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collard greens in a small white bowl with a silver fork

Southern Collard Greens Recipe

  • Author: Quin
  • Prep Time: 20m
  • Cook Time: 2hr
  • Total Time: 2 hr 20m
  • Yield: 8-10 1x


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, canola/vegetable
  • 2 large smoked ham hocks (or 2 lbs of alternate choice of meat)
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • freshly cracked black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 4 cups (32-ounces) chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce, plus more for serving
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 lbs collard greens; cleaned, de-stemmed, and cut into 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 on all sides for 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add in the chopped onion and stir around with the meat until onions soften and become translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Then add in the garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, chicken stock, hot sauce, and stir to combine. 
  3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pot with a lid to let mixture cook for at least 1 hour to simmer. After simmering, the meat should be very tender at this stage.
  4. Remove meat from pot and let cool for a few minutes. Use a fork or your hands to tear the meat off the bones, discard bones, and add pieces of meat back into 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 again with lid and allow the greens to slow cook over medium-low heat for at least another hour. 
  6. Taste 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.
  • Category: Sides
  • Method: Braising
  • Cuisine: Southern

Keywords: sides, collard greens