Braised Radishes

Braised radishes are a relatively unknown novelty, or shall we say art form, that rely on a French cooking technique, chicken stock, and butter to turn the everyday into the elegant.

A white bowl of braised radishes on a marble countertop.

Heck yeah you can braise radishes. In fact, we’d go so far as to say braised radishes are tantamount to an art form. When subjected to gentle heat, radishes’ vibrant fire engine red fades to the palest shade of pink and their peppery rawness gives way to an almost sweet nuttiness. Trust the French to make something even lovelier than in its natural state with a simple, spare touch—and the technique couldn’t be easier or less expensive. It’s an easy and elegant side dish that, as the author notes, makes a stylish accompaniment to roast chicken, fish, or  pork.–Renee Schettler

*What Are Breakfast Radishes?

This braised radishes recipe calls for breakfast radishes, which are a white-tipped variety of radish that tends to be milder than its rotund red counterpart. The elongated shape of the breakfast radish lends a subtle elegance to the table—and for that reason they are quite often preferred for entertaining.

Braised Radishes

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 5 M
  • 20 M
  • Serves 6
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Using a sharp paring knife, trim the tips and tops from the radishes. Rinse the radishes thoroughly in cold water, rubbing the radishes with your fingers to remove any dirt. (If using round red radishes in place of slender breakfast radishes, cut them in half or, if large, in quarters.) Place the radishes in a sauté pan that’s large enough to comfortably hold the radishes in a single layer.

Pour the chicken stock over the radishes and add the butter. Don’t worry if the liquid doesn’t completely cover the radishes. Sprinkle with a small pinch of salt and place over medium heat. Bring to a boil and then immediately reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Continue to cook, tossing the radishes occasionally so they cook evenly and to coat them with the cooking liquid, until they’re almost tender, anywhere from 8 to 13 minutes, depending on the size of the radishes and the flame under the pan.

When the radishes are almost tender, turn up the heat slightly to reduce the liquid until there is just enough to coat the radishes in a pale, glossy glaze. Gently turn the radishes and their cooking liquid into a small dish. (If your radishes are perfectly tender and you have quite a lot of cooking liquid, use a slotted spoon to place the radishes in a small serving dish and then continue to simmer the cooking liquid until it’s the desired sauce-like consistency and then pour it over the radishes.)

Add another sprinkle of salt and a generous grind of pepper. Serve warm. Originally published March 13, 2016.

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    Even Simpler Braised Radishes Variation

    • If you’re out of chicken stock and butter and are too time-pressed to run to the store or if you simply prefer a slightly less rich or vegan or dairy-free rendition of this braised radishes recipe, you can use cold water as a stand-in for the chicken stock and mild olive oil for the butter and still end up with a spectacularly pleasing side dish.

    Recipe Testers' Reviews

    Oh, how French I felt making this braised radishes recipe! The French cook radishes so well—in fact, most people don't even think about cooking radishes. I agree that raw radishes are utterly delightful with their peppery bite and crisp texture, but when cooked, they are melt-in-your-mouth delicious. This was a cool take on the traditional small plate of raw radishes dipped in butter and served with salt—except cooked!

    I tried finding breakfast radishes but had to settle for regular red radishes. The radishes were close to tender after about 8 minutes, and I cooked the radishes at a higher heat for about 2 minutes more before serving them family-style in a nice bowl. Such a quick and impressive side dish! I used 2 bunches with 10 to 12 small radishes per bunch. I also used homemade chicken stock and finished off the cooked radishes with a lovely black Hawaiian lava salt that I recently got as a gift. The contrast of the black salt on the pale pink radishes was very pretty.

    A different approach to radishes. Braise the radishes for a few minutes so they turn a soft pink, and the texture changes to really silken. I used breakfast radishes, just 1 bunch with 8 radishes, and homemade roast chicken stock. The timing was about right. I braised them for 10 minutes and then boiled the liquid down for another 2 minutes. I really liked this dish—the silkiness of the radishes, the pale color, and the very concentrated chicken stock as a coating. My wife said she prefers radishes raw and crisp.

    These are a nice accompaniment to roasted chicken. Just be sure to sprinkle them with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Or two. Will make them again.


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