Kickin' Collard Greens


If you like collard greens you will love this recipe. The bacon and onions give them a wonderful flavor. Add more red pepper for a little more spice.

Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
1 hrs 10 mins
6 servings

Southern-style collard greens are savory comfort food with a deliciously zesty kick. This classic, down-home side dish features fresh chopped collard greens cooked with crumbled bacon and chicken broth for a perfectly tender finish. Learn how to make this tantalizingly spicy Southern recipe and bring the meat and three right to your door. Plus, get the best methods for storing and freezing.

Collard Green Ingredients

Simple pantry ingredients and affordable produce come together to make this treasured dish. Bacon, garlic, and onion create the flavor base, while chicken broth acts as the braising liquid. Red pepper flakes add a fiery element that you can dial up or down based on preference.

How to Cut and Wash Collard Greens

Since collard greens grow in the ground, you'll want to give them a good wash before you use them. You can wash the greens cut or whole, but we suggest washing after cutting for the most thorough clean (just remember to rinse the cutting board and knife, too).

Start by pulling or cutting the woody stem away from the leaves. Roughly cut the greens into two-inch pieces or strips. Culinary producer Nicole McLaughlin (a.k.a. NicoleMcMom) recommends rolling or folding the large leaves to make the process a little quicker and easier.

Once the greens are cut, it's time to wash. Submerge the greens in water (using a large bowl or salad spinner) and allow the grit to fall to the bottom. Drain in a colander and rinse again under running water.

How to Make Collard Greens

Making a tender, flavorful pot of collard greens couldn't be easier. You'll find the full recipe below with step-by-step instructions, but here's what you can expect when you make this top-rated recipe;

Begin by cooking bacon slices in a skillet until crisp. Remove the bacon from heat, crumble, and add back to the pan along with chopped onion and garlic.

Next, add fresh cut collard greens to the mixture. Cook them gently, just until they begin to wilt, before pouring in broth and seasonings. Reduce heat and let the collard greens cook low and slow — about 45 minutes will result in silky, spicy greens that any Southern grandma would be proud to serve.

How to Serve Collard Greens

These classic collard greens pair perfectly with all kinds of Southern dishes, from fried chicken to country ham. Nicole suggests serving them with barbecue chicken and cornbread for a down-home meal that'll please everyone at your table.

How to Store and Freeze Collard Greens

Before cooking, fresh (and unwashed) collard greens can be stored in the refrigerator for four to five days. They can also be frozen ahead of time — blanched greens can last for months in the freezer before cooking.

What about leftovers? Southern collard greens are usually cooked in large batches, so freezing the remaining portions is a great way to have a delicious side dish on hand when you're short on time. Freeze cooked collard greens in small plastic bags as-is. They'll last up to 12 months.

Allrecipes Community Tips and Praise

"I just cooked these greens with black-eyed peas, cornbread, and pork chops, " shares home cook Shelby. "We're in the South and my husband has eaten A LOT of collards. He's raving right now!"

"Just the right balance of flavors," says reviewer Alexis. "The only variations I made were more bacon and onions, and a dash of apple cider vinegar. I don't think I'll ever prepare these any other way!"

"Being from the north, I had no idea what to even do with collard greens, says Laura. "I used this recipe and found out that not only are they easy to prepare, I like collard greens!

Editorial contributions by Rai Minceyand Corey Williams


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 3 slices bacon

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 pound fresh collard greens, cut into 2-inch pieces

  • 3 cups chicken broth

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon pepper

  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes


  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add bacon, and cook until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove bacon from pan, crumble, and return to the pan.

  2. Add onion to the pan and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, and cook until just fragrant. Add collard greens, and fry until they start to wilt.

  3. Pour in chicken broth and season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until greens are tender, about 45 minutes.

    a close up view of a bowl of cooked collards
    Dotdash Meredith Food Studio

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

127 Calories
9g Fat
8g Carbs
4g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 127
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g 12%
Saturated Fat 3g 13%
Cholesterol 12mg 4%
Sodium 1001mg 44%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 29mg 146%
Calcium 120mg 9%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 205mg 4%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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