Turnip greens are a classic Southern vegetable that can be cooked in many different ways. They have a slightly bitter, earthy flavor that pairs well with smoked and cured meats. In this article, I will instruct you how to cook turnip greens properly helps bring out their best qualities. 

1. How To Cook Turnip Greens


  • 1-2 bunches turnip greens, washed and chopped
  • 1 smoked ham hock or turkey leg
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • Salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste


Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the ham hock and cook 5 minutes, turning, to brown all sides. Remove ham hock to a plate.

Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add chopped turnip greens and broth. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low.

Return the ham hock to pot. Partially cover and cook at low simmer for 60-90 minutes, until greens are very tender.

Remove ham hock and let rest 10 minutes before shredding off the bone.

Stir in apple cider vinegar and season greens to taste with salt, pepper and hot sauce.

To serve, place turnip greens in bowl and top with shredded smoked pork. Enjoy!

The long, slow simmering helps impart the smoky flavor into the greens. You can use other smoked pork products like turkey legs or pork belly too. The greens are done when totally tender and silky.

2. What to Eat With Southern Turnip Greens

Cornbread: A classic pairing, cornbread complements the earthy flavors of turnip greens. You can go for traditional cornbread or try variations like jalapeño cornbread for a bit of heat.

Black-eyed Peas: Another Southern staple, black-eyed peas are a great side dish to go with turnip greens. They offer a contrasting texture and a slightly nutty flavor.

Fried Chicken: The crispy and savory goodness of fried chicken works well with the bitterness of turnip greens. It’s a classic Southern combination.

Macaroni and Cheese: Creamy macaroni and cheese provide a comforting and indulgent side dish that complements the greens nicely.

Corn on the Cob: Grilled or boiled corn on the cob adds sweetness and a satisfying crunch to balance the flavors of the turnip greens.

Potatoes: Mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes can be a comforting and filling addition to your meal, offering a nice contrast in texture.

Pickled Onions: Tangy pickled onions can provide a burst of acidity that complements the richness of the turnip greens.

Turnip greens are a classic Southern vegetable that can be cooked in many ways. For authentic Southern-style greens, slowly simmer with smoked pork until very tender. Pair them with cornbread, black-eyed peas, mac and cheese and other Southern sides. Cooked properly, turnip greens are silky, savory and full of flavor.

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julia jane

Julia Jane is a home cook inspired by her mother's cooking. With the desire to share my cooking experiences with everyone, she created this website

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