Southern Turnip Greens with Turkey Bacon

Southern Turnip Greens with Turkey Bacon

Southern turnip greens with turkey bacon are the perfect side to any southern meal. They can be paired with yogurt mac and cheese, creamy garlic mashed potatoes, and homemade peach cobbler for the perfect meal!

Collards Greens vs Turnip Greens

This recipe was a group effort in the recipe development department. Both of my sisters worked to get this recipe just right. And we have made it several times in the last few weeks because they are so good!

Greens are a staple in African-American homes, especially during the holidays. Collard greens reigned, but sometimes turnip and mustard greens joined the party. Turnip greens are very similar to collard greens but are much more tender when cooked.

While I do like collard greens, I don’t always eat them, which makes these southern turnip greens a nice change to the usual collard greens. They are easier to cut, more tender, and cook way faster than collards.

These southern turnip greens are perfect with or without cornbread. Our favorite cornbread is my Rosemary Polenta Cornbread.

How to Cook Turnip Greens

turnip greens with turkey bacon

 1. Rinse the turnip greens, then add them to a large stockpot full of water, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tbsp vinegar. Soak the greens for 10 – 15 minutes to get rid of any dirt and grit. Then rinse them again with fresh water. 

2. Discard the ends of the turnip greens, then roughly chop the stems and leaves into ½ – 1-inch pieces.  

3. On medium-high, heat a large pot with butter, then add in the chopped turkey bacon. Cook the bacon until it starts to turn brown and crispy, and fond or the brown bits from the meat on the bottom of the pot, starts to develop. It will add additonal flavor to the greens. 

4. Next, add in a tablespoon of Homemade ghee or vegetable oil and the chopped onions and green bell peppers. Cook the vegetables until they just start to soften. Then add in all the spices. 

5. Add in the turnip greens. You might need to add them to the pot in batches. Although, the greens will cook down quickly. Mix everything together. 

6. Cook the turnip greens covered on medium-low heat for 1 hour, or until they are tender. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to the greens. Taste to adjust seasoning, if necessary. Serve with Polenta Cornbread. Enjoy!

Tips for Making the Best Southern Turnip Greens

turnip greens instant pot
  • Turnip greens can have dirt and grit on them. First rinse the greens, then soak them in a large pot with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of either apple cider vinegar or white vinegar for 10 – 15 minutes. This helps to remove the dirt and grit from the greens. Then rinse the greens again with fresh water. 
  • Cut a ½ inch off the bottom of the turnip greens stalks, because it can have a woody texture. 
  • Turnip greens cook down quite a bit. You can use a large stock pot or add the greens into a smaller pot in batches. 
  • Reserve some of the crispy bacon as a topping for your bowl of turnips greens.

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Tools You May Need:

Large stockpot

Cutting Mat

Sharp knife

how to cook turnip greens

Looking For More Southern Recipes?

Rosemary Polenta Cornbread

Yogurt Mac and Cheese 

Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Chicken Sausage Gravy with Biscuits

Boneless Chicken Thighs with a Pan Gravy

5 – Ingredient Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Homemade Butter Pecan Ice Cream

Easy Peach Cobbler Recipe

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turnip greens recipe

Southern Turnip Greens with Turkey Bacon

  • Author: Tonya | The Midwest Kitchen Blog
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 80 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: Southern


Southern turnip greens with turkey bacon are the perfect side to any southern meal. They can be served with mac and cheese, creamy garlic mashed potatoes, and homemade peach cobbler for the perfect meal!


  • 4 bundles or 3.54lbs Turnip greens, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 (8 oz) package Turkey bacon, 8 slices
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon mustard powder
  • ½ teaspoon red crushed pepper flakes
  • ¼  teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or vegetable oil
  • olive oil


Cleaning and Chopping the Turnip Greens

  1. Start by cleaning and chopping the turnip greens. Cut about an inch off the stalks. Rinse them in the sink. Then fill a large bowl or stockpot with water, and add in ½ teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Soak the turnip greens for 10 – 15 minutes to clean the dirt and grit off of them. Finally, rinse them off thoroughly.
  2. Next cut the turnip greens into 1 inches pieces and the stalks into ½ inches pieces. Put them in a large bowl or stockpot and set them aside. 


Cooking the Vegetables and Turkey Bacon

  1. In a large pot, heat the ghee or vegetable oil on medium-high heat. Add the chopped bacon and cook until it is brown. There will be brown bits or the fond at the bottom of the pot. The bacon is done when it starts to make a loud crackling noise and starts to get crispy.
  2. Next, add in the diced green bell peppers, and yellow onion. Cook the vegetables until they start to soften, 5 – 7 minutes. Then add in the spices – salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, ground paprika, ground turmeric, mustard powder, red crushed pepper flakes, and cayenne pepper.


Cooking the Turnip Greens

  1. Turn the heat down to medium-low.
  2. Add the turnip greens to the pot with all the other ingredients. All the greens may not fit at once, but the greens will cook down quite a bit.
  3. Mix and cover the pot. Allow the green to cook on medium heat for 1 hour or until they are soft and tender.
  4. Add in a drizzle of olive oil. Taste and adjust for seasoning if necessary. Serve with Rosemary Polenta Cornbread. Enjoy!

Keywords: turnip greens, southern turnip greens, greens, collard greens, turnip green with bacon, smoked turkey

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