5 from 1 votes

Slow Cooked Southern Collard Greens

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our read the Privacy Policy

Slow cooked collard greens with ham hock is a perfect side dish recipe with Southern Charm. Collard greens, which taste quite like a mixture of kale and cabbage, are a southern delicacy often served alongside cornbread, black eyed peas and mashed potatoes.

While you can cook collard greens in many different ways, my favorite is the slow cooker. The set it and forget allow the ham to slow cook into a tender and flavorful meat that goes so well with the softened collard greens flavors.

Collard greens are not an often seen side dish in day to day cooking.

The most popular time of the year they make an appearance is with New Years Day cooking when collard greens signify money and prosperity for the upcoming months. Having a timeless collard greens recipe really helps when not only holiday side dish planning but also when you need an easy slow cooked side dish for meals.

slow cooked collard greens in a bowl with ham

Southern Collard Greens with Ham Hocks

The majority of this slow cooker side dish recipe is cooking chopped collard greens low and slow with a ham hock. Ham (and bacon) often appear in Southern side dish recipes and is a flavorful and salty option that really brings out the delicious flavor of the greens.

  • onion, finely chopped
  • minced garlic
  • oil
  • salt
  • red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound fresh collard greens – Trim the stems and cut down into 1 inch sized pieces (or tear)
  • chicken broth
  • ham hock
  • apple cider vinegar
  • hot sauce for serving
ham hock in collard greens

Are Collard Greens Keto?

Many people wonder if collard greens are Keto. They are! But not all ingredients in this collard green recipe are keto. In order to make this collard green recipe acceptable for the keto diet, ONIONS need to be removed.

In order to make this collard green recipe acceptable for the keto diet, ONIONS need to be removed.

Additionally, if you like to add hot sauce to greens, each bottle and brand must be checked prior to knowing the carb and sugar count.

  • Collard Greens vs. Kale – Both are a leafy green vegetable. Both are a super food and fantastic for you, and depending on your nutrition needs will depend on which vegetable you choose. Kale has more vitamin C and iron. Collard greens have less vitamin A, but in a good way as having too much vitamin A can hurt you. Collard greens also have more calcium. Collard greens are straight left and kale has a curly edge. Many people push collard greens aside because Kale has a trendy reputation to be for the healthy but collard greens are a fantastic green choice!
  • Collard Greens vs. Turnip Greens – If needed, turnip greens (also a member of the leafy green family) can easily be used in place of collard greens. Turnip greens, while healthy, are often considered bitter. Like Kale, turnip greens have a few days worth of Vitamin A as well as other great minerals like potassium and magnesium.

In general, collard greens have a ton of great fibers, are low in calories and are often considered a serious detox vegetable. 

Slow Cooking Collard Greens

Authentic collard greens typically come with a meat flavor and are the best simmered with ham hock. Probably one of the most well known collard greens, this side dish can be a controversy on who loves it and who hates it. 

While there are many delicious ways to eat and enjoy this southern delicacy, my favorite way to cook traditional collard greens is straight up in the slow cooker. Perfect for entertaining, collard greens complement a ton of other southern dishes and provide a classic side for many outdoor BBQs

Full of southern seasonings and flavor, collard greens are the soul food you are looking for!

Remember to prep the slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray prior to cooking. 

slow cooker collard greens prep

Cleaning up Garden Picked Collard Greens

Just like with all vegetables, the chances for bugs hidden in the leaves can be high. If you purchased greens from the store, rinse well or wash with vegetable wash before proceeding with the recipe.

If picking your own collard greens from a backyard garden, add vinegar and water to a bowl and let greens sit for about 3 minutes.

Rinse, repeat, and then move onto the recipe.

Should I remove the Stems from collard greens?

Yes, we highly recommend removing stems. It’s easy to do by tearing the leaf away from the stem. Torn leaves are fine to be added to a slow cooker and do not need to be cut down perfectly. 

Also, the stems contain a lot of the bitter and while cooking the collard green in the slow cooker, the combination of the leaf and the ham hock will tone down the raw taste of the green. 

slow cooker collard greens

What are Ham Hocks?

Ham hocks are a chunky piece of pork and amazing for flavoring otherwise bitter or boring vegetables like the collard green. Ham hocks are commonly used in a lot of Southern Recipes and hold tons of amazing flavors. 

The ham hock gets tucked right into the collard greens and is slow cooked the entire day to a tender, soft meat. After the ham hock is done, it’s removed and cut up and re-added as the best homemade tasty flavor.

Ham hocks provide a smoky and salty flavor to collard greens. 

ham hock

Can I Use A Substitute for the Ham Hock?

There isn’t much that will substitute the beautiful flavors of pork in this dish, but I have heard that neck bones work ok. 

Personally, I would test out bacon if you are ok with pork but have a hard time finding ham hock. Just throw uncooked chopped bacon in with the collard greens. 

What foods go good with collard greens?

No matter how you prepare collard greens, they are just not meant to be eaten alone. The great news is there are so many different pairings that go amazing with collard greens to fill out the paper plate. 

Side Dishes that go with Collard Greens

  • Battered Chicken Breast
  • Caramelized Onions
  • Corn Bread
  • Pinto Beans
  • Macaroni and Cheese

Sauces that go with Collard Greens

collard greens on a spoon
5 from 1 votes

Southern Collard Greens {Slow Cooked}

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Slow Cooked Collard Greens with Ham hock is a Southern Collard Green side dish, easily made in a slow cooker. Garlic, red pepper and optional hot sauce like mama used to make! Great holiday side dish, enjoy superfood collard greens in rich southern recipe tradition.


  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb collard greens cut into 1" pieces
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 ham hock
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • hot sauce for serving


  • Spray slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  • In a separate, microwave safe bowl, add onion, garlic, oil, salt and pepper flakes and mix well.
  • Microwave for about 4 minutes, stirring halfway through until onions are tender.
  • Add to prepared slow cooker.
  • Add greens and broth to slow cooker and mix well.
  • Tuck a ham hock into the center of the greens and cover the slow cooker.
  • Cook on low for 9-10 hours or high for 6-7.
  • Remove ham and cool slightly.
  • Discard fat, skin and bones and set aside meat.
  • Add meat to slow cooker with apple cider vinegar and mix well.
  • Serve collard greens immediately with hot sauce.


No matter how you prepare collard greens, they are just not meant to be eaten alone. The great news is there are so many different pairings that go amazing with collard greens to fill out the paper plate. 
  • Battered Chicken Breast
  • Caramelized Onions
  • Corn Bread
  • Pinto Beans
  • Macaroni and Cheese


Serving: 1 | Calories: 83kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 701mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g

Nutritional Disclaimer: The nutritional data provided here is auto-calculated and intended for your convenience only. As it’s generated via automation, its accuracy may be compromised. For precise nutritional insight, please compute the values utilizing the actual ingredients in your recipe through your chosen nutrition calculator or application.

Sharing of this recipe is encouraged and appreciated. Copying of full recipe to any social media is prohibited.

Did You Make This Recipe?

Make sure to follow Salty Side Dish on Pinterest and rate the recipe here and make sure to leave a comment below!

5 from 1 votes

Leave A Comment

Have a question or want to provide feedback? Share your recipe reviews or questions here and I will do my best to help!

Recipe Rating


  1. Ruvio Escovedo says:

    My first time EVER making this and EVERYONE and i mean EVERYONE LOVED IT!!! THANK YOU!!! 🤗🤗🤗

    1. Trisha Haas says:

      I am so glad you enjoyed it and it was a winner for you! THanks for letting me know, I love success stories in the kitchen!


Where To Next?