Collard Greens

Side DishQuick and EasyGluten-FreeCollard Greens

Fresh collard greens cooked with onion, garlic, chile pepper flakes, bacon fat, and dark sesame oil.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

My brother Eddie was over for dinner a while ago one fortuitous night when we happened to be having collard greens. I say fortuitous because Ed introduced us to a wonderful new way to serve these healthful, somewhat bitter greens—with barbecue sauce.

Huh? Barbecue sauce?

Ed explained that whenever he had collard greens it was with barbecued ribs, and the sauce from the ribs would make its way over to the collard greens, making them taste oh so good. Well, that was enough incentive to try it, and I must agree, collard greens are excellent served with a little BBQ sauce.

They are also pretty good on their own with onions and garlic. Here’s a great base recipe, feel free to add the BBQ sauce!

Collard Greens

Collard Greens Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

We use bacon fat here primarily for flavor. Bacon fat provides an excellent balance to the natural bitter of the collard greens. That said, you can easily skip the bacon fat and just use a little more olive oil.


  • 2 lbs collard greens, tough stems discarded, leaves chopped
  • 2 Tbsp medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons bacon fat
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp dark sesame oil (Dynasty or comparable)
  • Chili pepper flakes, a pinch
  • Salt, a couple pinches
  • Sugar, a couple pinches
  • Barbecue sauce (optional)


1 Use a large skillet with a tight fitting cover. Melt bacon fat and heat olive oil on medium heat. Sauté onion until transparent, a couple of mintues. Add garlic and and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2 Mix in the greens, sesame oil, chili pepper flakes, salt, and sugar. Cover and cook until tender, 8-15 minutes. (Note that young collard greens will cook up relatively quickly. Older greens may take upwards of 45 minutes to tenderize.)

If you want, serve with barbecue sauce.

Hello! All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to Collard Greens on Simply Recipes. Thank you!


If you make this recipe, snap a pic and hashtag it #simplyrecipes — We love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter!

Showing 4 of 24 Comments / Reviews

  • Barbara

    I have a similar recipe for collard greens and wrote about making it in my memoirish and topical food blog called cooking the kitchen. Here is a preview of what I wrote:
    I had a lot of left over collard greens after preparing the recipe for Lasagna with Collard Greens, that had recently been featured on this web site. Always the girl scout, in that I like to be prepared for all possibilities, I bought a bit extra of those big, leafy green fronds. This was in case some of the leaves in the bunch to be used for the lasagna recipe, turned out to be less than stellar. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. Thus this recipe for easy peasy, cheesy, saucy, collard green casserole was invented.
    Check out more at

  • Nancy Smith

    I think any kind of greens would be good cooked this way…..even canned turnip greens and collards! I did it night using all of your dad’s recipe except for the bacon grease….I would have loved the bacon but cannot have it any more…..I thought they were pretty darn good..hubby had two servings and said how good they were….instead of the BBQ sauce I used “pickapeppa” sauce……..I will use this again for sure…………

  • Ken Broadhurst

    I live in France now but grew up in North Carolina, where nearly every family had a collard patch if possible. Traditionally, collards were the green vegetable that you could have almost year-round, because only a very hard freeze kills the plants.

    We always ate collards (stewed with salt or smoked pork meat and, optionally, onions) sprinkled with cider vinegar or hot pepper vinegar. Barbecue sauce might be good too if you like the sweetness.

    I grow collard greens in my garden here in Saiont-Aigan-sur-Cher in the Loire Valley. They are tender and sweet because the weather here is mild.

  • Deanne

    Excellent! I had to fry up some small bacon pieces for the fat, and I decided to throw in the bacon pieces and that made it even better!

  • Emily

    I was wondering how much is 2 lbs? Can you give a general estimate, like a large bunch or two large bunches or something like that? The grocery store where I get my produce doesn’t have any scales and I’m at a loss. I can’t wait to try it!

View More or Leave a Comment/Review
Collard GreensCollard Greens