Collard Greens Recipe

I love cooking collard greens. Period. I mean I enjoy eating them even more, of course. But cooking them just makes me feel good. It reminds me of southern cooking and southern cooking reminds me of my grandmother. How I do miss her.

Oddly enough, though, I didn't grow-up eating collard greens and cornbread. I didn't like either one as a kid or young adult. Weird, huh? But I love 'em now, I can tell you that much. And my wife loves them, too. In fact, when I make this collard greens recipe, she will often eat the greens cold, right out of the 'fridge.

It's nice when someone loves and appreciates your cookin'.

Like most things I make, I have several recipes or ways to prepare it. It's no different with these collard greens. This is the easy, yet still super delish recipe that I make most often. There is my slightly more complex (and less healthy) collard greens recipe that includes fried bacon, bacon drippings, ham hocks, and red peppers.

I also have a no-meat collard greens recipe. The no-meat version does use chicken broth, though. The point is, cooking collard greens can be done in so many wonderful ways!

Here we go...

Collard Greens Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Southern
Serves: 5-6
  • 5-6 bunches of collard greens
  • 1 large or 2 small smoked turkey wings*
  • 8-10 cups of water
  • ⅓ cup of sugar
  • ⅓ cup white vinegar
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 tbls garlic salt
  • Lawry's Seasoned Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

  • *You can also use a smoked turkey drumstick. You might want to make some incisions in the meat so that it will fall apart quicker, which is what you want.
  1. Fill large pot with 8 to 10 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Add smoked turkey to boiling water. Cover pot and boil for an 1-1/2 hours.
  2. While turkey is boiling, put greens in sink, fill with water and wash thoroughly. Depending on the greens, you may have to do this several times.
  3. Remove thickest part of stem from each leaf.
  4. Stack a handful of the cleaned collard greens on top of each other, roll them up and cut in 1-inch wide slices. (You can also tear them into medium-sized pieces with your hand.)
  5. Place cut greens in pot with smoked turkey. Depending on the size of your pot, you may have to add the greens in batches. However, they will boil down (see photo below).
  6. Add garlic salt, sugar, vinegar, sliced onion, and red pepper flakes. Cover and boil on medium-high heat for another hour. Stir your greens often to distribute pieces of the smoked turkey and it's flavor throughout the greens. If the broth has begun to evaporate below the surface of the greens, add a little more hot water.
  7. After boiling your greens for an hour, taste them. If necessary, season greens with Lawry's Seasoned Salt to taste. You can also add a pinch more sugar and/or a ¼ cup of additional vinegar if you want a slightly more intense flavor. From this point, just boil greens for another 30 min. to an hour and you're done!
Uncooked collard greens next to pot on stove
All the collard greens in the this large aluminum tray boiled down to just half of the pot on the stove.

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