I have tried cooking collard greens several times and each time I have been somewhat disappointed in my results. Specifically, I have tried cooking the collards by adding bacon and never feel like I add it at the right time. I want there to be enough flavor from the bacon without cooking it so much that it loses its crispness.

Any ideas on how to correct this?

  • Other good ways to fix collard greens is unfortunately a recipe request, and off-topic according to the faq. You should be able to find plenty online, though! – Cascabel Nov 21 '11 at 4:30
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    Not sure why everybody seems fixated on the "other ways" part when the question in general is pretty specific. What is missing, however, is the cooking method; are they boiled, steamed, sautéed, etc.? That's going to make a significant difference with respect to how they come out, with or without bacon. – Aaronut Nov 21 '11 at 18:32
  • @Aaronut: True enough! My assumption is they're boiled (or simmered), since that's the standard way to make them in the (American) South, and collards with pork (ham or bacon) are a pretty typically Southern dish. – Cascabel Nov 21 '11 at 22:43
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    As phrased, the question is ambiguous about what it is that should stay crispy: the greens or the bacon? – Marti Nov 22 '11 at 0:18
  • @Marti: Good point, at first I thought "the bacon, obviously", but if they're being boiled then I don't see how the bacon will ever be crisp. If the problem is the greens going limp, then the solution might be as simple as cooking the bacon separately and crumbling it into the cooked greens. – Aaronut Nov 22 '11 at 14:15

One way to do it is to render the fat from the bacon first. Once the bacon is crispy you can remove it and add the greens. Cook them down until finished and right before serving you can add the bacon crumbled. If it's served right away the bacon will be crispy. If you leave it out too long or go to re-heat the next day then they will be softened. There is no need to add anything to the bacon grease unless it's not enough to cook all the greens in. In this case just add a couple of tablespoons of butter. This is definitely not a low fat way of cooking greens, but it's the best way I know of getting that bacon flavor into the greens. Hope that helps!


I don't think you can have it both ways - the bacon will be softened, or the flavor will still be in it, not the greens. The ideal way to compensate would probably be to cook the greens with a ham bone (or something similar), and at the end fish it out and mix in some crispy bacon. The ham bone should give even more flavor than bacon would have, and be easier to fish out, though of course you could just use more bacon instead of it - keep it whole if you intend to take it out before serving.

  • I like this idea. And you can even have crumbled bacon on the side, to be added at the time of serving. – Sean Hart Nov 21 '11 at 19:31

Bacon Salt also available in Hickory Bacon Salt and Peppered Bacon Salt. Imparts bacony goodness into everything. This may not be cooking it in, but it will give you the desired flavor.

(note: I have used this product and recommend it as a seasoning based on experience. I do not work for or represent the manufacturer.)


Cook bacon for breakfast and run the warm bacon grease through a coffee filter to get rid of the impurities. Store it in the fridge until the the next time you cook collard greens. Then use a bit of the bacon grease instead of your normal fat.

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