5 Amazing Potato Substitutes

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Having potato substitutes on hand can make or break a recipe that calls for this popular starchy ingredient.

Potato Substitutes

Potato substitutes have become very popular in recent years, for a number of different reasons. This global significance is because potatoes are a starchy staple that is relied upon around the world. Every culture uses them differently, but when it comes to cheap, easily stored calories that taste great, potatoes can’t be beaten. They are extremely versatile, lending themselves to a wide variety of preparations and cooking methods.

With the rise of the paleo and keto diet trends, many people are cutting carbohydrate-heavy foods from their meals, and potatoes are often the first to go. However, what can you use instead of fries or mashed potatoes? Here are some delicious substitutions that will keep the carbs away, but keep you happy.


Rutabagas are a root vegetable that look very similar to beets. They are actually a hybrid of turnips and cabbage, and when consumed raw, they can be bitter. However, once cooked, they are sweet and nutty. They are still starchy, with 7 grams of carbs per 100 grams, but they have far fewer carbs than potatoes. They are a great substitute for any kind of hash or baked potato dishes.

Closeup of fresh green kohlrabi


Cauliflower is extremely low in carbs, yet it can mimic the starchiness of potatoes fairly well. From pizza crust to riced, cauliflower is a great stand-in for potatoes. It can be mashed, fried, baked, and sautéed. The plain mellow flavor makes cauliflower a good vehicle for toppings and seasonings. Furthermore, with only 4 grams of carbs per cup, along with a high fiber and antioxidant content, and choline, cauliflower is a very healthy choice.


Turnips are another underrated root vegetable that can step in for potatoes. Turnips have a reputation for bitterness, but boiling them uncovered before any other preparation will evaporate that bitterness away. With 8 grams of carbs per cup and 2 grams of fiber, they are an excellent substitute for stews, soups, or au gratin dishes.


Chances are you haven’t heard of this unassuming, round, pale root vegetable. Celeriac is often confused for turnips or rutabagas. It’s actually a type of celery, and when the sweet, crunchy flesh is cut, it even tastes slightly like celery. Even so, it makes an excellent substitution for recipes that require frying potatoes, such as fries or chips.


Another root vegetable, kohlrabi is a member of the cabbage family. It has a sweet, crunchy taste, akin to broccoli stems, and only 6 grams of carbs per serving. It’s also an incredible source of vitamin C. Kohlrabi is a good substitute for potatoes as a side vegetable, either roasted or sautéed.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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