Parsnip Gratin with Gruyere and Thyme- a deliciously decadent vegetarian side dish, perfect for special gatherings or the holiday table! Video.
Parsnip Gratin with Gruyere and Thyme- a deliciously decadent side dish, perfect for the holiday table! |
This recipe for Parsnip Gratin will become your new favorite side dish. It’s decadent and lovely and pairs well with many things, perfect for the holiday table or a simple dinner at home.  New to parsnips? This recipe is just for you!

I am baffled by the number of people who tell me they don’t like parsnips. Isn’t it true, that once we make up our mind about something or someone for that matter, it’s nearly impossible to change it?

So it won’t matter if I tell you how soulful they are. How wisely and beautifully designed they are for the coldness of winter with their rough and tumble exterior, housing the most exquisite of flavors- harmonious notes of sweetness, earthiness and depth.

Like my favorite kind of people. 😉

Yet you won’t know this unless you take the time to get to know them and experience their goodness for yourself.   One thing I can do is share a parsnip recipe that might possibly convert even the most hardened of parsnip skeptics.

Parsnip Gratin Video

Parsnip Gratin With Gruyere and Thyme |

I’ve found, the smell alone, will melt away much of the resistance. To me, the aroma wafting from the oven when this is done, is heavenly.

Parsnip Gratin With Gruyere and Thyme |

Expert TIPS

Normally with recipes, I recommend playing around with them. For this recipe, however, there are few tips that will help ensure a successful outcome.

  • Firstly, do not substitute whole milk or half & half for the heavy cream, or the gratin will end up watery.
  • Using fresh thyme is essential.
  • Using fresh whole nutmeg elevates, but you may substitute ground nutmeg.
  •  Pecorino or manchego cheese can be subbed for the gruyere.
  • Feel free to substitute yukon gold potatoes or peeled russets for half of the parsnips.
  • Using a mandolin makes this so much easier to make. If you don’t have a mandolin, slice parsnips as thinly as humanly possible.
  • Lastly, it’s imperative to let this sit 15-20 minutes before serving, to ensure it sets up nicely and thickens.
  • This can be made ahead, baked ahead and reheated before serving. It’s actually quite good reheated.

Parsnip Gratin With Gruyere and Thyme |

How to make Parsnip Gratin

It starts with peeling the parsnips.

Parsnip Gratin With Gruyere and Thyme |

Slice them very thinly– a mandoline makes this easy.

Parsnip Gratin With Gruyere and Thyme |

Thinly slice an onion. Generously butter a 6×9 baking dish.

Parsnip Gratin With Gruyere and Thyme |

Assemeble the Gratin

Begin layering parsnips, onion, gruyere and a little thyme.

It’s OK if this bottom and middle part is a little messy.

Parsnip Gratin With Gruyere and Thyme |

Reserve some of the larger more uniform pieces of parsnip for the top and arrange in nice, even, overlapping rows.

Parsnip Gratin With Gruyere and Thyme |

Make the Creamy Sauce

Heat heavy cream and whisk in minced garlic, salt, fresh nutmeg, white pepper, flour and thyme.

Parsnip Gratin With Gruyere and Thyme |

Pour cream mixture over the layered parsnips, tilting and shaking the pan so liquid coats all the nooks and crannies.

Parsnip Gratin With Gruyere and Thyme |

Top with the remaining gruyere, a sprinkling of thyme and a pinch of nutmeg.

Parsnip Gratin With Gruyere and Thyme |

Freshly ground nutmeg is more aromatic than the pre-ground spice. Buy whole nutmeg (often sold in jars in the spice section of supermarkets) and scrape it against the finest holes of a box grater, or use  a micro-plane grater. It’s totally OK to use ground nutmeg, but whole will give the dish that extra special flavor.

Parsnip Gratin With Gruyere and Thyme |

Bake the Parsnip Gratin

Cover tightly with foil and place in a 400F oven. Bake 50 minutes or until fork-tender. Remove foil and bake 15-20 minutes uncovered, until golden and bubbly. Let stand for 15-20 minutes before serving so it has a chance to thicken and set up.

When you get to know parsnips, allowing yourself to see beyond their rough exterior, you’ll discover an unexpected sweetness. It’s quite surprising.

Have you ever met someone, who perhaps, was a little rough around the edges, not someone you envisioned becoming close to, but after spending time with them, you began to understand how they got their rough exterior and could see beyond it, to their unexpected tenderness and sweetness?  These are the parsnips of the world.  The ones who nourish us in their own special way.


Parsnip Gratin With Gruyere and Thyme |

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Parsnip Gratin with Gruyere and Thyme |

Parsnip Gratin with Gruyere and Thyme

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.9 from 22 reviews
  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine | Feasting at Home
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 75 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Side dish, vegetarian
  • Method: baked
  • Cuisine: Pacific Northwest
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Parsnip Gratin with melty gruyere, garlic,fresh nutmeg, thyme… the perfect vegetarian side dish, great for holidays!


Units Scale
  • 2 1/42 1/2 lbs Parsnips
  • 1 medium onion- yellow or white
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream ( do not sub half and half or milk)
  • butter for greasing pan
  • 1/4 tsp fresh nutmeg ( or ground), more for the top
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 T Fresh Thyme
  • 1 T Flour or Rice Flour
  • 3 large minced cloves garlic
  • 68 ounces, grated gruyere cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Peel  the Parsnips and using a mandolin, slice parsnips to 1/8 thin slices. The thinner the slices the faster this will bake. If you don’t have a mandolin, slice them as thinly as humanly possible! 😉  Thinly slice the onion and grate the cheese.
  3. Generously grease a 9 x13 inch baking dish with butter.
  4. Layer the parsnips and onion with 2/3 of the cheese and ⅔ of the thyme -saving the rest for the top- and reserving the more perfect pieces of parsnips for the final top layer. Press down and make sure layers are even. It’s OK if the inside layers are messy. Place the last layer of parsnip slices in nice looking overlapping rows.
  5. In a small pot, heat 3 Cups heavy whipping cream. Whisk in salt, nutmeg, the remaining thyme, white pepper, flour and the garlic and when it just comes to a simmer, pour over the layered parsnips, slanting the baking dish to get the cream in all the nooks and crannies. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top, a few more leaves of thyme and a little sprinkling of nutmeg. Cover securely with a lid or foil and bake for 50-60 minutes on the middle rack until parsnips are fork tender. Check, Remove foil, pierce with fork, parsnips should be al dente. (If not- your parsnips were perhaps cut thicker that 1/8 of an inch, and you will need to cook longer with the foil on.) Also, don’t worry if it seems watery at this point.
  6. Once fork tender, remove foil and bake another 15 minutes uncovered , or until golden and bubbly. It is important to let it sit at room temp for 15-20 minutes before serving, so it sets up and thickens.
  7. You can also make this all ahead, and simply reheat before serving.


You can also substitute half of the parsnips with potatoes.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 524
  • Sugar: 9.1 g
  • Sodium: 481.9 mg
  • Fat: 42.1 g
  • Saturated Fat: 25.7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 28.5 g
  • Fiber: 6.8 g
  • Protein: 10.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 128.1 mg




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  1. I only recently discovered Parsnips and quickly feel in love with them! I can’t wait to give this recipe a try. It sounds divine!

  2. Carole’s Chatter is collecting links using parsnip and/or pumpkin today. This is a nice one. I do hope you pop over and link in. This is the link . Cheers

  3. It’s snowing here in Denver, and I decided to give this recipe a try. So yummy! I will definitely make this again.

  4. We’re pretty big on root vegetables in my house so I was instantly drawn to your recipe. I love grueyere and was worried that the parsnips would make the whole dish taste too sweet and carroty, but everthing was so well balanced and for whatever reason, the dish just works…marvelously! I loved the way this turned out and can easily see making it again and again!

  5. I just made this for the first time today for Thanksgiving dinner and it was so good! Everyone loved it. And they were all excited to try parsnips because most people had not ever before. Thanks for this recipe!

    1. Sylvia, the dish was flawless. Everyone loved it, not to mention how impressed they were that *I* pulled off something so pretty! I think I want to try it with potatoes next time. Thanx again!

  6. Yummmmm…you have me salivating. I’m on a mission to introduce more and more veggies to my family. We’re trying things we’ve never tried before and I just happened to pick up some fresh parsnips the other day. Now I need to get some fresh thyme and heavy cream and I’m set!

  7. This looks delicious! I am making it for a crowd of my best friends and their significant others. I got parsnips in my CSA delivery, but only 1 lb. I also got sweet potatoes and butternut. Do you think it would taste good if I did 1/2 parnsip and 1/2 butternut or 1/2 parsnip and 1/2 sweet potato?

    1. Yes, try it with the sweet potatoes, I am sure it would taste great. I’ve mad it before with 1/2 potatoes ….and it was good too.

  8. This truly sounds awesome! I am making this for Thanksgiving! How far in advance can I prepare it? Should it be fully cooked before freezing? Please advise.

    1. You can make 3 days ahead and reheat before serving. I have never tried freezing it. If you do try it, please let me know how it works. Thanks!!

  9. I love parsnips! The combination of parsnip and thyme is always delicious – even in a soup! This gratin is right now in my oven and it smells sooo good.Thanks for sharing this great reicpe! Your pictures are lovely, too!Best,Maja

  10. I don’t understand how someone could not like parsnips! They are magical in their deliciousness. This gratin looks amazing and will definitely be gracing my table soon!

  11. I love your blog! Reading it always makes me so hungry. The pics and recipes are great.I’ve nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award, you can check it out here:

  12. I actually like parsnips, but almost never cook them. This gratin really does sound heavenly, though. Now I just need to get my hands on some parsnip before I can try it.
    I just found your blog via tastespotting, and have to say I really love it. Beautiful photography!

  13. Who could not love a parsnip? The gratin, and photos are lovely. I agree about the cream, the fresh nutmeg, and thyme. I have to try this!

  14. AHHHHH I LOVE THIS!!!! I need potatoes to survive. And cheese. And herbs. Love this! WILL HAVE TO MAKE!~

    1. The parsnips will give a nice earthy flavor. You could do with with half parsnips, half potatoes….it would be good too!

  15. I love parsnips. Usually I simply roast them with a little honey or maple syrup but this gratin sounds heavenly – can’t wait to try it.

  16. This looks truly delicious. I have a confession; I have never eaten a parsnip. But I will soon! Thank you for sharing. Also, I am eyeing mandolins. Do you have one you recommend?

    1. I am in the market for a good mandolin too! Mine is old and in its last days. The all stainless steal ones look really nice, but quite pricy. Let me know what you end up picking!

  17. I’m a parsnip newbie. I’ve been meaning to try them, and this recipe is guaranteed to make me love them! Thanks for sharing. I’m glad I stumbled onto your site! Found you on FoodGawker btw! 🙂

    1. thanks Rachel! Good to know about Foodgawker….easy to get lost in all the amazing photo’s there 🙂

  18. While I have nothing against parsnips, I cook with them very rarely – mostly because I haven’t found the right recipes yet, I think. This looks like a great way to way to prepare parsnips, although I don’t think you can ever go wrong with cream, cheese and thyme when cooking with vegetables. I’ll definitely be trying this as soon as possible!

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