Collard Greens are the perfect southern-inspired side dish and so full of flavor.

This member of the cabbage family has an earthy flavor and a meaty, tender texture unlike any other cooked green you’ve had before. It’s the perfect side dish!

Close up of Collard Greens

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 Deen’s restaurant and was in heaven with a plate full of fried chicken, mac and cheese, cheesy grits and tender greens! Truly the best.

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.

What Are Collard Greens?

Collard greens are a loose leafed cabbage, similar to kale, but with very large smooth leaves, and a milder flavor. They are inexpensive, packed with nutrition, and nice and hearty.

The need to be cooked, they are too tough to eat raw.

Ingredients include onion and garlic, a bit of liquid and some kind of smoked meat (bacon, ham hocks or smoked turkey). I use bacon because I most often have it on hand.

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!

Untossed shot of Collard Greens

How to Cook Collard Greens

A single bunch of cut collards produces a hefty mountain that will fill your pot to the top, but 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).

  1. Clean and cut your collard greens into one-inch pieces (as described here).
  2. Cook bacon (set aside a bit for garnish) and soften the onion in the bacon grease.
  3. Add the greens and broth. Cook until tender, up to 45 minutes.
  4. Season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with the reserved cooked bacon.

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

Collard Greens with 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.

  • Stove Top
    Collards may seem soft enough after 15 minutes but be sure let them cook for the entire time. The texture and flavor after cooking for longer are incredible. Sauteed collard greens need about 35-40 minutes.
  • Instant Pot
    Give collard greens 20 minutes to cook in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker.
  • Slow Cooker
    Cook in the slow cooker for 3 hours on high or 6 on low.

Collard Greens with bacon topping

More Recipes You’ll Love

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Collard Greens with bacon topping
4.99 from 52 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Collard Greens

Collard greens are the perfect comforting side dish, with a dense flavor and a meaty, tender texture.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6 servings


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 8 slices bacon chopped
  • 1 small onion finely diced
  • 1 pound collard greens
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 ¼ cups chicken broth
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Wash greens and using a sharp knife, cut out the woody stem. Cut into ¾" 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.
4.99 from 52 votes

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

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American

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A bowl of collard greens topped with crispy bacon and onions with a title
A white bowl of collard greens garnished with crispy bacon and onions with a title.
A white bowl filled with collard greens topped with crispy bacon and onions, with a title.
Collard greens in a dutch oven being mixed with bacon and onions with 2 collard greens leaves next to it with a title.



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About the author

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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Recipe Rating


  1. This was so-oooooo good. I had collard greens once in a fancy “southern”restaurant in Atlanta that were horrible and swore I wouldn’t eat them again. I relented this New Year’s day to serve along with red beans and rice to bring good luck for the year. Wow, I think it’s going to be a good year indeed. Thanks for the excellent recipe!5 stars

  2. O-ho-ho-ho! These collards sure look good! I’m heading to the store now! Old Tennessee boy can’t wait to hang a lip over these goods! Think I’ll use ham hock.

  3. Hi there! This is my go-to collard green recipe! I have made these countless times and they are always a hit. I have a new question. My husband and I grew collard greens for the first time this year. We just blanched them and are preparing them for freezing. When I go to make this recipe with my now freshly-frozen collards, do you think there are any adjustments I should make when following your recipe? Thanks!5 stars

    1. So happy you love this recipe, Emily! I have never tried it with frozen collard greens though. Maybe another reader can offer some insight! Or if you attempt it I would love to hear how it turns out.

  4. I do them in a ninja (like an instapot) come out perfect every time. SOO good and so easy. Since finding this recipe I make them all the time, often requested by the family! Thank you!5 stars

  5. Excellent recipe that was darn near that of some excellent southern cooks I know in about half the time. Kudos and thank you!5 stars

  6. This is the best collard greens recipe ! I surprised myself and my husband when I made this. My husband is from the south and he gave it two thumbs up ! I did what my husbands mama always did when she made collard greens add one Tablespoon of sugar “it helps the greens” as mama always said !5 stars

  7. Thank you for your recipe. My first time cooking Collards. Was very good. Trying to eat healthier and broadening the variety of vegetables we eat. I will be trying more of your recipes for greens.5 stars

    1. This is how I make my collards, but I always add sugar. It helps to cut the bitterness that collards sometimes have. I’ve also used ham cubes instead of or in addition to bacon. I’m not a big fan of hammocks. If I don’t use bacon, I use a coup!e of tablespoons of butter. Butter makes everything better, right?!4 stars

  8. I have never liked collard greens. I usually choke down a couple bites on New Years Day and that’s it for the year. This was my first time making them myself. I followed your recipe exactly and I must say, they were delicious! I mean like, I went back for a second helping they were that good. I will definitely be making them throughout the year to eat now.5 stars

  9. This recipe is absolutely fantastic. I made it on a whim cause my mom happened to buy some collard greens on sale, I looked up how to cook them on cause they are always so frugal.
    Any ways I highly recommend this!!!
    Quick and delicious!
    I did it the stove top way…5 stars

  10. In your dialogue you mention using the Instant Pot, so assume after the 20 minutes, it would be a quick release? Also, have you tried using frozen collard greens? If so, would the greens need to be thawed or use frozen to Step 4?

  11. Super! I’ve only tasted collard greens once or twice and both were “good” by peoples standards but not great. There was always the taste of bitterness in it. But I got some the other day and thought let me give it a shot. These came out GREAT! I would only suggest that you taste it first before you add any more salt since the chicken broth is concentrated. I almost ruined it with too much salt but thankfully I only added a tiny shake of salt. I also don’t know how long I cooked it b/c I got on a call and forgot about it (could have been an hour). But it was just heavenly. In fact, I liked the flavor so much that I used some of the caldito (sauce) to add to a few other things I made this week. Im a lover of collard greens now and have no fear of making them or eating them from now on. Thank you!5 stars

  12. “The broth?” You never say what kind or how much! Then too much unnecessary unrelated text/dialogue.

    1. 1 ¼ cups chicken broth is the second last item in the ingredients list.

      Information in the post is related to the recipe and preparation of the recipe but you can use the “JUMP TO RECIPE” button at the top of each page to skip directly to the recipe. I hope that helps. Enjoy the recipe.

  13. Is it OK to use them if they’re a bit wilted? I bought some the other day and did t use right away. The color is still good, they’re just limp.

  14. Thank you for all of your great recipes. I am going to get some collards tomorrow and cook them. I love greens but this one has always been a challenge to me. You made it look easy.

  15. Don’t throw the he stems away. Cut them up, freeze them & add to cabbage or soups. I learned this from my aunt who had nine children & didn’t waste any food.

    1. Amazing idea! I’ve often wondered if they were edible and/or usable since every recipe I’ve ever seen says to discard them. Thank you!!