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Southern Collard Greens – made with your favorite smoky pork, a pinch of sweet, and a dash of heat, topped off with a splash of tangy vinegar. A classic southern dish cooked slow until tender and delicious.

A large cooking pot filled with these southern collard greens and a wooden spoon

I grew up in a small southern town and was raised by mom from Baltimore, northerner as my dad would say, and daddy was a native Floridian. My mom moved to Florida right out of high school, so she pretty much considers herself southern. Her roots are from Virginia, as that is where my grandparents were from. So much of my cooking style have been influenced by these many southern roots.

My dad’s mom was a southern cook and I can still remember sitting at her dining room table as a little girl while she fried up the best cornbread I have ever eaten. Along with so many other things!! I also may have mentioned before she never wrote her recipes down. I sure wish they had been important to me back then. I would give anything to have them now.

Her love for country style cooking was rooted deep within me from childhood. And what I love most about it, is serving it to people I love and making them happy. I know I say that a lot, but honestly, I cannot say it enough. It really gives me joy to feed my people!

As for feeding them greens, MOST of them LOVE them. If you have been following a long you will also know who doesn’t eat these or many things green in my house. Yup – my son. He just really doesn’t know what he is missing out on. These collards are so simply made and packed full of delicious smoky flavor.

They are a staple here in the south. Whether you are enjoying while ringing in the New Year, for a bit of added prosperity, or serving them with your favorite Southern Fried Pork Chops on a Sunday afternoon, they are absolutely the BEST!

A large cooking pot filled with these southern collard greens and a wooden spoon

What You Need to Southern Collard Greens

  • collard greens
  • Some sort of smoky pork – bacon, ham hocks, ham shanks, or a leftover ham bone with some meat left on it.
  • onion
  • garlic
  • chicken stock or broth
  • salt
  • black pepper
  •  sugar
  • red pepper flakes
  • white vinegar
Wooden serving spoon scoop full of southern collard greens.

How to make Country Style Collard Greens

Step 1.   If you are using bacon. You can either cut in up in pieces or leave whole or in pieces large enough to pull out if you don’t want to leave them in. Or use a ham bone, hock or shank. Today, I am making mine with a ham shank. They all give that smoky flavor. You can leave the meat and shred up any cooked ham or take it out.

Whatever makes your belly happy! (I seriously, almost typed hammy – I must need more sleep) With that being said, if you are using bacon, add it to a Dutch oven or large pot to render some of the fat. (If you are using ham, we will add it in a bit).

Step 2.   Cook about a minute on medium heat and then add in the onion. Let the onion cook about 1 minute and then add in the minced garlic. Let the garlic cook about 1 minute.

Step 3.   Make sure your collards are clean and cut or torn into pieces and add them into the pot. Give them a good stir. Most grocery stores now carry them cut, cleaned all ready for you. I still always give another good rinsing before I use them.

Step 4.   Next add in salt, black pepper, a pinch of sugar and a dash of red pepper flakes (or desired amount depending on the heat you like). 

Step 5.   Pour in chicken stock and add in ham bone, shank, or hock. Stir. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer (on my stove usually a medium to medium low heat depending on the pot I use). Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until tender.

Step 6.   Stir in vinegar (optional) and serve.


Pot of Southern Collard greens with a wooden spoon scooped full of greens.

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A large cooking pot filled with these southern collard greens and a wooden spoon
4.84 from 12 votes

(click stars to rate)

Southern Collard Greens

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Nikki Lee
Southern Collard Greens – made with your favorite smoky pork, a pinch of sweet, and a dash of heat, topped of with a splash of tangy vinegar. A classic southern dish cooked slow until tender and delicious.
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  • 2 pounds collard greens, washed and chopped or torn
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 to 2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • pinch sugar
  • dash red pepper flakes
  • 1 pork shank, or bacon, ham hock or ham bone with meat
  • 3 cups chicken stock or broth
  • splash white vinegar


  • In dutch oven or large pot, over medium high heat, drizzle olive oil in pan and saute onion for 1 minute. Add in garlic and saute another minute.
  • Place collard greens into pan and give a stir.
  • Add in salt, black pepper, sugar, and red pepper flakes.
  • Pour in chicken stock and place ham shank or desired pork into pot and stir.
  • Bring to a boil on high heat, reduce to simmer, cover, and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours (stirring occasionally) or until tender.
  • Add a splash of vinegar and serve.


If you are using bacon, you may omit the olive oil and start by sauteing bacon for about 1 to 2 minutes before adding the onion in the first step.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1serving Calories: 80kcal (4%) Carbohydrates: 10g (3%) Protein: 6g (12%) Fat: 3g (5%) Saturated Fat: 0.5g (3%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 3mg (1%) Sodium: 439mg (19%) Potassium: 348mg (10%) Fiber: 5g (21%) Sugar: 2g (2%) Vitamin A: 5695IU (114%) Vitamin C: 41mg (50%) Calcium: 269mg (27%) Iron: 1mg (6%)

Nutritional Disclaimer

Soulfully Made is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.

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4.84 from 12 votes (10 ratings without comment)

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  1. 5 stars
    I was born and raised in Atlanta so of course I already know this recipe and it’s a great recipe I love it thank you

  2. 5 stars
    I made this tonight for my Southern wife. It passed her “home cooking” test and was easily the best tasting batch of New Year’s collards I’ve ever made. Thanks for making collards great again. I’ll be going back to this one!

  3. My daddy was from South Carolina, they always used fat back (salt pork) in the greens, so o it’s what I always use. Also, for alot of good southern receipes, look online for the “White Trash Cooking” series! Funny stories and great old receipes!

    1. Fat back works as well too! I’ll have to take a look I love funny stories and old recipes! Happy New Year Leilani!

    1. Thank you my friend! It’s time to ring in a New Year with lots of delicious dishes and hopefully a little good fortune! 🙂 Much love and many blessings to you in this New Year!