Collard Greens with Bacon

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Collard greens cooked until wilted with bacon, onion, garlic, vinegar, sugar, and a dash of hot sauce.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

My father found this Louisiana recipe for collard greens in the Wall St. Journal earlier this year that we’ve now made several times. Each time I wonder why we don’t make them more often, they’re so good! The combination of the bacon, onions, sweetened cider vinegar and hot pepper sauce seem to neutralize the natural bitterness of the greens. Do you like collard greens? If so, what’s your favorite way of preparing them? Please let us know in the comments.

Collard Greens with Bacon Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8

Chef's tip: don't overcook the bacon. It should be barely brown around the edges and still somewhat raw-looking in the middle.


  • 4 strips thick-sliced bacon, sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Several dashes hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup apple-cider vinegar
  • 2 pounds collard greens, stems removed, sliced into 3-inch-wide strips (can substitute kale or chard)
  • 1 cup chicken broth (or water)*


1 Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Cook the bacon in the skillet until it just begins to brown around the edges, stirring occasionally. Add the onions and cook until they have softened and are just starting to brown.

2 Add the garlic, salt, pepper, sugar and hot sauce. Cook until the garlic becomes fragrant, about a minute. Add the vinegar, bring to a simmer, and cook until the amount of liquid is reduced by half, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.

3 Add the collard greens and the chicken broth (or water) and bring to a simmer. Reduce the temp to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the collard greens have wilted and have lost their brightness. Season to taste with additional vinegar and hot sauce. Serve with some of the pan juices from the pan.

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Adapted from a recipe by Chef Donald Link, of Herbsaint and Cochon in New Orleans.


See more collard greens recipes at Food Blog Search.

Showing 4 of 81 Comments / Reviews

  • Lise K

    These came out EXCELLENT! I admit, I tweaked the vinegar a bit as I LOVE very vinegar-y recipes and I also added more hot sauce. I also cut up and added two hearts of roumaine since I had them lying around. YUMMY. It’s three days later and I’m down to the last of this bowl of collards and plan to make more soon!

  • Gwen

    In a large stock pot, I saute until just browned one sweet onion (rough chopped) in a little olive oil. Remove them from the pot. Then in the same pot, I simmer two smoked hamhocks and two garlic cloves in about 1 1/2 cup of beef stock for about 45 mins, adding liquid as needed. Then I turn up the heat, add the chopped and cleaned collards, cook until wilted and no longer tough (time depends on how old the collards are). Add beef stock periodically if needed to keep the pot from drying, or if you like pot liquor. Add the onions back to the pan with a little cider vinegar (to taste).

    Very yummy and always a hit even with people who don’t normally like collards.

  • zoemaya

    Elise, I love everything you do.
    I like to soak my collards in a salt brine for a couple hours before cooking them. This way, some of the bitterness is removed and there is no need for overcooking the greens.

  • Charlie

    Just another way, Use smoked pork kneckbone and a little water, boil till meat starts to get tender, a little salt [be careful] about half cup of sugar cook till colards are tender. Works just as good with turnip greens.

  • Shelly

    Ooh! Donald Link is such a good chef! I live in New Orleans and have been to both Herbsaint and Cochon this year.
    But I digress….
    I really love collard greens with bbq chicken. I usually just boil them in water, then serve them with a drizzle of leftover bbq sauce. Spicy bbq sauce works best.
    But this looks really easy and I just bought some turkey bacon (and have the other ingredients on hand), so I will have to try it this way. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

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Collard Greens with Bacon