| | |

Southern Collard Greens Recipe with Bacon

Southern Collard Greens Recipe with Bacon is the side dish every table needs! Tender greens are simmered in a flavor-packed broth for a southern favorite!

Southern Collard Greens Recipe with Bacon

Southern Collard Greens with Bacon is so delicious and one of my favorite side dishes to make.

It pairs perfectly with cornbread, black-eyed peas, or a traditional southern Ham dinner!

Southern-style collard greens are way easier to make than you think.

Home cooks have been boiling down greens in a large pot for generations, and serving them to their families!

For me, a big pot of greens is exactly what southern food is.

Most people think southern food is fried this, fried that. And while there are plenty of fried recipes, southern food and cooking are “farm to table.” The American South has a rich history of farm-to-table movement before it was a thing in restaurants!

It’s sharing what you’ve grown around your table, with the people you love.

In North Carolina, we have greens growing all over the state! And at any time during the year, we can find turnip greens, mustard greens, or any other leafy green vegetable in our grocery store from a farm just down the road.

How to Make Southern Collards Greens Recipe with Bacon

Southern Style Collard Greens consist of a few components:

  1. The Pot Liquor. If you’re pot likker is delicious, you’ll have the best collard greens recipe!
  2. Flavoring Agent. This can be bacon (like I use!), ham hocks, turkey wings or a turkey neck, salt pork, turkey bacon, etc.
  3. Leafy Greens. Whatever kind of green you are cooking, follow this method, and it’s going to be delightful!

Detailed measurements can be found in the recipe card below.

First, you’ll need to gather your ingredients:

Fresh Collard Greens: you can buy the full leaf bundle in your produce section, or on the side of the road at a farm stand! You’ll want to cut out the tough stems in the center. After you cut out the stem, you’ll want to soak and wash each leaf very, very well. Greens are known for retaining their sand from the farm!



Chicken broth or vegetable broth

Salt and black pepper

Red pepper flakes

Apple Cider Vinegar

Brown Sugar

Next, gather your kitchen supplies:

Dutch Oven or Large Pot – a heavy bottomed pot is best. You want it to have even heat, and hold the heat well.

Colander for washing and rinsing your greens

Sharp Knife to cut through all the tough greens!

Slow cooker or crock pot if you wanted to use it to slow cook the greens all day!

southern collard greens recipe

Washing Greens:

Here is my method: I quickly rinse each leaf individually under running cool water. I’ll remove the stems, roll up the leaves, and cut them into thin strips.

I’ll then run a clean sink full of cold water and let the greens soak for a bit in the water.

Using a colander, I’ll scoop up the greens from the cold water, being careful not to disturb the sand that has fallen to the bottom of the sink. I’ll rinse a small section at a time, then lay it out on a clean kitchen towel.

Making Pot Licker

In some southern restaurants instead of biscuits or cornbread, you’re given a mug full of pot likker as your “Welcome to our restaurant!”

The pot liquor is the liquid gold you use to season, baste, and cook your greens. If you’ve tried to season collard greens after you’ve added liquid to them, try reversing your technique and start seasoning your liquid first!

It’s how you make delicious collard greens that are quintessential to southern cooking!

In the bottom of your dutch oven, you’ll cook your bacon until crisp, and reserve the bacon grease.

Cook your diced onions in the bacon grease, until soft and tender.

Next, you’ll add some type of broth. Homemade chicken stock is a great option, but I’ve started using Better Than Bouillion Vegetable Base. And it adds a layer of umami flavor that I really enjoy!

Simmer this with other seasonings you might like, fresh garlic, red pepper flakes if you like a kick, some hot sauce, etc.

If your broth tastes bitter or off in any way, add in a drizzle of soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce. Usually, when a broth tastes like dirty dishwater it needs some salt! A little at a time, and once it tastes to your liking, add in your greens.

collard greens recipe

Cooking Collards

Once your pot likker is seasoned to perfection, and simmering nicely, you can add in your greens. Pile them on in! You might be thinking “they’ll never fit in this pot!” Oh, but they will!

Just pile them high, cover, and simmer for a few minutes. As they cook, they simmer down to almost nothing. You’ll need way more greens than you think!

Once they’ve cooked down a bit, and you can stir them around, add the bacon back into the pot.

Over medium heat, simmer your greens for half an hour, then reduce the temperature to low heat. The cook time depends on how many greens you are cooking, but for a big pot, it’s usually best to simmer for an hour or two.

Serving Collard Greens Recipes

In the southern united states, fresh collards are often cooked all day long until there are no nutrients left at all! Collards are filled with vitamin k, and while I’m not eating them for the health benefits, it’s nice to leave a little in there.

This version of southern collard greens is a little different in that I’m not using a smoked ham hock.

Use a slotted spoon to serve this easy recipe, but if you’re like me, you like the pot likker best, and want it ladled in!

Just before serving, I like to drizzle a ‘sweet-vinegar’ sauce. I combine brown sugar and apple cider vinegar, then spoon over each serving.

The vinegar takes away any remaining bitter taste from the greens, and creates the perfect side dish for any dinner menu!

Southern Collard Greens Recipe with Bacon

Whether you’re serving Baked Ham, Roast Turkey, Fried Chicken, or a Pot Roast, it’s the best way to enjoy this easy side dish.

You can also skip the bacon altogether and use olive oil for sauteing your onions, making this a vegan-friendly side dish recipe idea!

This easy collard greens recipe is a true southern dish your whole family will love! Pair it with some Easy Pulled Pork Shoulder for a scrumptious meal.

Serve it with black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day for good luck and a great reason to celebrate!

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Southern Collard Greens Recipe with Bacon

  • Author: Sweetpea
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 10 1x
  • Category: side dish
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: southern


Southern Collard Greens Recipe with Bacon is the side dish every table needs! Tender greens are simmered in a flavor-packed broth for a southern favorite!


  • 32 oz. Collard Green Leaves (washed and rinsed clean of any sand or debris)
  • 6 Bacon slices, diced
  • 1 large Sweet Onions, diced
  • 6 cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock (low-sodium)
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, chopped
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 TBS Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 TBS Brown Sugar


  1. Wash and chop your greens.
  2. To a large dutch oven or pot, fry up the 6 slices of bacon. Set the bacon aside.
  3. Use the bacon frease to saute your diced large sweet onion.
  4. Pour in your 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock, and 4 chopped garlic cloves. Seasoned with 2 teaspoons of salt and one teaspoon of pepper.
  5. Once your pot likker is to taste, add in your chopped greens. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes before stirring.
  6. After the greens have boiled down a bit, and you can stir them around the pot, add back in your chopped bacon.
  7. Simmer the collard greens on low for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  8. Stir 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, and serve as a garnish.


Serve your collard greens with a drizzle of sweet vinegar. You can also put out some red pepper flakes and hot sauce for an additional kick!

Recipe Card powered byTasty Recipes

Similar Posts