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Collard Greens

Wondering what to do with collard greens? Here's an easy recipe for a simple side dish! Cook collards on the stovetop with onions and garlic — it's an easy, flavorful way to eat your greens.

Easy cooked collard greens in a serving plate
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. Our recipe works great as a base; feel free to add the BBQ sauce!

Best ever collard greens cooked on the stovetop and served in a bowl
Elise Bauer

Shopping for Collard Greens

Collards are in the same family as kale, mustard greens, and other hearty greens. The leaves are dark green and the stems are tough.

Look for collards that have an even green color and look fresh. Avoid collards that have browned or wilted leaves or show other signs of age. They will keep for several days in your fridge.

Prepare collard greens by trimming out the stem
Elise Bauer

How to Prepare Collard Greens

To prepare, cut away the tough stem and slice the greens into thick ribbons.

Cook the greens in plenty of fat until they are tender and silky. Young, fresh greens are usually ready in about 15 minutes, but older, tougher greens can take up to 45 minutes.

More Recipes With Collards and Kale:

Collard Greens

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Servings 4 servings
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 teaspoons bacon fat
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons onion, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 pounds (900 g) collard greens, tough stems discarded, leaves chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil (Dynasty or comparable brand)
  • Chili pepper flakes, a pinch
  • Salt, a couple pinches
  • Sugar, a couple pinches
  • Barbecue sauce (optional)


  1. Cook onions and garlic:

    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 minutes.

    Add garlic and and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

  2. Cook the collards:

    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.