How Long To Cook Collard Greens

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Collard greens have long been honored in Southern cuisine and beyond, cherished for their hearty flavors and ease of accessibility. These leafy greens serve as the cornerstone of many traditional soul food recipes, where the magic of their preparation unfolds on a stovetop.

How Long To Cook Collard Greens

Understanding how to cook collards correctly – specifically for how long – transforms this humble vegetable into a culinary delight! This guide will cut through the guesswork around cooking times, aiming to share the secrets for achieving perfect collard greens every time. 

Preparation for cooking collard greens

Preparation for cooking collard greens

Before you embark on the journey of cooking your leafy collard greens to perfection, a few kitchen tips lay the groundwork for success.

How to clean and cut collard greens

How long should greens be cooked?

How long to cook collard greens: traditional vs. modern cooking methods

In Southern cuisine, the debate between traditional and modern methods of cooking collard greens has long simmered on stovetops!

Traditionalists swear by the slow cooking process, claiming it’s the only way to coax out the rich, complex flavors inherent in these healthy greens. This method can involve several hours of cooking, a testament to the adage that good things come to those who wait!

On the other hand, modern techniques have emerged, championing the idea of quick, efficient cooking. Methods like the Instant Pot pressure cooker prioritize convenience, reducing cooking time dramatically while still aiming to maintain the integrity of the leafy greens’ taste and texture.

While each approach has its merits and yield tender greens, they are both undeniably influenced by the collard greens seasoning which delivers flavor to the tenderness of the greens in distinct ways. As someone who relishes both the rich history of traditional dishes and the brisk pace of contemporary life, I find this juxtaposition fascinating. It challenges us to find our perfect balance, blending the culinary guide of the past with the kitchen tips of the present! 

What makes collard greens taste so good?

How long should greens be cooked?

Mastering the cooking time of collard greens can transform them from a simple vegetable to a sublime component of Southern soul food cuisine.

How long to cook greens on the stove

  • Cook collard greens for 1 hour on the stovetop.

For those opting for the traditional slow-cooking method, simmering these healthy greens on the stovetop for about one hour will yield perfectly tender leaves that melt in your mouth. This method allows the collard greens to absorb flavors deeply, resulting in a dish that speaks volumes of culinary tradition.
*See the recipe card below for step-by-step guided ingredients and instructions.

How long to cook greens in the Instant Pot

  • Cook collard greens for 15 minutes in the Instant Pot

Conversely, you can turn to a more modern approach for a quick dinner idea. Instant cooking appliances and techniques such as pressure cooking take only one-fourth of the traditional time – 15 minutes. Wowza! With no sacrifice to the greens’ texture or taste. This method is ideal for those evenings when time is of the essence, yet you yearn for the comforting taste of flavorful leafy greens done right!

Below is my best recipe for how long to cook collard greens in the Instant Pot.

Black Folks Soul Food Collard Greens Recipe
Black Folks Soul Food Collard Greens Recipe
What is a soul food collard greens recipe?
A Black folks collard greens recipe is the quintessential dish of any Southern soul food dinner.
Check out this recipe!

How do you know when collard greens are done?

Taste-test your greens to see if they’re tender to your palette preference.

How to make your collard greens tender?

  • For firmer-cooked collard greens, an hour will do.
  • For a more tender texture, cook the greens for additional 15 minute intervals after the first hour on the stovetop until they are the texture you prefer.

Can you cook collard greens too long?

The good news is that collard greens are almost a fool-proof recipe! It’s really hard to overcook them. The secret to cooking collard greens lies in the seasoning rather than how long the greens are cooked. And you won’t need hours on the stovetop to yield flavorful, tender greens.

Can you put too much water in collard greens?

Too much water in your pot will ruin the seasoning and flavor (the pot likker), not necessarily the greens.

So, how long will it take you to cook collard greens?

It all depends on your choice of cooking method. On the stovetop. Or in the Instant Pot. Both will yield tender, delicious Southern soul food collard greens. The choice is yours!

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Would you make it? 

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How Long To Cook Collard Greens Recipe
The Ultimate Soul Food Recipes Guide
The Ultimate Soul Food Recipes Guide
What is soul food? Soul food recipes are African-American recipes full of flavor! A legacy of Southern cooking the Black way. Check out this collection of the best soul food recipes!
Check out this recipe!
How Long To Cook Collard Greens

How Long To Cook Collard Greens | Southern Soul Food Collard Greens Recipe

How long do you cook collard greens?
The choice is yours: 1 hour the traditional way on the stovetop or 15 minutes in the modern Instant Pot. Both methods will yield tender, delicious greens!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Southern Food, Vegan Soul Food
Servings: 8
Calories: 240kcal


  • Large pot or stockpot (with a lid)


  • 2 pounds collard greens 3 bundles
  • 1 turkey leg pre-cooked/smoked (this ingredient is optional)
  • 1 cup yellow onion diced
  • 2 cups tomatoes diced
  • 4 cups chicken stock use vegetable stock to make vegan and vegetarian-friendly
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce or sriracha sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning or Cajun or Creole seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper


  • Clean the collard greens and cut off the stems.
    Clean the collard greens and cut off the stems.
  • Then roughly chop the leaves in half through the midline and then into bite-sized pieces.
    Chop the leaves in half through the midline and then into bite-sized pieces.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the pot: chicken stock, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, honey, and hot sauce.
  • Next, add the onion, tomatoes, garlic, Old Bay or Cajun seasoning, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and stir to combine the ingredients.
  • Finally, add the chopped collard greens and the pre-cooked turkey leg.
    Finally, add the collard greens, followed by the cooked turkey leg.
  • Press down to sink the greens as much as you can into the liquid broth.
  • Cook over medium-high heat with the lid on the pot for one hour, stirring occasionally. (The collards will wilt down as they cook.)
  • Serve this Southern soul food collard greens recipe right away and enjoy!
    Serve Black folks’ soul food collard greens right away and enjoy!



How Long To Cook Collard Greens Recipe Card


Calories: 240kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 1238mg | Potassium: 786mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 6095IU | Vitamin C: 49mg | Calcium: 302mg | Iron: 3mg
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5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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