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 10 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. 5 stars
    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!!

    1. I’m so happy to hear that you like it Jojo! Thank you so much! Sounds awesome with that cornbread – now I’m hungry! 😉

  2. 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. 

  3. 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,


  4. 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

    1. Hi Terri,
      I would use kale or swiss chard if unable to find collard, mustard or turnip greens. I hope you enjoy it!

  5. 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

  6. 5 stars
    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


  8. 5 stars
    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.

  9. 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