Pot Likker Soup Recipe

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.

Yield: 8
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American
Keyword pot likker soup, pot likker soup recipe, turnip green and ham soup, turnip green soup

Pot Likker Soup Recipe

Total Time 55 minutes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes

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

5 from 1 vote
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  • 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


  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.
Nutrition Facts
Pot Likker Soup Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 79 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 6%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 10mg 3%
Sodium 453mg 19%
Potassium 209mg 6%
Total Carbohydrates 4g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 1g
Protein 4g 8%
Vitamin A 85.5%
Vitamin C 12%
Calcium 4.4%
Iron 2.3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

All images and text © Robyn Stone for Add a Pinch

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.

40 comments on “Pot Likker Soup Recipe”

  1. This is my kind of soup for sure! Happy New Year to you!

  2. Mmmm! I grew up eating greens and love pot likker! This sounds perfect Robyn.

  3. 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!

    • 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!

  4. I definitely have lots of leftover ham…I think we’ll try this over the weekend!

    • 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!

  5. 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!!

  6. 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!

    • 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!

  7. I’m from the south, and this is g-o-o-o-d eatin’, y’all! 🙂 Thanks!!

  8. 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!!!!!!

  9. Technically it is pot liquor.

  10. 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!

  11. Pingback: Butternut Squash and Kale Soup with Fresh Herbs and White Beans | Recipe Girl

  12. 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!

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

  14. 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.

  15. 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?

    • Sure! That’s work just fine!

    • 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?

  16. Pingback: Slow Cooker Turnip Greens Recipe - Cooking | Add a Pinch | Robyn Stone

  17. Anybody ever try this in the crock pot?

  18. 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.

  19. I love this recipe and make it often, but also throw in a can of black eyed peas and sometimes spice it up with some chipotle salsa. Delish.

  20. We make a similar recipe with spinach only, it is really good.

  21. 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!!

    • 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!

  22. This look so tasty! Thank you for the recipe 🙂

  23. 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?

    • 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

  24. Made this soup today……AWSOME! Will be making this on many cold days.

  25. 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.


  27. 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

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