Best Southern Collard Greens Recipe w/ Video

These southern collard greens are simmered in rich and flavorful chicken broth with smoked turkey wings. They’re perfect for Thanksgiving or any day of the week. Check out the reviews here

Southern Collard Greens Recipe

“Delicious! Best Greens Ever”! ~Lea Anne

“Absolutely Delicious”! ~ Lesley Les


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Collard greens share a special place in my heart. As long as I have some mac and cheese and candied yams and fried chicken, I’m a happy woman!  Since the holidays are near, I figured I’d share this southern collard green recipe with you plus one of my readers requested it.  I learned how to make this dish when I was very young.  I was taught that low and slow is the best way to develop the flavors in. Simmering the greens will result in rich and robust flavor.

I always get great feedback from anyone who tries my southern collard greens. Some people prefer to cook theirs with ham hocks but I only use smoked turkey wings. Smoked turkey wings are not only delicious, but they are also lower in fat than pork. Feel free to add ham hocks if you prefer them over smoked turkey wings.  The crushed red peppers and jalapeños gives the collard greens some kick but you can omit the crushed red peppers if you like. Don’t omit the added healthy vegetables because the look pretty amazing in the finished dish. 

Southern Collard Greens Recipe

How to make southern collard greens:

Southern collard greens may look difficult to make but rest assured this recipe will make you look like you’ve been making them your whole life. Collard greens are made with greens of course, smoked turkey, onions and garlic, vinegar, crushed red chili peppers, green peppers, jalapenos (optional) chicken base, salt pepper and a bit of sugar. The sugar helps to balance out the flavors but you can omit it if you don’t need it. 

Southern COLLARD GREENS recipe

Step 1:


Fill up the kitchen sink with cold water. Add 1 tablespoon of baking soda, add the collard greens to the water. Swoosh them around so that the sand and dirt can settle to the bottom of the sink. Swoosh the greens once again. Drain the water from the sink. Rinse each leaf under cold water thoroughly.


Step 2:

Get rid of any brown or yellow collard green leaves. Take one leaf. Fold it lengthwise (in half) using a knife, slice off each side of the stem. Alternatively, fold the leave in half and then carefully tear the leaves off each side of the leaf. Discard the stems or store them in the freezer to use later in soups or stir-frys.



Stack the collard greens in the same direction on top of the cutting board.  Fold the leaves up. Then cut them up into two-inch squares a bunch at a time.

Collard Greens


SOUTHERN collard greens RECIPE

Step 4:


  1.  Cook the smoked turkey wings first. To a large pot or dutch oven, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the green peppers,  sweet red bell peppers, jalapeño, and onions. Saute until soft. Add the minced garlic and saute for one minute.



2. Next, add the broth to the Dutch oven then add the crushed red pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and cajun seasoning. Mix well. Add the smoked turkey wings. Simmer for an hour. If you want to use the Better than Bouillon chicken base please DO NOT ADD THE ENTIRE JAR!  Make sure to read the instruction on the jar FIRST.


3. Add the collard greens on top of the smoked turkey wings. Add the vinegar and sugar. Push the greens down and gently stir. The greens will seem like they won’t fit but don’t worry, they will wilt and reduce in size greatly as it hits the water. Once the greens are wilted and completely in the pot or dutch oven Cover and simmer for 1.5 -2 hours or until very tender and dark green and the meat has fallen off the smoked turkey wings.

Collard Greens

4.  Remove the bones from the pot. Add salt and pepper and sugar to taste. Stir to combine. Serve immediately with your choice of sides like baked sweet potato, candied yams, cornbread, cranberry sauce, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, stuffing or mac and cheese.

FYI…you’ll notice leftover liquid in the pot. It’s called potlikker or pot liquor. Serve the potlikker individually in small bowls.  Some people like to sop their cornbread up with the potlikker. I’m one of those peoples.  Potlikker also makes tasty soup or gravy. 

Collard Greens

Southern Collard Greens

April Boller Wright
Southern Collard Greens Recipe simmered with smoked turkey wings, green and red peppers, onions, garlic, white vinegar, red pepper flakes make this dish so tasty. No one will complain about not having enough meat in this dish.  Perfect for Thanksgiving or any day of the week.
5 from 23 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Southern American
Servings 5 people
Calories 200 kcal


  • 3 bunches collard greens about 2 lbs **See notes below
  • 2 cups onion diced
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 green pepper diced
  • 1 sweet bell pepper diced
  • 1 tbsp jalapeno pepper diced
  • 2 lbs whole smoked turkey wings
  • 1 tsp cajun seasoning (optional)
  • 2-3 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 cups chicken broth I used Better Than Bouillon
  • 2 tbsp distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • salt for taste
  • pepper for taste


  • To a large pot or dutch oven, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the green peppers,  sweet red bell peppers, jalapeño, and onions. Saute until soft. Add the minced garlic and saute for one minute.
  • In a large stock pot or dutch oven over medium heat, add the smoked turkey wings, crushed red peppers, the sauteed vegetables and chicken broth. Cover and simmer for about an hour.
  • Next, add the collard greens, vinegar, sugar, garlic powder, onion powder and salt and pepper to taste. Mix to combine. If the greens seem like too much. Keep stirring until they have wilted down. They should be able to fit once they have wilted down. Cover and simmer for 2 hours or until the meat has fallen completely off the bone. Once done. Serve immediately. 



How much collard greens do I need?

I use about 2 lbs of greens (about 8-9 leaves in a bunch).  Which is also equal to about 14 cups of greens.
Use less jalapeños or ditch them if you don't want your greens spicy, for instance sometimes I'll use about 1/2 tbsp of jalapenos for a little kick of heat.


Calories: 200kcal
Keyword collard greens, Soul food, soul food collard greens, southern collard greens
Like this? Leave a comment below!Let us know how it was!

SOUTHERN Collard Greens

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  1. When I ate Collard Greens from Soul Food restaurants, I knew my greens were missing something. I made Collard Greens this evening using your recipe and all me and my husband can say is…OMG, These greens are fire!!!
    Thank you!!! 💜5 stars

  2. These are the best greens I’ve made in my life!!! Thnx for sharing.5 stars

  3. My search for the perfect collard greens is over. These are the best!!!5 stars

  4. If I leave the meat out will it just kill the whole flavor of them?

    1. Sorry for my delayed response. Not really but you’ll probably have to season to taste.

  5. Can I make these today and serve them tomorrow?

  6. Hi
    Can you tell me how many pounds of collards to use in this recipe instead of bunches, because bunches comes in different sizes. Thank You.

    1. It’s about 8-9 leaves in a bunch. I usually use about 14 cups (raw) which ends up being about 2 lbs.

  7. Was looking for a different way too make greens, and this recipe came just in time for thanksgiving!! Best greens I’ve ever had! A little spicy, but I didn’t mind at all!!5 stars

    1. I’m so happy you enjoyed it! Thank you for taking the time out to comment!

  8. Stephanie says:

    Hi! Super excited to try your recipe today! (Btw Happy Thanksgiving) but I’m curious to know if the 3 cups of broth even a after simmering the turkey leg is all I will need when adding in the greens? Or do I add more water? Not sure when you will get this:/ but hopefully soon lol Thanks a bunch for sharing your recipe!

    1. Hi Stephanie! Yes. Since greens have a high water content and they wilt down a lot, 3 cups are all you need. However, I don’t know if you have very large bunches of greens since they can vary in size, if so, you may need to add a cup or more broth. Push the greens down some then once the greens have wilted down, check the water level. Add more broth if necessary. Once the greens are just about done, if necessary, add more seasonings to taste. Happy Thanksgiving!:)

  9. Tiffany Winston says:

    I don’t have any cooking skills but want to try and tackle this. Could you direct me to a recipe of how to smoke the turkey wings?

    1. Hi Tiffany. I’m happy you want to try it out! Hope you enjoy it. You can usually find a pack of smoked turkey wings at the grocery store. I usually get mine from Walmart.

  10. Gloria Anton says:

    It’s unanimous – the family said this is the best Greens recipe out there! I’m making it again tonight with my left over smoked turkey wings. (First time I made it, I didn’t have smoked turkey wings only regular roasted ones. So…I used some Alderwood smoke salt to give them the flavor – it’s all I changed.) You can eat this year round and I intend to do just that 🙂 Thank you so much for this amazing recipe.5 stars

    1. That’s so great to hear! You’re so welcome and thank you for the great feedback!

  11. Wanted to make greens as I always enjoy them and your recipe came up. These were amazing, thank you for sharing. Only change I made was I used some pork I had versus turkey legs. But am already planning on how I can smoke turkey legs and do these again. Thanks for sharing

    1. You will love it with the smoked turkey. Let me know how it comes out! Thank you so much!

  12. These are probably the best greens I’ve ever had. I just made them for thanksgiving and they were gone before the night ended. I will use this as my go to from now on.5 stars

    1. Thank you for choosing these collard greens to make on Thanksgiving Sean! I wish I would’ve made them for Thanksgiving because the greens I ate didn’t have meat thanks to my vegan brother lol. They were good but I sure did miss the smoked meat! I’m glad everyone enjoyed them! Thanks for your great feedback! Have a great weekend!

  13. Hey there! Everything looks great, but how much of each ingredient do I need? Am I overlooking something? 🙂

    1. Hi Indy. Thanks for the catch! Hmmm not sure why the recipe went missing but I added it back!

      1. Thank you for getting back to me so fast, April! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

        1. You’re welcome! Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

  14. I made these last night because I’d received some collard greens for cheap and was hoping to recreate the collards of my childhood. They are incredible! Mine came out pretty spicy because I got a little too happy with the crushed red pepper, but my boyfriend and I love the flavor profile and the way that the spiciness is balanced by the sweet so much that it doesn’t even matter!5 stars

    1. Nichelle you made my day! Sounds like y’all had some spicy collard greens. My husband like his that way. I love spicy food but he likes his food on fire. Thanks for your comment! Happy you guys enjoyed the collard greens 🙂

  15. I made these about a month ago and now I’m craving them again. Great recipe. They taste just how soul food greens should taste! Thank you for the recipe! Love from Philly5 stars

    1. Hi Dana! Thank you so much! I’m so glad you liked it! <3