Turnip vs. Radish | All Main Differences

While looking for vegetables to plant in your garden or going through the produce aisle of your local grocery store, you may come across some similar looking vegetables; turnips and radishes. While passing by these two vegetables, they may seem pretty similar; and they are. However, upon closer inspection, we can see that there are some key difference that set them apart.

So what’s the difference between turnips and radishes? The main difference between a turnip and a radish is that turnips belong to the Brassica Genus while radishes belong to the Raphanus Genus. When it comes to physical differences, radishes are smaller than turnips and typically have a darker, crimson skin color.

Overall, that may not seem like much of a difference. However, turnips and radishes are also different in many ways beyond physical appearance. Such differences include taste, growing habits and more.


While turnips and radishes are known to be quite similar in appearance and even texture as well, both root vegetables have somewhat of a contrast when it comes to their taste and overall flavor.


Biting into a raw radish, your taste buds will be greeted by a crisp, zesty flavor with a hint of sweetness. In some ways, it is like biting into an apple but without the juice and with a bit of spiciness. Keep in mind that the older a radish gets, the spicier it will be.

Though radishes can and do taste great when eaten raw, they act best as an ingredient in a larger dish; much like onions do. This way, the taste and flavor of the radish can be complimented with the other ingredients in a given recipe. A good example of this would be in a salad. Chopped up radishes can add a bit of crunch and zest that compliments well with the fresh, leafy greens of the salad.

Cooking radishes can significantly change up both the taste and texture of radishes. When cooked properly, the spiciness of a radish will become a lot milder and the sweetness will be amplified. In addition, the texture of the radish will become a bit softer.


When consumed raw, turnips are often described as tasting a lot like cabbage but with a hint of spiciness and with a crunchy texture. Much like a radish, they are crisp and crunchy, but the flavor and zest is a lot milder. Younger turnips are known to be more sweet and flavorful while older turnips are slightly bitter and starchy.

When it comes to growing turnips, it is recommended to harvest them before they reach three inches in diameter as to preserve root’s flavor. Turnips become bitter as they age and grow so it is important to harvest the roots while they are still young.

Overall, turnips may come off as tasting less flavorful compared to a radish, but prepared correctly and with the right spices and seasonings, they can act as a great side dish for any meal.

One of the most popular ways of preparing turnips is by roasting them. Roasted turnips are a simple and healthy dish to prepare. It simply involves chopping up your turnips and cooking them with some olive oil over the stove top with the desired seasonings and spices.

Growing Habits:

turnip vegetable plant growing in the garden

Turnips and Radishes are both root vegetables with very similar growing habits and plant structures. This is one of the many reasons the two vegetables can be confused with each other. While the two root vegetables are similar in many ways, there are some distinct differences in growing patterns every gardener should know about when planting these root vegetables in their garden.

One of the main features of radishes is how fast they grow. Radishes can be harvested in as little as 22 days. This makes them a popular crop to grow in the garden as they are easy and fast growers. Turnips on the other hand, take about 60 days to mature. 60 days is fast for a garden crop however, that pales in comparison to the mere 22 that radishes require.

Another difference between turnips and radishes are the pests and diseases they are more susceptible to. Radishes and turnips share most all the same kinds of diseases and pests each one is susceptible to. Therefore, if there is a disease a radish is susceptible to, you can count on turnips also being prone that same disease. However, some diseases are more susceptible to one crop than the other.

Anthracnose is a fungal disease that causes small dry spots on plant leaves that break down the plant and if left untreated, can even kill the entire plant. This is a common disease that affects many different kinds of plants however; turnips are far more prone to the disease than radishes are.

On the other hand, white rust is a fungal disease that will cause the white spots on the leaves of your radish plant. White rust is spread via the fungus Albugo Candida and is most prevalent when humidity is high and temperatures are mild. Although this disease can affect turnips, it is more commonly known to infect radishes.

Conclusion/Related Questions:

Overall, turnips and radishes are both very similar vegetables. However, there are a handful of key differences everyone should know about whether it be looking over them in the produce aisle or choosing what to grow in the garden. So when it comes to turnips and radishes, which do you prefer?

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Rutabaga vs. Turnip:

Rutabagas and turnips are nearly identical root vegetables. So what’s the difference? The main difference between rutabagas and turnips is the size and color. Rutabagas are significantly larger than turnips and have a yellow flesh color to them while turnips have a white flesh color.

Radish vs. Beet:

Beets can be distinguished from radishes most commonly by their deep red-purple color and stems. In addition, beets are slightly larger than radishes being about the same size as a baseball. When it comes to taste, beets are known to be sweeter and  earthier whereas radishes have a bit of spiciness to them.

Turnip vs Daikon:

 Daikons is actually a type of radish. It is distinguished by its white skin and elongated shape. They are also known as “Korean Radishes”. While turnips are known to be starchy in taste, Daikons are known to be mild in taste; more so than a regular radish.

4 thoughts on “Turnip vs. Radish | All Main Differences”

  1. There isn’t much difference. You cook radish and eat them raw.

    I grow turnips. They grow bigger. You can cook and eat them raw.

    Taste is not that different when you eat either radish or turnip raw. A lot depends in the type of turnip you plant. I go for the mild one.

  2. The section on Daikon is playing fast and loose with the radish/turnip distinction, which is odd in an article about that very distinction. It states that daikon “is actually a type of turnip,” when it is not. It’s actually, by genus, a radish. Later in the same paragraph, daikon is compared with “regular radishes,” which makes sense, but contradicts the earlier statement. I get that the common culinary terms in Chinese don’t make the distinction clear, but in this context it’s messy.

    • Hi! Thanks for the feedback. I decided not to go to in depth with the daikon section as the main focus of the article was the difference between turnips and radishes. You are actually correct though, that daikons are not a type of turnip. I must have accidentally typed turnip instead of radish. I edited that section to be correct now. Sorry for the confusion!

    • There isn’t much difference. You cook radish and eat them raw.

      I grow turnips. They grow bigger. You can cook and eat them raw.

      Taste is not that different when you eat either radish or turnip raw. A lot depends in the type of turnip you plant. I go for the mild one.


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