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Slow Cooker Collard Greens

Slow cooker collard greens is a classic Southern side dish. This fuss-free recipe produces tender greens. Free up your stove-top and make this easy collard greens recipe in the slow cooker!  

cooked greens with shredded ham hock meat in the slow cooker with a spoon

Ingredients For Slow Cooker Greens

There are only a few ingredients needed to make collard greens in the slow cooker.

  • Collard Greens: Approximately 48 ounces of collard greens.
  • Seasonings: The seasonings are simple: salt, pepper, and sugar.
  • Broth: Most people will use chicken broth. However, for this greens recipe to be vegan, use vegetable broth.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: A splash of apple cider vinegar is used to help tenderize the greens.
  • Smoked Meat: Adding a smoked meat like ham hocks or smoked turkey is is common yet optional.
raw collard greens in a white bowl

How To Make Greens In The Slow Cooker

Sit back & let the appliance do the work!

  1. Wash greens & remove stems. Add greens to the slow cooker.
  2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and sugar. Pour apple cider vinegar and broth on top.
  3. If you are using smoked meat, rinse off the meat and add it on top of the greens.
  4. Cook HIGH 3-4 hours or LOW 6-8.
  5. If you used smoked meat, remove the meat and shred it. Place the shredded meat back in the slow cooker.
  6. If needed, add salt, pepper, and sugar to taste.
uncooked collard greens in the slow cooker with ham hocks on top
before

What Are Collard Greens

Greens are a stable in Southern cooking. Leafy greens is a broad term that refers to a lot of foods like collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, kale, spinach, swiss chard, etc. They have different tastes & textures. Greens are a superfood; they’re high fiber, rich in vitamins and minerals, and low in calories.

close up of ham hocks
ham hocks

Adding Meat

Most people add meat to their greens. A smoked meat like ham hocks or smoked turkey is commonly used. Without the meat this recipe is vegan friendly. What you see here in the pics are ham hocks.

cooked collard greens in the slow cooker with ham hocks on top
after

Prepping Your Greens

You’re are either going to use loose leaf bunches of greens or bags of greens.

Even though bagged collard greens are usually pre-washed & pre-cut, I recommend that you wash them again. I also recommend removing any large stems you might see.

Loose leaf collard greens will sometimes have a lot of dirt on them so you will need to clean them properly before you cook them. The way I learned to clean greens is to fill a clean sink with cold water and add the greens. Mix the greens around with your hands for a few minutes. Remove the greens, drain the water and clean out any dirt that’s leftover in the sink. Repeat the process until the greens are clean and there’s no more dirt. One they’re clean, rinse & pat dry the greens. Next cut off the tough stem & main vein and then chop the greens into one-inch pieces.

Of course if you have a preferred way of cleaning & cutting your greens, feel free to use it. 

cooked greens with shredded ham hock meat in the slow cooker

Storing Leftover Greens

If you have leftover slow cooker greens, you can store them in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for up to 5 days. Frozen greens can be stored in the freezer for up to 12 months.

close cooked collard greens with pieces of ham hocks in a white bowl

FAQs & Tips

  • To make this recipe, I use a 6-quart slow cooker /or Instant Pot.
  • The slow cooker will be very full. You will probably have to mash the greens down with your hands to get the lid to fit. Don’t worry about this. The greens will cook down considerably.
cooked collard greens with pieces of ham hocks in a white bowl

More Greens Recipes

cooked greens with shredded ham hock meat in the slow cooker with a spoon
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5 from 1 vote

Slow Cooker Collard Greens

Slow cooker collard greens are a classic Southern dish that can be served any night of the week. This fuss-free greens recipe produces flavorful, tender greens. Free up your stove-top and make this easy collard greens recipe in the slow cooker! 
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Servings 8 servings
Author Shannon Epstein

Equipment

  • 1 6-Quart Slow Cooker

Ingredients

  • 48 ounces collard greens
  • 2 teaspoons salt (or more)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • pepper (to taste)
  • 16 ounces smoked meat (optional)

Instructions

  • Wash greens & remove stems. Add greens to the slow cooker.
  • Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and sugar. Pour apple cider vinegar and broth on top.
  • If you are using smoked meat, rinse off the meat and add it on top of the greens.
  • Cook HIGH 3-4 hours or LOW 6-8.
  • If you used smoked meat, remove the meat and shred it. Place the shredded meat back in the slow cooker.
  • If needed, add salt, pepper, and sugar to taste.
Recipe Rating