Southern collard greens. When I tell you, these are the best Southern collard greens with ham hocks you will ever taste. It’s the truth.  They are bathed in just the right amount of flavor to leave you wanting to cook this Southern greens recipe every chance you can. It’s one easy recipe that I know you will continue recreating. You can serve these delicious collard greens with honey cornbread, rice, buttermilk fried chicken, and black-eyed peas. This is the perfect easy side dish for New Year’s Day or any time of year!


History of collard greens

Southern greens recipes have been around for years. Greens are prehistoric and are the oldest member of the cabbage family. Even though collard greens are definitely a southern thing, they originated from the Eastern Mediterranean. However, Africans were among the first to try collards and make an actual greens recipe.

Ingredients to southern collard greens

  • Collard Greens– Use a fresh bunch of leafy greens to create this southern-style collard greens. Try to use greens that are free from a ton of bruises and hole. The fresh greens will be a pot likker for sure!
  • Chopped Onion
  • Smoked Ham Hock
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Black Pepper 
  • Salt 
  • Chicken broth
  • Granulated sugar
  • Garlic powder

The full list of ingredients and instructions will be in the recipe card below

How To Cook Collard Greens

Cooking southern-style with ham hocks is easy and straight to the point. The only thing you will need to do is make sure you gather all of your ingredients. The steps are as follows.

Clean collard greens properly with cool water in a clean sink. The best way to cut them into is into bite-sized pieces and sit on the side. Its your preference if you want to cut off the thick stems off of your fresh collard greens.

Clean, rinse, and cut greens

To a medium-high heat dutch oven, add in ham hocks and fill the pot with water about an inch over the ham hocks. Allow boiling until the meat is able to be separated from the bone.


Add your greens along with the rest of the ingredients such as chicken stock. Allow simmering, occasionally stirring, until the collard greens with ham hocks are cooked down completely.


You can tell when the greens are done when they begin to lose their shape and become tender.


Southern greens have unlimited possibilities. You can switch up the meat in this collard greens with ham hock recipe and have a completely new taste. I will give you a list of different meats you can substitute in place of the ham hocks. You can also choose to make these soul food collard greens without the meat. That would make them vegan collard greens, which is also an option in this recipe.

Collard greens with bacon– Collard greens with bacon is a delicious and savory dish that combines the hearty flavors of smoky bacon with tender and nutritious collard greens, creating a perfect side dish or main course for a comforting meal. The smoky and salty bacon complements the slightly bitter greens, resulting in a mouthwatering combination that is quick to make and full of flavor.

Greens with smoked turkey neck- Greens with smoked turkey neck is a soulful and flavorful dish that combines the smokiness of turkey neck with the earthy taste of greens. The tender and succulent meat pairs perfectly with the hearty greens, creating a comforting and satisfying meal that is quick to prepare and packed with deliciousness.

Smoked turkey leg-Smoked turkey leg collard greens is a mouthwatering dish that brings together the rich and smoky flavors of a turkey leg with the hearty and nutritious collard greens. The meat from the smoked turkey leg infuses the greens with a deep, savory taste, while also adding a tender and juicy texture to the dish. The combination of the smokiness and the natural bitterness of the collard greens creates a delicious balance of flavors that is both satisfying and comforting. This dish is not only delicious but also a great way to incorporate protein and greens into your diet.

More Ideas

  • Collard greens with bacon-Collard greens with bacon is a popular Southern dish that combines the hearty greens with the smoky and salty flavors of bacon. The collard greens are simmered until tender in a flavorful broth, while the bacon adds a delicious crunch and a depth of flavor. This classic combination is a perfect side dish to accompany any Southern meal.
  • Bacon and onions-Bacon and onion collard greens is a delicious twist on the classic Southern dish. The combination of crispy bacon and caramelized onions adds a savory and smoky flavor to the tender collard greens. This dish is easy to make and perfect as a side for any Southern meal. The bacon and onion complement the greens beautifully, creating a mouthwatering dish that will leave you wanting seconds.
  • Collard greens with neck bones- Collard greens and neck bones is a traditional Southern dish that is full of flavor and soul. The collard greens are slow-cooked with meaty neck bones, creating a rich and hearty dish. The collard greens are simmered until tender and infused with the savory flavors of the neck bones. The meat from the neck bones becomes incredibly tender and falls off the bone, adding an extra layer of richness to the dish. This combination of collard greens and neck bones is a comforting and satisfying meal that is perfect for any occasion.
  • Turkey Necks-Collard greens and turkey necks is a delicious and nutritious dish that brings together the flavors of the South with a touch of Thanksgiving. The collard greens are cooked low and slow, allowing them to absorb the savory flavors from the turkey necks. The meaty turkey necks add a depth of flavor to the dish, while also providing a tender and succulent texture. The collard greens, known for their robust and slightly bitter taste, pair perfectly with the rich and savory turkey necks.


Turkey Bacon- Collard greens and turkey bacon is a flavorful and healthier twist on a traditional Southern dish. Collard greens, known for their earthy and slightly bitter taste, are paired with the smoky and slightly sweet flavor of turkey bacon. The turkey bacon adds a deliciously crispy and savory element to the dish, while also reducing the overall fat content compared to traditional pork bacon. This combination creates a nutritious and satisfying meal that is packed with vitamins and minerals. Collard greens and turkey bacon are a tasty and guilt-free option for those looking to enjoy a classic Southern dish with a healthier twist.

Brown Sugar– Adding brown sugar to collard greens is a popular way to enhance their flavor profile. Collard greens have a naturally bitter taste, and the addition of brown sugar helps to balance out that bitterness with a hint of sweetness. The brown sugar adds depth and complexity to the collard greens, creating a more layered and satisfying dish. It also provides a subtle caramelization as it cooks, which adds a touch of richness to the greens.


Fried Chicken– Add a fried chicken to your green. Break a little bit of small pieces of chicken into the greens to enjoy real black folks’ collard greens.

Collard Green and Cornbread– Add a side of cornbread to enhance the flavors of your green recipe.

Hot Sauce- Add a few hot sauce sprinkles to get that Southern feel.

Bacon Grease- If you have stovetop bacon that you have cooked you can add the grease to the pot once the collards are done and stir well.

Turnip greens– try adding a small amount of turnip greens to your collard greens.



The only equipment you will need for this southern collard greens with ham hocks is a good old stock pot. That is pretty much it.

Leftover Collard Greens

Storing these old-fashioned greens is pretty self-explanatory. Throw the leftover tender greens in a large bowl with a top, air-tight container, or ziplock bag and place them in the refrigerator until you are ready to warm up your soul food in the microwave.


How do you get the bitterness out of greens?

Bitterness in greens is definitely a thing. Some can taste it, and others cannot. The only thing you will need to do is about 1/2 to a teaspoon of salt. Make sure to sprinkle the salt on them when you are cooking them, and you should be good to go!

How to clean greens?

You will only need to run a sink full of lukewarm water and submerge your black folk’s collard greens recipe. Next, you will need to grab some baking soda (1-2 cups) and sprinkle it over the top along with ½ cup of white vinegar. This will help clean and tenderize the collard greens. So, you can use your hands and rub the collard greens until the greens no longer look dusty. You can also clean it with a rag.

How to cut greens?

I cut the stem from my easy collard greens recipe, but it’s entirely up to you. The stem is definitely hard, so it will make your greens take a lot longer to cook, so I suggest cutting the stem from the middle. I then place about 7 to 8 collard green together, roll them all together, and cut them up to the desired size.

How to cook a bag of greens

Cooking a bag of greens is just as you would cook regular soul food. As mentioned above, you are only skipping out on the cutting part, but you will definitely need to clean.

There you go; now you know how to make southern-style greens. Well, until next time, folks!

If you enjoyed these authentic southern collard greens recipe with ham hocks, please leave a comment below.

Here are other popular Southern recipes

Turkey wings

Baked Turkey Wings

Mac and Cheese

Turkey Legs

Fried Chicken without flour

The best Southern collard greens

When I tell you, these are the best Southern collard greens. It’s the truth.  They are bathed in just the right amount of flavor to leave you wanting to cook this recipe every chance you can.
The best Southern collard greens
Servings: 8 people
Calories 188
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes


  • 1 pound Collard greens fresh(3 Bunches)
  • 1/2 cup Sweet onions chopped
  • 2 Smoked ham hocks
  • 1 tbsp Pepper to your liking
  • 1/2 tbsp Salt to your liking
  • 1 tbsp Seasoning salt
  • 1 tbsp Garlic powder
  • 48 ounce Chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp Granulated sugar
  • Water Cooking ham hocks(enough to cover hocks)
  • 1 Teaspoon Hot Sauce


  • Clean and wash your collard greens properly
    1 pound Collard greens
  • Cut them into bite-sized pieces and sit on the side
    I don't cut my stems, you can if you like
  • Clean and wash your ham hocks thoroughly.
    In a stockpot, add in ham hocks and fill the pot with water about an inch over the ham hocks
    2 Smoked ham hocks, Water
  • Allow boiling until the meat is able to be separated from the bone
  • Next, add your collard greens to the same pot with ham hocks along with the rest of the ingredients
    Fill the pot with a 48oz box of chicken broth
    1/2 cup Sweet onions, 1 tbsp Pepper, 1/2 tbsp Salt, 1 tbsp Seasoning salt, 1 tbsp Garlic powder, 48 ounce Chicken broth, 2 tbsp Granulated sugar, 1 Teaspoon Hot Sauce
  • Allow to simmer, occasionally stirring, until the collard greens are cooked down completely.
  • Enjoy with my southern fried chicken


I don’t cut my stems, you can if you like. The stems add a ton of flavor and texture.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American

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