Turnip Greens don’t have to be cooked to death to be delicious. These spicy skillet turnip greens are perfect for a quick weeknight meal.

Spicy Skillet Turnip Greens

One of Bart’s favorite things to eat is turnip greens. Add roast beef, skillet cornbread, and maybe even some mashed potatoes and his rating of supper would most certainly be a 10.

The other night, I decided I would make his favorite meal to welcome him home for a long week of meetings, meetings and more meetings. I remember what those are like from my corporate days and immediately knew he needed some comfort food.

I remembered to start the roast cooking earlier during the day, but totally forgot the turnip greens while Sam and I were outside working spreading pine straw around the flower beds in the back yard.

Not realizing what time it was, it finally hit me as I heard the diesel engine of my husband’s truck lumbering down our long driveway.

Determined not to let my plans for a welcoming, comforting meal fall by the wayside, my mind quickly kicked into gear and I decided I’d make these spicy skillet turnip greens for him instead. It was my only shot at pulling the meal together with a little pizzazz.

I knew they had to be done fairly quickly.

I heated up my skillet, drizzled a bit of olive oil in the bottom and got busy peeling my onion. In the onion went and I started cutting up my turnip greens. I knew I needed a lot, because as they cook, turnip greens will cook down a lot. Not quite as bad as spinach, but they will cook down a good bit.

I added half of my pound of turnip greens to the skillet as the onions became tender and cooked them down before I added the remainder of my greens. Then, I added a little bit of water and a pinch or two of red pepper flakes for the heat.

In the same amount of time it took my cornbread to bake in the oven, my turnip greens were ready and my husband loved them.

I think you need to give them a try the next time you need a comforting meal. A plate full of turnip greens, cornbread, and roast beef definitely feels like home to me.

Spicy Skillet Turnip Greens Recipe

4.94 from 16 votes
A quick recipe for spicy skillet turnip greens for a comforting, home-cooked meal.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 pound turnip greens, cleaned and chopped
  • 1/4 cup water
  • pinch brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, adjust to preference


  • Drizzle olive oil into skillet over medium heat.
  • Add onion and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes. Then add 1/2 of turnip greens. Allow to cook down and add the remainder of the greens.
  • Add water, brown sugar and red pepper flakes. Adjust the amount of red pepper to your personal taste.


Calories: 52kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 0.4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 32mg | Potassium: 251mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 8772IU | Vitamin C: 47mg | Calcium: 148mg | Iron: 1mg

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

Robyn xo

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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. These greens are delicious, I added a little bacon grease along with the olive oil, and a little (1 tsp) of maple syrup instead of the brown sugar. It was delicious, it’s nice to try a turnip greens recipe that is quick and easy. I’ll never eat low and slow (and cooked to death) greens again. Thanks for a great recipe!

    1. Thanks, Theresa. I love this as a different option for turnip greens. My family loves these.

  2. I prepare all of my cooked greens in the skillet like this, but I slice the thick stems and saute them with the onion before adding the chopped leaves, along with the actual turnip if that’s what I’m using. I like using Italian herbs, preferably fresh from the garden, although dried do the job, to season them. I frequently add some turkey sausage or chopped bacon with the onion combo. I’ll be trying your red pepper addition today! That sounds yummy. Thanks for the idea!

    1. I cut the stems off at the base of the greens and if the stem on the inside is very thick, I cut it out, too.

  3. 5 stars
    This was excellent! I planted some turnips from seed this spring and they are overtaking the garden…was looking for a simple recipe to trim down the garden (they are overtaking the beets!). The only change I made was adding some chopped bacon instead of the olive oil. My goodness does this wilt fast (I had to run out to the garden to snip some fresh leaves). Using a cast iron skillet was the way to go. I’ve never eaten turnip greens before, but will plant them again just to make this recipe. There was not one drop left! THANKS so much for such a wonderful recipe.

    1. Karen, the turnip greens sound so good with the bacon. Turnip greens are so much better when they are fresh picked out of the garden. Lucky you!

  4. 4 stars
    This was a quick and easy recipe, that can be customized to your liking. I used veggie broth instead of water and added some smoked paprika and garlic powder. We will definitely be making this again.

  5. 5 stars
    Hi! Tonight my husband came home from the farmers’ market with a bunch of red radishes and their greens and a bunch of baby white (Hakurei) turnips with greens and some pattypan squashes. I will often sauté the pattypans with some onions, thinly sliced beets, and radishes, but these radishes were just too small. Even though I frequently cook greens, I did a search for “How to cook turnip greens” and your recipe popped up. It looked great!

    I did something that I never do: I switched it up before trying it in its original form. Sorry. But, your recipe provided the basis for another great recipe! I added in the radish greens, chopped, and a small bunch of Swiss chard, including the stem, to help sweeten things up a bit. I added more than a pinch of brown sugar and salt and pepper. It turned out soooo good!

    Then, I roasted the baby turnips and radishes with quartered onions. These had all been drizzled with EVOO and seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper while roasting in a 425-degree oven for about 10 minutes and then, reducing the oven to 350 degrees and baking for another 20-30 minutes. Stirring every 10 minutes.

    My dear husband grilled some 1-inch bone-in pork chops. Our meal was a match made in heaven! Thank you for sharing your recipe!

    1. This sounds delicious, Bonnie! So glad you found my site. Hope you find many more recipes you like! xo

  6. I love finding ways to utilize the entire vegetable and this recipe was delicious! I’m doing a whole 30 so I omitted the brown sugar (which didn’t seem to change the taste) Will definitely add this to my turnip routine.