Pot Likker Soup makes a delicious and filling meal. Made of pot likker (or pot liquor), the cooking liquid from collards or turnip greens, along with other vegetables and ham. This soup is Southern comfort all the way! 


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.

Pot Likker Soup Recipe

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 soup, 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.

Southern Pot Likker Soup //addapinch.com

Pot Likker Soup Recipe

Pot Likker Soup makes a delicious, hearty soup using the broth of collard, mustard, or turnip greens and additional vegetables.
4.88 from 8 votes

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Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time55 mins
Servings: 8
Course Main Course, Soup
Calories: 79kcal
Cuisine American
Author: Robyn Stone


  • 5 slices about 1.5 pounds 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


  • 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.
  • Add greens and water. Boil over medium heat for about 45 minutes until greens are extremely tender.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 79kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 453mg | Potassium: 209mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 4275IU | Vitamin C: 9.9mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 0.4mg
Have you made this recipe?Tag @addapinch on Instagram or hashtag it #addapinch

Robyn xo

Southern Pot Likker Soup Recipe - A quick, easy, and comforting soup recipe made of ham, carrots, and greens. // addapinch.com

From the Add a Pinch recipe archives. Originally published 2012.

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Robyn Stone

..where I share sweet, savory and southern recipes, as well as home and garden tips and tidbits of travel.

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49 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. 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!

    1. 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!

    1. 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. 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. 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!

    1. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

  8. 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?

    1. 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?

  9. 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.

  10. I loved this soup! I’m not southern, so I made mine with a bundle of rainbow Swiss Chard. I like the stems so I cit half inch slices and sautéd them after the onion and garlic, then chiffon ad the leaves. I loved the wonderful smokey flavor from the ham, mine was HoneyBaked. I also loved the light feel since there are lots of greens, no pasta or potatoes. This was full flavor without feeling like you blew your calorie count for the day….yummy!!

    1. This sounds like a wonderful recipe. I grew up in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador and my father was the soup “master”. His soup base always started with ‘salted beef”. Salt beef is similar to corned beef; however, (I believe) only a salted brine is used to preserve the meat because the taste is very different. The beef was soaked overnight, with a couple of changes of water, to remove the brine. As children, we always got a taste of the “soup likker” because it was supposedly chock full of vitamins!

  11. I have a question re pot likker greens.. I made a huge pot and have plenty left over.  Its wonderful!
    What happens to the vitamin content if it is re warmed , frozen and reheated, and how long does it last in the fridge?

    1. Hi Amy,
      This soup stores well in the refrigerator for about 5 days (if it lasts that long!). I’m not certain on the vitamin content on frozen and reheated for this soup. xo

  12. I just made some Pot Likker soup from left over collards. I had lots of pot likker left since we didn’t have any cornbread at the meals where the collards were served. I had to make do with a couple of substitutions but my husband loved it. I did not have a single onion in the house so I used onion powder and a spice blend I found in the pantry. I’m going to serve it with cheesy Red Lobster inspired biscuits. We grew the collards and I found this to be a great way to use the leftovers. I’m sure it would be just as good with turnip greens, kale or rutabegga greens. I’ll pass this recipe along to all of my Farmers Market friends.

  13. First of, I make this all the time. Fantastic recipe Rodyn! Any one who has made this try freezing leftovers? I’m thinking of making a huge batch for my ill sister who can’t cook right now if it freezes well. Thought I could freeze it in individual portion sizes. Thanks

  14. I grew up in KY and love turnip greens. I now live in CA and cannot find them. I used to buy Allen’s canned turnip greens but now they all have that strange seasoning and taste weird. Frozen were pretty good but can’t find them now.

    I just can’t figure it out. Nothing better than turnip greens cooked with ham or bacon (smoked) and hot cornbread. Any Ideas on how to get them again.

    1. Hi Jann,
      I am not sure about where to find them in California. Wondering if you might find some frozen ones? I know what you mean about eating these paired with some hot cornbread!
      I hope you are able to find them! Thanks! xo

  15. Hi Robin! I would love to make this soup, but, living in Canada I have not seen collard greens or turnip greens at my grocery store. I have noticed some people have used spinach, kale or swiss chard. Which would you suggest to use. Thank you Robin

  16. This recipe is exactly what I wanted!  I’m making a baked ham for New Year’s Day, and with the leftover black eyed peas and cornbread, this will be perfect. Thank you so much Robyn and thank you from all of us in my family for terrific recipes throughout the year!  Happy New Year to you and yours. 

    Love from Seattle,


  17. I’m from Nebraska and have never cooked greens. What is the best way to cook the collard greens for use in this recipe?  It sounds wonderful. 

  18. OMG!!! Just made this pot of yumminess. Waiting on my husband to arrive to make Mexican cornbread for dinner. If you haven’t given this recipe a try, be sure to add to your weekly meal planning. You will not be disappointed. Another terrific recipe by Robyn. Thank you!!

  19. Second time making this tonight and it just gets better every time…I think pot “likker” is probably just about as beneficial as bone broth is…all the nutrients, etc. I usually cook for one, but none of this ever goes to waste, and I proudly share some of the leftovers 🙂 Thanks.

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