Collard greens with bacon is a flavorful, delicious, and healthy side dish. Tender greens come together with salty bacon and garlic for even more flavor. These quick collard greens take just 15 minutes to cook, making them a perfect stress-free side to prepare for a holiday dinner.
A tender greens dish is a key part of a balanced holiday meal, so you need these sautéed collard greens on your Christmas dinner menu — but they are quick and easy enough to make any night of the week.
Why You'll Love these Collard Greens with Bacon
- Perfect for the holidays. Collard greens are considered an essential part of the holiday meal lineup for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s nostalgic, delicious, and satisfying. Add this to your holiday menu and feel good about checking something off your to-do list!
- Simple and quick. This side dish is made up of only a handful of simple ingredients — collard greens, bacon, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, water, and lemon juice — and it can be prepared and ready to serve on the table in just 25 minutes.
- A healthy, gluten-free side dish. Most holiday sides are creamy and cheesy, so you need something lighter to balance it all out. This recipe for sautéed collard greens contains no dairy, eggs, or gluten — so you can serve it to friends and family members who have those dietary restrictions.
- Loaded with flavor. Bacon makes everything taste better. Pair it with fresh garlic to give these collard greens a savory boost while still allowing the flavor of the greens to shine through. Every bite is packed with flavor — tasty enough to entice even picky eaters.
To make delicious Collard Greens with Bacon, you will need the following ingredients (full measurements in recipe card below):
- collard greens - this recipe covers fresh collard greens on the stalk, but you can use pre-chopped or frozen collard greens by adjusting some of the directions here.
- bacon - we cut our bacon into 2-inch strips. You can use whatever thickness of bacon you like, as well as making it as crispy or as tender as you prefer. Pork bacon is what adds a ton of flavor to these collard greens. You could swap it out with chicken, turkey, or veggie bacon if pork isn’t your thing, but note the flavor won’t be the same.
- garlic - fresh garlic gives these sauteed collard greens a punchy flavor, but if you don’t have the time to mince or press it, you can use pre-minced garlic from a jar at an exchange of one teaspoon per clove.
- water - helps to cook the collard greens in. You can also substitute with chicken broth for more flavor.
- lemon juice
- salt and pepper - fine sea salt is especially important here to make every bite of greens taste the same as the last.
You will also need measuring cups and spoons and a large skillet (we used our 10-inch skillet but a 12-inch works well too).
How to Make the Best Collard Greens with Bacon
- Cook bacon. Add bacon in a large skillet and cook over medium heat until browned on both sides, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add aromatics. Next, add onion and garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add collard greens. Toss in the collard greens and season with salt. Stir well to coat and cook until wilted, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add liquids. Add water and lemon juice. Simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated and the greens are tender, stirring occasionally.
- Serve. Sprinkle with black pepper and serve immediately.
How to Serve
These simple but delicious greens are the perfect compliment to a holiday roasted protein. Serve collard greens with bacon alongside:
- Thanksgiving Turkey
- Christmas Ham
- Dutch Oven Whole Roast Chicken
- Sunday Pot Roast
- Instant Pot Turkey Breast
- Pineapple Glazed Ham Slices
Storage and Freezing Instructions
How to Store
Once cooled to room temperature, transfer the collard greens with bacon to an airtight container or sealed plastic bag and store in the fridge for up to four days.
How to Freeze
Transfer leftover collard greens to a freezer bag or freezer-safe airtight container and freeze for up to 1 year. You can reheat it straight from frozen or thaw in the fridge overnight first and reheat.
How to Reheat
Reheat on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave in 30 second increments until warmed through.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Multitask. These greens come together quickly and require minimal intervention (other than monitoring and the occasional stir) so you can prepare to cook the next dish while you closely watch the greens to make sure they don’t burn.
- Spice it up with your favorite seasonings. Though these garlicky collard greens already have tons of flavor, you can add your favorite spices to customize the greens to your liking.
More Side Dish Recipes
- 40 Vegetable Side Dishes
- Green Beans with Bacon
- Creamed Spinach
- Pesto Green Beans
- Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash
- Spinach Gratin
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Collard Greens with Bacon
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 2-3 servings
- Diet: Gluten Free
Collard greens with bacon is a flavorful, delicious, and healthy side dish that is quick to make in 25 minutes. A stress-free holiday side for Christmas.
- 4 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound collard greens, stems removed and cut into ½-inch wide pieces
- ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- ½ cup water (or chicken broth)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper (or to taste)
- Add bacon in a large skillet and cook over medium heat until browned on both sides, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add onion and garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Toss in the collard greens and season with salt. Stir well to coat and cook until wilted, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add water and lemon juice. Simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated and the greens are tender, stirring occasionally.
- Sprinkle with black pepper and serve immediately.
- Once cooled to room temperature, transfer the collard greens with bacon to an airtight container or sealed plastic bag and store in the fridge for up to four days.
- Transfer leftover collard greens to a freezer bag or freezer-safe airtight container and freeze for up to 1 year. You can reheat it straight from frozen or thaw in the fridge overnight first and reheat.
- Reheat on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave in 30 second increments until warmed through.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: collard greens with bacon, sautéed collard greens, quick collard greens
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