or knife, slice the turnips into ⅛” slices and set aside.
  3. In a saucepan, add 1 ½ cups of heavy cream, ½ cup of butter, ½ cup of water, ½ teaspoon of garlic powder, ½ teaspoon of onion powder, and ½ teaspoon of salt. Set the stove to medium and stir to incorporate once butter is melted.
  4. Add in ¼ teaspoon of xantham gum to thicken mixture, then, add in 1 cup of cheddar cheese and stir until cheese has melted.
  5. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside.
  6. Place ⅓ of the turnips on the bottom of the casserole dish and pour ⅓ of the cheese sauce evenly over the turnips. Place the next two layers of turnips alternating with the cheese sauce.
  7. Cover the casserole dish with foil and back for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 45 minutes.

Guests will be hard pressed to tell that this dish is not filled with cheesy potatoes as the texture and taste are almost identical. Next time the grill is fired up to prepare a tasty steak, pop some cheesy scalloped turnips in the oven for an ideal keto dinner.

Cheesy Scalloped Turnips Nutrition Facts: Serving Size – 4 Ounces

  • Calories = 127
  • Fat= 11
  • Carbs= 5.5
  • Fiber = 1.5
  • Sugar = 3
  • Protein= 2.5

Mashed Turnips – Keto Friendly Side Dish – 4 Net Carbs

Many people consider mashed potatoes the ultimate comfort food, but mashed turnips can be a keto-friendly alternative. The mashed turnips recipe below offers low-carbers a way to enjoy some traditional comfort without compromising their diet.

Mashed Turnips Ingredients

  • 3 Pounds of Turnips
  • ½ Cup of Butter
  • ½ Cup of Heavy Cream
  • ½ Cup of Water
  • 4 Ounces of Cream Cheese
  • ½ Teaspoon of Salt

Mashed Turnips Directions:

  1. Begin by washing and peeling the turnips and cutting them into 1 ½” by 1 ½” pieces.
  2. Drop into boiling water for roughly 20 minutes or until the fork can easily pass through the vegetable.
  3. Drain the turnips and towel dry to remove excess water (too much water can affect the final consistency).
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the turnips, ½ cup of butter, ½ cup of cream, 4 ounces of cream cheese, and ½ teaspoon of salt.
  5. With either a potato masher, fork, or immersion blender, begin to blend together the ingredients.
  6. If the mixture is too thick, add a small amount of water to improve the consistency.
  7. Add additional salt and/or pepper to taste.

These mashed turnips may not be an exact replica of mashed potatoes, but it makes a good low carb alternative if you want to try something different than cauliflower. So, serve up these mashed turnips with a sizable helping of meatloaf and enjoy!

Mashed Turnips Nutrition Facts: Serving Size – 4 Ounces

  • Calories = 100
  • Fat= 9
  • Carbs= 5
  • Fiber = 1
  • Sugar = 3
  • Protein= 1

Turnip Salad (Low Carb Potato Salad Dupe) – 8 Net Carbs

Every barbecue isn’t complete without a table full of salads, but don’t be tempted by the carb loaded potato salad because this turnip salad is a perfect stand in.

The best part about this particular dish is that the potato salad version is full of low carb ingredients, so making this version won’t be far off when it comes to taste; plus, customize the ingredients to make it like mom used to!

Turnip Salad Ingredients

  • 3 Pounds of Turnips
  • 1 Cup of Mayonnaise
  • 3 Hard Boiled Eggs
  • ½ Cup of Pickles
  • 1 Small Onion
  • 3 Tablespoons of Vinegar
  • 1 ½ Teaspoons of Celery Seed
  • ½ Teaspoon of Salt
  • ½ Teaspoon of Pepper

Turnip Salad Directions:

  1. Begin by washing and peeling the turnips and cutting them into 1 ½” by 1 ½” pieces.
  2. Drop into boiling water for roughly 20 minutes or until the fork can easily pass through the vegetable.
  3. Drain the turnips and towel dry to remove excess water (too much water can affect the final consistency).
  4. Cut the boiled turnips into ¼’s, making them into bite-sized cubes.
  5. Dice the small onion, 3 hard boiled eggs, and ½ cup of pickles into small pieces.
  6. In a large serving bowl, combine turnips, onion, hard boiled eggs, and pickles and mix lightly to combine.
  7. Add in 1 cup of mayonnaise, 3 tablespoons of vinegar, 1 ½ teaspoons of celery, and salt and pepper and mix thoroughly.

So, instead of sitting on the sidelines drooling over the forbidden food, whip up a batch of turnip salad to go with the smoked ribs or even some Wingstop keto wings and enjoy staying in ketosis while indulging in this mouth watering recipe.

Turnip Salad Nutrition: Serving Size – 4 Ounces

  • Calories = 102
  • Fat= 6
  • Carbs= 10
  • Fiber = 2
  • Sugar = 5
  • Protein= 2

Keto Creamy Turnip Soup – 6 Net Carbs

Soup and salad becomes much more complicated when carbs are restricted, but don’t give up on this tasty lunch combo, just learn to tweak it to fit into daily macros.

This keto friendly creamy turnip soup is a perfect way to warm up on a chilly day without impeding on weight loss goals.

Creamy Turnip Soup Ingredients

  • 2 Pounds of Turnips
  • 1 Tablespoon of Oil (Coconut, Avocado, or Olive)
  • 2 Cups of Chicken Broth
  • 1 Cup of Heavy Cream
  • ¼ Cup of Onion
  • 4 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1 Teaspoon of Salt
  • ½ Teaspoon of Pepper

Creamy Turnip Soup Directions:

  1. Begin by washing and peeling the turnips and cutting them into 1 ½” by 1 ½” pieces.
  2. Drop into boiling water for roughly 20 minutes or until the fork can easily pass through the vegetable.
  3. Drain the turnips and towel dry to remove excess water (too much water can affect the final consistency).
  4. Cut the boiled turnips into ¼’s, making them into bite-sized cubes.
  5. Mince the 4 cloves of garlic and ¼ onion.
  6. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium to large pot on medium high and add in garlic, onion, and turnips.
  7. Once browned, add 1 cup of chicken broth to deglaze.
  8. Remove pot from heat and add in the remaining 1 cup of chicken broth, 1 cup of heavy cream, and salt and pepper.
  9. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until it no longer contains any whole pieces.
  10. Return to the burner and stir until heated evenly.
  11. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.

This lovely soup can serve as an appetizer to the main course or, as mentioned before, a great combo to a Mod Pizza keto salad or other featured entrée. This soup can also be made ahead which can help when it comes to meal prepping or entertaining.

Creamy Turnip Soup Nutrition: Serving Size – 6 Ounces

  • Calories = 101
  • Fat= 7
  • Carbs= 8
  • Fiber = 2
  • Sugar = 5
  • Protein= 2

The answer to are turnips keto friendly can be a gray area unless how to eat turnips on keto is learned; using the above keto turnip recipes along with pairing turnips with protein, fat, and fiber rich foods can help them become a vegetable that fits beautifully in keto carb limits and macronutrients.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are White Turnips Keto Friendly?

White turnips, which are the common turnip, can easily be worked into a keto diet. Be careful to eat them in moderation because they do contain carbs and some sugar, which can potentially affect blood sugar and ketosis.

Are Rutabaga Turnips Keto Friendly?

A common follow up question to is turnip keto, is whether or not rutabagas are keto. While rutabagas are similar in looks and taste to the common turnip, they contain much more sugar, and consequently, more carbs, making them much less compatible with a keto diet.


References

1Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. (2023). Diet Review: Ketogenic Diet for Weight Loss | The Nutrition Source | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Retrieved February 16, 2023, from <https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/diet-reviews/ketogenic-diet/>

2Anderson, G., Soeandy, C., & Smith, C. (2013, May 6). White Vegetables: Glycemia and Satiety – PMC. NCBI. Retrieved February 16, 2023, from <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3650508/>

3Cui, H., Yang, Y., & He, M. (1999, November). [Effect of food composition of mixed food on glycemic index]. PubMed. Retrieved February 16, 2023, from <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12016989/>

4United States Department of Agriculture. (2019). FoodData Central Search Results. FoodData Central. Retrieved February 16, 2023, from <https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details>

5NONAMESONTHEWAY. “vegetables in frying pan photo – Free Plant Image on Unsplash.” Unsplash, 10 September 2019, Accessed 8 April 2023. <https://unsplash.com/photos/KxYVRbc7PY4>

6Aubry Hidalgo. “assorted-variety of root crops photo – Free Brown Image on Unsplash.” Unsplash, 18 November 2019, Accessed 8 April 2023. <https://unsplash.com/photos/3R9XqWtSfD0>

7“Agriculture Radish Food Fresh – Free photo on Pixabay.” Pixabay, 29 November 2016. Accessed 21 April 2023. <https://pixabay.com/photos/agriculture-radish-food-1870017/>

About the Author

Nathan Petitpas

Nathan has been a fitness enthusiast for the past 12 years and jumps between several types of training such as bodybuilding, powerlifting, cycling, gymnastics, and backcountry hiking. Due to the varying caloric needs of numerous sports, he has cycled between all types of diets and currently eats a whole food diet. In addition, Nathan lives with several injuries such as hip impingement, spondylolisthesis, and scoliosis, so he underwent self-rehabilitation and no longer lives with debilitating pain.