Collard Greens with Bacon

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

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


  • 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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  • Rhetta M

    Easy, had all ingredients on hand all time. Just go buy collards and cook ‘em up. My favorite recipe; taste like how my Mom cooked collards while growing up. Delicious! Cooking for one so I downsized recipe and was still good. Will definitely cook again!


  • 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!

  • jud

    I like eating most vegetables, but kale has been one of the few I’ve tried and not enjoyed. That is, until my wife came home with kale recently. I came across your recipe while searching for a different way to cook the kale, and my wife used it to prepare it. I wasn’t prepared for how good that first mouthful tasted. I have become a kale convert! Previous preparations left the kale tough and fibrous. Your recipe rendered it lusciously tender and the flavor was incredible. My wife will be planting kale this spring. Thank you for a recipe that will get regular use!

  • Tonya

    Collards are always sweeter after the first frost. If you want to make sure that your collards are less bitter, without adding sugar, put them in the freezer overnight. My Granny has done that for years! Also, I prefer corned meat in my collards, and if you’ve never tried a collard biscuit, it is time! Add a teensy bit of mayo, black pepper, and raw onion for an extra treat!

  • Debbie Christensen

    I enjoyed the collard greens but found them too sweet. Would reduce the sugar by at least 1/2.

  • Dixie Sullivan

    Dear Elise,
    I’m so glad I found this recipe. I bought collard greens this week and wasn’t sure how I was going to cook them. They’re simmering on the stove now and I have bbq chicken in the crockpot. Can’t wait for lunch tomorrow!! You’re the best! P.S. I never cook my turkey breast side up anymore!

  • Maggie

    This is a great recipe! I’ve made it two Thanksgivings in a row for a potluck. I also make a vegan version by browning mushrooms in olive oil instead of bacon and then adding a little Bragg’s or soy sauce to make it nice and savory. The vegan version is just as good! People love it.

  • Ellmarie

    Hi! I think all of y’all recipes are pretty cool. I love me some collards with lots of meat. First I begin with the bacon meaty less fatty bacon bout two packages and italian sausage fry til almost done then I add two diced vadalia onions to that same frying pan til they carmalize set to the side. In the meanwhile, the collards have been par boiling so I drain wash with cold water that take the color and bitterness away then add 1/2 cup fresh water 1/2 cup chicken broth bring to boiling then add bacon,sausage and onion mixture. Then I add smoked turkey wing leg and the ham hocks and I am telling you this is the most flavorful collards u would ever taste

  • Miss Charlotte

    I’ve made this recipe about three times, and each time is just great. The smokiness of the bacon, spice of the hot sauce and tangy-ness of the vinegar is a wonderful combination. I find that cutting the collards in to pieces between an inch and half an inch is best– too small and you cannot taste all the flavor.

  • Ron

    My Mom is from the south and Collards have to be washed many times in cold water to remove sand and grit. A bushell will only yeild maybe a bowl full of greens when cooked down properly. Ham Hocks are usually the meat used for flavor and maybe some Bacon drippings. Collards cooked southern style need to be cooked for a long time or use a pressure cooker.
    Collards are great with hot pepper vinegar then with fried corn bread, Chicken and pastry or dumplings, fried or baked yams, fried okra, fried chicken but of course not all that fried stuff at once. Other greens like Mustard Greens, turnips greens and creesit greens are pretty much the same way as collards. Collards are chopped up after cooking and are great cold as well. I prefer to warm them up though. Some good southern eating for sure!

  • Cole

    This is the best recipe for greens Ive ever had!!! Thanks for posting this recipe, Im going to make these many more times!

  • Mary

    I was searching for a greens recipe and found yours. :-)

    Apparently, many greens (those in the Cruciferous family) contain something called goitrogens that can slow down your thyroid. But those goitrogens can be disabled, so to speak, through boiling or fermenting (as in the case of cabbage being made into sauerkraut). So now when I make my greens, I boil them for at least 30 minutes.

    What I found interesting was that if you look back into really old cookbooks about Southern cooking you will find that they always recommend lengthy boiling of the greens! And what is even more interesting is to learn that primitive cultures rarely ate greens and if they did, they were only consumed in small portions. When people do eat A Lot of greens that are not properly prepared (boiling, etc.), they developed goiter over time! Isn’t that a amazing???

    I like to prepare mine similar to your recipe but I like the bacon crisp, sprinkled on top, after cooking. They are also good with lots of butter and a squeeze of lemon. I usually boil them, then rinse them in a colander, squeeze out all the water, chop them, then sauté them in whatever seasonings I like. Yum! But best to eat greens only in season and in moderation.

    Thanks so much for sharing a great recipe.



    Hi Mary, very interesting. Thank you for sharing that information. ~Elise

  • Erin

    I LOVED this recipe!! First time I have ever made them fresh. I will make them like this every time. No need to find another recipe. Thanks for the great recipe! Never have to eat canned again.

  • 00hmai0.0

    Can I use regular vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar? We don’t use apple cider vinegar in my household.

    Yes. ~Elise

  • elston

    I learned to like and cook collards while working in the civil rights movement in Choctaw County Alabama. We ate a subsistance diet….and most usually that was greens, corn bread and baked sweet potatoes…..meat was apt to be neck bones or jowls, strip-of-lean, salt pork or similar meat scraps….cooked in with the greens.

    Preparing the greens involved wiping off the large leaves with a wash cloth…..this was a relaxed social activity….lots of chance to talk…..then the center rib was torn out of each leaf and they were stacked in piles…..Then folded and rolled like cigars and then cut in cross sectional strips…..the prepared greens were like ribbons…(I think the culinary term for this is “chifferoe” or something like that. Then the greens were put in a large pot with any meat and perhaps onion and cooked long and slow….(over cooked by modern cooking standards…..a little cane syrip or sorgum might be added to the cooking greens…..and some red pepper flakes while cooking or red hot sauce served with the greens.

    Bowls of greens and corn bread on the side were the most common supper….and I thnk provided most of everything you needed…..especially if you used the pot-likker in making the corn bread.

    Fresh fish from the river could be a good side dish.

  • linda

    My Mom always made collard greens with ham hocks, just like you are doing. My mouth waters just thinking about it. I found a slightly different way to cook them watching Emeril Lagasse on Planet Green. In a pot saute chopped onions until soft then add garlic, grated ginger, coriander seeds, garam masala, salt, and a little red pepper. Stir until it smells really good. ( A minute or so) Add low fat chicken stock, put the lid on, and let it cook about 15 minutes or so. Remove and drain with slotted spoon. Yum!

  • windella

    I’ve been eating collards and all kinds of greens all my life(54 yrs) my family used to cook them with pork but due to health reasons we stopped using pork or any kind of meat in vegetables and we don’t miss it.I grow collards,mustards,turnips,kale,swiss chard,spinach in my garden every year.The way I cook collards is to wash them very well.I soak them in warm salted water,and rinse well.I like to chop the collards,but you don’t have to.I saute onions and garlic in oil and butter,add collards and saute until they wilt a bit,add vegetable broth,jalapeno,or any hot pepper.Simmer until greens are tender.These will be the best greens you’ve eaten. Use greens no bigger than the lenght of your hand,that way they’ll be tender.

  • briana

    Thank you for this recipe, first time eating collard green. I loved it!

  • Greg

    Excellent recipe! Worked really well w/ Sriracha hot sauce, Jan Jan, and “Fakin’ Bacon” soy tempeh strips.

  • Deborah

    I tried this recipe and added a little ginger and served it with hot dogs and it was something I would very much try again. Thanks.

  • Stephanie Fogarty

    I tried this recipe on new years & it was amazing. I usually hate collards, I only cook them on new years because it’s good luck, but honestly I rarely eat more than one helping. This year I ate them all! even the left overs! I also got my in-laws turned on to them too :) so, thank you sooooo much!

  • Hettie

    Thank you. Great recipe! I did add my own spin. I added a bunch of Kale to the collards. I also cooked smoked neck bones in a separate pot, I picked and chopped the meat from the bones when tender. I added the juice from the smoked neck bones to the greens while they cooked and added the chopped meat to the greens 5 minutes or so before serving.

  • Olivia

    Wow, thanks Elise! Great recipe as usual!
    I cheated and used canned collard greens from WalMart, but they still tasted amazing. I’ve never had them previously, so maybe I’m missing out, but the whole recipe took 15 minutes from start to finish. This is a definite new favorite.

  • Michele Hicklin

    I used applewood smoked bacon instead of regular bacon…outstanding difference…and sweet onion (vidalia or Mayan) instead of yellow onion.
    I always use chicken broth instead of water

    Try it….you’ll like it.


  • Kimberly

    These greens were so yummy! I served them with a pot of pinto beans and some cornbread, and it was the perfect meal for a cold night. Thank you so much for this recipe!

  • RD

    I made this the other night but I had to use green chard as Safeway was out of collard greens. It was very good. I like the fact that it does not have to cook as long as some other traditional collard green recipes. The next time I make it I will cut back the bacon to two slices instead of four and make it with collard greens if I can find them.

  • Karen

    To get the umami and great tasting braised greens without the meat or animal fat, try using a combination of sesame oil and butter (well, OK, some animal fat) to saute onion and garlic, add some smoked paprika and hot pepper flakes, then pre-washed greens chopped up however you like, and for liquid use at least a cup of dry white wine, either with additional wine, vegetable broth or water to have enough liquid for a good simmer until tender. Though I suppose if you don’t want or have wine, water with a tablespoon of vinegar and a teaspoon of sugar would have a similar effect.

  • Marielle

    Love, love, love this recipe! Tried it the other night and it was a big hit with my family! I am now going to bring this dish down on Easter dinner at the In-laws house. My husbands father is from Louisiana and has a old recipe he has used all his life and people always ask him to make his famous greens…well this year it will be mine! I guarantee these greens will be the hit!

  • amateur cook

    This was my first time making collard greens. I fell in love with it a long time ago when someone made it with ham hock for a pot luck dinner. Here are the changes that I made to your recipe. I used 8 – 9 pieces of the thick bacon (I bet it’s great with smoked ham too!), and left every drop of delicious bacon grease in there, although surprisingly it was not overwhelmingly greasy. I only had red onion (instead of yellow; I’ve been trying to use red onion more often anyway because it gives a more spicy flavor), and used about 3 – 4 cloves garlic. I did not have chicken stock, so I used 2 cups water and 3 small chicken bouillon cubes. I used white vinegar, but I’m sure apple cider vinegar is better if I had it available. I also added 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes and about 1/4 – 1/2 c. sherry (from the liquor store, not cooking sherry (I’ve heard too many chefs say to avoid cooking sherry because it contains salt which changes the flavor)). Usually I do not like to cook my greens very long. However, for this dish, it required simmering on low heat for at least 45 min – 1 h to get rid of the bitterness. I served it with rice, and oh how good it is!

  • Eleanore

    Collard Greens and Bacon:

    Although I used all ingredients, except the hot sauce, my amounts were out of balance. One bunch of collard greens in no way will weigh two pounds! So I supplemented what I had on hand: bok choi and still had only 1 1/4 pd greens. I also missed the word ‘thick cut’ bacon, and used regular. All the flavors were there, but the one flavor that seemed to be overwhelmed by fat and sugar was the greens themselves. Next time, I plan on frying the bacon till fat is rendered out, removing it, and using a bit of oil (olive, most likely) to cook onions. In my efforts to cut way down on fat (esp. animal) and sugar, I have been very surprized by incredible flavors of the main ingredient of a recipe, if left alone to stand on its own. Imagine that!

  • djt

    I am from the South and have a tip for getting the bitter taste out of the greens. Bring collards (or mustard, turnip) greens to a boil. Then discard the water. Next add new water, along with smoked ham or turkey, salt, and pepper and boil until tender and flavors have combined.

    The first boil eliminates the bitter. You literally throw it out with the water and there is no need to add sugar.

  • Daneen

    My mom makes collard greens for all holiday meals and special occasions. It is one of my favorite dishes. By removing the stem you will remove much of the bitterness. She also puts them in a big pot, fills it with water, add chopped salt pork and a little hot pepper seeds and cooks over night making sure to check that that the water level remains constant. They are always tender and flavored just right.

  • Claur

    I use a recipe somewhat similar. I use smoked ham instead of bacon; the flavor and smell of this is amazing. Instead of the cider vinegar I use balsamic; the different flavor gives a taste that you will go bananas for.

  • erin kennedy

    I love collard greens and I make them in two main ways:

    1. I love collards with a coconut curry sauce. I believe the recipe comes from “Feeding the Whole Family” and contains coconut milk and cashew butter. It is simply delicious over rice.

    2. I blanch the collards and then submerge them in ice water. Then i fry up some pancetta and garlic and chop the collards relatively finely and add them to the crispy pancetta and garlic. Cook until they are sort of crispy around the edges. Delicious!!

  • ricky

    I put 2 or 3 smoked hamhocks in the crock pot and cook on high over night, then the next day if the meat isn’t falling off I put them and stock from crock pot in my cook pot and boil them till the meat falls off the bone, remove the bones and fat leaving the lean meat and add collards, cook till tender, salt to taste.

  • Lynda Sereno

    We add vinegar after the greens are cooked with smoked meat and chopped onions. Use a little cruet for the vinegar and poke a hot pepper or two down in it. Those long skinny red ones are perfect. After ladling the greens in your bowl, pour a little of the flavored vinegar over them.

    Did you know the vinegar boosts the calcium in greens?

  • Sharon

    I have always loved greens and cooked it quite a bit as my children were growing up (my son called them leaves). I normally use bacon or bacon grease along with onions, garlic, salt and pepper. I have been known to use hamhocks every now and then, but usually reserve those for my beans.

    I have never used vinegar or sugar, so I will have to try that out. Try putting in a tomato or two, just enough to notice that they are there. My kids swear the tomatoes make them even better.

  • HealthCoachWendy

    I’m a big fan of making collard green chips. It’s a refreshing change from the usual routine of boiling or sauteing the greens. I simply tear the collards into bite size pieces, spray with olive oil spray and sprinkle a little salt. Stick them in the oven for a few minutes and they’re absolutely delicious! I do the same with kale.

    Alternatively, I saute collards with fresh dill and parsley, carrot and onions. Yum!

    Greens are simply the best! I’ve been growing my own collard greens this year and I’ve got some of the best tasting greens that I’ve had.

  • Wallace

    Remove stems from 3-4 lbs. collard greens.Remove stems. Wash with baking soda or
    salt,then,rinse. Stack several leaves, roll, then cut across roll into about 1/4″-1/2″. Place in colander as rolls are cut. Use 1/2 large green pepper and cut in small cubes;use 2 regular cans of chicken broth; add 1/4 –
    1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes; use smoked turkey parts(par boil a few minutes. discrad liquid ( or use smoked pork) Add all to a large pot. Add enough water to bring liquid to 3/4 of pot. Cover pot and bring to a boil and semi-boil
    about 2 hours or until greens are done. Add more liquid as needed. Add a little salt to cooking greens. Enjoy with a baked sweet potato.

  • Nancy

    Try adding 2 tbsp soy sauce and replace the chicken broth and vinegar with 1 1/2 cups of dry white wine. I also don’t add the sugar, but that probably wouldn’t make a lot of difference. I live in SC and we always have collards for New Years Day and I am always asked to make the collards.

  • Espahan


    You must have some “soul” in you. This is just how I learned to make collard greens.

    We, hubby and I, also love Turnip greens with tiny baby turnips cut up into the greens.

    Funny thing, I first ate greens when I lived in England in the early sixties. They were listed on all the menus as a vegie choice.

  • topdog

    Elise, how do you store leftover bacon fat? In the refrigerator?

    We keep ours on the counter or in the refrigerator. Depends on how fast we go through it. Here’s a post on rendering bacon fat, btw. ~Elise

  • Russell

    Being from OK, I was never exposed to the various “bitter greens” (mustard, turnip, collard, etc.) until I moved to NC. I turned my nose up to them until I finally tried them about a year ago … and fell in love.

    This recipe sounds really good and I would be willing to bet beats the crap out of the canned greens they sell around here. Maybe I can convince the wife to make them once we get moved to our new place :)

  • Hillary

    This summer we frequently received collards in our CSA box. The first bunch eventually got thrown out because I didn’t know what to do with it. The second bunch was added with kale into croquettes (an excellent way to prepare dark leafy greens). Then one of the other shareholders told me that she just prepares collards like spinach — sautéed quickly in a bit of bacon fat with garlic, onions, salt and pepper with crumbled bacon on top. It’s fabulous! Truthfully, though, I’ve decided that just about anything tastes good when it’s mixed with bacon.

  • Ally

    I love collard greens, and the method I use is similar to this one. In addition to garlic, onion, and a pinch of sugar, I use smoked ham hocks and add a hot pepper pod while cooking. This adds a wonderful flavor, but not too much heat. My family passes southern style pepper sauce at the table. Serve with any kind of pork, baked sweet potatoes, and crackling corn bread. Collards are also great with fried chicken and chicken and dumplings.

  • Roberto

    Two ways: in salads (tossed with bacon bits, and a dressing made with olive oil, a little red wine and garlic); and the Italian way – sauteed with olive oil and garlic (lots of it) just until wilted. Yummy.

  • Jean Prescott

    I love greens, being a Deep South native and resident, but I had to read a blog out of the Pacific Northwest to find the best way ever to eat greens. This is from Molly at Orangette, and it couldn’t be simpler. Cook onion and slivered garlic in olive oil, add the greens to wilt, then just barely cover with vegetable or chicken broth (I’m lazy, I use the lo-so organic kind from Pacific in the aseptic shelf-stable packages). Cook for about 30 minutes at a simmer. Toast a big slice of country bread, rub the surface with a clove of garlic. Spoon on the greens and a bit of the broth, top with a fried egg, a few shakes of Tabasco and chow down. This is wonderfully delicious.

  • Teresa

    Wow, so many comments! I love collard greens, kale, chard, mustard greens. I actually enjoy the slight bitterness myself. I usually just saute with some garlic and red pepper flakes. I don’t mind if it is a little firm. But I also love the results of long cooking as it’s prepared at soul food restaurants with the yummy pot liquor.

  • Susan from Food Blogga

    When we lived in North Carolina, this signature dish was featured at every get-together imaginable. Unfortunately, they were usually cooked to point of turning brown. Yours is cooked just right. That vivid green is so appetizing.

  • alina

    Thanks for this recipe. I’ll print it out straight away. We love collard greens and enjoy them whenever we go out to eat at cracker barrel. Now we can enjoy them at home!

  • Larry Masters

    I slice up a med-lg onion and about 6oz (sliced)mushrooms,saute in a little oil till onion softens then add 2 smoked turkey legs (or wings)then add some apple cider (about 1/4 cup)and about 1 cup of broth (vegie is best)fill the pot with the collards and simmer till tender. You can add hot sauce when served or to taste. If you get bored whit this one rinse a lg can of white beans and add them to the pot. be sure to pull the turkey legs out when done,pull the meat and add back to the pot. This also works well with Kale, mustard greens or turnip greens.

  • Mary

    Hi Elise,
    How many minutes (hours?) of simmering does it take to “cook until the greens are completely wilted and have lost their brightness”.

    Hi Mary, we cooked these at least 15 minutes, though depending on how tough you particular greens are, it could take a bit longer than that. ~Elise

  • Alison @ Wholesome Goodness

    Love your blog, Elise! I’ve been reading it for a few weeks, and I had to comment on the collard greens questions. Yes, I ADORE collard greens! I “discovered” them last fall by shopping my farmers’ markets. I saute them with onions and garlic and add a little salt and pepper. Or, I use garlic, onions, Rotel tomatoes, and a little chili powder and cumin for a Mexican-flavored side. Or (and this is our favorite way), I make some lemony red lentil soup with sliced collards in it. Yum! (The recipe for the soup is on my blog in the recipe box if anyone is interested.) I’ve never tried them the old-fashioned, southern way. I may have to give it a try.

  • Cris

    We live near Mount Airy (the real Mayberry) in NC and there are two festivals each fall: Mayberry Days and Autumn Leaves Festival. I make a point to go but just for one food vendor: The women serving Collard Green Sandwiches!

    This year I was really saddened to see a line with no end! I didn’t get my treat, no one would wait for me. :-(

    These women take a big square of cornbread split and filled with collard greens and a thin slice of country ham… it is to die for! and unfortunately, why the line was so long! The greens are very spicy and chopped fine and cooked soft. It can’t be too hard to duplicate but I suspect there is a secret ingredient LOL.

  • Cris

    Wow, how timely, I went picking greens with a friend yesterday in her aunt’s garden. I got a very large trash bag stuffed full and blanched and froze them to freeze (ended up only having a gallon after blanching)

    Originally from NH now in NC, greens were a pleasant surprise for me and I’ve had them cooked many ways. My favorite is ham hocks but lately I have been seeing packs of country ham trimmings in the market, these work well.

    For those avoiding meat, what works for me is garlic, onions, crushed pepper, olive oil and liquid smoke in addition to the baked tofu. Also, look to Indian recipes for a very spicy twist to greens, some local Indian restaurants in my part of NC use mixed greens rather than spinach for palak paneer.

  • Tom

    I’ve never had collard greens before, but have always wanted to try them. This recipe looks great, I think I’m going to have to give it a try.

  • katrina

    This looks great! I usually just simmer with ham for a loooong time – this is a must try for me!

  • Karen

    Hmmm, while growning up in Massachusetts I honestly can never remember a collard green hitting the dinner plates! LOL

    As a result, this is something I never even think to cook, but your recipe and all of the other comments and suggestions make it sound wonderful!

  • Annie

    Does this recipe replace the one your dad used to make? I usually make Alton Brown’s recipe for collard greens from his show. The little bits of smoked turkey add just enough salt, smokiness and substance to make it a meal.

    You mean the collard greens with barbecue sauce? No, not replace. More has to do with whether or not there is bacon in the house. (There is always bacon fat in the house.) ~Elise

  • Sharla

    Sorry if this is a stupid question but I’m living in Europe and have never heard of Collard Greens (or Kale or chard). Are these just different names for spinach or silver beet?

    Hi Sharla, according to the Wikipedia, what you call silverbeet, we call chard. Kale is a form of cabbage without the head. Collard greens are related to cabbage and broccoli. Spinach is a completely different plant. ~Elise

  • Theresa

    My mother-in-law used to cook greens in much the same manner as above, she always put a pinch of baking soda and a tsp of sugar and there was no HINT of bitterness. Absolutely wonderful..

  • Cindy

    I wash my collards in cold water. Then I wash each leaf to make sure they are clean. I roll up about 7 or 8 leaves and slice long way while holding onto the roll. I turn it and cut down a couple more times. (Now I live in North Carolina so this is a southern thing). Then I start chopping them up from the ends of the rolls. I throw the chopped up pieces into a huge pot. I chop up the stalks too as long as they are small. They taste good. I add a little water not much because these greens make their own liquid. Salt to taste. I slice off about 4 or 5 pieces of fat back and press them down near the bottom into the water. Put the lid on bring to boil. Turn the heat down and let them boil gently for the next 45 minutes to an hour. Stir occasionally. I only put while vinegar on mine and I make genuine southern corn bread (not Jiffy Mix) to go with them. On New Year’s this is what I fix, Collards, pork chops, black-eyes peas, cornbread. Don’t need dessert. (remove the pieces of fat back so it don’t gross anybody out or scare them to death)

  • JenL

    My southern grandma made these though she called them “kilt greens” (kilt meaning killed).

  • Marie

    I’m a fan of sweet and salty greens so i like to add a little dijon mustard and subsitute dark borwn sugar for the white sugar.

  • Ellen

    I often cook them with a ham hock but lately have been cooking them in chicken broth instead. Serve with lemon or vinegar.

  • maggie

    These look delicious—I love these greens with bacon and vinegar…

  • Jerry

    Oh that looks like heaven! I’ve got to make some greens very, very soon. They’re always a part of my Holiday tables, so now is the perfect time for this recipe

  • Bob

    I don’t think I’ve ever had collard greens before. But I will try almost anything with bacon. :)

  • Carolie

    p.s. — in the South, collards are almost always cooked with some sort of smoked meat, and served with vinegar and hot sauce.

  • Carolie

    Sounds delicious! Thanks Elise…I visit your site every day!

    We eat collards a LOT. Fill a large stockpot about 2/3 of the way with water and toss in a small smoked ham hock. Wash thoroughly and chop a large bunch of collards (or two small bunches, or if absolutely necessary, a bag of frozen collards). Add to simmering ham water. Barely simmer for an hour. Add 3/4 cup of raw rice, simmer 20 minutes. Remove ham hock, shred meat and add meat to soup. Add two cans black-eyed peas. Add one can diced tomatoes with green chiles. Simmer another 15 minutes or so. That’s it!

    This soup is VERY forgiving, so you can simmer longer if you want. You can use leftover cooked rice if you wish, or used dried beans if you prefer (soak dried beans overnight first!) When serving, we offer salt, pepper, hot sauce and vinegar at the table…but most of the time, we just eat this as-is, with a chunk of corn bread!

    I have made it with half collards and half turnip greens, and when I do that, I often chop and add a turnip root or two. This is our “go to” New Year’s soup, as it has rice for luck, and black-eyed peas and collards for good fortune in the new year.

  • Don Livingston

    Actually I like just eating ’em raw. Last night for dinner my salad was a bowl full of raw collard greens with a tablespoon of flax seed oil and a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar for dressing.

  • Beverly

    I am a southern girl so I love collards and turnip greens but do not like mustard greens. My favorite way is to use ham hocks. They are yummy! The only thing I hate is cleaning them. LOL.

  • Sonya

    Michel Richard’s collard greens with lentils dish, which seems like it would have a similar taste profile to yours (bacon, onion, chicken stock and balsamic instead of the apple cider vinegar), but the heartiness of the lentils adds a lot. It can even serve as a lunch and is great over naan.

  • chris

    My basic way of cooking collards (kale, etc) involves tossing a smoked turkey leg, hamhock or some such, into a pot of chopped up greens with water or stock. Oh, and a bit of sugar helps too.

    For wide, ‘floppy’ greens, folding the leaf in half & removing the stem/spine works really well too.

  • Cristine

    I had collard greens for the first time at my cousin’s last month. I LOVE them. But he did say that collard greens must be cooked for a LONG TIME – at least 45 minutes – or all day if you’ve got the time – to remove the bitterness.

    Since he wasn’t a true southerner, I checked with my southern cooking guru, and she said her grandma used to make a big pot and keep adding liquids (and greens). The pot would last several days and it just kept getting better.

  • Fina

    Can the bacon be omitted without compromising the taste? I am trying to avoid meat.

    Hi Fina, You could try using some smoked tofu. Or some barbecue sauce. ~Elise

  • Sonja Lovas

    It’s nice to toss in a diced Granny Smith Apple toward the end, just cook enough to heat through. Chopped walnuts are great with it as well, or you could substitute the bacon for the walnuts.

  • Brad

    I’ve never added vinegar directly to greens like this, but it sounds interesting. I’ll have to give it a try. For my greens, I add a piece of smoked meat (ham hock, smoked turkey leg, etc…) that I remove and shred at the end. Once shredded, I add the meat back to the pot. Serve with cornbread that I usually crumble in to a bowl with the greens. Helps soak up all the pot liquor (cooking liquid). Mmmmmm…. I’m making greens this week. Thanks, Elise!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.