Carrot vs. Parsnip: What Are Their Differences?

Carrots and parsnips are both root vegetables that grow underground. Closely related members of the Apiaceae family, they are similar in size, shape, texture, and even taste.

Although alike in many ways, some characteristics separate the two root vegetables. What are the six key differences between carrots and parsnips?

Carrots and parsnips both belong to the Apiaceae family. This group of aromatic plants, Apium, is known as the carrot, celery, or parsley family or collectively as umbellifers.


Carrots are a delicious, nutritious foodstuff. Parsnip is traditionally known for its poor flavor. Still, the culinary arts world has recently taken the root under its wing, transforming the woody taste with complimentary earthy and umami flavors.


Carrots were originally cultivated for their aromatic leaves and seeds. Evidence from classical texts points to the 1st century AD when the root was first mentioned as a foodstuff.


Parsnip originated in Europe and has been cultivated for even longer than carrots, with records dating from the 1st century AD.