The Ideal Temperature To Roast Perfectly Caramelized Parsnips

A close relative of the carrot, parsnips are delicious when shaved into a fresh salad or puréed into a creamy soup, but our favorite thing to do with parsnips is simply to roast them! While Great British Chefs suggests experimenting with woodsy herbs, warm spices, or tangy and soft cheeses to compliment and contrast the nutty and earthy root vegetable, we aren't opposed to showcasing the sweeter side (see this crème brulee recipe) of parsnips either. But, regardless of how you might choose to doll up the cream-colored taproots, one thing is for sure, perfectly caramelized parsnips should always be roasted at one ideal temperature.

Since the best roasted parsnips depend greatly on the quality of the vegetable, selecting the freshest produce is important. Aside from looking for blemish-free and plump parsnips, The Produce Moms also recommends choosing vegetables that are smaller in size as they will have less of a bitter core and higher levels of sweetness. Naturally, to enhance this natural honeyed flavor of parsnips, roasting is the obvious choice.

In addition to delicately softening vegetables, To Taste explains that the roasting process allows all of the veggie's natural sugars to caramelize, resulting in a sweeter and more intensely flavored bite. The only question left is which temperature reigns supreme when roasting roots such as parsnips?

A moderately high temperature delivers optimal crispness

To figure out the best temperature for roasting parsnips, take a page from Goldilocks and aim for something that's neither too hot nor too cold. According to Fine Gardening, moderate temperatures can cook foods evenly while effectively concentrating their level of sweetness, unlike ultra-high temperatures (think: a fiery 500 degrees Fahrenheit) that caramelize without cooking thoroughly or lower temperatures (imagine: a subtle 200 degrees Fahrenheit) that cook fully without properly caramelizing.

Unsure what that sweet spot might be when roasting parsnips? For tender yet perfectly golden and crisp taproots, MasterClass recommends roasting well-seasoned parsnips at a temperature of 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 40 minutes. Given that oven ranges may differ, the time frames may vary, but the important thing to remember is to work with moderately high heat to achieve the best texture and taste.

Moreover, to guarantee the greatest degree of caramelization, Good Housekeeping also advises cutting parsnips uniformly (and not overlapping them on a baking sheet!) so that pieces cook evenly without becoming burnt or soggy. Adding a sprinkle of cornstarch can also ensure a crispy exterior, should you really want to take your roasting game to new heights.