If you’ve never tried, Collard Greens, my Instant Pot Collard Greens is the perfect place to start. This recipe is an easy and delicious side dish that is super nutritious and a must-try. I pressure cook these collard greens in a flavorful broth and thick-cut slices of smokey bacon. How can you go wrong?
What Are Collard Greens?
Are you new to collard greens, or are they a staple in your diet? They are one of my latest food obsessions over here around our table. Crazy, because growing up I wouldn’t touch them!
I’ve discovered that I’ve been missing out on a delicious side dish all these years, but now they are a staple!
For those new to this leafy vegetable, I wanted to share a bit about them. Collard Greens are big leafy green plants that grow on thick stalks.
These nutritious greens fall into the family of some of my other favorites like kale, cabbage, or another one big here in the south, mustard greens.
Since the leaves and stalks are generally tough and fibrous they lend well to long slow cooking methods like simmering or pressure cooking.
Collards have a deep earthy richness with an underlying tinge of bitterness. Don’t let my poor flavor description turn you off, I’ve never claimed to be a food critic with flowery words, just trust me they are delicious.
I will say when compared to kale or turnip greens, the collards have a more mellow flavor so they are easy to jazz up. I hope you get the idea of how tasty they can be, and that you’ll give this recipe a try!
What is the Best Way To Flavor Collard Greens?
Collard greens are a staple in many southern homes, at least in the region I grew up in. They are grown easily in our state and you can often be found in many gardens, hopefully including my spring garden this year.
Because collards have a stronger earthy green flavor they can hold up well to bold flavors added into the mix.
In the south, we tend to flavor them with our favorite spices of course like onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and maybe some heat like red pepper flakes, but most of all we like to add fatty meat into the pot to bring the real flavor.
Oh and don’t forget the sugar. Yes, I said sugar, or sugar substitute if you’re watching carbs. The sugar is in a very small amount but it along with a splash of vinegar does wonders for cutting through the slightly bitter earthiness of these tougher greens.
Growing up I’ve seen many types of meats used in cooked greens like these collards. Some of which include turkey wings, pork neck bones, hog jowls, salt pork, and good ole bacon.
All of these meats can be found easily in the meat section of most supermarkets and each of them will bring its own flavor profile so I suggest trying them all to find your favorite.
My favorite and go-to meat for any greens I cook is quality thick-cut bacon. I love the saltiness and rich flavor it imparts into the green.
If you cook collard or other greens, what is your favorite meat to flavor your pot with?
Can These Collard Greens Be Made Vegan-Friendly?
Absolutely! The bacon and broth I used in this recipe are very simple to swap out so that anyone that is needing a vegan alternative can enjoy these Instant Pot Collard Greens.
I typically use broth instead of water when making this recipe, simply because it just helps add more flavor, so opt for a veggie broth or water and omit the bacon to have a perfectly delicious vegan side dish.
Of course, if you prefer you could always use a meat substitute to flavor the collards if that fits your way of eating. These collards are really easy to adapt to any dietary need.
How To Cook Collard Greens In The Instant Pot
Collard greens have thick tougher leaves that can take hours and hours to cook on the stove to just to achieve a desirable level of tenderness.
Collard Greens might be a veggie that some people let scare them off since they can be thick and tough to cook correctly.
I remember growing up my aunts and mom would start the collard greens in the morning and they would basically boil them all day long so they would be the tenderness they preferred by dinner time.
Although there is definitely flavor in that long slow cook, who has time for that these days? I know I don’t have hours of time that I can devote to check-in the broth levels as they simmer on the stove.
Thankfully with the help of an electric pressure cooker, like the Instant Pot, collard greens can be ready much more quickly these days!
Matter of fact in less than two hours you will have these flavorful greens ready to easy and on the table for your family.
All you need to do to use the Instant Pot for these tough leafy greens is to make sure that you clean your collards very well, and chopped them up into smaller bite-sized pieces.
I prefer the buy the large two-pound bags, that have already been chopped and washed. This just makes my life so much easier.
Once your Collards are clean and chopped, simply add them to your Instant Pot along with the rest of your ingredients.
I like to layer my ingredients like the bacon and seasonings in between the layers of greens, but that is just a preference so just get it in the pot how best suits your style.
The two pounds of collards may look like way too much, but trust me these greens are going to cook down to about 1/3 of the original size, so this amount will only serve about 5 people a 3/4 to 1 cup portion.
If you have a smaller Instant Pot you may not be able to get the whole two pounds into the pot, but do your best to get as many as possible and still in the safe level on your pot.
Once all the ingredients are in the Instant Pot, place the lid on and turn the valve to close so the pressure will be able to build.
I like to use the Manual Setting, and set my pressure level to high, before adding an hour to the timer. I know it might seem like a lot for a vegetable but remember we talked about how tough these leafy greens are so trust me here.
After the pressure has built and the 60 minutes of cook time has lapsed you are ready to release the pressure. You can either do the quick release or natural release method here, either is fine.
I have done both methods depending on how quickly I need to serve this delicious side dish. They keep well warm for hours if need be.
How To Store Cooked Collard Greens
Collard Greens are a great side dish that can be prepared in advance and kept in the refrigerator until you are ready to reheat and serve.
Here are a few tips for storing the collard greens once you have them cooked. I’ve been successful at making ahead greens following these tips.
- Once the collard greens are cooked, let them cool completely, then refrigerate them.
- Collards have a stronger food smell so it is best to cover them tightly in the refrigerator. I prefer to put mine in a glass bowl with a tight-fitting lid, but if you don’t have one of these bowls, you can simply cover the container tightly with plastic wrap.
- The cooked collard greens will keep well for the to three days in the fridge.
- If you want to prepare the collard for a later day, it is easy to freeze them in covered airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags. They keep wonderfully in the freezer without getting mushy.
Want More Instant Pot Recipes? Try These!
These flavorful collard greens are cooked until tender in the Instant Pot. They make a delicious and nutritious side dish to any meal
- 2 pound bag of Collard Greens, chopped
- 3 cups of broth or water
- 5 pieces of thick cut bacon, cut into pieces
- 1/2 cup of chopped onions
- 2 teaspoons of sweetener or choice*
- 2 teaspoons of vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon of onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
- Make sure the collard greens are thoroughly washed and cleaned to remove any dirt or grit that might be on the leaves. If working with whole leave you will need to shred or chop them up into smaller pieces.
- Add the washed collard greens to the Instant Pot pressing them down firmly to get all of them in. These will cook down drastically in the end so don't fret about how much you are cooking.
- Add the chopped bacon, broth or water, chopped onions, and the seasonings to the pot as well, and place the lid on the Instant Pot.
- Make sure the pressure value is set to close and use the Manual Button to add 60 minutes of cook time. You will need to make sure your pressure level is set to high.
- After the Instant Pot has come to pressure and counted down the 60 minutes you can release the pressure instantly if needed or let it naturally release depending on how fast you need to serve the collard greens.
Serving Size1 cup
Amount Per ServingCalories 126Total Fat 6gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 16mgSodium 839mgCarbohydrates 7gNet Carbohydrates 3.6gFiber 3.4gSugar 1gProtein 9g
I am not a nutritionist. If you have strict dietary needs I always recommend using an online nutrition calculator to calculate your totals using your exact brands you're using in this recipe as values may vary per brand.
I am a southern girl through and through that loves to laugh, cook, read and spend time with family. My passions outside of home schooling my son are ministering to those in need and creating art in the kitchen! Every day is an adventure in our little house and I wouldn’t trade it or the chance to share here with you for anything!