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.

Pot Likker Soup Recipe

4.91 from 11 votes
Pot Likker Soup makes a delicious, hearty soup using the broth of collard, mustard, or turnip greens and additional vegetables.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 8


  • 5 slices baked ham, chopped (about 1-1/2 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 2 cups collard greens, 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.


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

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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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About Robyn

Robyn Stone is a cookbook author, wife, mom, and passionate home cook. Her tested and trusted recipes give readers the confidence to cook recipes the whole family will love. Robyn has been featured on Food Network, People, Southern Living, and more.

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Recipe Review


  1. 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. 4 stars
      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!

  2. 5 stars
    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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

  5. 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.

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

  7. 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!