Slow Cooker Collard Greens
This easy slow cooker collard greens recipe combines humble collard greens with simple spices for a lusciously tender and delicious side dish you’ll want to make on repeat.
About This Slow Cooker Collard Greens Recipe
These slow cooker collard greens are tender, silky, and slightly smokey, and cook to perfection low and slow in the Crock Pot.
For extra flavor, I use a ham hock to add a smokey richness, but you can also use smoked turkey, sausage, bacon, or make collard greens without meat – just be sure to check out all those variations, below.
Process, Make Ahead Tips & Storage
Cooking the collard greens in the slow cooker allows them to become ultra tender because they cook low and slow over several hours.
Be sure not to remove the lid during the cooking time, as it will prevent the greens from becoming tender.
The greens can be prepped and chopped ahead, and the chicken stock mixture can also be prepared ahead.
Store both, separate, refrigerated, up to 3 days ahead.
These slow cooker collard greens can also be fully prepared up to 3 days in advance.
Store, covered, in the refrigerator, then gently reheat in the slow cooker on low for 30-60 minutes.
Why Make Collard Greens in the Slow Cooker
There are a number of reasons you might want to cook collard greens in the slow cooker rather than the stovetop.
For the holidays like Thanksgiving, cooking collard greens in the slow cooker can save precious oven space for other dishes.
Cooking in the Crockpot also allows you to keep the collard greens warm so it’s ready when everyone is ready to eat!
Finally, cooking collard greens in the slow cooker can be handy when bringing the dish to potlucks or to a friend’s house.
With turkey: Use ½ – 1 pound of smoked turkey wings in place of the ham hock.
With sausage: Use 1 pound kielbasa sausage in place of the ham hock.
With bacon: Use 1 pound cooked bacon in place of the ham hock.
Without meat: Skip the ham hock and use vegetable broth in place of the chicken stock. You may need to add additional salt, so taste and adjust as desired.
Collard greens: Make sure your greens are thoroughly washed to remove any dirt and grit. Kale or other sturdy greens may also be used.
Ham hock: Look for a 1 to 2 pound ham hock for this recipe. Smoked turkey wings, kielbasa sausage, and bacon can also be used (see variations, above). For a vegetarian version, see notes, above.
Stock: Chicken stock adds flavor, but water can also be used, though you may need to adjust the salt.
Brown sugar: Adds a very subtle sweetness, but feel free to skip it for a low-sugar, low-carb, Whole30 option.
Apple cider vinegar: Lends a nice tang. Red wine vinegar can also be used.
Freshly ground pepper: Add a bit of heat. Red pepper flakes can also be used, and increased for a spicer version.
Salt: Between the chicken stock and the ham hock I found this recipe did not need much in the way of additional salt. However, salt is a personal preference, so feel free to add more at the end if desired.
Slow Cooker Collard Greens
- 2 cups chicken stock
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 cups collard greens, (2 bunches), washed thoroughly, stems removed, and chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 1 ¾ pound smoked ham hock, or smoked turkey wings
- Additional salt to taste, optional
- Add the chicken stock, ¼ teaspoon salt, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, and pepper to a 6-quart slow cooker, stirring to combine.
- Add the collard greens, tossing to coat. Nestle in the ham hock, and cover.
- Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 7-8 hours, or until the greens are very tender. Do not uncover during this time.
- Uncover and carefully remove the ham hock, if using. Remove any meat and return to the slow cooker, stirring to combine. Taste and add salt, if desired.
- Serve the greens, along with the pot liquor, warm.