Cracker Barrel Turnip Greens Recipe – Hungarian Chef

Last Updated on October 24, 2023

Turnip greens are a staple in Southern cuisine, and no one does it better than Cracker Barrel. Known for their traditional cooking methods and hearty flavors, the Cracker Barrel Turnip Greens recipe has been adored by many. This dish is not just about its delicious taste, but also about the comforting memories it brings to those who have grown up with it. It’s a blend of fresh turnip greens, savory ham, and a mix of other ingredients that create a symphony of flavors in your mouth.

Whether served as a side or eaten on its own, this recipe is sure to satisfy your cravings for home-cooked comfort food. Today, we will be unveiling the secrets behind this beloved recipe, so you can bring the taste of Cracker Barrel right into your kitchen.

cracker barrel turnip greens recipe

What is Cracker Barrel Turnip Greens?

Cracker Barrel Turnip Greens is a traditional Southern dish that has been on the menu at Cracker Barrel for decades. It is made with fresh turnip greens, which are known for their slightly bitter taste and nutritional benefits. The greens are cooked in a savory broth with added ingredients like ham hocks or bacon for flavor and smoked paprika for a hint of smokiness. This dish is often served as a side alongside other classic Southern dishes like fried chicken, cornbread, and mac and cheese.

Why You’ll Love This Cracker Barrel Turnip Greens?

There are many reasons why this dish is a favorite among Cracker Barrel customers. Firstly, it’s packed with flavor and has a perfect balance of savory, smoky, and slightly bitter tastes. It also contains nutrient-dense turnip greens that are rich in vitamins and minerals like vitamins K, A, C, folate, and calcium.

Additionally, the slow-cooking process used to make this dish allows the flavors to develop and blend, resulting in a truly delicious and comforting meal.

Not only is this recipe delicious, but it’s also budget-friendly and simple to make. You can easily find all the ingredients at your local grocery store, and with basic cooking skills, you can recreate the Cracker Barrel Turnip Greens right in your kitchen. It’s a great dish for those looking to add more greens to their diet or wanting to try out traditional Southern cuisine.

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The Ingredients 

  1. Diced Turnip Greens: These form the base of your dish. Turnip greens are full of nutrients and have a unique, slightly bitter flavor that is balanced out by the other ingredients. They also add a beautiful green color to the dish.
  2. Smoked Ham: This provides a hearty, smoky flavor that pairs well with the bitterness of the turnip greens. The fat in the ham will also help to soften and cook the greens.
  3. Chicken Broth: This is used to cook the turnip greens and ham, helping to infuse them with even more flavor. It’s also a healthier alternative to using plain water.
  4. Diced Onion: Onion adds a layer of sweetness and depth to the dish. It also helps to balance out the bitterness of the turnip greens.
  5. Apple Cider Vinegar: This provides a tangy contrast to the richness of the ham and the bitterness of the greens. It also helps to tenderize the greens and make them more digestible.
  6. Olive Oil: This is used to sauté the onions and ham, adding a rich, fruity flavor. It also helps to ensure that the greens don’t stick to the pan.
  7. Red Pepper Flakes (To Taste): These add a spicy kick to the dish, which can be adjusted according to personal preference. They also add a pop of color.
  8. Sugar (To Taste): This is used to balance out the bitterness of the turnip greens and the heat from the red pepper flakes. The amount can be adjusted to suit personal taste.
  9. Black Pepper (To Taste): This adds a subtle heat and depth of flavor. Black pepper is a classic seasoning that enhances the overall taste of the dish.
cracker barrel turnip greens

Step-by-Step Instructions 

Step 1: Prepare the Turnip Greens

  • Start by washing the turnip greens thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris.
  • Chop the greens into bite-sized pieces, ensuring they are ready for cooking.

Step 2: Sauté the Onion

  • In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add finely diced onions to the pot and sauté them until they turn soft and translucent, which typically takes about 3-4 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure even cooking.

Step 3: Incorporate Ham and Heat Things Up

  • Introduce diced ham into the pot, along with a dash of red pepper flakes if you’re seeking some heat.
  • Continue to cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Stirring is essential here to prevent any sticking or burning.

Step 4: Bring in the Chicken Broth

  • Pour in the chicken broth, allowing it to meld with the onions, ham, and spices in the pot.
  • Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, creating a flavorful base for the turnip greens.

Step 5: Add the Greens

  • This is where the star of the show comes in. Add the chopped turnip greens into the pot, and give them a good stir to combine with the existing ingredients.
  • The greens will wilt and mingle with the flavors in the pot, creating a delicious ensemble.

Step 6: Simmer and Cook to Perfection

  • Cover the pot to trap in the heat and flavors, then let it simmer away for about 25-30 minutes. During this time, occasionally give it a gentle stir.
  • The turnip greens will become tender and soak up the savory essence of the broth, onions, and ham.

Step 7: Balance with Vinegar and Sugar

  • Once the greens reach the desired tenderness, it’s time to add a touch of apple cider vinegar. This introduces a delightful tang that balances the dish’s flavors.
  • If you prefer a slightly sweet contrast, you can also add sugar at this stage. Stir to combine these additions seamlessly.

Step 8: Season and Savor

  • If desired, season the turnip greens with black pepper to enhance the overall flavor.
  • Once everything is perfectly balanced and seasoned to your liking, your Cracker Barrel-style turnip greens are ready to be served.

Step 9: Enjoy

  • Serve your turnip greens hot and savor them as a delightful side dish, or enjoy them as a hearty and comforting meal with a side of cornbread.


  • For a vegetarian version, you can omit the ham and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
  • You can also add other vegetables like diced carrots or bell peppers for added flavor and nutrition.
  • Feel free to adjust the amount of red pepper flakes, sugar, and vinegar according to personal taste.
cracker barrel turnip greens

Nutrition Information

How to store Cracker Barrel Turnip Greens?

If you have leftovers, store the turnip greens in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, simply heat them on the stovetop or microwave until warmed through.

For longer storage, you can freeze the cooked turnip greens. Let it cool completely and transfer it into freezer-safe containers or bags. They will keep well in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.


  • For a heartier version, add in cooked and diced bacon or smoked sausage.
  • You can also use collard greens or kale instead of turnip greens for a similar dish.
  • To make it spicier, add in some hot sauce or cayenne pepper along with the red pepper flakes.
cracker barrel turnip greens

Cracker Barrel Turnip Greens Recipe

Turnip greens are a staple in Southern cuisine, and no one does it better than Cracker Barrel. Known for their traditional cooking methods and hearty flavors, the Cracker Barrel Turnip Greens recipe has been adored by many.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cracker barrel turnip greens recipe
Servings: 4
Calories: 120kcal


  • Pressure cooker
  • cutting board
  • bowls
  • knife


  • 64 oz Diced turnip greens
  • 2 tbsp Apple cider vinegar
  • 8 Slices Smoked ham
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups Chicken broth
  • Black pepper
  • 2 cup Diced onion
  • Sugar
  • 16 tbsp Olive oil


  • Wash and chop turnip greens into bite-sized pieces.
  • Sauté onions in olive oil until soft (3-4 minutes).
  • Add ham and red pepper flakes, and cook for an extra 2-3 minutes, stirring.
  • Pour in chicken broth, and bring to a simmer.
  • Add turnip greens, stir to combine, and cover. Cook for 25-30 minutes until tender.
  • Add apple cider vinegar and sugar to taste. Stir.
  • Season with black pepper if desired.
  • Serve hot as a side dish or with cornbread for a comforting meal.


  • For a vegetarian version, you can omit the ham and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
  • You can also add other vegetables like diced carrots or bell peppers for added flavor and nutrition.
  • Feel free to adjust the amount of red pepper flakes, sugar, and vinegar according to personal taste.


Calories: 120kcal
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


Can I use canned or frozen turnip greens for this recipe instead of fresh ones?

While fresh turnip greens are ideal for this recipe, you can use canned or frozen turnip greens as a convenient alternative. Just be sure to drain canned greens and thaw frozen ones before using.

Can I make Cracker Barrel Turnip Greens in a slow cooker?

Yes, you can make this dish in a slow cooker by following the same instructions and cooking on low for 4-6 hours or high for 2-3 hours. Plus, using a slow cooker allows for an even longer simmering time, resulting in even more flavorful turnip greens.

Can I use a different type of meat instead of smoked ham?
Yes, you can use other types of meat. Smoked turkey is a popular alternative that also provides a smoky flavor. For a vegetarian version, you can omit the meat altogether and add more spices for flavor.

Wrapping Up

Cracker Barrel Turnip Greens is a classic Southern dish that has stood the test of time for good reason. It’s flavorful, nutritious, and easy to make. Whether you’re a fan of Southern cuisine or looking for a new side dish to add to your repertoire, this recipe is worth trying. So head to your local grocery store and pick up some fresh turnip greens to make this delicious dish at home.

Also, don’t forget to share your experience and let us know how it turned out in the comments below! Happy cooking!

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Author Profile
Rebecca Novak, Registered Dietitian & Chef

Rebecca Novak is a trained chef with over 10 years of experience in the food industry. She has worked in both fine dining and casual Hungarian restaurants and specializes in creating dishes using fresh, seasonal ingredients. She also loves exploring different cuisines worldwide, which allows her to bring unique flavors and ideas to the recipes she creates for Read more

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