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southern collard greens in small white bowl with piece of corn bread on top

Southern Collard Greens Recipe

  • Author: Quin Liburd
  • Prep Time: 20m
  • Cook Time: 2hr
  • Total Time: 2 hr 20m
  • Yield: 8-10 1x
  • Category: Sides
  • Method: Braising
  • Cuisine: Southern


A truly authentic and timeless southern collard greens recipe that is amazing for any occasion! Fresh collard greens broken down into bite-sized pieces that slowly simmer away and tenderize in a rich, meaty, and flavorful broth; better known as the pot likker. This quintessential staple among Southerners and Black folks is an absolute must to be had!


  • 2 tablespoons oil, olive/canola/vegetable
  • 2 large smoked ham hocks (or 2 lbs of alternate choice of meat)
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups (32 ounces) chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce, plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon light or dark packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 lbs collard greens- cleaned, de-stemmed, and chopped into bite-sized pieces


  1. In a large dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high heat, warm up the oil. Once the oil shimmers, add in the ham hocks/alternate meat, and let cook for 5-7 minutes- turning the meat every so often.
  2. Add in the chopped onion and stir around with the meat until the onions soften and become tender, about 4-5 minutes. Then add in the garlic, red pepper flakes, salt/pepper-to desired preference level, chicken stock, hot sauce, and stir to combine. 
  3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pot with a lid and allow the mixture to cook for at least 1 hour to simmer.
  4. After simmering, the meat should be very tender. Remove the meat from the pot and let cool down for a few minutes. Then use a fork or your hands (fitted with disposable gloves, if desired) to tear the meat off the bones. Then discard the bones along with any excess fatty parts and add the pieces of meat back into the pot.
  5. Add in the sugar, vinegar, and collard greens. Stir well to combine all ingredients together, the greens will wilt down significantly. Cover the pot once more with lid and allow the greens to braise together over medium-low heat for at least another 1 – 1 1/2 hours.
  6. Taste the greens and season with more salt/pepper, and hot sauce, if desired. Serve and enjoy!


  1. Collard greens will keep in refrigerator for up to one week in an airtight container.

Keywords: sides, collard greens