How To Cook Collard Greens

These are not your grandma’s collard greens, folks. Well, maybe they are if your grandma is, like, real progressive and doesn’t put bacon in EVERYTHING. But even if she is, she would probably still like these.

I forget when I started doing them like this. It’s been a few years, and I really don’t ever do greens any other way now. You can use any fresh greens you want: kale, mustard, turnip, chard, arugula, umm, spinach. I guess that’s all the greens. Anyway, softer things like spinach and arugula won’t need as long to cook and they will cook down a whole lot more than tougher greens.

So what I’m saying is that while you might get four servings out of a large bunch of collards, you’ll need more like two bunches of spinach to serve four people. You’ll see. But the method is the same for all of ’em and super simple and goes like this:

Collard Greens


How To Cook Collard Greens

A quick, healthy way to prepare collard greens

  • Yield: 4


  • 1 bunch of collard greens (12-16 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (or balsamic, or cider vinegar)


  1. Wash the greens well.
  2. Remove the bottom inch or so of the stems. Holding the bunch together with one hand, slice the whole thing into about 1″ slices, perpendicular to the stem.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the garlic; cook it for about 10-20 seconds until it just barely changes color to light blond (like me! But real.)
  4. Add the greens, putting the stemmy pieces on the bottom and the leafier pieces on top. Sprinkle with the red pepper and salt.
  5. After about 30 seconds, toss it around to move the top to the bottom and the bottom to the top and all mixed up good.
  6. Continue tossing until the greens have wilted slightly and are bright green.
  7. Remove from heat and add the vinegar. Serve hot or at room temperature, but honestly they’re better hot. Powering off.


  1. TAMMY on March 8, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    Being a good Southern girl, I love me some collard greens! But in the interest of good health, I know I shouldn’t cook them the old way (even though it tastes sooo good!). I will have to try this, so I can get my greens fix and still not feel bad about myself. LOL

    • Hilah Cooking on March 10, 2011 at 5:27 pm

      Hi Tammy! You’ll love this if you haven’t tried it yet! I promise. But you could always add a little bacon, too. 😉

  2. Randy on March 8, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    Well I’ll be damned. Just yesterday, after a bag of frozen collard greens fell out of my over-stuffed freezer for about the fourth time in a week, I was wondering if you’d be doing greens anytime soon. Right after that I went back to work on writing an article on cutting loose from paying cable companies obscene amounts of money for 500+ channels that are 90% crap. I was checking out to determine how useful it would be for finding substitutes for the Food Network and, of course, I searched for Hilah Cooking. That gave me the impression that this week’s show was on how to make a Hurricane, so I went to the store to buy passion fruit pulp to make passion fruit syrup with. So I was surprised this morning to find that the show is about collard greens! As you know, I mis-read the search results from or else I would have known that you made hurricanes in a guest appearance on another show. I guess I’ll head to the store and buy fresh collard greens and have a Hurricane while I’m making the greens (I think I’ll make your black-eyed peas as well).

    • Hilah Cooking on March 10, 2011 at 5:27 pm

      Oh Randy! You are a man after my own heart. Drinkin’ an’ cookin’ – two fun and dangerous activities that make each other better and slightly more dangerous. 🙂 HURRICANE!!!

  3. Great Stone Face on March 9, 2011 at 3:04 am

    Our original plan was to roast cauliflower or asparagus to have with the baked salmon tonight, but then I saw the collard greens video and said, “Why not greens instead?” The slight bite left in it was better than the mushiness in most Southern collard greens recipes.

    • Great Stone Face on March 9, 2011 at 4:14 pm

      We chopped up the leftover collards for a breakfast omelette. Added some color & spice with chopped kimchi & sriracha.

      • Hilah Cooking on March 10, 2011 at 5:23 pm

        Do you know one thing I like about you? It’s that you eat kimchi and sriracha together. 🙂

    • Hilah Cooking on March 10, 2011 at 5:24 pm

      That’s what I think, too! To hell with mushy vegetables!

  4. Owlbear on March 13, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    Don’t be hatin’ on Cracker Barrel! That’s some good (and unhealthy) stuff, yo! (I met my wife while working at Cracker Barrel in college, so it could just be nostalgia. 🙂 Keep on rockin’ the awesome vids!

    • Hilah Cooking on March 14, 2011 at 4:32 pm

      Oh, I have some good memories of Cracker Barrel, too, don’t get me wrong. But their greens are not one of them. 😉 Thanks for watching and writing, man!

  5. Jessica McConnell on March 21, 2011 at 1:54 am

    Hi Hilah! These collard greens look so good and healthy! Dark greens, vinegar, garlic… great! I’ll have to try them! I’ve always just done them with fat-back!

    • Hilah Cooking on March 21, 2011 at 12:50 pm

      They are super amazing, Jessica! Thanks! Please try it and let me know how you like it!

  6. Scott on April 5, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Love the episode Hilah! I’m doing a final harvest on Chard this week I’ll have to try this out!

    • Hilah Cooking on April 5, 2011 at 6:45 pm

      Yes, Scott! It shall be delightful!

  7. Just this guy. on April 20, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    Dude[tte]! Collard Greens? Southern? We need to talk.

    It’s all about the Turnip Greens, babe. 2/3rds, plus 1/3 Mustard greens. A chuck of Salt Pork. Couple or so strips of bacon. Tabasco or Sriracha or something. Other crap to taste. Simmer the living hell out of the stuff, a few hours, until it’s mostly liquor (yay, liquor!) and serve with some bad ass hard-core corn bread, none of that sweet crap. The real thing.

    Trust me, as an Alabamian. Alabamite. Alabaminian. Whatever. This is the stuff that makes Heaven sound like a workable solution. Collards? Pah!

    • Hilah Cooking on April 21, 2011 at 6:20 am

      Oh, man. Are you gonna second-guess EVERYTHING I do?! 😉
      I like overcooked, salty, bacony, Tabascoey mustard greens as much as the next girl but sometimes you gotta change it up. Variety and spice and life and whatever, you know?

  8. Sam on June 24, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    My husband hates mushy vegetables, so he has never liked greens. I’m definately going to try this! It looks yummy and healthy. By the way, what is the can that you put the ends of the leaves in? It’s cute and seems it could be really handy.

    • Hilah on June 25, 2012 at 10:14 am

      Hi Sam!
      This sounds like a perfect recipe for your husband, then! I hope you like it. I also do kale this way and we really enjoy it.
      The compost bucket is this one.
      My grandma gave it to me and I LOVE it. There’s a charcoal filter in the lid that keeps it from smelling up the joint until it’s full and time to take it to the outdoor bin.
      Thanks for writing!

  9. Lucy on October 5, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    Ok, so I’m a little late to the party, but I STILL like to party! Tonight, on the way home from a 7 hour trip to visit family and eating a LOT of fried food for the past 3 days, my partner suggested we cook black eyed peas, collards and cornbread for supper. So, since I was feeling WAY over my limit on the grease, I googled “collard greens recipe healthy”, and voila! Your recipe appeared. I tried it tonight and it is definitely a KEEPER!!!!! The only addition I made was onion. I cooked it with the garlic. I won’t go back to the old way of cooking them again. Thanks from a Texas girl looking to stay healthy!

    • Hilah on October 7, 2013 at 9:45 am

      Awesome! Yay, Lucy!
      I’m so happy you like these. I love them this way, althoughI do love bacon grease and all that stuff, too. 😀

  10. Jennifer on April 23, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    Quick & delicious! I combined collards and spinach and used a pomegranate infused balsamic. Heavenly! I might not have leftovers 🙂

    • Hilah on April 24, 2014 at 1:50 pm

      Ooh, that sounds fantastic, Jennifer! Thank you.

  11. Rachel on July 10, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    I LOVE these greens! They are smack-tastic!! I like to enjoy them along with your black-eyed peas all mixed together over brown rice. YUM! nom, nom, nom

    • Hilah on July 11, 2014 at 8:19 am

      Dang that sounds like a winning combination!

  12. Sue on October 7, 2017 at 9:00 am

    How do you think lemon juice instead of vinegar?

    • Hilah on October 7, 2017 at 9:23 am

      Different, but still good I think!

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