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How to Cook Collard Greens with Bacon

Collard greens are one of the foods commonly served on New Year’s Day in southern families. Notably, Southern-style collard greens and Brazilian collard greens, known as “Couve à Mineira,” were inherited from Africa.

Though collard greens are often associated with West African cuisine like peanut soup, you will love to try some Southern collard greens with bacon; it’s tasty.

I will show you how to cook collard greens with bacon in a step-by-step guide with excellent tips to help you through your cooking. Moreover, you will find that this dish comes out soft, tender, and tasty.

Collard Greens Nutrition Facts

How To Cook Collard Greens with Bacon

Tips on How to Cook Collard Greens with Bacon

Clean the Collard Greens – Dirts are typically found in the leaves of collard greens. You can place the leaves in a big dish of cold water to clean them. To loosen the dirt, you may have to swish them around. You can then remove the leaves from the water and dispose of the contaminated water.

Trim it – Get a knife or scissors, then remove the rough stems from the collard greens. Go ahead, put a few leaves together, roll them up, and cut them into strips diagonally.

Storage – You can refrigerate raw collard greens in a plastic bag and do not wash them until ready to use to extend their shelf life. If stored properly, raw collard greens will keep in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.

Collard greens that have already been cooked can be frozen for up to 12 months by placing them in small plastic bags and freezing them whole. You will find that adding a couple of the already cooked collard greens during the cooking process may spice up your recipe.

Blanch it – Greens that have not been blanched correctly can quickly lose their fresh flavor when frozen. To eliminate the enzymes in greens, blanch them in boiling water or steam for a few minutes before freezing.

Blanch the collard greens for three minutes. As soon as you place the collard greens in the boiling water, you can start counting.

Flavor it up – You can add a teaspoon of smoked paprika to the broth you will use in the recipe; this will boost the smokey taste. Remember to add apple cider vinegar to the broth as well.

The vinegar adds a nice acidic accent that brightens the dish and balances the salty and savory elements.

Notably, a tablespoon of sugar contributes to the dish’s overall balance. You can add a tablespoon of red pepper flakes or serve the completed dish with hot pepper vinegar and hot sauce on the side if you like your greens spicy.

Collard Greens with Bacon

  • Begin by heating a large skillet over medium heat to cook the bacon and onions. Cook the bacon in the skillet – tossing it periodically – until it browns around the edges.
  • Then proceed to cook – to stir occasionally – until the onions have softened and are beginning to brown.
  • You can combine the garlic, salt, pepper, sugar, and spicy sauce in a mixing bowl. Then cook for 1 minute or until the garlic is aromatic.
  • Then simmer – stirring and scraping up any browned pieces from the bottom of the skillet – until the amount of fluid has been reduced by half.
  • Proceed to combine the collard greens with the chicken broth (or water).
  • Now you want the heat to drop to a low simmer. Therefore, reduce the heat to a medium-low setting. Then cook – stirring periodically – until the collard greens have wilted and lost their vibrant green color.
  • You can season with more vinegar and spicy sauce to taste.
  • Serve and enjoy with a splash of the pan juices.


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Cooking Time to Cook Collard Greens with Bacon

Typically, chefs and home cooks frequently cook collard greens until they are completely wilted. You will find that the tougher the leaves are, the longer they will take to boil.

However, collard greens are used in various culinary traditions, and they are prepared in a variety of ways, sometimes very fast.

Preparation Time

Cooking Time

Total Time

15 minutes

30 minutes

45 minutes

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Braised Collard Greens with Bacon (4 Servings)

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Step 1 – Start by removing the tough stems from the collard greens. Then cut the collard greens and trim them. You can cut the clipped greens into ½ inch ribbons with a knife.

Step 2 – Get a large skillet over medium heat, then cook the bacon for about 8 to 10 minutes until it is crispy. Then you will have to transfer it – with a slotted spoon – to a platter, leaving all of the luscious bacon fat left to cook the collard greens in.

Step 3 – In the same skillet, add the red pepper flakes and onions. Make sure you have enough oil budgeted for the bacon, or you may need extra fat in the pan depending on the bacon you buy. You can also add the canola oil if necessary.

Step 4 – 5 to 7 minutes later, you should note the onions are mellow, aromatic, and beginning to brown. Then add the garlic. Go on to add the collard greens and continue to stir until they are softened.

Step 5 – You can add the chicken broth and wine to the mix and then simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes until the greens are soft.

Step 6 – You can now return the bacon to the pan once the greens are cooked. Then, add the lemon juice and season the dish with salt and pepper.

Make sure the bacon is not overcooked. It should be slightly brown around the edges and slightly raw in the center.

You can watch and use this video recipe for cooking collard greens with bacon.

  • Author: Bobby