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Savory Tweaks: 5 BEST Burdock Root Substitutes

Burdock root is a unique ingredient that is gaining popularity in the global health food industry.

The thick, brown and knobby root can have numerous health benefits and uses as food, medicine, or even as industrial dye.

But if you don’t have access to fresh burdock root or don’t want to pay the price for dried or powdered varieties, there are some great substitutions that will help you get the same flavor without breaking the bank.

This article will explore all of the best alternatives for replacing burdock root in recipes.

We will look at each substitute in detail, examining their flavor profiles and how they compare to burdock root.

We will also provide tips on how to select and prepare each one so that you get maximum taste out of every recipe.

Finally we’ll go over some recipes where you can use these substitutes in place of burdock root, so by the end of this article you’ll have an understanding of why these ingredients are such great replacements – and exactly where to find them.

What’s Burdock Root?

Burdock root is a long, brownish root vegetable that has been used as a medicinal plant for centuries.

It’s known for its many health benefits and has traditionally been used as an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and diuretic.

Additionally, burdock root is highly nutritious and contains high amounts of Vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, iron and plenty of dietary fiber.

It has a mildly sweet flavor with a slight bitterness that can make it difficult to find suitable substitutions in recipes.

Burdock roots are commonly found in health food stores or large grocery stores such as Whole Foods or Natural Grocers.

It may also be available from your local farmer’s market in the spring when the plant is in season.

How to Use Burdock Root in Recipes

Burdock root is a popular ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine and cuisines, but can be difficult for some to source.

It is actually the long, slender taproot of the edible plant species Arctium lappa and is characterized by its knobby texture and mildly sweet, earthy flavor.

Burdock root has been found to have numerous health benefits including aiding digestion, detoxifying the liver and increasing immunity.

When using burdock root in recipes, it’s important to note that it has a bitter flavor and will need to be cooked prior to eating.

Generally speaking when using burdock root in cooking, you would peel its relatively thick skin off first before slicing or dicing it into smaller pieces to either stir-fry or simmer in broth.

Additionally while some recipes call for boiling burdock root separately from other ingredients as it can turn them brown; however this step can be skipped if you pre-soak them in water for several minutes before adding them into the dish.

Even when substituting other vegetables for burdock root in your recipes keep their characteristics (texture or flavor) in mind as the finished product may vary slightly depending on how each ingredient fares during the cooking process.

5 BEST Burdock Root Substitutes You Should Consider

Burdock root is a popular ingredient in different dishes from various cultures, and it has a wide range of health benefits.

Unfortunately, this vegetable is not available in most parts of the world, so if you’re looking for an alternative that is just as healthy and flavorful, you are in luck.

We have compiled a list of the five best substitutes for burdock root that you should consider.

1 – Chicory Root

Chicory root has long been used as a bittering agent in beer and as an alternative to coffee.

It has many of the same beneficial compounds found in burdock root, making it an excellent substitute.

It’s also rich in dietary fiber, supporting digestive health and helping to keep you fuller for longer.

Make sure to buy organic chicory root since it is commonly sprayed with pesticides.

For a nutritive boost, mix 1 teaspoon of organic chicory root powder with 8 ounces of hot water, let steep for about 10 minutes and drink as an iced or hot tea.

Like burdock root, consuming small amounts of chicory can help support overall health and boost your metabolic rate.

2 – Lotus Root

Lotus root is a great substitute for burdock root.

It is also known as Indian lotus root, Chinese water lily, or radish nut.

This aquatic plant has a lot of similarities to burdock root.

Like its relative, the skin of the lotus root has small spines, but it is much easier to peel and less likely to cause skin irritation.

Lotus root is widely used in Chinese and Japanese cuisine and can be cooked in a variety of ways – boiled or steamed, or fried and served with tempura dipped in batter.

The taste is mild and slightly sweet, like chestnuts.

It has a crunchy texture that stays even when cooked.

When eaten raw it tastes like an apple with gentle sweetness – although this may vary depending on the age of the plant.

Nutritionally speaking, lotus root is an excellent source of vitamin C; iron; calcium; magnesium; phosphorus; potassium; and vitamins A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), and B6 (pyridoxine).

It also contains polyphenols such as resveratrol that are known for their antioxidant properties that may help to protect against disease-causing free radicals.

3 – Dandelion Root

Dandelion root is often known as a potent weed in lawns, but it has a wide range of benefits as well.

It has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine and is rich in vitamins A, B6, C, and E.

Dandelion root can be consumed cooked or raw, and can also be used to make herbal teas.

Like burdock root, dandelion root has anti-inflammatory and liver cleansing abilities.

It can help to support digestion, increase the production of enzymes involved in metabolizing fats and proteins, support kidney health, stimulate appetite as well as improve liver health.

Furthermore, dandelion root tea can reduce water weight by flushing out excess fluid from the body.

4 – Salsify

Salsify is an excellent substitute for burdock root, with a similar versatility in the kitchen.

Known by a variety of names — goat’s beard, vegetable oyster, devils intestine (no kidding.

) — salsify is an ancient vegetable that crops up in traditional European dishes.

It has a peppery flavor with nutty undertones and can be prepared by roasting, frying or boiling it into oblivion.

The plant’s stalks can range from four to twelve inches long and resemble thick parsnips or carrots.

Their skin is white but they tend to darken once cooked; so peeling them before cooking is recommended if you’re serving guests.

And if you like complex flavors, salsify also packs medicinal benefits as well — its roots contain a significant amount of potassium and phosphorus which make it suitable for diabetics.

5 – Parsnip

Parsnip is a root vegetable closely related to the carrot.

It has an earthy flavor and aroma, with a sweet and slightly spicy note that really stands out when roasted or sautéed.

Because of its similarities in texture and flavor, it is often used as a substitute for burdock root.

Although parsnips are most popular in Europe, they can also be found fresh in some North American markets.

When cooking with parsnip, it’s important to remember that like burdock root, the larger the root, the sweeter it will be.

The vegetable can be steamed or sautéed and served as a side dish or used as a flavorful addition to soups and stews.

Parsnips are particularly good when mashed together with carrots or potatoes for an interesting alternative to mashed potatoes.


In conclusion, burdock root is a unique and flavorful ingredient used in many Asian cuisines and traditional remedies.

While it can be difficult to find depending on where you live, there are many tasty alternatives that can easily be substituted in its place.

For a mild and slightly sweet flavor, parsnip makes an excellent substitute for burdock root.

Carrots and turnips also offer similar flavors without being overpowering.

For sweeter tastes that have a hint of nuttiness, use jicama or Jerusalem artichoke.

And if you’re looking for an earthy flavor with notes of bitterness, lotus root is the way to go.

With the help of these alternatives, your dishes will still be as flavorful and delicious even if you don’t have access to true burdock root.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Burdock Root?

A1: Burdock root is a vegetable native to Europe and Asia that has been used in traditional medicine for centuries.

It is rich in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins and is believed to have anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, and anti-cancer properties.

What are the 5 BEST substitutes for Burdock Root?

The 5 best substitutes for Burdock Root are Dandelion Root, Chicory Root, Turmeric Root, Sarsaparilla Root, and Parsley Root.

How do I use Burdock Root?

Burdock root can be eaten raw, boiled, steamed, or fried. It can also be brewed into a tea or tincture.

5 BEST Burdock Root Substitutes You Should Consider

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes


  • 1 – Chicory Root
  • 2 – Lotus Root
  • 3 – Dandelion Root
  • 4 – Salsify
  • 5 – Parsnip


  • Choose your preferred substitute from the list of options.
  • Organize all of your ingredients.
  • Use the proper substitute to cook your recipes.
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