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Easy Parsnip Soup (Instant Pot and Stovetop)

Enjoy a hot bowl of Parsnip Soup on a cool day! This easy root vegetable soup is tasty, filling, hearty, budget-friendly, and very easy to make. This soup has a little "extra" flavor thanks to bits of crispy, smoky, salty bacon. Oh yes.

I'll share instructions for how to make parsnip soup in the Instant Pot and on the stovetop.

This soup is naturally gluten-free and can be made vegan or vegetarian by skipping the bacon (but I highly recommend the bacon!!).

Bowl of parsnip soup garnished with bacon and croutons
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Parsnip soup

Parsnip is such an overlooked vegetable! Literally. I barely see parsnips on grocery shelves, sitting there all bland and white next to more popular, more colorful root vegetables, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, or beets.

And yet, parsnips are so delicious! And budget-friendly! And easy to make into soup!

2 bowls of pureed parsnip soup

For this parsnip soup recipe, I cook up some crispy smoky bacon bits, then sauté diced onion and garlic in the bacon grease (YESSS). Then I cook the parsnips in a flavorful broth and puree them. I like to leave the soup juuust a little chunky so there is some texture to it. But of course, you can blend it into smithereens and make a silky smooth pureed parsnip soup if you like.

Speaking of texture... I top this soup with crispy crumbled cooked bacon and serve it with flavorful croutons on top. It's perfect!

Related recipe: Parsnip Fries with Bacon

What does parsnip soup taste like?

Parsnip soup definitely has a parsnip-y flavor. Which is a good thing, if you like parsnips!! However, if you're not sure you want to commit to a 100% parsnip soup, I recommend substituting some of the parsnips for a more "common" soup vegetable, such as carrots, potatoes, or sweet potatoes.

Another option is to add an apple (peeled and core removed) to the soup before cooking it to add a little bit of sweetness to balance out the parsnip-ness. You can also add a little bit of heavy cream after cooking the soup to make it a little creamy.

However, I really enjoy this soup as it is and usually make it without adding any cream.

Related recipe: Pureed Carrot Soup with Parsley Pistou

Parsnip soup toppings

You absolutely must top this soup with the crumbled bacon bits, but here are a few great topping ideas for a pureed parsnip soup:

  • Seasoned croutons
  • Tortilla strips or crushed tortilla chips
  • Crispy roasted chickpeas
  • Parmesan cheese (I recommend freshly grated Parmesan, but even the stuff in the green can is fine to sprinkle on top)
  • Fresh herbs (try thyme or finely minced parsley)
  • Bacon bits
  • Crushed pita chips
  • Stir in a bit of pesto
Ingredients to make parsnip bacon soup

Ingredients

  • 6 slices uncooked bacon, chopped into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • Optional: red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1.5 lb parsnips, peeled and chopped into 2-3 inch pieces (read below for parsnip tips)
  • 4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth (I love using Better than Bouillon Chicken Base—use 3-4 teaspoons and 4 cups of water to make a flavorful instant broth)
  • Salt, to taste (omit if you broth has enough salt)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh herbs, such as thyme and/or sage
  • 1-2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (or more, to taste)
  • Optional add-in: few tablespoons of half and half or heavy cream (I typically skip this)
  • Optional toppings: croutons, roasted chickpeas, bacon bits, crushed tortilla chips, more fresh herbs

Related recipe: Turnip Potato Soup

Equipment

In addition to the standard soup-making stuff, such as cutting boards, knives, measuring cups and spoons, you'll need:

Related recipe: Sweet Potato Leek Soup

Instant Pot parsnip soup instructions

Step 1: Set the Instant Pot to sauté mode to preheat the pot. Add the diced bacon to the preheated inner pot and cook until the bacon is crispy and browned, stirring constantly. Don't let the bacon burn, if it starts getting too dark before all the fat is rendered, cancel the sauté mode and continue stirring.

Step 2: Use tongs to CAREFULLY remove most of the crumbled bacon from the Instant Pot and place the bacon on a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb extra grease. Optional: Crumble up a small piece of paper towel and use tongs to hold the paper towel ball and absorb half of the grease in the Instant Pot.

Instant Pot with cooked bacon bits

Step 3: Add the diced onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes (if using). Sauté for 5-8 minutes until the onion is softened. Stir often, and do not let it burn. If the onion is starting to burn, turn off the sauté mode (press "cancel") and continue to stir the onions in the hot pot.

Diced onion and garlic sautéing in an Instant Pot

Step 4: Add the parsnips, chicken broth, and herbs. Cover with the lid and make sure the valve is set to sealing (if you have an older Instant Pot that has a valve). Cook at high pressure on the manual setting for 5 minutes

Parsnips and broth added to the Instant Pot

Step 5: Naturally release the pressure (or if you're short on time, naturally release for 10 minutes, then carefully do a controlled release). Use an immersion blender to puree the soup to your desired smoothness (add a bit more water or broth if you want a thinner soup). Optional: stir in a few tablespoons of half and half or heavy cream. Stir in lemon juice and season with salt, if needed. Serve warm, garnishing with cooked bacon and your favorite soup toppings.

Pureeing parsnips in an Instant Pot to make soup

Related recipe: Sweet Potato Peanut Butter Soup

Stovetop parsnip soup

Step 1: Preheat your soup pot over medium heat and add the diced bacon. Cook until the bacon is crispy and browned, stirring constantly. Don't let the bacon burn, reduce the heat if it starts burning.

Pot with cooked bacon bits

Step 2: Use tongs to CAREFULLY remove most of the crumbled bacon from the pot and place the bacon on a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb extra grease. Optional: Crumble up a small piece of paper towel and use tongs to hold the paper towel ball and absorb half of the grease in the pot.

Step 3: Add the diced onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes (if using), and sauté for 5-8 minutes over medium/low heat until the onion softens. Do not let it burn.

Diced onions and minced garlic sautéing in a soup pot

Step 4: Add the chopped parsnips and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 15-20 minutes, or until the parsnips are very soft and easily pierced with a fork.

Chopped parsnips and broth in a pot

Step 5: Stir in the fresh herbs and cook for a minute. Remove from heat.

Step 6: CAREFULLY use an immersion blender to puree the soup until desired smoothness. You can make it as smooth or as chunky as you like. Add a bit more water or broth if you want a thinner soup. Stir in half and half or heavy cream, if using. Stir in lemon juice and season with salt, if needed. Serve warm, garnishing with cooked bacon and your favorite soup toppings.

Choosing parsnips for parsnip soup

Try to choose fresh, young parsnips. Old parsnips that have been sitting around the grocery store for months can sometimes be a little bitter or tough. Look for smaller parsnips if you can find those for a milder flavor.

Adding other vegetables

This soup works great if you substitute half the parsnips for carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, butternut squash or pumpkin. In fact, substituting some of the parsnips is a great idea if you're making this soup for someone who is not a huge parsnip fan.

You can also add an apple (peeled and core removed) to the soup before cooking it to add a hint of natural sweetness to balance out the earthiness.

How long to store parsnip soup

This soup will keep really well in the fridge for up to 3 days, and reheats really well. After that it starts to separate a little bit more. If that happens, just stir it as you heat it. I would not keep for longer than 4 days though.

If you enjoyed this recipe, let me know with a comment and a star rating below. And don't forget to share it on Facebook and save it on Pinterest for later!

Bowl of parsnip soup with bacon
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Easy Parsnip Soup (Instant Pot and Stovetop)

This parsnip soup is tasty, hearty, filling, and budget-friendly. It has delicious crispy smoky bacon bits. The recipe below has instructions for making parsnip soup in the Instant Pot or the stovetop—your choice! Make sure to read the notes for lots of soup topping ideas.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free
Servings: 4
Author: Kate

Ingredients

  • 6 slices bacon - chopped into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 onion - minced
  • 2 cloves garlic - minced or grated
  • Optional: red pepper flakes - to taste
  • 1.5 lb parsnips - peeled and chopped into 2-3 inch pieces (read notes below for tips)
  • 4 cups chicken broth - or vegetable broth
  • salt - to taste (omit if you broth has enough salt)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh herbs - such as thyme and/or sage
  • 1-2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice - (or more, to taste)
  • Optional add-in: few tablespoons of half and half or heavy cream - (I typically skip this)

Special equipment

Instructions

Instant Pot instructions
  • Set the Instant Pot to sauté mode to preheat the pot. Add the diced bacon to the preheated inner pot and cook until the bacon is crispy and browned, stirring constantly. Don't let the bacon burn, if it starts getting too dark before all the fat is rendered, cancel the sauté mode and continue stirring.
  • Use tongs to CAREFULLY remove most of the crumbled bacon from the Instant Pot and place the bacon on a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb extra grease. Optional: Crumble up a small piece of paper towel and use tongs to hold the paper towel ball and absorb half of the grease in the Instant Pot.
  • Add the diced onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes (if using). Sauté for 5-8 minutes until the onion is softened. Stir often, and do not let it burn. If the onion is starting to burn, turn off the sauté mode (press "cancel") and continue to stir the onions in the hot pot.
  • Add the parsnips, chicken broth, and herbs. Cover with the lid and make sure the valve is set to sealing (if you have an older Instant Pot that has a valve). Cook at high pressure on the manual setting for 5 minutes.
  • Naturally release the pressure (or if you're short on time, naturally release for 10 minutes, then carefully do a controlled release). Use an immersion blender to puree the soup to your desired smoothness. Optional: stir in a few tablespoons of half and half or heavy cream. Stir in lemon juice and season with salt, if needed. Serve warm, garnishing with cooked bacon and your favorite soup toppings.
Stovetop instructions
  • Preheat your soup pot over medium heat and add the diced bacon. Cook until the bacon is crispy and browned, stirring constantly. Don't let the bacon burn, reduce the heat if it starts burning.
  • Use tongs to CAREFULLY remove most of the crumbled bacon from the pot and place the bacon on a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb extra grease. Optional: Crumble up a small piece of paper towel and use tongs to hold the paper towel ball and absorb half of the grease in the pot.
  • Add the diced onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes (if using), and sauté for 5-8 minutes over medium/low heat until the onion softens. Do not let it burn.
  • Add the chopped parsnips and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 15-20 minutes, or until the parsnips are very soft and easily pierced with a fork.
  • Stir in the fresh herbs and cook for a minute. Remove from heat.
  • CAREFULLY use an immersion blender to puree the soup until desired smoothness. You can make it as smooth or as chunky as you like. Stir in half and half or heavy cream, if using. Stir in lemon juice and season with salt, if needed. Serve warm, garnishing with cooked bacon and your favorite soup toppings.

Notes

→ Try to choose fresh, young, smaller parsnips. Old parsnips can sometimes be a little bitter or tough. 
→ Try substituting half the parsnips with carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, butternut squash or pumpkin. You can also add an apple (peeled and core removed) to the soup before cooking it to add a hint of natural sweetness to balance out the earthiness.
→ Soup topping ideas: seasoned croutons, tortilla strips or crushed tortilla chips, crispy roasted chickpeas, Parmesan cheese (I recommend freshly grated Parmesan, but even the stuff in the green can is fine to sprinkle on top), fresh herbs (try thyme or finely minced parsley), bacon bits, crushed pita chips, stir in a tablespoon of pesto or sour cream.

Nutrition

Calories: 293kcal (15%) | Carbohydrates: 35g (12%) | Protein: 8g (16%) | Fat: 14g (22%) | Saturated Fat: 5g (25%) | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.04g | Cholesterol: 26mg (9%) | Sodium: 1110mg (46%) | Potassium: 803mg (23%) | Fiber: 9g (36%) | Sugar: 10g (11%) | Vitamin A: 186IU (4%) | Vitamin C: 34mg (41%) | Calcium: 84mg (8%) | Iron: 2mg (11%)

The nutritional information displayed is an estimate and not to be used as dietary or nutritional advice. Consult a nutritionist or dietician for nutritional info based on the exact ingredients you use.

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