These Southern style collard greens with bacon are seasoned and simmered until tender and flavorful. A simple yet satisfying side dish that pairs perfectly with proteins such as chicken, beef and pork.

When I’m looking for an easy side dish that I know the whole family will love, I turn to favorites such as slow cooker mac and cheese, sauteed brussels sprouts and these smoky, savory collard greens.

A bowl of collard greens next to a bowl of black eyed peas and cornbread.

Collard greens are often overlooked at the grocery store, but if you haven’t tried these greens, you’re missing out! They have tons of great flavor, especially when you pair them with bacon. Serve your greens with traditional Hoppin’ John for a fabulous meal!

These greens are a perfect side dish recipe for main courses like baked chicken wings, Cajun turkey, crock pot ham and slow cooker ribs.

Collard Green Ingredients

When you make collard greens with bacon make sure you have bacon, onion, garlic, collard greens, chicken broth, hot sauce, apple cider vinegar, salt and black pepper.

Bacon, onions and garlic in a pot.

How Do You Make Collard Greens?

To make these Southern collard greens first clean your greens well in cold water. Make sure to remove any dirt or grit. Cut the woody stem out of each piece with a knife, then roughly chop the leaves. Cook diced bacon until crispy, then remove half the bacon to use as garnish. Add onion and garlic to the bacon grease in the pan, and cook until tender. Place the greens in the pot, along with chicken broth and seasonings. Simmer until the greens are very tender. Stir in the hot sauce and vinegar, then garnish with reserved bacon and serve.

Raw chopped collard leaves in a pot.

Tips For The Perfect Dish

  • Chop your collard greens into pieces that are about the same size so that they cook in about the same amount of time.
  • You can clean and prep these greens up to three days before you plan to use them. You can also buy a bag of pre-prepared greens to save some time.
  • This dish stays fresh in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I don’t recommend freezing this recipe as the greens will be watery when thawed.
  • I recommend serving your greens with cornbread on the side for a fantastic meal.

Quick Tip

Look for greens that are dark green and not yellowed. Try to avoid greens with brown spots or that are wilted.

Cooked leaves with bacon.

Recipe FAQs

What exactly are collard greens?

Collard greens are a leafy vegetable that people commonly eat in the Southern United States. This veggie features large dark green leaves attached to tough stems. It has similar properties to other greens. Some similar greens are kale, turnip greens and mustard greens in that they’re all sturdy greens with a bit of a bitter kick. You will most enjoy these leaves when slow cooked, as the leaves are tough when raw.

What takes the bitterness out of collard greens?

The best way to remove any bitterness from collard greens to cook them with apple cider vinegar and bacon. The acid in the vinegar cuts the bitterness while the bacon enriches the flavor of the greens.

How did collard greens get its name?

The name “collard” comes from a name for a medieval cabbage “colewort.” Collard greens are similar to that medieval cabbage. However, collard greens remain popular to grow and eat today.

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A pot of collard greens topped with crispy bacon.

Flavor Variations

While I love this Southern-style collard greens recipe as written, there are many ways to change up the flavor to customize it to your taste.

  • Meat: Instead of bacon, try another smoky meat such as ham hocks, diced ham steak or smoked turkey wings. If you use ham hocks or smoked turkey wings, you’ll want to simmer them until tender before you add them to the greens. Be sure to cut the meat off the bones after they’ve simmered and stir it into the finished dish.
  • Greens: While collards are the traditional choice, this recipe also works with other varieties of greens. You can try kale, spinach, turnip greens, mustard greens or dandelion greens. You can even use a combination of different types of greens.
  • Spicy: Try adding a pinch of red pepper flakes or a tablespoon of hot sauce to the greens.

Give these greens a try, it’s the best way to eat your veggies and enjoy them too!

More Side Dishes You’ll Enjoy

Collard Greens Video

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Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below & a review in the comments section further down the page.

5 from 50 votes

Collard Greens with Bacon

AuthorSara Welch
A bowl of collard greens next to a bowl of black eyed peas and cornbread.
These Southern style collard greens are simmered with bacon and seasonings until tender and flavorful. A simple yet satisfying side dish that pairs perfectly with proteins such as chicken, beef and pork.
Time
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 15 minutes
Course Side
Cuisine American
Serves 4

Ingredients 

  • 6 slices bacon coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pound collard greens cleaned, stems removed, and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Instructions 

  • Place the bacon in a large pot over medium high heat. Cook for 5-6 minutes or until crisp. Remove half the bacon from the pan and reserve for later use.
  • Add the onion to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic, salt and pepper, then cook for 30 seconds.
  • Add the greens to the pot and cook for 2-3 minutes or until wilted. Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a simmer.
  • Reduce the heat to low, then cover the pot and simmer for 30-35 minutes or until greens are tender. Uncover and stir in the hot sauce and vinegar. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with reserved bacon, then serve immediately.

Notes

  1. Chop your collard greens into pieces that are about the same size so that they cook in about the same amount of time.
  2. Look for collard greens that are dark green and not yellowed. Try to avoid greens with brown spots or that are wilted.
  3. The greens can be cleaned and prepped up to three days before you plan to use them. You can also buy a bag of pre-prepared greens to save some time.

Nutrition

Calories: 190kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 1263mg | Potassium: 430mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 5691IU | Vitamin C: 50mg | Calcium: 275mg | Iron: 1mg

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’ve never made collard greens, but when fixed properly,I like them. On a cold day recently I made a pot of ham and bean soup and corn bread, then thought wow, time to try making collard greens! Found this recipe that sounded like what I was shooting for. I hit a bulls eye! This recipe turned out great! Of course its the bacon that makes it, but highly recommended and easy to make. Make sure greens are simmed enough before serving.

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve had collard greens before, but have never made them myself. These are FANTASTIC! I made a batch and unfortunately, they didn’t last until dinner because everyone kept stopping by the stove to “have a taste”. So, so good! I also halved the bacon and the salt and they were still delicious.

  3. 5 stars
    Made these on Easter for a bunch of college students. Big hit! I halved the bacon and halved the salt and they were still awesome. I’m going to double the recipe next time. I also used red wine vinegar since I didn’t have apple cider vinegar and it worked great.

  4. 5 stars
    I bought the greens at a local farmers market but had not made them before so I gave this recipe a try and it was amazing!

  5. Hello! I am excited to try this recipe based on all of the great reviews. One question – Can this be doubled easily by just doubling all of the listed ingredients? Anything that may need altering? Thanks so much in advance!

  6. I prepare my collard greens this way except the onions and apple cider vinegar. I cook collards about three to four times a month. Next week, I plan to add the onions and vinegar. I love both so I am anxious to taste the flavor.

  7. 5 stars
    So yummy. I love my greens – yet after a summer of all the fresh salads, I’m starting to crave some warmer cooked greens. This hit the spot. Especially with the bacon!!

  8. 5 stars
    I love that you have added bacon to this traditional southern dish. I love collard greens and I can only imagine how much flavor that bacon adds. Can’t wait to make this soon.