Butter-Braised Radishes

by Analiese Paik

Radishes cook in just over 10 minutes using the butter-braising method.

Do raw radishes turn you off? Their bite can be off putting, especially to children who haven’t yet developed a taste for spicy foods. What to do with those radishes in your CSA box then? The best way to balance their raw bite is to serve them with butter – i.e. the classic butter and sliced radish sandwich. But butter is also the secret ingredient for taming radishes with heat. The alchemy of cooking transforms their feistiness into pale pink lusciousness in just a few minutes.

If you’ve got radishes, butter, salt and a small lidded pot or saute pan, you can make this simple recipe. Technically the technique used is a reverse braise because the saute happens at the end rather than the beginning. Please don’t forget to eat the greens because they’re delicious and nutritious. (see our recipe for Radish Greens and Spring Garlic Soup)

Butter-Braised Radishes


  • 1 bunch organic radishes, washed trimmed and quartered (reserve greens for a saute or soup)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons organic butter
  • a few sprinkles of good coarse salt
  • beekeeper’s honey (optional)
  • a fresh chopped herb like chervil, thyme or parsley (or the radishes greens themselves!)


  1. Remove radishes from their stems, wash, trim off any blemishes and root fibers with a paring knife and quarter. Larger radishes maybe cut into 6 pieces to keep sizes even.
  2. Place in the bottom of a small skillet or saute pan with enough water to barely cover them. Add butter and a sprinkling of salt.
  3. Cover the pot, bring to a boil over high heat, then lower to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. The radishes will just begin to soften.
  4. Remove the lid, raise the heat to medium and cook uncovered for an additional 5 minutes. The water will take up the color of the red skin, dyeing the radishes pink.
  5. Watch the pan carefully, and give the radishes a good hard swirl or shake every 30 second or so during the last 2 minutes of cooking to avoid scorching them as the water evaporates and they take on a little color. They are done when the water has completely evaporated and they are tender but still slightly crunchy.
  6. Optional: When serving radishes to children, even cooked, a drizzle of honey to finish the dish is always welcome.
  7. Optional: Sprinkle with chervil, thyme or parsley or chopped radish greens.
  8. Serve hot or warm. These are easily refrigerated and reheated for another day.

This recipe easily doubles and other sharp tasting vegetables, like kohlrabi, can be substituted.

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