Sticky Honey Parnsips

For the last 5 years, one of the high points of each year is Christmas with my housemates. We’re a diverse bunch, and catering for people with different tastes (we have 2 vegetarians in the house) has meant creating some knockout dishes that can please every palate - including these Perfect Parsnips.

Key Details

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Difficulty: Moderate


  • 500g parsnips
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 3tbsp runny honey
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 1 star anise
  • a pinch of salt
  • water, enough to cover your parsnips


Top and tail your parsnips and cut them in half lengthways. Don’t bother peeling them, just give them a rinse.

Put the biggest frying pan you have on the hob on a medium-low heat. Pop in the butter and swirl it around the pan.

Add in all your parsnips, cut side down in the pan, in a single layer (you may need multiple pans). Now throw in your thyme (the whole sprig is fine) and star anise along with a pinch of salt.

Pour in water to just cover the parsnips, then add the runny honey.

Make a cartouche out of grease-proof paper, ensuring you have a small hole in the middle to release some steam. Place on top of the parsnips.

You want this to gently simmer away, delicate bubbles forming at the side but nothing aggressive. Keep the water topped up to half way up the parsnips until they are tender all the way through – this will take 45 minutes to an hour. There’s no need to turn them – the cut side will get lovely and creamy, whilst the top side will steam gently.

Now that they’re cooked through, you want to glaze them. Stop topping up the water and remove the cartouche. Let the emulsion of butter, honey and water reduce and keep tossing the parsnips through it. Pretty quickly, the emulsion will start to caramelise. Keep tossing the parsnips through it until gorgeous and sticky.

Everything but the last step can be done in advance – just make sure you don’t throw away the emulsion before you reheat them or you won’t get your glaze!

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