Delicious Collard Greens Recipe: Southern-Style Cooking

Listen up, y’all! I’m about to introduce you to the recipe that will take your taste buds on a journey through the heart of the south. Yes, I’m talking about none other than collard greens, southern-style. This is a dish that has been passed down for generations in my family, and let me tell you, it’s a recipe that’s near and dear to my heart.

Now, I know some of you may be thinking, “Collard greens? Really?” But before you turn up your nose at this soul food staple, hear me out. These greens are so much more than just a side dish. They’re a symbol of comfort and tradition – something that southern folks hold near and dear to their hearts.

When cooked correctly, collard greens become the perfect balance of savory and sweet. The greens are cooked low and slow with smoked bacon, smoked ham hocks or smoked turkey wings giving it an incredible flavor profile. In addition, they pair perfectly with macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, cornbread or even a barbecue brisket.

But here’s the thing: collard greens aren’t just delicious, they’re also packed with nutrients like Vitamin K and C. Making them not only the best soul food meal but also quite healthy for you too.

So have I convinced you yet? Are you ready to give these southern-style collard greens a try? Trust me; once you sink your teeth into these delicious greens, there’ll be no turning back. Get ready for one of the best recipes out there – this is your chance to get a taste of true Southern hospitality.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Collard Greens Southern-Style
Collard Greens Southern-Style

Are you looking for a soul-warming dish that will remind you of your grandmother’s cooking? Look no further than this Southern-Style Collard Greens Recipe.

This dish is the definition of comfort food. The combination of tender collard greens, smoked bacon, and ham hocks create a smoky and savory flavor that will make your taste buds dance with joy. The addition of apple cider vinegar and sugar adds a subtle tang that helps balance the dish’s richness.

Not only is this dish satisfying to eat, but it also has an abundance of health benefits. Collard greens are a nutrient powerhouse that is packed with vitamins A, C, and K. They’re also high in fiber and can aid digestion, making this a guilt-free indulgence.

What’s even better about this recipe is its versatility. You can add in ingredients such as smoked turkey or pork neck bones to change up the flavors based on your preferences. You can also make it vegan-friendly by simply omitting any meat products and using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

Lastly, this recipe pays homage to traditional Southern-style cooking, where collard greens are a staple ingredient. Bringing this dish to your dinner table means having a taste of Southern hospitality right in your own home.

So if you want to indulge in some delicious, healthy, and soulful cuisine, give this Southern-style Collard Greens Recipe a try. Trust me; you won’t be disappointed!

Ingredient List

 A heapin' helpin' of onions and garlic to bring on the flavor
A heapin’ helpin’ of onions and garlic to bring on the flavor

Get ready to put together the best southern collard greens with this ingredient list. For this recipe, you will need 3 bunches of collard greens, which should be washed and chopped into bite-size pieces. Other ingredients include 3-4 slices of hickory smoked bacon, 2 smoked ham hocks or pork neck bones, 1 large onion diced, 4 garlic cloves minced, 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper, and ¼ teaspoon of paprika. To give your greens a little sweetness and tanginess, add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar to the mix. For extra flavor options, you can use smoked turkey wings instead of the ham hocks or you can keep it vegan by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

The Recipe How-To

 Sweet and smoky ham hocks to give these greens their signature taste
Sweet and smoky ham hocks to give these greens their signature taste

Now we’re getting to the good stuff! Follow these simple steps to create a delicious pot of southern-style collard greens that will have your taste buds doing the two-step.

Step 1: Prep the Collard Greens

First things first, it’s important to clean and prepare the collard greens. Remove the leaves from the tough stems and discard any yellowed or wilted leaves. Rinse the leaves under cold water and pat them dry with paper towels. Then, stack them on top of each other, roll them up like a cigar and cut crosswise into thin strips.

Step 2: Cook Bacon and Onion Mixture

Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat to get started on the base for our collard greens. Fry four slices of diced smoked bacon for about five minutes, stirring frequently until crispy. Remove the bacon, but leave the remaining fat in the pan as it will provide tons of flavor to our greens. Next, sauté one large onion that has been roughly chopped for about three minutes until it is translucent.

Step 3: Add Seasonings

Now it’s time to add some delicious seasoning! Add 2 minced garlic cloves and sauté for an addition minute until fragrant. Then add 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon of paprika, 1/4 teaspoon of sugar, and two small pieces of diced smoked ham (optional). Stir everything together for about 30 seconds.

Step 4: Combine Collard Greens with Onion Mixture

Add three bunches of collard greens (about four cups), chopped into bite-sized pieces. Stir and cook for two minutes until the greens have wilted slightly. Next, add in one cup of chicken broth and bring to a rolling boil.

Step 5: Simmer for Hours

Bring down the heat to low and add one ham hock to the pot. Cover and allow the greens to simmer for 2.5-3 hours. If you prefer a little more tenderness or prefer your greens really soft, simmer them for four hours. Ensure you stir every 30 minutes or so, adding water if necessary.

Step 6: Finish with Apple Cider Vinegar

Thirty minutes before the end of the cook time, add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. This will bring out the flavors nicely and balance the bitterness of the collard green leaves. Add salt to taste.

Now that you have mastered this southern-style collard green recipe, enjoy serving it up alongside classic southern sides like cornbread, fried okra, and black-eyed peas!

Substitutions and Variations

 Don't forget to add a splash of vinegar for that tangy goodness
Don’t forget to add a splash of vinegar for that tangy goodness

Just like any other recipe, you can always adjust the ingredients based on your preferences or dietary needs. When it comes to collard greens, there are countless ways you can make them according to your liking. Here are some ideas for substitutions and variations that you can try:

– Vegetarian/Vegan Collard Greens: If you’re looking for a meatless version of this recipe, simply omit the smoked bacon or ham hock and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. You can also add some mushrooms or smoked tofu to give a “meaty” taste to the dish.

– Smoked Turkey Collard Greens: Instead of using bacon or ham hock, you can use smoked turkey wings or neck bones. The meaty and smoky flavor of the turkey will complement the bitterness of the collard greens perfectly.

– No Onion/Garlic Collard Greens: If you’re not a fan of onions and garlic, you can skip them altogether or replace them with other aromatics such as shallots, leeks or celery.

– Sweet Potato Collard Greens: Add some chopped sweet potato to the pot when cooking collard greens for a slightly sweet and savory taste. You may need to adjust the amount of sugar used in the recipe depending on how sweet the potatoes are.

– Spicy Collard Greens: To give your collard greens a little heat, add some crushed red pepper flakes or diced jalapenos when sauteing the onions and garlic. You can also sprinkle some cayenne pepper or hot sauce over the dish right before serving.

– Different Types of Greens: While collard greens are traditional, feel free to experiment with different types of greens such as kale, chard or mustard greens. Each kind has its unique flavor profile that will add variation to your dish.

Remember that cooking is all about having fun and being creative in the kitchen! Don’t be afraid to try new things and come up with your own versions of this soulful Southern-style dish.

Serving and Pairing

 Careful not to burn yourself while stirring the hot pot of greens
Careful not to burn yourself while stirring the hot pot of greens

Now that your delicious southern-style collard greens are done, it’s time to serve and enjoy them. This soulful dish is best served hot, straight from the pot. You can pair collard greens with a variety of dishes, but nothing beats the classic combination of collards and cornbread. The savory flavor of the greens pairs perfectly with the sweetness of cornbread.

If you’re looking for a heartier meal, consider serving your collard greens with baked chicken or grilled pork chops. The smoky flavor of these meats makes a perfect complement to the earthy taste of collard greens. You can also serve your collards alongside other traditional southern sides such as black-eyed peas, macaroni and cheese, or fried okra.

For drinks, I recommend serving iced tea or lemonade to balance out the rich flavor of the collard greens. If you’re feeling festive, add a splash of bourbon to your lemonade for a fun twist on a classic Southern beverage.

When it comes to toppings and garnishes for your collard greens, there are plenty of options. Some people like to top their greens with hot sauce for an extra kick of spice. Others prefer to sprinkle some fresh cracked black pepper over the top for an added depth of flavor.

No matter how you choose to serve your southern-style collard greens, be sure to savor every last bite. This dish is a true comfort food classic and is sure to become a family favorite in no time.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Family-style serving, because collard greens are best shared
Family-style serving, because collard greens are best shared

Listen up, y’all. When it comes to collard greens, making them ahead of time can be a game-changer. Not only does it save time, but letting the flavors meld together overnight will make this dish even more lip-smacking good.

Once you’ve cooked your Southern-style collard greens to perfection, let them cool completely before transferring them to an airtight container. They will keep for up to four days in the refrigerator or up to six months in the freezer. For optimal taste and texture, reheat these succulent greens slowly on low heat. Trust me, you don’t want to rush this process – these flavors need time to blend together!

If you’re like me and love experimenting with different flavor combinations, add a splash of apple cider vinegar when reheating to enhance that tangy Southern taste. You can also top your greens with additional crispy smoked bacon or diced ham hock for some added protein and crunch.

Let’s say you’re hosting a big shindig and want to serve collard greens as a side dish. No problem! Make sure to cook the collard greens well in advance so that they have plenty of time to cool down before storing them in the fridge or freezer.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to serving leftovers. These soulful greens can be added to pasta dishes, grain bowls or even sandwiches as a filling and flavorful addition.

To sum it all up, make sure you plan ahead and store your collard greens properly. This way, you’ll have leftovers that are just as delicious as when you first made them – if not better!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Pair these greens with some classic cornbread for the ultimate southern meal
Pair these greens with some classic cornbread for the ultimate southern meal

Now that you’ve got the ingredients all sorted for your Southern-Style Collard Greens recipe, it’s important to keep in mind some tips that will take your dish from “good” to “unforgettable.” Trust me, as a Southern Chef, I’ve cooked up enough collard greens in my day to know a thing or two about getting the perfect results. Here are some tips you should follow to ensure your collard greens are the talk of the town.

First things first, when cooking collard greens, give them time. These greens need low and slow cooking – anything less will leave you with tough leaves and an unsavory texture. This means longer cook times on medium heat, and at least a couple of hours on low heat for optimal taste.

Secondly, while many recipes call for ham hocks, hickory-smoked bacon, or smoked turkey wings to add flavor, you can opt for pork neck bones as well since it adds that extra umami depth that sets traditional Southern-style collard greens apart.

Thirdly, don’t skimp on the seasoning! Use the exact amount of seasonings specified in the recipe to ensure the perfect balance of flavors. A personal favorite is adding garlic cloves and paprika to this dish as they help boost its smokiness and give it a pleasing kick.

Next up, make sure your onion is finely chopped before adding it into the pot. This is essential to get a refreshing crunchiness and avoid chunks of onion in your greens. Another tip is sautéing onions in olive oil till they turn golden brown before adding garlic cloves since it helps bring out their natural sweetness.

A final tip worth mentioning is that collard greens can be stored up to 3-4 days in an air-tight container inside a refrigerator. However, reheating could result in a softened texture due to its high water content. An easy remedy would be adding still-crisp ingredients like diced onion and bell peppers once you reheat it, since it can help balance out the texture and give it a fresher taste.

Follow these tips, and I guarantee you’ll have the best Southern-style collard greens in town!


As a chef who specializes in southern-style cuisine, I know how important it is to answer any questions you may have about a recipe. Collard greens are a staple soul food dish, and the process of cooking them can be daunting for some. Therefore, in this section, I will address some frequently asked questions to help make your experience with this recipe as smooth as possible.

How do you make Patti Labelle collard greens?

Now it’s time for the secret ingredient: collard greens! I grab a handful and add them to the pot along with some chicken stock, chopped onions, and a generous helping of salt and pepper. But, here’s the game-changer, I also sprinkle in some seasoning salt for an extra punch of flavor.

Next up is the smoked turkey – this is where the real magic happens. I mix it in, making sure it’s evenly distributed throughout the greens. Then, I turn the heat down to low, cover the pot, and let it cook for 35 minutes. The goal is to get the greens nice and tender, but not mushy. Trust me, you’ll know when they’re ready by their deep green color and irresistible aroma.

Why do you put sugar in collard greens?

If you’re a novice in the world of collard greens, allow me to introduce you to an unconventional but delightful ingredient – vinegar. You may think it’s an odd addition, but trust me, it brings just the right amount of tanginess to cut through the salty and savory flavors present in the dish. And to further balance out the flavors, sprinkle in a tablespoon of sugar.

Why add vinegar to collard greens?

Adding vinegar to collard greens can enhance the taste and eliminate any unpleasant bitterness. In my opinion, it is best to let individuals add the amount of vinegar they prefer. While apple cider vinegar is the traditional choice, others may opt for white vinegar or a dash of hot sauce to suit their taste buds.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, if you want to taste a plate of truly delicious southern-style collard greens, then this is the recipe for you. The combination of flavors from the smoked bacon and ham hocks along with the caramelized sweet onions and garlic create a perfect balance that will make your taste buds dance.

But don’t just take my word for it, try this recipe out for yourself and taste the difference. Whether you’re a fan of soul food or just looking for an easy way to incorporate more greens into your diet, this recipe is one that everyone can enjoy.

Remember to follow the tips and recommendations I have provided throughout this article to achieve your best results. And if you need to make any substitutions or variations to fit your dietary needs, go ahead and give it a try. After all, cooking is all about creativity and finding what works best for you.

So gather up your ingredients and get ready to make some of the best southern-style collard greens you’ve ever tasted. Happy cooking!

Collard Greens Southern-Style

Collard Greens Southern-Style Recipe

Crispy bacon, sautéed onion, and garlic make a fine pot of silky, tender, and flavorful Southern-Style Collard Greens.
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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Southern American
Calories 350.9 kcal


  • 400 g fresh collard greens, washed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 200 g smoked bacon, diced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1200 ml vegetable stock, from 1 cube
  • 50 ml apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot paprika, flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


  • Remove the spine of each leave, as the spines are very tough and remain chewy once. Lay each leaf out flat on a cutting board and cut on either side of the spine to remove it. Create stacks of leaf halves, roll up each stack lengthwise, and cut across the stack to create collard ribbons. Set aside.
  • Sauté bacon in a pressure cooker pot in olive oil, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes.
  • Add onions add, stir, sauté for 4 minutes, and then stir in the garlic. Sauté for about 1 minute.
  • Stir in vegetable stock, apple cider vinegar, sugar, hot paprika flakes and pepper.
  • Add collards, stir, cover, and lock lid on pressure cooker. When pressure is reached, turn heat down to low. Continue cooking for 30 minutes. Release pressure naturally.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 197gCalories: 350.9kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 21.1gFat: 24.7gSaturated Fat: 7.4gCholesterol: 55mgSodium: 1173.4mgFiber: 3.5gSugar: 3.2g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Collards, Easy, Greens, One-Dish Meal, Pressure Cooker, Stove Top, Vegetable
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