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person holding a bowl of collard greens

Southern Style Collard Greens

  • Author: Brooke
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hours 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 3 1/2 cups 1x


Southern style collard greens is an easy recipe that is healthy, spicy, and delicious.  Learn how to make greens on the stovetop or crock pot with ham hocks, vinegar, and onions.  This popular soul food makes a great Sunday dinner idea that the whole family will love.



  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (15 ml)
  • 1 1/4 cups yellow onion, chopped (190g)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock (355 ml)
  • 1 1/2 cups filtered water (355 ml)
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound fresh collard greens, washed and chopped (477 g) Can easily be doubled.
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar (10 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar, packed
  • 3 ham hocks, roughly 1 1/4 cups of meat (2 pounds; 907g)
  • 1 cup smoked ham, shredded


Stovetop Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Saute the chopped onion for 6 minutes, then add the minced garlic and saute for one minute, stirring constantly.  Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Using the same pot, fry the cleaned and chopped collards in small batches over medium heat until they wilt, stirring after adding each new batch.  Put the wilted greens in a bowl to make room in the pot.
  3. Once all the collards are wilted, put them back in the pot and pour in the chicken stock, water, red pepper flakes, brown sugar, and vinegar and stir.  Place the three ham hocks into the pot, making sure they are mostly surrounded by the greens.
  4. Bring the covered pot to a boil, then turn it down and let it simmer for one hour.  Taste test at 1 hour mark.  If you like your greens more tender, let it simmer a bit longer.
  5. Remove the ham hocks after the first hour, let them cool, and shred the meat from them.
  6. Drain the greens, being careful to reserve the liquid (potlikker) for its nutritional value and taste.  Use this to pour on top of individual servings of greens and sop it up with cornbread.
  7. Stir in the shredded ham hocks and shredded ham, then serve warm and garnish with extra ham.  Set out the potlikker for guests to pour on top.  Serve with cornbread.

Crockpot Instructions

  1. Place the ham hocks, onions, garlic, water, and chicken stock in a 6-quart crock pot.  Cover and cook on high for a total of 6 hours.
  2. After 4 hours, the ham hocks will be done.  Use tongs to start pull the meat off the bones.  Leave the meat and bones in the crockpot until the 6 hours are complete.
  3. After 4 hours of cooking, add the cleaned and cut collard greens, the spices (salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes), and brown sugar.  Pour in the apple cider vinegar.
  4. Stir, cover, and cook for 2 more hours.  Serve with extra ham, potlikker, and cornbread.


  • Use pre-washed collard greens, if you’re in a hurry.
  • Help this vegetable remain green and reduce the gas by adding a pinch of baking soda.
  • This recipe is easy to double or triple if you need to make more for a crowd.
  • Use the ribs for vegetable stock, and place them in a freezer bag for future use.
  • Use this recipe for mustard or turnip greens, if you can’t find collards at the store.
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: soul food collard greens recipe, easy collard greens recipe

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