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Spicy Collard Greens

These Spicy Collard Greens are slow cooked in a bacon-flavored broth until tender and spiced up with some red pepper flakes and hot sauce.

Spicy Collard Greens topped with bacon in a white bowl.

How To Serve

They make a perfect side to any meat or can be eaten on their own with cornbread. An hour of cooking makes the collard greens tender and almost silky, but they still have some bite and substance.

With the addition of apple cider vinegar, these spicy collard greens really have some TWANG. And then the hot sauce fires up your mouth. There’s no lack of flavor here.

We love our greens in the south whether they be turnip, mustard, or collard greens. Just about every southerner has a personal favorite. Mine is collard greens which is fitting since collard greens are the official state vegetable of my state. That would be South Carolina.

Collard greens topped with bacon in white bowl.

Best Way To Eat

The best way to eat collard greens is with cornbread to soak up the pot likker. That’s the highly concentrated, full of flavor broth that is the result of slow cooking collard greens. There’s nothing else that tastes quite like it. Southern grandmothers are known for saying, “Pot likker will cure what ails you and if nothing is ailing you, it will give you a good cleaning out.”

It certainly cures what ails me. I can’t get enough of it. Spicy Collard Greens are pure fall comfort food, southern style.

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Spicy Collard Greens in a serving bowl.

More Collard Greens Recipes

Spicy Collard Greens

These Spicy Collard Greens are slow cooked in a bacon-flavored broth until tender and spiced up with some red pepper flakes and hot sauce.
PREP: 15 minutes
COOK: 1 hour
TOTAL: 1 hour 15 minutes


  • 2 pounds collard greens, rinsed
  • 5 slices think bacon, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon tabasco sauce or other hot sauce
  • salt and pepper


  • Use a knife to cut on either side of the large rib running up each collard green leaf. Remove it and discard it. You don’t need to go all the way up the leaf, just remove the thickest part. For smaller leaves, just remove the stem. Stack about 4 to 5 leaves, roll them up, and cut into 1/2-inch strips. Repeat with remaining leaves.
  • Cook bacon in a large pot over medium heat until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate.
  • Add onion to bacon fat and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened.
  • Add broth, vinegar, sugar, red pepper flakes, and tabasco sauce to pot. Stir to combine.
  • Add collard greens and use tongs to turn and mix them until they reduce in size some. Cover, turn heat to low and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  • Before serving, sprinkle bacon on top and season to taste with salt and pepper.


Calories: 112kcal
Author: Christin Mahrlig
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Southern
Keyword: bacon, collard greens

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Originally posted September 12, 2014.

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44 thoughts on “Spicy Collard Greens”

  1. I really enjoyed making and eating this on New Year’s Day! Hope you have a blessed New Year in 2024!

  2. I love to make these Spicy stirfry collards greens. It’s so easy and the collards are delicious.

  3. The best! Out there!!! I did double all the ingredients with 2 pounds of collard greens😋 with some honey cornbread on the side and some deep fried chicken yum😋 it was a hit! Collard greens were the first gone😁 thank u for the recipe

  4. I have never used ACV in my greens. This was wonderful and the brown sugar help cut the tang. I always try to go by the recipe as is the first time and then tweak if need be. I would probably add one more TBL of brown sugar. These were wonderful and I will make these again. I wish there was a cookbook!

  5. I’m not sure why this recipe has only 4 stars. It deserves all 5! My MIL makes greens every year for the holidays but due to COVID we didn’t see her this year. I found this recipe and decided to give it a whirl. Let me tell you, my husband LOVED these collards and said they rivaled his moms and she has been making them his whole life. I’ll be using this recipe again. They came out perfect!

  6. These are my go to for Greens!!! An Amazing recipe! One thing I did tweak was I used a whole pack of bacon instead of 5 slices and I keep the bacon in while the greens cook. Definitely a Family Favorite!!! 🙂 Hats off to the Chef!

  7. I’m sorry but your site is so full of adds it’s not easy or enjoyable. I won’t check in again.

  8. Stefanie Wray

    I cooked these for two hours to try to get them to taste better but instead had to throw 2 lbs. of greens out. They were just way too bitter. Not the recipes fault but I do believe greens should cook longer than an hour and needs more broth. You might give hints on getting bitterness out.

    1. The bitter in greens is water soluble. A little trick is to boil the greens for 2 minutes then dump the water out. With the water goes a lot of the bitterness.

  9. Ummmm noooo. You don’t just learn how to cook collard greens white people, cooking collard greens is a ritual, tradition that is earned. You definitely don’t cook collard greens just for 1 hour. Again, it’s a ritual and process its soul food not “Cindy teaches soul” Almost like a science experiment. And we don’t use apple cider vinegar, ewww.

    1. Goodness!! Honey, give it a break…forget your ritual…if you’re a good cook, you are a good cook!

    2. You really bring up color? Collards are a southern staple, not just a black staple. You don’t have to be rude to get your point across. Watch I will show you. I’m so white I’m almost translucent and I make killer greens. With that said, collards must simmer for a minimum of 2 but I typically cook them for 3-4, hours. The only time I cook less is when they are fresh from my garden. They are more tender then store bought therefore does not require 4 hours of simmering. Also vinegar is used. Some use apple cider to enhance the sweetness if you want sweet and savory. When I took my spicy greens to a cookout and a 70 year old African American lady asked me for my recipe I knew I nailed it. Best compliment ever. I’m gonna try your recipe but I agree, more broth and longer cooking time.

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