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


Join our newsletter and stay up to date on all the newest recipes guaranteed to add a burst of flavor to your inbox.

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

If you like my southern collard greens please save it to your Pinterest Board and follow me on Pinterest I’m always sharing mouth-watering recipes. You can also bookmark this recipe by sharing it on your Facebook. If you know someone that would enjoy this recipe make sure you share this post with them! Don’t keep the recipes all to yourself share them 🙂 










Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Marisa Franca says:

    We’ve had collard greens at restaurants but I’ve never made them at home. We love having dark greens and we love Southern style dishes. This veggie dish would be ideal with our roasted chicken. I’m pinning — can’t wait to make it.5 stars

    1. Thank you Marisa. Greens and roasted chicken actually sounds perfect!

  2. Yum! It really doesn’t get much more Southern than this!5 stars

  3. This is one green I never had or learned how to cook. I like the way these are prepared and look and may have to give them a try.. I loves greens!

  4. Would you believe I have never had collard greens? I heard how delicious they are, and seeing this recipes inspires me to give them a try!5 stars

  5. This is such a classic Southern dish — looks so hearty, comforting and absolutely delicious. Love your step by step photos.5 stars

  6. What gorgeous photography! This delicious collard greens recipe is a keeper! I love Southern food and this is a staple for any recipe box.5 stars

  7. I love collard greens! I make mine with ham hock but I think your version with smoked turkey wings looks spectacular. I really want to try this version now!5 stars

    1. It’s really delicious! Try it sometime. Thank you Jenni.

  8. This is really flavorful collard greens recipe tat to perfectly spiced with Cajun seasoning, jalapenos and other veggies. So yumm I make collard greens during new year.5 stars

  9. You had me at “soul food”!! My southern husband is begging me to get on board with collard greens, I should give them a try!5 stars

    1. Haha! They are so good! You definitely have to try them. Thanks Kylee!

  10. I love the step by step pictures. This looks so delicious. I am definitely making this for myself. The kids won’t eat collard greens but I will love it.5 stars

  11. Marisa Franca says:

    I’ve made a recipe similar to this with kale — we love the taste of smoked meats with the hearty greens. We used to get a whole smoked turkey every year and we use parts of it to make “ham and beans” and it was delicious. Otherwise we use smoked pork hocks. I’m definitely making your recipe of collard greens. They look so good.5 stars

    1. You just gave me an idea. I think I’m going to play around with some kale this weekend! Thank you so much Marisa!

  12. What a great idea for dinner. An interesting mix of ingredients. This is really a great job. I definitely want to try it and I’m sure it is very tasty. Thank you for sharing.5 stars

  13. My mouth is watering just looking at these greens. I love southern cooking and greens are a favorite of mine. Whenever i visit family in the south i make sure to get all of my favorite foods too!5 stars

  14. My fiance always makes the greens and he uses bacon or pork. I’ll have to show him this recipe so we can try with smoked turkey wings next time – yum!5 stars

  15. What a great authentic recipe .. I love greens.. being from new york we ate them all the time and this is exactly how they made them .. thanks for reminding me how great these are !5 stars

  16. Stine Mari says:

    Beautiful step by step photography guide! And I think this is just perfect for the upcoming Holidays. I can just imagine the smell in your Southern family’s kitchen! I’d love to try real Southern food, but I have yet not been there. Some time, some time soon! I’ll begin with this amazing Southern collard greens recipe.5 stars