Fall and Winter, Intermediate, Side Dishes, Slow Cooker, Southern

Slow Cooker Collard Greens

Try this set it and forget it recipe for slow cooker collard greens. Collards are slowly simmered with bacon until tender for a truly tasty Southern side.

Slow Cooker Collard Greens

Slow Cooker Collard Greens

uncooked collard greens in a slow cooker with three pieces of bacon laying on top

One Sunday afternoon after church, The Husband asked if I would teach him how to cook greens. He was having a hankering, but he knew cooking greens took some doin’. Instead of burdening me with the task, he wanted to learn to make them himself.

Of course I obliged. You teach a man to fish …

Prior to that Sunday afternoon, it had been awhile since I’d prepared greens. Once they had simmered on the stove for a couple hours, I took a bite to make sure they were seasoned properly … then I took another bite … and another bite.

Needless to say, over the next few days I enjoyed The Husband’s pot of greens just as much as he did. It got me thinking … instead of stirring a pot for two hours, what if I could dump everything in a slow cooker, set it and forget it, and have a perfectly cooked pot of greens by the end of the day?

cooked collard greens in a slow cooker

This was a last minute decision on Monday morning. I had just bought four bunches of fresh collards from the store with the intention to cooking them over the weekend. And then I didn’t. Now a busy week had begun and I just didn’t have time to baby sit a simmering pot for two hours. Out comes the trusty old slow cooker.

Traditional Cooking Methods

Traditional cooking methods use a smoked ham hock to add flavor. That’s what I use in my Southern Turnip Greens recipe. However, on this particular day I didn’t have a ham hock. I had bacon. I had to work with what was on hand. And I may have added a few tablespoons of bacon grease to the crock.

I am a Southern girl. I keep a mason jar of bacon grease in the fridge. You never know when it might come in handy.

The Slow Cooker Method

After washing and chopping my greens, I stuffed them all in the crock of my slow cooker. Remember, they cook down to almost nothing, so stuff those suckers in tight. After adding a few quarts of water and some apple cider vinegar, I set the timer on my slow cooker for five hours and muttered a prayer under my breath.

Five hours later as I lifted the lid and peeked inside, I was pleasantly surprised by what I found. Tender greens as flavorful as if I had simmered them on the stove all afternoon. As far as I’m concerned, this is the way to cook greens, y’all.


cooked collard greens topped with bacon in a white bowl

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Slow Cooker Collard Greens
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5 from 8 votes

Slow Cooker Collard Greens

Try this set it and forget it recipe for slow cooker collard greens. Collards are slowly simmered with bacon until tender for a truly tasty Southern side.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Southern
Cook Time 5 hours
Servings 4 people
Calories 290kcal
Author Lisa B.

Ingredients

  • 4 large bunches of collard greens
  • 6 ounces bacon or 1 smoked ham hock
  • 3 tablespoons bacon grease
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 quarts of water
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Thoroughly wash your greens to remove any dirt or grit.
  • Remove the tough center stems from the leaves and discard. Coarsely chop the greens.
  • Pack the greens into the crock of a slow cooker (I used a 6-quart slow cooker. Remember, the greens will cook down a lot, so don’t stress if your crock pot seems a little full).
  • Coarsely chop the bacon and add it to the crock. Add the bacon grease, apple cider vinegar, water, and sugar. Season with salt and pepper. Give everything a stir.
  • If you are using a ham hock instead of bacon, nestle the ham hock into the greens.
  • Cook your greens on low for 5 hours until tender. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Nutrition

Calories: 290kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 38mg | Sodium: 298mg | Potassium: 125mg | Vitamin A: 15IU | Calcium: 210mg | Iron: 0.2mg

10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This looks like such an easy and delicious recipe!

  2. 5 stars
    I’m kind of ashamed to admit that I’ve never had collard greens before. I like that you’ve also given the option to use a ham hock in place of the bacon, it’s a great (but often) overlooked ingredient!

  3. 5 stars
    I’ll have to give them a go in the slow cooker. It’s about time I took it out again and started using it.

  4. 5 stars

    This looks great! I love your method and can’t wait to try these greens! My grandma is from the south so I always like to try this type of food. Thanks for the recipe!

  5. 5 stars
    I am a little sceptical of vinager. Will it change the taste much? Is this optional or will it be a total different taste than what I am thinking?

  6. Do you put the bacon in raw or cooked?

  7. 5 stars
    Very happy to come upon your site as I was looking to cook turnip greens for the first time. I am a Northern lady from WNY area. I have been looking up recipe for southern ways of cooking all greens I can get my hands on as my health is at stake. Happy to say my favorite greens are Red Swiss Chard, but have tried and love mustard greens, collard and beet greens too. Kale & spinach are great too, but I have my favorites. Been putting certain greens in various soups instead of the old standby parsley, but that is fine too.
    I have a ethnic background of Lebanese and English and love to cook all things.
    Really appreciate the easy way of preparing and will let you know how the turnip greens turn out. 🙂

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