Collard Greens

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Loaded with bacon and finished with apple cider vinegar, this easy Collard Greens recipe makes a quick and tasty side dish.

A skillet full of collard greens with bacon.


 

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for collard greens.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Bacon: To substitute cooked ham for the bacon, omit Step 2. Cook the onion in 2 tablespoons olive oil or other fat, then add back to the skillet with the greens in Step 4.
  • Apple cider vinegar: Or substitute any other acid such as lemon juice or white vinegar.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, bring 2 quarts water and 1 ½ teaspoons salt to a boil. Add collard greens and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain collards in a mesh strainer and rinse until cool enough to handle. Add collards to a clean, dry kitchen towel and twist to squeeze excess water from the greens.
Draining collard greens after cooking.
  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp, about 8 minutes. Drain bacon on paper towels and reserve bacon fat in pan (there should be about 2 tablespoons. If there is not enough fat, add vegetable oil to reach 2 tablespoons).
A skillet with cooked bacon.
  1. Return pan to medium heat, add onion, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and red pepper flakes until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
A skillet with cooked onions.
  1. Add greens to skillet, stirring to coat with bacon fat. Add broth, stir, and cover. Cook until greens are heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove cover and allow to simmer until liquid has thickened, about 3 minutes more.
A skillet with cooked collard grees and onions.
  1. Remove skillet from heat, top with vinegar and bacon. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
A skillet full of collard greens with bacon.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes 4 cups collard greens, enough for 4 (1-cup) servings.
  • Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Make ahead: Get ahead with your prep by cutting your bacon and collard greens the day before.
  • Paleo and Whole30 Compatible: Choose an uncured no-sugar bacon such as Nature’s Rancher No Sugar Added Hickory Smoked Uncured Bacon.
A skillet full of collard greens with bacon.

Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly are collard greens?

Collard greens are a specific type of dark green leafy vegetable with tough stems that must be discarded before eating. They are part of the Brassica genus of vegetables along with broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale.

Can I substitute kale for collard greens?

Kale is a great substitute for collard greens in many recipes, including this one. Just discard the stems and tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces.

How do you get the bitterness out of collard greens?

Preparing collard greens with salt and acid helps remove the bitter taste. In this recipe, we cook them in salted water and salty bacon fat, then finish the recipe with apple cider vinegar.

More classic Southern recipes

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A bowl with collard greens in it.

Collard Greens

Loaded with bacon and finished with apple cider vinegar, this easy Collard Greens recipe makes a quick and tasty side dish.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 servings (1-cup each)
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 149
5 from 3 votes

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • In a large pot or Dutch oven, bring 2 quarts water and 1 ½ teaspoons salt to a boil. Add collard greens and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain collards in a mesh strainer and rinse until cool enough to handle. Add collards to a clean, dry kitchen towel and twist to squeeze excess water from the greens.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp, about 8 minutes. Drain bacon on paper towels and reserve bacon fat in pan (there should be about 2 tablespoons. If there is not enough fat, add vegetable oil to reach 2 tablespoons).
  • Return pan to medium heat, add onion, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and red pepper flakes until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Add greens to skillet, stirring to coat with bacon fat. Add broth, stir, and cover. Cook until greens are heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove cover and allow to simmer until liquid has thickened, about 3 minutes more.
  • Remove skillet from heat, top with vinegar and bacon. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Bacon: To substitute cooked ham for the bacon, omit Step 2. Cook the onion in 2 tablespoons olive oil or other fat, then add back to the skillet with the collard greens in Step 4.
  2. Apple cider vinegar: Or substitute any other acid such as lemon juice or white vinegar.
  3. Yield: This recipe makes 4 cups collard greens, enough for 4 (1-cup) servings.
  4. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 cupCalories: 149kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 12gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 339mgPotassium: 597mgFiber: 9gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 11426IUVitamin C: 83mgCalcium: 535mgIron: 1mg
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Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

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