I’ve personally taste-tested a variety of jicama substitutes to find the best one for every cooking occasion.
Whether you’re on the hunt for the closest flavor match, in need of a last-minute pantry substitute, or want a swap that fits your diet, I’ve got the answers.
Water chestnuts are the best substitutes for jicama. They’re best if you can find them fresh, but canned ones will get the job done too. Daikon radishes are a great option if you want to spice things up a bit. In a pinch, chopped celery or apples will work, especially in salads.
Ready? Let’s jump right in.
I made small batches of this cashew chicken to put different jicama substitutes to the test.
Jicama is a root vegetable that looks like a potato on the outside with its thick, brown skin. But tastes more like an apple, although not as sweet. The white flesh inside is slightly sweet, slightly nutty, and super refreshing.
You can eat it raw, so you’ll often see it served in a slaw or salad. But jicama also works in stir-fries and other cooked dishes, where it keeps its addicting crunchy bite!
Here are the substitutes I tested and my verdicts:
|Substitutes||Notes on the substitute||Verdict|
|Water Chestnuts||Fresh ones are best||10/10|
|Daikon Radish||Peppery background notes||9/10|
|Kohlrabi||Best in raw dishes||9/10|
|Fennel||Good with seafood||8/10|
|Apples||Good in slaws and salads||7/10|
|Celery||Cheap and readily available||7/10|
|Other root vegetables||Good for replacing jicama fries||7/10|
Don’t confuse these with regular chestnuts, i.e the kind you see everywhere during the holiday season. Water chestnuts are actually an aquatic vegetable that make a great substitue for jicama.
The two ingredients have very similar textures, and the same mild, starchy, sweet, and nutty flavor. They’re so alike that you’ll even sometimes see jicama referred to as a ‘Mexican water chestnut’.
I highly recommend using fresh water chestnuts if you can find them. Canned chestnuts lose a lot of flavor and are much more bland, although the textures are the same.
Psst… not sure how to peel your water chestnuts? Check out this handy video below.
How to substitute: replace chopped jicama in a 1:1 ratio with chopped water chestnuts.
Daikon radish is popular in Japanese cuisine and you’ll often see it served alongside sashimi (if you’ve ever wondered if you can eat the white shredded stuff on the plate, the answer is yes!).
Fresh daikon radish has the same crisp texture as jicama. But it will soften slightly when you cook it, so it’s best to add the radish near the end of the cooking process if you want crunch.
In terms of flavor it’s got the same sweetness as jicama, but with peppery background notes instead of nutty ones. Don’t be alarmed when I say peppery though! The flavor is very mild and won’t affect your dish (I could actually barely taste it in my chicken cashew).
Psst… if you only have red radish, these are more peppery.
How to substitute: replace chopped jicama in a 1:1 ratio with chopped daikon radish.
Kohlrabi isn’t a root vegetable like jicama or daikon radish, it’s actually a member of the cabbage family, but the texture is often compared to a broccoli stem.
The dense flesh has a satisfying bite when you eat it raw, which means it’s great for substituting jicama in things like slaw. But it gets soft when you cook it – so soft that you can mash it like potatoes!
The flavor is like a broccoli stem crossed with a radish. Slightly sweet, with a background pepperiness. Again, the peppery flavor isn’t overwhelming but if you want to bring out the sweetness more, add a pinch of sugar to whatever you’re cooking.
How to substitute: replace chopped jicama in a 1:1 ratio with chopped kohlrabi.
Fennel might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re thinking about a jicama substitute, but it’s a worthy option.
It’s got a crisp, juicy texture (similar to cucumbers), and a nice sweetness to it. Fennel is also famous for its anise flavor notes, although they’re not as strong as most people think. I used to be scared to eat fennel because I thought it would be like eating liquorice, but it’s not at all.
When you cook fennel it can actually become very sweet.
For best results, use this substitute to replace jicama in a slaw or salad. Or a dish with lighter flavors so it doesn’t get lost.
Psst… the fronds or leaves of the fennel are also edible. Their delicate flavor makes them good for using as a herb or garnish.
How to substitute: replace chopped jicama in a 1:1 ratio with chopped fennel.
Apples are widely recognized for their place in sweet dishes, but don’t underestimate their potential in savory recipes. A crisp, juicy apple can provide the exact crunchy texture you’re missing from jicama.
Green apples are closest in flavor to jicama. They’re sweeter than jicama, but have a citrusy undertone that balances the sweetness out. Red apples will be too sweet!
I wouldn’t recommend using apples instead of jicama in cooked dishes though. When you cook apples they get very soft and disintegrate, and the sweetness gets even more pronounced.
How to substitute: replace chopped jicama in a 1:1 ratio with green apples.
Celery makes a great jicama substitute due to its crunchy texture, subtle flavor, and availability. Its really easy to find celery all year long and it’s got a nice cheap price point.
The bright green color might change the look of your dish, but it’ll bring the same refreshing, juiciness as jicama.
Psst… celery can be quite divisive as a vegetable, so if you’re serving guests, check none of them are in the celery hating camp.
How to substitute: replace chopped jicama in a 1:1 ratio with chopped celery.
Other root vegetables
Celeriac, rutabaga, turnips are all low carb root vegetables that you can use instead of jicama. You can eat all of them raw (although it’s more common to cook them), but where they really come in useful is as a replacement for jicama fries!
Each one has its own distinct flavor, none of which are that similar to jicama, but they’re all relatively mild.
You can also use parsnips, but despite having less carbs than regular potatoes, these aren’t considered suitable for a low carb diet.
A final option is cassava, which is low carb but you can’t eat it raw so it wont be useful in salads. Cassava fries are delicious though!
Note: all these root veggies will get soft when you cook them.
How to substitute: replace chopped jicama in a 1:1 ratio with your choice of root vegetable.
Other substitutes to consider
The list above features my top jicama substitutes, but here are more alternatives that are worth a shot:
- Sunchokes – these are also called Jerusalem artichokes, but they don’t taste like artichokes. They have a pronounced sweetness and nuttiness, with a crunchy raw texture. But they get soft when you cook them.
- Napa cabbage – Napa cabbage is an decent jicama substitute for salads because it’s crunchy and mildly flavored.
- Asian pears – Asian pears have a juicy crunch similar to jicama. They’re commonly eaten as a snack on their own or as an ingredient in a salad. You can find them sold in Asian markets from late August to through the winter.
Best Jicama Substitutes [Tried And Tested]
- 1 cup chopped water chestnuts
- cup chopped darikon radish
- cup chopped kolhrabi
- cup chopped fennel
- cup chopped apples
- cup chopped celery
- cup chopepd napa cabbage
- Cook your meal according to the recipe.
- Add your chosen jicama substitutes at the appropriate cooking time.
- Mix until thoroughly combined and continue with the recipe.