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How Long Does It Take Collard Greens to Cook

In most regions of the world, collard greens are a common vegetable. Though it’s no secret that the greens are a Southern favorite.

Collard greens are one of the oldest members of the cabbage family, dating back to prehistoric times. Collard greens are supposed to have originated near Greece. Through the transatlantic slave trade, they eventually made their way to the American South.

You might be wondering how long it really takes collard greens to cook. Read on to find out more about collard greens and tips that work for any recipe, I also provided a detailed timing for your cooking to be excellent and a favorite recipe you’d enjoy too.


Collard Greens Nutrition Facts

How Long Does It Take Collard Greens To Cook

Tips on How to Cook Collard Greens

Clean and Trim – Collard greens must be properly cleaned because dirt tends to accumulate in the ribs of the leaves.

Rinse each leaf well. Then soak the leaves in cold water in a wide bowl or a clean sink. To help any dirt to fall to the bottom of the sink or bowl, swish the leaves around in the water.

Lift out each leaf, do not drain the leaves into a colander if you are using a bowl, otherwise, you’ll end up spilling all the soil back over them.

Residual cooking liquid – Any residual cooking liquid should not be discarded because it has a lot of flavors. Some folks use it to moisten cornbread and offer it on the side. You may also use it to boil beans or make hearty soup stock with it. It can be kept in the fridge for a few days or frozen for months.

Flavoring – When sautéing the onions, add a chopped chile or a couple of sprinkles of chili flakes for spicy collards. Just before serving, you can sprinkle with a little vinegar.

How to Cook Collard Greens

Step 1 – In a large pot over high heat, you can bring the water and ham hock to a boil. Then make sure you reduce the heat to keep the mixture at a low simmer, go on to add the garlic cloves. Cover slightly.

Step 2 – Proceed to cook for 2 hours, monitoring regularly and adding more water as needed to keep the ham hock soaked in.

Step 3 – Prepare the collards in the meantime. In cold water, make sure you thoroughly wash the collards.

Step 4 – Proceed to cut them in half while removing the stem – slicing along either side of the stem with your knife, this will remove the central stem. Alternatively, you can use your hands to separate the leaves from the stalk. Make sure you are cutting the collard halves crosswise into thick ribbons after stacking them in a single pile. You should also dice your onions now.

Step 5 – You can transfer the ham hock to a dish to cool after 2 hours. Then return the ham broth to a low simmer with the collards. Proceed to cook for at least 45 minutes for chewy collards or up to 2 hours for silky-soft collards, making sure you leave it partially covered.

Step 6 – Shred the ham. Discard the rest of the ham hock after shredding the meat.

Step 7 – In a large frying pan, melt the bacon fat or oil over medium heat. Cook it for about 15 minutes – stirring occasionally – until the onion is cooked and shiny.

Step 8 – Make sure you continue to heat until the onions begin to brown, then add the ham. Take the pan off the heat and set it aside until the collards are done.

Step 9 – Turn off the heat when the collards are done. Then proceed to transfer the collards from the pot to the pan with the onions using tongs. You can include the garlic cloves, which will be extremely soft and easily mashed into the collards.

Step 10 – Sauté over medium heat until all of the flavors have melded, you can add a few ladles of the cooking liquid to moisten the greens near the end. You can also season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Slow cooking is also another befitting method of cooking collard greens. To prepare Crockpot collard greens, first, sauté the collards, then transfer them to your crockpot, cover, and cook until soft.

How Long Does It Take Collard Greens to Cook 

Preparation Time Cook Time Total Time
30 minutes 2 hours 2 hours, 30 minutes

I like a little texture and chewiness in my collards, so I cook them a little less than the recipe calls for, which could be about 45 minutes less.

You can cook the collards for the full two hours if you want super soft and silky collards.

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How Long Does It Take Collard Greens To Cook (2)

Tasty Collard Greens (10 servings)

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This is a traditional collard greens recipe with smoked turkey to enhance flavor.


  1. In a large pot, begin by heating the olive oil over medium heat. You can add the garlic and cook until it is light brown. You can also add the turkey leg and the chicken stock to the pot.
  2. Proceed to simmer for 30 minutes with the lid on the pot.
  3. Turn the heat to medium-high and proceed to add the collard greens to the cooking pot. You can allow 45 minutes for the greens to simmer down, make sure you are stirring periodically.
  4. Go ahead to reduce the heat to medium and then season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Cook for another 45 to 60 minutes until the greens are tender and dark green.
  6. Drain the greens and set aside the liquid. To reheat the dish leftovers, you can simply use the liquid.
  7. If desired, you can add red pepper flakes.

If you don’t fry them first, you will need to boil them for at least two hours with some kind of meat to lessen the bitterness of the greens in general.

You can watch this video recipe to know how to cook collard greens and how long it takes.

  • Author: Bobby