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cooked turnip greens in a pot with smoked turkey
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4.80 from 5 votes

Turnip Greens Recipe

This Turnip Greens recipe is a traditional soul food staple. You can prepare this dish with smoked turkey, ham hocks, or whatever you wish. We include all of the tips and tricks you need to prevent bitter greens.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 8 cups
Calories 140kcal
Author Brandi Crawford


  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped white onions
  • 3 garlic cloves Minced
  • 3 pounds fresh turnip greens Weigh for accuracy. Weight includes stems.
  • 1 smoked turkey leg or wing See notes
  • 1 1/2-2 cups chicken broth Water can be substituted.
  • 1/2-1 tablespoon Creole Seasoning Adjust to taste.
  • 1-2 tablespoons Liquid Smoke Adjust to taste.
  • 1-2 tablespoons sugar Adjust to taste.


  • Place the smoked turkey in a pot large enough to fit along with water. Add enough water to cover the turkey. Bring the water to a boil. Cook the turkey for 45 minutes to an hour until it becomes tender. Keep a close watch and add additional water as the water evaporates.
  • While the smoked turkey softens, wash your greens. Fill a large bowl or your sink with water. Use your hands and scrub the veins of the leaves to remove any dirt or sand. Wash the greens thoroughly until the water runs clear.
  • Remove the stems from the greens and slice the greens into smaller pieces.
  • Heat a large pot on medium-high heat. Add the olive oil to the pot along with the onions and garlic.
  • Saute the onions and garlic until translucent and fragrant.
  • Deglaze the pan by adding the chicken broth.
  • Layer in the greens and add them in batches. Greens will need to wilt down a lot in order to fit in the pot. Add in the greens and then stir and allow them to cook down.
  • Add in the Creole Seasoning, liquid smoke, sugar, and smoked turkey. Bring the pot to a boil.
  • Place the lid on the pot and adjust the heat to medium-low. Allow the greens to cook for 2 hours or until the greens are soft and the smoked turkey is fall of the bone tender.
  • Open the pot and remove the turkey. Shred the meat from the turkey using forks and return it to the pot. Taste the greens repeatedly and add sugar, and spices if necessary.
  • Serve.


Sugar or sweetener is added to take away some of the bite from the flavor of the turnip greens. This is optional and you can wait to taste the greens after they have cooked. Decide if they need any sugar and add it to taste.
It’s common to serve greens with vinegar. Feel free to add it if you wish.
Ham hocks, bacon, or country ham, etc can be substituted for smoked turkey in this recipe.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 140kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 4g