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

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Collard Greens with bacon topping
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Collard Greens

Collard greens with bacon is a tasty Southern dish with a perfect mix of savory and hearty flavors!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Holly Nilsson


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  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 8 slices bacon chopped
  • 1 small onion finely diced
  • 1 pound collard greens
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 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.


Leftover collard greens will last up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator if kept in a covered container. 
4.99 from 72 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


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 Nilsson is the creator of Spend With Pennies, where she creates easy, comforting recipes made for real life. With a passion for nostalgic flavors and simplified techniques, Holly helps busy home cooks create delicious meals that always work. She is also the author of “Everyday Comfort,” which promises to inspire even more hearty, home-cooked meals.
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4.99 from 72 votes (53 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. so easy to make and so delicious. it was a hit with the family and a great way to eat more leafy greens. I’ll be making this again.5 stars

  2. Delicious! I always add more garlic to pretty much everything, and I added a little sugar just in case the collards are bitter.

    But this will definitely be my ago-to recipe.5 stars