Southern Collard Greens is a classic recipe that combines fresh greens, bacon, and a savory broth to create a truly delicious Southern dish. The recipe is all about simple, hearty flavors and easy to make! These are the best collard greens and are perfect for anyone looking for a plateful of down-home comfort.
This New Year’s collard greens recipe not only brings a taste of Southern tradition to your table but also welcomes prosperity and good fortune for the year ahead. Enjoy the warmth and flavor of this cherished dish as you celebrate the beginning of a new year.
It’s more than a yearly tradition, though. This easy collard greens recipe is a staple side dish to serve with beans, ham, summer grilling recipes, and any weeknight meal!
Why this is the best Southern Collard Greens Recipe
- Easy to make – Once you’ve prepped the leaves, southern-style collard greens are super easy to make and come together in one pot.
- Delicious taste – The reason to enjoy making Southern collard greens recipe is simple—it tastes really, really good. The mix of leafy greens, smoky bacon, savory broth, and tasty seasonings creates a flavor that’s rich and comforting. It’s the kind of food that just makes you happy with every bite.
- A tradition worth sharing – Whether you add collard greens to your New Year’s recipe list or include them in your family meals, you’ll love the flavorful experiences and connections they create.
Ingredients to make collard greens
- Collard greens: Collard greens, a staple in Southern kitchens, are known for their sturdy leaves. They are typically cooked longer than most other greens to achieve a tender texture and mellow flavor.
- Broth: The broth you use will add a rich depth of flavor, so I suggest using a good quality one. Chicken broth or vegetable broth are both great options for collards.
- Onions + Garlic: They will cook down and add another layer of flavor.
- Bacon: Bacon is a wonderful flavor enhancer. Alternatively, smoked meats like ham or ham hock can be used.
- Seasonings: salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, vinegar
How to Cook Collard Greens
The most important step in making collard greens from scratch is to thoroughly wash and clean the leaves to rinse off the sand. Nothing worse than biting into grainy greens! After that, there are just a few steps: cooking the bacon, sauteeing the vegetables, and pouring the broth to simmer until tender and delicious.
Step 1: Remove the leaves from the stem and wash thoroughly to remove any sand. Skipping this step may result in gritty greens, so don’t skip it!
Step 2: Cook the bacon strips until crispy and rendered well. Remove and chop. Add butter to the same pot, cook the onions until softened, then add garlic until fragrant.
Step 3: Add the dried collard green leaves to the pot in batches and sauté until they’re nice and wilted. Then, pour in the broth, add the crispy chopped bacon and seasonings, and let it all simmer until the greens are perfectly softened, about 1 1/2-2 hours
How to clean collard greens – Fresh collard greens often contain sand and small particles within the leaves, but with proper cleaning, you can enjoy delicious and clean greens. First, remove the leaves from the stems and rinse them thoroughly under running water. Make sure to clean off any dirt or debris using a vegetable brush if necessary. Then, soak the greens, rinse them off, and repeat the soaking process at least once more to ensure that there is no sand or grit left. And that’s it. You’re all set to cook and enjoy your collard greens!
Cook the bacon crispy – Crisp bacon to perfection to unlock its smoky essence and render flavorful fat. It adds a savory taste to collard greens, enhancing the dish’s flavor and mix of textures.
Make it brothy. Having a brothy base for collard greens enriches the flavor by absorbing all the bacon goodness and seasonings while tenderizing the greens for a melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Reduce bitterness – Take the time to soak collard greens to reduce bitterness. You can also add a splash of vinegar or some sugar while cooking to help balance the flavors.
What to Serve with Collard Greens:
How to Store Collard Greens
Collard greens taste so much better asleftovers because the leaves have soaked up more liquid and flavorings. They can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days and reheated in a microwave or saucepan.
Frequently Asked Questions
More Side Dish Recipes
- Cheesy Scalloped Zucchini and Potato Casserole
- Air-Fryer Baked Potato
- Southern Macaroni Salad
- Squash and Tomatoes
I hope you’ll love this Southern Collards Green recipe as much as I do! They are the best way to enjoy authentic down-home Southern food with a tried and true recipe.
Southern Collard GreensCourse: All Recipes
Southern Collard Greens, a classic recipe of fresh greens, bacon, and savory broth, offers simple, hearty flavors—the perfect plate of down-home comfort.
1 tablespoon olive oil
6-8 bacon slices
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 bunch collard greens
32 ounces chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon white or apple cider vinegar
- Wash and chop collard greens. Gently pull the leaves from the stem and place them in a sink of water with a splash of vinegar (optional). Swish the leaves around and soak for 10 minutes; drain the water, and repeat until all sand is washed off. Shake off excess water, let dry, and tear or chop into large pieces.
- Heat oil in a large pot, cook bacon strips until crisp and set aside. Once cooled, chop into pieces.
- Add a tablespoon of butter to the pot with oil and bacon grease. Cook diced onions until softened, then add garlic until fragrant.
- After drying, add the collard greens to the pot in batches and push them down as they cook. Once the greens start to soften, move them to the top and repeat the process with the remaining batches. Keep sautéing until all the greens are coated, slightly darkened, and wilted.
- Continue to sautee the greens for a few minutes until all is coated with grease, slightly darkened, and wilted.
- Pour the broth into the pot, add the chopped bacon and seasonings. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 1 1/2-2 hours, depending on your desired doneness.