Go Back
+ servings
southern collard greens in a white bowl

Easy Southern Collard Greens

These Easy Southern Collard Greens are the best soul food recipe using fresh collards, smoked turkey, ham hocks, or bacon. This signature dish is made from scratch and is typically served with Southern Cornbread for Sunday dinners, Thanksgiving, and the holiday season.
Course dinner, lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine southern
Keyword collard greens recipe, collard greens with turkey, soul food collard greens, Southern collard greens
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 8 cups
Calories 140kcal


  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped white onions
  • 2 garlic cloves Minced.
  • 3 pounds fresh collard greens This is usually 3-4 bundles. Weigh for accuracy. Weight includes the stems.
  • 1 smoked turkey leg or wing See notes.
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth You can also use water.
  • 1 tablespoon Creole Seasoning Adjust to taste.


  • Fill a large bowl or your sink with water. Use your hands and scrub the veins of the leaves to remove any dirty or sand. Wash the greens thoroughly until the water runs clear.
  • Remove the stems from the greens and slice the greens into smaller pieces.
  • Heat a large pot or Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add the olive oil to the pot along with the onions and garlic. I like to use a Dutch oven because you can saute the vegetables and cook the greens all in one pot.
  • Saute the onions and garlic until translucent and fragrant.
  • Deglaze the pan by adding half of the chicken broth.
  • Begin to layer in the greens and add them in batches. Greens will need to wilt down a lot in order to fit in the pot. Add in the greens and then stir and allow them to cook down.
  • Add in the Creole Seasoning and turkey. Bring the pot to a boil.
  • Place the lid on the pot and adjust the heat to medium. Allow the greens to cook for 2 hours or until the greens are soft and the turkey is tender. Check in and stir the greens when necessary.
  • Open the pot and remove the turkey leg. Shred the meat from the leg using forks and return it to the pot.
  • Serve.



  • Prep time will vary based on if you selected greens that require washing.
  • Start with 1/2 tablespoon of Creole seasoning and adjust to taste. 
  • It’s also common to serve collard greens with vinegar. Feel free to add it if you wish.
  • You can substitute smoked turkey for ham hocks, bacon, salt pork, or whatever you wish.
  • My turkey wing weighed about 1 1/2 pounds.
  • I like for my greens to be tender. If you like them super tender you may cook them for 3 hours or more. If you like more of a bite lessen the cook time. Check in on them to be sure you reach your desired result.
  • If doubling the recipe or making more for a crowd you can double, triple the ingredients. If doubling, you can likely still use one turkey leg. For anything larger, you may consider using an additional smaller smoked turkey wing.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 140kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 4g