Fresh organic horseradish or Horse-radish root on wooden cutting board. top view

Horseradish Vs Radish — What’s The Difference?

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Horseradish and radish are both parts of the Brassicaceae family, which also includes wasabi, broccoli, mustard, and cabbage.

While they come from the same family and share similar names, there are numerous differences between the two.

What are the differences between horseradish and radish? Horseradish and radish are two different root vegetables that have different flavors and appearances. Horseradish is spicier than radish, and has a stronger flavor, while radish is only slightly spicy with a milder flavor.

The two should not be confused with each other, as they have different appearances and fairly different flavors, so read on to find out more about their similarities and differences!

What Is Horseradish?

Horseradish is a root vegetable that, as its name suggests, is related to a radish. It has a very spicy flavor, which is what it is popularly consumed for.

This strong flavor makes it a popular choice for those who want a kick in their food.

Horseradish can be mixed with mayo and served as a condiment, or it can be added to a salad or a meal for a spicy flavor.

It can either be pink or white in color, depending on the type and where it is grown. The leaves of the horseradish plant are edible too, but it is most commonly cultivated for the spicy root.

The root of a horseradish plant is elongated and can reach the size of your forearm. The outside is light brown, with the interior being a creamy white color.

The appearance is similar to that of a parsnip, but without the tapering at the end.

What Is A Radish?

radish varieties

A radish is a root vegetable that is mild in flavor but with a fresh, spicy kick to it.

The color of radishes can vary from white to dark purple as there are quite a few different varieties to choose from.

The most common way in which radishes are consumed is sliced up raw and added to a salad — this adds a bitter, spicy flavor to a salad as well as a nice crunch.

While popularly served raw, radishes can be cooked — they can be pickled and served as a condiment too.

Radishes are usually bulbar in shape, but daikon or large white mooli radishes can be elongated and have more of a carrot shape.

Horseradish Vs Radish — Similarities And Differences

Now that we’ve learned a bit about these two root vegetables, let’s further compare them!


The taste differences between horseradish and radish are probably the biggest difference to take notice of, as you would be using them to add some flavor to your meals.

Horseradish is definitely spicier than radish.

It has some heat to it, but the heat is different from the heat you experience from chile peppers. It is a heat that affects your sinuses and eyes, similar to wasabi, as they come from the same family.

Other than the heat of horseradish, it has a fresh and crisp flavor that works great in salads and slaws when you want some kick of flavor.

The most popular way that horseradish is served is pickled. Pickled horseradish is made by grating the root and soaking it in vinegar and salt. This gives the horseradish an acidic tang, which works well with the spicy kick.

Radishes, on the other hand, have a mildly peppery flavor, but still with some spiciness. They are crisp and zesty, with a wonderful freshness to them.

The variety of the radish does determine how spicy it is, with some being very mild and others with more spice.

When cooked, radishes become sweeter and lose some of their spice. So, comparing the two, horseradish definitely comes out as the spicier of the two, with radishes being milder and zestier.


Horseradish and radish share a similar texture, but the age of either and the variety) do determine the texture at times.

Young horseradish, with small leaves, has a delicate texture. They are not as crisp and are softer to eat. Older horseradish plants, with bigger, full-sized leaves, are crunchier and more crispy, with a more zesty flavor.

Radishes are more consistent with their texture. They are crispy, crunchy, and juicy all at the same time. Their fresh texture makes them popular to enjoy raw, but it also means they can be pickled and hold on to many different flavors well.

Spice Level

As mentioned above, horseradish is much spicier than radishes. Radishes do have a mild peppery spice to them, but it is not so much that it becomes difficult to eat.

Horseradish is very spicy, with older horseradish plants being the spiciest. Horseradish is so spicy that it is often made into a paste, dyed green, and sold as a cheaper version of wasabi.


Horseradish can be used in so many different ways. It can be used fresh and raw, or it can be turned into horseradish sauce.

Horseradish on its own can be sliced and placed into a sandwich, a salad, used for deviled eggs, or even for a Bloody Mary. Horseradish sauce can be used as a condiment for many different meals.

The sauce is popularly served with roast beef, but it is also used for other roast meats, and for burgers and hotdogs too. You can even blend the sauce with some mustard or salad dressing for an extra kick on sandwiches or salads.

Radishes are popularly served raw. They are easily sliced up and added to salads for a crispy, peppery flavor. Sliced radish is also great added to sandwiches and burgers too. The leaves of a radish plant can also be used in salads.

Radishes can also be pickled in vinegar and salt and used as a condiment alongside different meats and meals. Cooking radishes is also an option — they become milder and sweeter when cooked.


To get the most out of your root vegetables, you should store them properly.

For horseradish, you should store it in an unwashed plastic bag, and place it into the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator. Try not to cut it before storing it, as it will begin to dry up.

Once stored, whole horseradish will be fine to eat within two weeks. Once the horseradish is grated or cut, it is best to store it in vinegar to preserve it.

Radish can be kept in a perforated bag in the refrigerator, for up to one week. The leaves should be trimmed before storage, as they can wilt easily.

Do not throw the radish leaves away though — wrap them in a moist paper towel and place them in a plastic bag for up to three days, then use them in a salad!


Horseradish can be cooked, and when cooked, it has a milder flavor. For this reason, many recipes that call for horseradish advise that it is added near the end of the cooking process so that it does not lose too much of its spicy flavor.

However, if you want the flavor of horseradish but not so much heat, cooking it for longer can help with this.

Radishes can be cooked too, and are delicious when cooked. Cooking helps to soften the peppery flavor of radishes and make them milder to eat.

They become softer when cooked too, and can hold the flavors of different ingredients they are cooked with, such as garlic and spices.


If you find yourself needing horseradish, but you don’t have any, the best substitutes to use would be mustard and mustard seeds.

For horseradish sauce, Dijon mustard or spicy brown mustard works great to replace the spicy flavor.

Radishes can be replaced by horseradish, but you do need to keep in mind that horseradish is a lot spicier. If you do not want the heat from horseradish, then you could use white turnips instead.

For a salad or sandwich topping, you could also use sliced cucumber in place of radishes.

Final Thoughts

Horseradish and radish come from the same family and share a few characteristics, such as being root vegetables and having a crisp texture, but they do have many differences.

Possibly the biggest difference between the two is that horseradish is much spicier than radish and sometimes holds too much heat for people to enjoy.

Radishes, on the other hand, also have a peppery spice, but they are milder with a fresher, zestier flavor.

Radishes and horseradish can both be served raw or cooked, depending on what you are preparing!

Related Questions

Now that we’ve learned all about the similarities and differences between horseradish and radish, here are some additional questions that we thought you might have.

Can I use radish instead of horseradish?

You can use radish in place of horseradish, especially if you are looking for something with a milder flavor.

For milder flavors, choose a daikon radish or a red radish.

When does horseradish taste strongest?

If you want to experience the full flavor of horseradish in all of its spicinesses, then you should eat when freshly grated — this is when it has the strongest bite to it.

Due to the heat that horseradish has, it is usually pickled or added to other ingredients to be used as a condiment.

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