Southern Collard Greens: A Hearty and Flavorful Southern Staple! 🌿🍽️🌶️

Southern Collard Greens are a popular dish that embodies the rich culinary heritage and comforting flavors of Southern cuisine. These tender greens are slow-cooked to perfection with savory ingredients such as smoked ham hock, onions, and spices, resulting in deep, smoky flavors and a satisfyingly hearty texture. Southern Collard Greens, whether served as a side dish alongside classic Southern favorites or as a nourishing meal on their own, will add warmth and comfort to any table. Let’s get into the recipe and enjoy the delicious taste of the South! 🌿🍽️🌶️.


  • 2 bunches collard greens (about 2 pounds), washed and trimmed
  • 1 smoked ham hock or smoked turkey leg
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, for heat)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
  • Hot sauce, for serving (optional)


1. Prepare the Collard Greens:

  1. Remove the tough stems from the collard greens and discard. Stack the leaves on top of each other, roll them into a tight bundle, and slice thinly into ribbons.

2. Cook the Smoked Ham Hock:

  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, place the smoked ham hock or smoked turkey leg along with the diced onion and minced garlic.
  2. Pour the chicken or vegetable broth over the ham hock and aromatics, ensuring that the meat is mostly submerged.
  3. Bring the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer gently, covered, for about 1 hour. This will infuse the broth with smoky flavor from the ham hock.

3. Add the Collard Greens:

  1. Once the ham hock has simmered for about 1 hour, add the sliced collard greens to the pot, a handful at a time, stirring well after each addition to wilt the greens.
  2. Season the collard greens with salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using). Stir to combine.
  3. Cover the pot and let the collard greens simmer over low heat for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until tender, stirring occasionally.

4. Finish and Serve:

  1. Once the collard greens are tender, remove the ham hock or turkey leg from the pot and let it cool slightly.
  2. Shred the meat from the ham hock or turkey leg, discarding any skin or bones. Return the shredded meat to the pot and stir well to combine with the collard greens.
  3. Stir in the apple cider vinegar or white vinegar to brighten the flavors of the collard greens.
  4. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt or pepper if needed.

5. Serve Hot:

  1. Serve the Southern Collard Greens hot, spooning them into bowls or onto plates.
  2. Drizzle with hot sauce, if desired, for extra heat and flavor.
  3. Enjoy your delicious Southern Collard Greens as a side dish or as a hearty main course!

Optional Tips:

  • For a vegetarian version, omit the smoked ham hock or turkey leg and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
  • You can customize the level of spice in your collard greens by adjusting the amount of red pepper flakes or adding a dash of your favorite hot sauce.
  • Leftover collard greens can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. They often taste even better the next day as the flavors have had time to meld together.

In conclusion, Southern Collard Greens are a staple of Southern cuisine, known for their rich flavors, hearty texture, and comforting appeal. These slow-cooked greens, whether served as a side dish or a filling meal on their own, are a true taste of the South, bringing warmth and flavor to any table. With a few simple ingredients and some time on the stove, you can recreate the magic of Southern cooking in your own kitchen and share the deliciousness of Southern Collard Greens with family and friends. Gather your ingredients, embrace the spirit of the South, and let the aroma of simmering collard greens fill your home with Southern hospitality!