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5 from 3 votes

Southern Collard Greens Recipe

This Southern Collard Greens recipe is a classic easy side dish! Flavored with smoky bacon and sweet onion, the greens are a crowd-pleasing option for your next Sunday supper or holiday meal.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Southern
Keyword collard greens, collard greens recipe, collard greens with bacon, Southern collard greens
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 6 - 8 people
Calories 174kcal
Author Blair Lonergan


  • 8 ounces hickory smoked bacon, chopped
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 1 ½ tablespoons minced garlic
  • 48 ounces chicken broth
  • 2 lbs. fresh collard greens, trimmed and washed
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Optional garnish: crushed red pepper flakes or hot sauce


  • Cook bacon in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat for 10-12 minutes, or until almost crisp. Add onion, and sauté until translucent, about 7-8 minutes.
  • Stir in garlic and sauté 1 more minute. Add broth, collard greens, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Use a wooden spoon to stir, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
  • Simmer (uncovered) over low heat for about 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally (or until collards reach desired level of tenderness).
  • Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary. Garnish with crushed red pepper flakes or hot sauce.


  • Buy pre-washed and pre-chopped collard greens for a shortcut. If you choose to wash and trim your own greens, be sure that you rinse them really well to get out any sand or sediment in the leaves.
  • Add vinegar. The apple cider vinegar gives the dish a nice "tang," and it helps to cut the bitterness of the greens. It also balances out the salty, savory flavors in the recipe.
  • Adjust the total cooking time to suit you preferences. An hour might be sufficient if you like slightly more crisp greens, while a full 2 hours might be necessary for really tender, broken-down collards. That's the beauty of using a Dutch oven (rather than a slow cooker or Instant pot) -- you have full control and can easily take them off of the heat when necessary.
  • For a spicy "kick," garnish the greens with crushed red pepper flakes or hot sauce.
  • Instead of a bacon, add flavor to the collards with a different smoked meat, such as a smoked ham hock, ham bone, smoked sausage, smoked turkey wings, or smoked pork neck bones.
  • Give the greens even more smoky flavor by adding a dash of smoked paprika to the broth.
  • Herbs: add some fresh (or dried) herbs to the pot of beans, such as thyme, oregano or rosemary.
  • Recipe adapted from Southern Living


Serving: 1/8 of the recipe | Calories: 174kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 975mg | Potassium: 459mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 5700IU | Vitamin C: 53.5mg | Calcium: 281mg | Iron: 1mg