Pot Likker Soup Recipe

Okay, the name of this recipe may have thrown you off just a touch, but please stay with me. This Pot Likker Soup Recipe is really, really one you should give a try. It makes a great soup recipe to throw together on the stove with any leftovers from your New Year’s Day meal of baked ham, turnip, mustard or collard greens, and just a few more additions to the soup pot.

And just to tell you, we love Pot Likker Soup so much that we don’t even wait for New Year’s  to enjoy it.

If you’ve never heard the term pot likker before, it is the liquid left over after you’ve cooked collard, turnip or mustard greens. Sometimes it is spelled as pot liquor, potlikker, or – the way I spell it – pot likker. Pot Likker is packed with iron and vitamins C and K and is one of the most revered liquids in Southern cooking around my house.

I probably get my affiinity for a big pot of greens with pot likker from my Grandmother who would have had a fit at the thought of pouring out the liquid from cooking her greens.

Since she cooked greens regularly, the left over liquid would become a meal in and of itself. Sometimes, it was as simple as warming a piping hot bowl of pot likker on the stove and making a fresh skillet of corn bread to go along with it for a simple and warm lunch during the cool winter months.


Now, I add a few more ingredients turning that simple broth from the greens into a hearty soup.

My Pot Likker Soup recipe included below gives you instructions for cooking the collard, mustard, or turnip greens along with leftover ham. If you don’t have a leftover ham, you can always substitute slices of salt pork or thick-sliced bacon. Also, if you happen to have leftover collard, mustard, or turnip greens, you’ll reduce the cooking time to about 15 minutes total. You’ll want to add more water to any pot likker that you have from your leftover greens to make it equal about 6 cups total. You can play with the broths to find the flavor profile you prefer, you may prefer to use 1/2 chicken broth and 1/2 vegetable broth, either will work well.

Here’s my Pot Likker Soup recipe.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Pot Likker Soup Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Pot Likker Soup makes a delicious, hearty soup using the broth of collard, mustard, or turnip greens and additional vegetables.
Serves: 6
  • 5 slices of baked ham - chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups fresh collard, mustard, or turnip greens, washed with hard stems removed
  • 8 cups water
  • pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  1. Add chopped ham to a Dutch oven over medium heat. Heat for about 2-3 minutes and then add olive oil, onion and carrots. Saute until becomes tender, about 2 more minutes. Then add in garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Pour in chicken broth and cook until has reduced by about ½.
  2. Add greens and water. Boil over medium heat for about 45 minutes until greens are extremely tender.

Robyn xoxo


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  1. 5

    Jocelyn says

    This looks delicious! Can you clarify please how much carrot you use? I see carrots in the picture and in the instructions, but not in the ingredient list (maybe I’m just missing it). Thanks so much!

    • 6


      Yes! Thanks so much for catching that, Jocelyn! I used 3 medium carrots that I chopped. I’ve updated the recipe to include them now. Hope you enjoy it!

    • 8


      Isn’t leftover ham the best? You can use it so many different ways. But I have to tell you, this soup is one of my husband’s favorites. I hope y’all enjoy it!

  2. 9

    Terry Hutchinson says

    You go girl! Throw some black-eyed peas in there and we’d have all 3 of our “Southern good luck” traditions covered in one pot!! HAPPY NEW YEAR ROBYN!!

  3. 11


    This looks so good! I love the name ; ) hahah we call people who are….well how do I say this kiss-ups I guess is the nicest way to say it. We call them potlickers! So when I saw this come up in my reader, it gave me a chuckle. Happy New Year Robin, all the best to your family in 2013!

    • 12


      Oh my goodness, isn’t that hilarious?! I’ve never heard that expression for a “kiss-up”. I hope your family has a great New Year and a blessed 2013!

  4. 14

    Mary says

    Beautiful soup! We love all kinds of greens with the pot likker…..this is right up our alley!!! Our weather is perfect for a big bowl of this soup with a hunk of cornbread. Thanks for sharing! Happy New Year!!!!!!

  5. 16

    Jocelyn says

    I served this for lunch on New Year’s Day, and it is delicious! I used baby kale for my greens, so decreased the water to 6 cups and the cooking time to about 30 minutes. Thanks, Robyn!

  6. 17

    Gloria says

    This soup looks good…and certainly good for me! But, I did not grow up eating greens. So which of the greens that you have listed would you recommend for a newbie when making this soup for the first time? Thanks!

  7. 19

    Sola says

    Thanks so much…..I am a street vendor on the weekends, and this looks like the perfect hearty soup to come home to!

  8. 20

    Jean Winders says

    We just made a pot of Pot Likker this morning and I am here to tell ya, that is some seriously good stuff. We could not find collard greens so we threw in Kale and I added a can of pinto beans. Delicious. The broth was just incredible!! I ate two bowls of it for breakfast.

  9. 21

    Jenifer says

    What if I don’t have any “leftover ham”? Could I buy one of those ham steaks from the grocery store or maybe even a ham hock?

    • 23

      Jenifer says

      Thank you for responding! Two cups of raw greens doesn’t sound very much? I was planning on buying a bag of collards and using that, but sounds like it may be too much since it’s more than two cups.

      Do you think that would be too many greens?

  10. 25

    Janie says

    I like a 50-50 mix of kale & Swiss chard. I saute a diced onion & a cup or so of celery, incl leaves, in grape seed oil, add garlic (quite a bit) 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, two bay leaves, two tsp balsamic vinegar, one scant tsp sugar, 1/2 c chicken stock, 1/2 c water, one cup diced ham, & the greens and cook it slow in the oven and eat it over rice, for two days. I end up using almost all the liquid on the rice, and if there’s any left, I add it to my next day’s pot of soup. I retired to north Florida, 16 miles from Georgia and had never had collard greens before, (eaten Swiss chard since childhood) until a neighbor brought over some. Delicious.


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