Collard Greens

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Collard Greens are the perfect southern-inspired side dish and so full of flavor. This member of the cabbage family has a dense flavor and a meaty, tender texture unlike any other cooked green you’ve had before.

If you’ve never tried these beautiful greens before, this easy collard greens recipe is a great introduction. I love serving them alongside Black Eyed Peas Recipe (with Ham) with a big chunk of cornbread. It’s the perfect side dish!

A bowl of collard greens topped with crispy bacon and onions.

I absolutely love greens of any sort from Creamed Spinach to this easy collard greens recipe! On a recent trip to GA, I visited Paula Deens restaurant and was in heaven with a plate full of fried chicken, mac and cheese, cheesy grits and tender greens! Truly the best.

What are Collard Greens?

Collard greens are a loose leafed cabbage, similar to kale, but with very large smooth leaves, and a milder flavor. Cooking them is a must, they are too tough to eat raw.  The ingredients for the best collard greens recipes include onion and garlic, and some kind of smoked meat as a flavoring. You can make collard greens with bacon, ham hocks or smoked turkey (I use bacon because I most often have it on hand).

Collard greens benefits are extensive. They are inexpensive, packed with nutrition, and quite filling. They have abundant vitamins, rich in antioxidants and have anti-cancer effects.

As comfort food goes, you can’t find a better example than this flavorful leafy green. Serve them with pulled pork, fried chicken or ribs and of course our favorite macaroni and cheese recipe!

Collard greens in a dutch oven being mixed with bacon and onions with 2 collard greens leaves next to it.

How to Cook Collard Greens

A single bunch of cut collards produces a hefty mountain that will fill your pot to the top, but don’t worry, they cook down by less than half. Because collard greens are quite tough, they take longer to cook than most other greens.

Collard greens can have a lot of grit and dirt and they have a tough stem so you’ll want to make sure you clean them well.  More details on how to clean collard greens here (and how to cut them).

To make sautéed collard greens with bacon:

  1. Clean and cut your collard greens into one-inch pieces (as described here).
  2. In a large pot, cook the chopped bacon until crispy and remove some for garnish.
  3. Sauté the onion in the bacon grease until soft, then add the greens and garlic and cook just until wilted.
  4. Add the broth, cover and cook up to 45 minutes, until tender.
  5. Season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with the reserved cooked bacon.

They will also benefit from slow cooking. To make crock pot collard greens, start by sautéing, and after the collards wilt, place them in your crock pot, cover, and cook until tender.

Cooked collard greens in a dutch oven with a wooden spoon.

How Long to Cook Collard Greens

Most leafy greens don’t take too long to cook, but collard greens are an exception to this rule. If you make crock pot collard greens, cook in the crock pot for 3 hours on high or 6 on low.

Collards may seem soft enough after 15 minutes but trust me, let them cook for the entire time. The texture and flavor after cooking for a longer is incredible. Sauteed collard greens take about 35-40 minutes in a covered pot on the stove top.

Give collard greens 20 minutes to cook in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker.

An overhead shot of collard greens topped with bacon and a silver serving spoon.

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Collard Greens with bacon topping
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Review Recipe

Collard Greens

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Holly Nilsson
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Collard greens are the perfect comforting side dish. 


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 8 slices bacon chopped
  • 1 small onion finely diced
  • 1 pound collard greens
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • salt and pepper to taste

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  • Wash greens and using a sharp knife, cut out the woody stem. Cut into 3/4" pieces.
  • Cook chopped bacon and butter over medium heat in a pan until crisp. Remove a few slices for garnish.
  • Add onions to bacon grease and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.
  • Add greens and garlic. Cook until slightly wilted, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Add broth, cover and cook over a low simmer 35-40 minutes or until tender.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 174, Carbohydrates: 6g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 24mg, Sodium: 403mg, Potassium: 285mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 3865IU, Vitamin C: 31.8mg, Calcium: 184mg, Iron: 0.6mg
Keyword collard greens, fried, with bacon
Collard greens with bacon are a delicious side dish that we love making with fried chicken. This collard greens recipe is easy, and makes the perfect comfort food! #spendwithpennies #greens #collardgreens #collard #friedcollardgreens #baconandcollardgreens #collardgreensandbacon
Collard greens with bacon are a delicious side dish that we love making with fried chicken. This collard greens recipe is easy, and makes the perfect comfort food! #spendwithpennies #greens #collardgreens #collard #friedcollardgreens #baconandcollardgreens #collardgreensandbacon

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About the author


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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

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