The 8 Best Substitutes For Burdock Root

What can I use instead of Burdock Root? The best substitute for burdock root is salsify. You can also use lotus, chicory, parsnips, potatoes, radishes, or carrots. When used as a herbal tea, the best substitute is dandelion tea.

Burdock root, also called ‘Gobo root,’ is a popular vegetable in East Asia. The slender roots have a distinctly crunchy texture with an earthy, sweet, nutty taste. It can be cooked in stews, used in stir-fries, or pickled. Burdock root is rich in antioxidants and is often consumed as a tea.

The Best Burdock Root Substitutes


Salsify is a parsnip-like root vegetable that belongs to the dandelion family. It is also sometimes called an oyster plant or vegetable oyster.

Salsify and burdock roots are very similar in appearance. Both are slender root vegetables with a creamy white interior and tough outer skin.

Although salsify is an excellent substitute for burdock root, there is a slight variation in taste. The taste of salsify has been described as a subtle mixture of artichoke and oysters, while burdock root has a distinctive earthiness, which is almost nutty.

Because of the similarities in appearance and taste, salsify is a good substitute for burdock root in most recipes.

The texture and color are identical, and these two ingredients are frequently used interchangeably.

Lotus Root

Although lotus root is an entirely different type of plant from burdock root, based on taste alone, it is the closest substitute to burdock root in recipes.

Lotus root is an edible rhizome that can be sliced and used similarly to burdock root.

The taste is less distinctive than burdock root and not quite as earthy, but it is a worthy substitute that can be used in the same way in most recipes.

Lotus has the same starchy overtones and retains a firm texture when cooked, reminiscent of burdock root.

When lotus root is sliced diagonally, it differs significantly in appearance from burdock. Burdock roots are solid inside, while lotus has a distinctive pattern. However, the color and texture are similar.

Like burdock root, lotus root is also high in antioxidants and is considered a superfood. It is also popularly consumed as a herbal tea.

Chicory Root

The most common application of ground chicory is as a coffee substitute, but in its raw form, this crunchy root vegetable does have some similarities to burdock root.

Both roots have a similar texture and color profile and can be used in the same dishes.

In terms of taste, chicory is a bit more bitter than burdock, but it does have a similar ground, rooty taste.

When using chicory root as a substitute, it is important to remember that it isn’t quite as sweet tasting and utilize it in dishes where the sweet component of burdock root isn’t essential.

Chicory root is the best substitute for burdock root for anyone who has diabetes. Both root vegetables contain similar high amounts of inulin, which are highly beneficial.


Like burdock root, parsnips are creamy color root vegetables.

While they lack the extreme earthiness of flavor provided by burdock root in terms of color and crunchy texture, the humble parsnip is a worthy substitute in many recipes.

Parsnips are readily available and can be used similarly to burdock root. The taste is slightly sweeter, and it does carry some nutty overtones.

Parsnips aren’t as fibrous as burdock roots, so cooking times can be shorter to soften the vegetable.


While it may not be the closest taste to burdock root, potatoes are among the most common substitutions for the popular Asian ingredient in recipes.

Although they can’t deliver the same intensity of fresh-from-the-ground taste as burdock root, they are useful when you simply need a starchy root vegetable as a replacement.

Potatoes are a versatile stand-in when you don’t have burdock root available with their delicate earthy taste profile and the required crunchiness.

Potatoes are only an option to replace burdock root in dishes like stews, frying, boiling, or soups.

Unlike burdock root, potatoes cannot be made into tea.

Potatoes can only be used as a replacement in dishes where they will be cooked or fried as part of a recipe, and other flavors will be used that can infuse into the mild potato taste.   


Some sources recommend using radishes if you need a crunchy root vegetable substitution for burdock root. Radishes are readily available, and the creamy white insides do look similar to burdock in dishes.

Although radishes will undoubtedly provide the necessary crispness and crunch similar to burdock root, we have found that the taste is too sharp and peppery if used too liberally.

Use radishes as a substitute for burdock root only in dishes where the extra zingy taste will work.


The color of carrots will give them away when used as a substitute, but the long orange vegetables can provide a similar crunchy texture to dishes where you need burdock root.

Carrots are easy to slice and dice into most recipes and have a mild, sweet flavor.

Yamagobo is a Japanese pickled burdock root product that resembles julienned carrots. The mixture is orange, so carrots are an ideal substitute when making that dish.

While carrots are not top of the list in terms of mimicking the unique flavor of burdock root when cooked, they are a root vegetable, adding a satisfying starchiness.

Substituting carrots for burdock root can work well in stir fries and, when required, fresh in shredded form.

Dandelion Plant

The best substitute for burdock root for making herbal tea infusions is dandelion plants.

They may look like lawn weeds, but they are perfectly edible and highly nutritious plants. Just make sure the place you are harvesting from has not been treated with pesticides.

To make tea with similar health effects as burdock root tea, seep the roots or flowers of dandelion plants in boiling water. You will need about one tablespoon of dandelion per 5 ounces of water.  

Dandelion tea teabags can also be purchased at most health food stores.