Collard Greens With Bacon

There’s nothing like a skillet of freshly cooked collard greens. Make our collard greens recipe with bacon and add a little vinegar and hot sauce to round out the flavors.

collard greens and bacon recipe
Elise Bauer

My father found this Louisiana recipe for collard greens in the Wall Street Journal, and we've made it 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 seems to neutralize the natural bitterness of the greens.

easy collard greens and bacon
Elise Bauer

Do you like collard greens? If so, what's your favorite way of preparing them? Please let us know in the comments.

How to Buy and Store Fresh Collard Greens

Look for blemish-free collard greens with deep green leaves that are firm (but not tough) and unwilted.

Store collard greens, unwashed, in the crisper drawer in a zipper bag or sealed container for up to five days.

How to Trim and Clean Fresh Collard Greens

Collard greens can have dirt and grit hidden in the leaves. To clean them, place the leaves in a large bowl of cold water. Swish them around to loosen the dirt. Remove the leaves from the water and then discard the dirty water.

Trim tough stems from the collard greens with a knife or scissors. Then, stack several leaves together, roll them up, and slice them diagonally into strips.

How Long to Cook Collard Greens

In the American South, chefs and home cooks tend to cook collard greens for a long time until they are fully wilted. And the tougher the leaves, the longer they need to cook. However, many culinary traditions use collard greens, preparing them in a variety of ways, sometimes cooking them very quickly. For this recipe, we're using the Southern tradition of cooking until wilted.

How to Store and Reheat Collard Greens

Refrigerator: Store in an airtight container for three to five days. Reheat on the stovetop over medium-low until they're heated through.

Freezer: Store cooked collard greens in a freezer-safe zipper bag or container for up to 12 months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat on the stovetop over medium-low until they're heated through.

More Recipes With Fresh Greens to Make

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

Collard Greens With Bacon

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Servings 6 to 8 servings

Don't overcook the bacon. It should be barely brown around the edges and still somewhat raw-looking in the middle.

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


  • 4 strips thick-sliced bacon, sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces

  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • Several dashes hot sauce

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, more to taste

  • 2 pounds collard greens, stems removed, sliced into 3-inch-wide strips (can substitute kale or chard)

  • 1 cup chicken stock, or water


  1. Cook the bacon and onions:

    Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the bacon in the skillet until it just begins to brown around the edges, stirring occasionally.

    Add the onion and cook until it's softened and just starting to brown.

  2. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, sugar, and hot sauce:

    Cook until the garlic becomes fragrant, about 1 minute.

  3. Add the vinegar and simmer:

    Simmer until the amount of liquid is reduced by half, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.

  4. Add the collard greens and the chicken stock (or water):

    Return to a simmer. Reduce the temperature to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally until the collard greens have wilted and lost their brightness.

    Season to taste with additional vinegar and hot sauce.

    Serve with some of the juices from the pan.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
85 Calories
3g Fat
11g Carbs
5g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 85
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 4%
Saturated Fat 1g 4%
Cholesterol 6mg 2%
Sodium 388mg 17%
Total Carbohydrate 11g 4%
Dietary Fiber 5g 17%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 21mg 107%
Calcium 166mg 13%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 192mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.