What to Do With an Overload of Radishes

You got excited and bought enough radishes at the market to fill your kitchen—now what?

March 14, 2022
Photo by Ty Mecham

I think by now we all know the formula: Radishes + salt = appetizer elegance. Radishes + butter + baguette = snack time nirvana. Radishes + rustic farm table + screen-printed textiles = a food photographer's dream.

But what if you're on your 100th radish bunch of the summer and these peppery gems need to play a greater role? More than something to tide us over between meals, more than just a garnish? What if a bundle of radishes on its own must be tonight’s vegetable?

CSA subscribers, prolific gardeners, and enthusiastic market-goers alike know this issue all too well. Sure, radishes and butter and salt are made for each other, but come mid-summer, even the most striking ombre roots begin to lose their luster.

When this happens, it might be time to reconsider the formula. While we usually eat radishes raw, they can be cooked, and when they are, they transform. When roasted in the oven at high heat, radishes, like many root vegetables, caramelize and take on those concentrated, wintry flavors.

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Roasted radishes are delicious, but this time of year, a nice option is to pan-braise, which mellows the radish's spice and changes its texture, making it tender and moist, almost beet-like. This Deborah Madison recipe, though perhaps more hands-on than other radish recipes, still takes only minutes to prepare and keeps the flavors simple: shallots, butter, water, herbs. The beauty of this preparation, too, is that the greens steam with the radishes at the very end, making the dish more substantial—a side that will comfortably feed four.

If the onslaught of radishes is already getting to you, it might be time to give your mandoline a rest. Your skillet can't wait to enter the equation.

How to Store and Prep Radishes

As soon as you get home, remove any elastic bands or ties and trim the greens from the radishes, using scissors or a sharp knife. Store the greens and radishes in bags or in tea towels, wrapped loosely in the refrigerator. Soak both the greens and radishes in a large bowl of cold water before serving—both tend to be dirty. Dry radishes well before serving; the greens can be somewhat damp before steaming or sautéing. Greens that have yellowed should be discarded; greens that look tired can be revived in a bowl of cold water—after 20 to 30 minutes, the greens should perk up; if they don’t, they’re probably beyond repair.

How to Cook Your Radishes

Radishes are most often served raw, halved and sprinkled with salt, shaved into salads, layered over butter-smeared baguettes, or shredded into slaws. They also can be marinated with olive oil and lemon and mint for a refreshing salad, and they can be pickled with a classic vinegar-sugar-salt mix. Finely diced radishes mixed with red onion, jalapeño, cilantro, and lime make a peppery and crunchy salsa, a nice addition to any taco. Radishes can also be roasted with olive oil, salt, and pepper at 450ºF for 15 to 20 minutes or until caramelized and tender. Additionally, they can be sautéed and puréed with any number of vegetables (parsnips, potatoes, turnips, etc.) for a light vegetable side dish. This purée, too, can be thinned into a soup with chicken or vegetable stock. The greens: Discard any yellowy greens before cooking. Greens can be quickly steamed or sautéed and dressed with olive oil or butter, a squeeze of lemon or splash of vinegar, minced shallots, and any number of herbs.

Our Favorite Radish Recipes

Roasted Radishes With Garlic & Caraway

Obviously we’re not going to get very far without talking about our favorite roasted radish recipe. This one enhances their earthy flavor with garlic and caraway seeds; the longer the roast, the sweeter and milder the radishes taste. Even radish skeptics will fall in love.

Roasted Radishes With Garlic & Caraway

Pretty Radish & Broccoli Slaw

Think beyond the usual cabbage to make a spring-forward slaw that’s perfect alongside burgers, grilled meat, or your Easter ham. This recipe makes use of the broccoli stalks that you might have otherwise been likely to toss, plus dried cherries, chopped pistachios, and watermelon radishes. If this slaw doesn’t sing spring’s praises, I don’t know what does.

Pretty Radish and Broccoli Slaw

Radish & Butter Tartine

The absolute chicest tartine for spring, this one is made very simply by buttering a slice of toasted bread (use your favorite loaf and the best butter you can get your hands on), then topping it with super thinly sliced radishes and a generous sprinkle of flaky sea salt. Breakfast, lunch, and springtime snacking, perfected. 

Radish and Butter Tartine

Radish Top Aioli

When you really want to celebrate the simplicity of radishes, while taking advantage of every last bit of them, whip up this aioli. Chopped radish leaves are blended in alongside the usual eggs, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, garlic, and oil. It’s the ultimate dipping sauce for, what else, radishes!

Radish Top Aioli

Radish Salad With Curry-Orange Dressing

Not to toot our own horn, but we think that the idea of reducing orange juice until it’s thick and syrupy is a brilliant way to make an absolutely delicious salad dressing, especially once that’s served with radishes, feta cheese, and mint. 

Radish Salad with Curry-Orange Dressing

Cacio e Pepe Pizza With Roasted Radishes

Move aside, pepperoni. We’re dressing up this simple cheese and pepper pizza with spring’s shining star: radishes. Our readers voted this their favorite recipe that uses radishes and turnips. Enough said.

Cacio e Pepe Pizza with Roasted Radishes

What's your favorite way to cook with radishes during spring and summer? Let us know in the comments below!

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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I write the blog alexandra's kitchen, a place for mostly simple, sometimes fussy, and always seasonal recipes. My cookbook, Bread Toast Crumbs is available everywhere books are sold.


francineeisner March 16, 2022
I routinely add chunks of daikon radish, along with onions, garlic and carrots when I’m making beef stew. The radish becomes mellow and savory when cooked this way, and adds tremendous flavor to the stew.
Shannon J. March 15, 2022
I love roasted radishes.
Kate's K. February 14, 2021
Pickle them! When I have an overload from my garden they make a great quick pickle, along with thinly sliced Vidalia onions and garlic slivers Use on tacos, in salads and on sandwiches.
Abbe P. August 24, 2019
My mother always cut radishes thin and mixed with sour cream (chives or chopped green onions for garnish & salt to taste.) yummy
CSM June 5, 2016
Just wanted to say how very beautiful the photo of the cut and whole radishes is! Something about how artfully it is arranged made me stop and just stare at it a few minutes...the colors, shapes.....brought tears to my eyes! So lovely! Great ideas you offer for all the (real) CSA radishes I get from my local farmer! MANY THANKS!!
Alexandra S. June 5, 2016
Thank you so much for your sweet comment!

My first CSA of the season arrives on Tuesday ... can't wait! I'm revisiting this comment thread for ideas. Thanks for writing in :)
Liz August 9, 2014
I've visited Food52 a few times before, but this is the first of your articles that I've read. I just had to comment on how nice and refreshing it is to "see" how interactive you are with all the commenters. More than that, your genuine interest, enthusiasm and excitement over learning new things from said commenters is infectious. :) (Though, this comment section was, indeed, full of all kinds of great stuff!)
Alexandra S. August 9, 2014
Thank you so much, Liz! That means a lot. This comment section was indeed filled with gems :) I am still dreaming about that Sherri Vinton radish relish — it's high on my to-make list. Thank you again for your kind words.
Susan July 31, 2014
I make a point of growing lots of radishes in order to make Sherri Vinton's amazing radish relish.
Alexandra S. July 31, 2014
Ooooh...can you elaborate? That sounds amazing.
Susan August 1, 2014
Alexandra, the recipe comes from *Put 'em Up: A Comprehensive Home Preserving Guide for the Creative Cook* and produces a wonderfully complex relish that includes 2 lbs radishes (shredded), sugar, white vinegar, loads of fresh ginger, garlic, coriander, and mustard seed. There may be some other spices, but the net result is a terrific accompaniment for just about any Indian dish and is good by the spoonful right out of the jar. I've also found that because the radishes are shredded and then cooked, it's a good way to use up overgrown radishes that have started to go woody. You can also use any kind of radish: Spanish black, white, red, what ever is available. I made a double recipe just the other day. :-)
Alexandra S. August 1, 2014
Oh my gosh, Susan, thank you! This is genius — the perfect way to employ ALL of those radishes. And it sounds completely delicious. Vinegar, loads of fresh ginger — all of my favorite flavors? I am so excited to try this recipe. Going to see if my library carries that book. Sounds like a good one to have on hand this time of year. Thanks so much, Susan!
Poppies A. July 13, 2014
Roasted radishes are wonderful! And then tossed with fresh market greens and a hearty grain and you are set. http://poppiesandpapayas.blogspot.com/2014/05/warm-honey-citrus-roasted-radish-salad.html
Alexandra S. July 24, 2014
That grain salad is beautiful! Love the big hunk of cheese.
Zozo July 11, 2014
Love radishes cooked when you have an overload. Love that you don't ignore the greens too. In many Asian cultures the daikon leaves are the best bit!

Here's what I like to do: http://twospoons.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/3-unexpectedly-delicious-ways-to-use-grated-radishes/
Alexandra S. July 12, 2014
Zozo, that radish-yogurt sauce looks divine! Thanks for sharing your link to those ideas — gorgeous post!
penelope July 11, 2014
We like to slice them, wrap them in foil with some olive oil, and throw them on the grill. I'll have to try pan-braising them, yum.
Alexandra S. July 12, 2014
I am going to try this this weekend — I'm with friends on Long Island, and we're heading to the farmstand in a bit to pick up dinner. Sounds so good!
Superdutch July 11, 2014
NEVER, EVER trim the radishes before storing! People, really! Keep the greens on while in the fridge and the radishes will stay fresh much, much longer. Just put them as they are into tea towels as described, or in a plastic bag that is left open, as they need to breathe. But do not trim the greens: that is a sure way of letting the radishes wilt in no time.
And once you trim the greens, do not throw it way! they can go raw into mixed salads or wilted with a small amount of butter into an omelette.
Kristen M. July 11, 2014
Superdutch, can you tell us where you got that information? Most recommendations I've read say the opposite -- that the leaves actually leach moisture from the root. Also, I personally hate having to scrape wilted greens off my radishes before eating them, which I find happens pretty quickly when I get lazy and store them this way.
penelope July 11, 2014
My experience is that leaving the greens on makes the radishes (like carrots or beets) flabby and unappetizing.
Panfusine July 11, 2014
Chilled, diced radishes with a sprinkle of crushed toasted cumin, pepper & rocksalt.. Spritzed with the juice of 1/2 a lemon..
Alexandra S. July 12, 2014
yum. love the idea of toasted cumin – sounds Ottolenghiesque :)
Alice M. July 11, 2014
I eat low carb and have discovered that radishes make a great substitue for potatoes in potato salads and home fries.
Alexandra S. July 12, 2014
I bet! I've never thought to do this. So, do you just slice the radishes in half? Or do you parcook them at all?
Alice M. July 14, 2014
For both recipes, wash and drain the radishes and trim off the ends. Cut into quarters or eighths depending on the size of the radish - you want evenly sized pieces. Then proceed with your recipe. For faux potato salad, I boil them until they are fork tender, about 10-15 minutes. Then drain well and make as you would your favorite potato salad recipe. For home fries, just fry them in butter, bacon fat or oil, covered, for about 10-15 minutes or until fork tender and then cook uncovered until they start to brown. Then season however you like.
Alexandra S. July 24, 2014
Thank you, Alice! Both of these recipes sound delicious, especially the home fries. Yum!