Mouthwatering Southern Turnip Greens Recipe

Welcome to my kitchen, y’all! As a chef specializing in southern-style cuisine, I am thrilled to share my recipe for Southern Turnip Greens with you. This dish is a soulful representation of southern food that warms your belly and delights your taste buds.

Growing up in the south, I have been surrounded by delicious food that is bursting with flavor and tradition. As a result, I have developed a deep appreciation for the simple things in life, and to me, nothing is quite as simple or satisfying as a bowl of perfectly seasoned turnip greens.

In this recipe, I will share all of my best tips and tricks for creating the most delicious Southern Turnip Greens you have ever tasted. Whether you’re cooking for your family or hosting a special dinner party, this dish is sure to impress. So grab your apron and join me in the kitchen – let’s get cookin’!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Southern Turnip Greens
Southern Turnip Greens

Y’all, let me tell you why this Southern Turnip Greens recipe is going to be a game-changer for your dinner table. First of all, it’s got all the soul food flavors you know and love: smoky turkey, savory bacon, and a little bit of tang from the vinegar. But what really sets this recipe apart is the turnip greens themselves.

I know some folks might be hesitant to try turnip greens because of their reputation for being bitter or tough, but this recipe will change your mind. By braising them low and slow with a little bit of creole seasoning and smoked paprika, we’re able to bring out all the best flavors of turnip greens without any of that bitterness. Trust me – even if you don’t think you like turnip greens normally, you’ll be reaching for seconds with this dish on your plate.

Plus, this recipe is incredibly versatile. You can make it in a large pot on the stove, or throw it in a slow cooker to let it cook while you go about your day. And if you want to mix things up, you can swap out the turnip greens for collards or mustard greens, or use a combination of greens for an extra flavor boost.

Finally, this recipe is perfect for feeding a crowd or meal prepping for the week ahead. It’s hearty enough to stand on its own as a main course, but also pairs well with other southern favorites like fried chicken or macaroni and cheese. And if you’re feeling extra indulgent, sprinkle some cheddar cheese over the top and bake it with some eggs and mayonnaise for a truly decadent Southern-style casserole.

So whether you’re a die-hard fan of turnip greens or still on the fence about them, give this Southern Turnip Greens recipe a try. You won’t regret it!

Ingredient List

 A bowl full of flavorful greens!
A bowl full of flavorful greens!

Southern Turnip Greens Recipe is a delicious soul food dish that requires a few basic ingredients that you may already have in your pantry.
Here are the greens ingredients you’ll need for this southern-style turnip greens recipe:

Turnip Greens (3 lbs)

If possible, use young tender turnip greens which are less bitter and will not require excessive cooking. Avoid greens with yellow or brown spots as they may be old and tough. If you can’t find turnip greens, you can substitute with collard greens, mustard greens, or mixed greens.

Smoked Turkey (1 lb)

Smoked turkey adds a savory smoky flavor to the dish and replaces ham hocks or pork neck bones for a healthier option without sacrificing taste. You can substitute smoked turkey with bacon, ham hocks or pork neck bones if desired.

Onion (1 diced)

An onion adds depth of flavor to the broth while also infusing its sweetness to the dish.

Water (6 cups)

Water will be used to cook the greens until they open and then they will continue cooking with their juices.

Vinegar (1 tablespoon)

Vinegar balances the bitterness of turnips with its slightly acidic flavor. You can omit it if you like your greens on the bitter side.

Sugar (2 teaspoons )

Sugar is optional, but it helps balance the acidity of vinegar and enhances the natural sweetness in the greens.

Creole Seasoning (1/2 teaspoon)

Creole seasoning is a blend of Cajun spices typically used in Louisiana cuisine. Add 1/2 teaspoon for a bit of extra spicy Cajun flair.

Smoked paprika (1/2 teaspoon)

Smoked paprika provides an earthy, smoky flavor that complements the turnip greens perfectly.

Mayonnaise(1/2 cup)

Mayonnaise might seem an unusual ingredient for some recipes, but in southern style turnip greens, this ingredient brings flavors and a silky texture to the dish. You can use heavy cream or evaporated milk instead of mayonnaise.

Cook note: If cooking your turnip greens on the stove, be sure to cook them in a large pot. Add 1-2 cups of water and cover to simmer. When the greens have opened and wilted down (about 15 minutes), let cook uncovered for an additional 30-45 minutes. Bacon grease is the best southern fat for cooking turnip greens on the stove.

In case you want to try a more hands-off approach, you can always use a slow cooker or pressure cooker method as well.

The Recipe How-To

 Farm fresh turnip greens, the star of the dish.
Farm fresh turnip greens, the star of the dish.

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of the Southern Turnip Greens Recipe. Here, step-by-step instructions will guide you in cooking a delicious pot of greens that will transport you straight to the South!

– 1 1/2 lbs. fresh turnip greens
– 1 smoked turkey leg or pork neck bones
– 2 tablespoons bacon grease
– 1 large onion, diced
– 2 teaspoons creole seasoning
– 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
– 4 cups water
– 1 tablespoon vinegar
– 1 tablespoon sugar


  1. Rinse the greens thoroughly under cold running water to remove any dirt.
  2. Remove and discard the tough stems and chop the leaves into bite-sized pieces.
  3. In a large pot, heat bacon grease over medium heat until it melts completely.
  4. Add diced onions and cook until they turn translucent.
  5. Add smoked turkey leg or pork neck bones to the pot.
  6. Pour in water up to approximately ¾ of its depth and let it come to a boil.
  7. Add turnip greens and keep stirring them so they are mixed well with the onion.
  8. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and let it simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally.
  9. After an hour, add vinegar, sugar, creole seasoning, and smoked paprika.
  10. Keep cooking uncovered for another 15 minutes or until almost all the liquid has been absorbed by the greens.
  11. Serve hot.

Cook Note: Instead of boiling a smoked turkey leg or pork neck bones on your stove top, use your slow cooker to save on time but don’t lose any flavor! Add smoked turkey leg or pork neck bones in your slow cooker along with 2 cups of water and cook on high for at least 3 hours or set it on low for 6 hours before adding the greens.

There you have it! A delicious Southern Turnip Greens Recipe that will make any gathering a hit. Don’t forget to top it off with some crumbled bacon, chopped eggs or grated cheddar cheese for that extra pop of flavor!

Substitutions and Variations

 Taste the true southern essence with our turnip greens.
Taste the true southern essence with our turnip greens.

In Southern cuisine, we love to experiment with bold flavors and play around with ingredients. That’s why there are countless ways to make turnip greens and endless possibilities for substitutions and variations.

If you’re looking to switch things up a bit, consider adding collard greens, mustard greens, or mixed greens to the recipe for some extra kick. You can also try swapping out the smoked turkey for pork neck bones or ham hocks for an even richer and deeper flavor.

For those who prefer a vegetarian or vegan option, you can easily omit the meat and use vegetable broth instead of water or add some smoked paprika for that smoky flavor. Coconut oil or olive oil work as great alternatives to bacon grease.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try adding some shredded cheddar cheese on top of the greens while they are still hot, it adds a creamy and cheesy touch to this classic dish. Another great substitution is using Dijon mustard instead of traditional yellow mustard in your dressing. This will add notes of warmth, tangy sweetness that complements your turnip recipe in a delightful way.

Whatever variation you decide on, these tips will take your Southern turnip greens recipe up a notch!

Serving and Pairing

 Make every meal delightful with our savory greens.
Make every meal delightful with our savory greens.

When it comes to serving and pairing your delicious Southern Turnip Greens, there are a few options to choose from. These greens are the perfect side dish for a wide range of mains and can be easily paired with different proteins for an even more filling meal.

One obvious pairing is with classic Southern-style dishes. Serve these greens alongside some fried chicken or crispy pork chops and you’ll have yourself a mouth-watering Southern feast that will satisfy all of your comfort food cravings. The bitterness of the turnip greens pairs well with the rich flavor of the meats and provides a nice contrast in texture.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, try pairing your turnip greens with some spicy sausage links or smoked ribs. The flavors will complement each other beautifully, and the hint of spice will add some extra kick to your meal.

For a healthier option, pair your turnip greens with grilled or roasted chicken or fish. The subtle sweetness of the recipe’s vinegar and sugar dressing pairs well with these lighter proteins and makes for a refreshing and healthy meal option.

Lastly, don’t forget about incorporating some cheesy flavor into your meal! Serving these turnip greens topped with shredded cheddar cheese will provide an irresistible creaminess, making this side dish even more indulgent.

No matter what route you choose to take, these Southern Turnip Greens will be sure to elevate any meal into something truly unforgettable.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Satisfy your cravings with a southern classic dish.
Satisfy your cravings with a southern classic dish.

Now, let’s talk about making ahead, storing, and reheating these delicious Southern Turnip Greens. This recipe can be made ahead of time, making it a great option for meal prepping on busy weeknights or for gatherings.

To make ahead, simply follow the recipe as directed and then store the turnip greens in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. Before reheating, you may want to add a splash of water or broth to help loosen up the sauce and rehydrate the greens.

When reheating, there are a couple of options. One option is to reheat on the stovetop in a large pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally until heated through. Another option is to reheat in the microwave by placing the greens in a microwave-safe dish and heating for 1-2 minutes at a time until hot.

If you have leftovers after reheating, you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. These Southern Turnip Greens also freeze well. You can freeze them for up to three months in an airtight freezer-safe container or zip-top bag. Simply thaw them overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

When it comes to storing these greens properly, it’s crucial to handle them with care. The last thing we want is for all our hard work in making these delicious Southern Turnip Greens go to waste because of improper storage.

Overall, this Southern Turnip Greens recipe is versatile enough that you can easily make it ahead and store it without sacrificing any of its delicious taste or texture. So go ahead and enjoy stress-free leftovers or meal prep with this classic soul food turned southern style recipe!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Dense and green, our turnip greens are a match for your appetite.
Dense and green, our turnip greens are a match for your appetite.

Cooking southern-style turnip greens is an art, and mastering it takes some practice. Here are some tips to help you achieve the best flavor and texture for your turnip greens recipe:

1. Remove the Stems – The leaves of turnip greens are tender and flavorful, while the stems can be tough and chewy. Remove the stems before cooking to ensure that you end up with a delicious and tender dish.

2. Reduce the Bitterness – Turnip greens can have a slightly bitter taste, which some people find overpowering. To reduce this bitterness, add a tablespoon of vinegar or sugar to the cooking water or use smoked turkey instead of bacon.

3. Add Some Heat – Turnip greens pair well with smoky and spicy flavors. Add 1-2 teaspoons of Creole seasoning or smoked paprika to give your dish a kick of heat.

4. Mix It Up – While Southern turnip greens are delicious on their own, try mixing them with collard greens, mustard greens or mixed greens for added depth of flavor.

5. Slow-Cooking Method – Cooking turnip greens low-and-slow is the best method for tender greens that are full of flavor. Use a slow-cooker or simmer over low heat on the stove for at least 15 minutes.

6. Experiment with Ingredients – Add cheddar cheese, diced ham, boiled eggs or mayonnaise for a unique twist on classic turnip greens.

7. Let Them Cook – Once you’ve added your ingredients to the pot, let the turnip greens cook undisturbed for at least 30 minutes to allow all of the flavors to meld together.

By following these tips and adjusting them to fit your preference on food flavor and taste, you will be able to create delicious Southern-style soul food at home that people will come back for again and again!


Before we wrap up, let’s clear any doubts you may have about this delicious Southern Turnip Greens Recipe. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this dish. So, read on and cook your heart out without any hesitation!

How do you get the bitterness out of turnip greens?

When cooking turnip greens, I found that adding salt helps to reduce its bitterness. Additionally, I suggest adding around 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to the broth and letting it simmer for the last 20 minutes. Trust me, it works like a charm! If you prefer vegan options, use a good quality vegetable broth like Better Than Bouillon and enhance the flavor with a touch of smoked salt.

How do you cook Paula Deen turnip greens?

To start cooking your greens, begin by simmering them in two cups of water until they become soft and tender. After that, add a bit of wet chicken base along with some house seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, and seasoning salt. Keep a close eye on your pot while your greens cook down, and don’t forget to add more water as necessary. To give your greens a richer flavor, add one stick of butter and let everything simmer on low heat for around 15 minutes.

Bottom Line


As a chef specializing in southern-style cuisine, I have come to realize that southern turnip greens are one of the most delicious and soul-nourishing dishes out there. And with this recipe, you can enjoy the best version of this classic comfort food right from your home.

By following the easy to follow instructions in this article, you’ll be able to cook up a pot of mouth-watering southern turnip greens that will surely impress your guests or family. Whether you’re hosting a gathering or just craving some comfort food on a rainy day, this recipe is a winner.

So go ahead and give it a try! Don’t hesitate to make some substitutions or variations based on your preferences, and experiment with different seasonings and spices. And be sure to share your experience with us in the comments section below!

Remember, cooking is not just about following instructions but also about being creative and bold. So let your culinary imagination take flight and get ready to savor the delicious taste of southern turnip greens cooked with love, care, and passion.

In conclusion, I hope that through this recipe article, I have inspired you to explore the world of southern cuisine further and appreciate its unique flavors and traditions. And who knows, maybe one day you too will become a master chef in your own right!

Happy cooking!

Southern Turnip Greens

Southern Turnip Greens Recipe

I found this recipe from I made it for our Thanksgiving dinner--just to make something different for a change. I have to tell you, not only was it pretty easy to make (other than the stemming), it was also very tasty. Everyone loved it. I hope you will enjoy it, too.
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Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Southern American
Calories 171.6 kcal


  • 2 cups cooked chopped turnip greens (2 bundles) or 1 lb fresh turnip greens (2 bundles)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon horseradish sauce
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 5 ounces cream of mushroom soup (half of a 10.75 oz can)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup soft breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • cooked bacon, to top if desired


  • Stem and wash fresh greens; place in water in a large kettle, bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook until tender. (Or use frozen turnip greens.).
  • Grind the greens in a food processor and measure 2 cups for the recipe. (I had exactly 2 cups when I made this.).
  • Combine the greens with salt and pepper, sugar, vinegar, horseradish, mayonnaise, soup, and eggs. Mix well.
  • Put the mixture into a 1 1/2-quart casserole dish or 8x8-inch square baking dish. Sprinkle crumbs on top.
  • Bake at 350F for 50 minutes.
  • Sprinkle tops with cheese and bacon, and bake another 10 minutes, until cheese melts.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 57gCalories: 171.6kcalCarbohydrates: 9.2gProtein: 5.3gFat: 12.8gSaturated Fat: 3.8gCholesterol: 77mgSodium: 409.1mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 2.6g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Easy, Greens, Inexpensive, Small Appliance, Vegetable
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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