Making pressure cooker collard greens is the quickest way to enjoy classic Southern style greens. This Instant Pot collard greens with bacon recipe has tons of zesty flavor and cook in less than 30 minutes. The greens are also low carb, keto friendly, dairy free, and gluten free....It's a WHOLE LOTTA YUM!
Instant Pot Collard Greens
While I might be a PNW girl at heart, being that half of my relatives are in the South and I went to college in Georgia, I've always had a fondness for southern cooking. It seriously makes the ultimate comfort food to so many people!
Cooking steamed collard greens, turnip greens, and mixed greens was a staple growing up since my step-dad was born and raised in Arkansas. This pressure cooker collard greens recipe is a variation of his that was adapted for an Instant Pot. It doesn't hurt we planted collards for the first time in our garden this year and we have an abundance of greens!
Serve the Instant Pot collards with Bourbon baked beans and Instant Pot pulled pork that everyone will love and appreciate! And for variety, you MUST try our vegan collard greens on the stove top, they have SO much flavor!
What Are Collard Greens?
Collard greens are a popular leafy green served in the Southern states that is part of the same family as cabbage and other leafy greens like kale. Collards are typically served slow-cooked with ham hock or other types of smoked meats. They're sometimes mixed with other types of greens such as turnip greens or kale.
Collards are very healthy with just 11 calories per cup, 0 at, 0.6 net carbs, 36% vitamin A, and 21% vitamin C.
Why You'll Love the Southern Greens Recipe
- It's full of zesty flavor from apple cider vinegar, sweetener, and red pepper flakes.
- You can easily swap the bacon for other types of meats like ham hock, ham cubes, sausage, or smoked turkey.
- The pressure cooker collard greens cook under pressure for just 12 minutes, which is much less than a stovetop recipe.
- You can substitute a large bag of pre-washed and trimmed greens to skip the greens washing process.
- It's a side dish that fits with many diets since it's dairy free, low carb, keto friendly, paleo, GF, and can be sugar free too.
- 2 teaspoon garlic cloves, minced
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 teaspoon oil
- 1 teaspoon sweetener (brown sugar, honey, white sugar, or monk fruit)
- ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 4 slices bacon, cut in half (or a smoked ham hock)
- 2 bunches collard greens, washed, trimmed and cut (about 16 med-large greens)
- 1 cup chicken broth
To balance the flavor of the greens with the vinegar, many people add a sweetener like brown sugar to their recipe. We added in a few alternatives depending on any dietary restrictions you might have. We've been using monk fruit as our go-to sweetener these days, which is sugar free, natural, and keeps the carbs down. Our favorite brand is by Lakanto.
Pressure Cooker- the brand we use
Making Instant Pot Collards
The steps included with cooking collard greens in an instant pot include prepping the greens, cooking the bacon and onion in the pressure cooker, steaming the greens under pressure, and then serving along with your favorite Southern sides.
Cleaning Collard Greens
QUICK TIP: Buy a large bag of pre-washed cut collard greens to skip the cleaning step. We had garden-grown greens and needed to take extra steps to remove the fine bits of hidden dirt. If you buy whole collard green leaves you'll still need to wash them, but probably not as crazy thorough as needed with garden-grown collards.
If you also have homegrown greens or collard leaves, here's a Youtube video on how to wash collard greens.
Prepping the Greens
After making sure the greens are thoroughly washed and rinsed, dry them with a paper towel.
Stack each green on top of the other.
You'll want to remove the tough large stem at the bottom, the easiest way to do this is to cut a large, thin V in the stack of greens all at the same time.
Roll the greens in a tight narrow roll (like a fruit roll-up or cigar shape). Cut the greens into narrow slices.
Turn the Instant Pot to Saute High, you'll be ready to start cooking once it says Hot on the control panel. Add about 2 teaspoon of high heat cooking oil to the pot. While it might seem odd to add grease to bacon, the touch of extra oil helps to keep the bacon from sticking to the pan. (And less stick means less likely to ever get a burn signal during cooking).
Cook the bacon for 4-5 minutes until crisp, flipping half-way to make sure it gets evenly cooked. Remove it from the pot but leave the grease in there to cook the onions in.
Saute the onion for 5 minutes or until they've started to soften, add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
Add Remaining Ingredients
Add the chicken broth and vinegar, and with a large spoon or spatula, scrape up all the food bits from the bottom of the pan to deglaze it. Scraping up the bacon bits and seasoning on the bottom of the pot is important to help avoid getting a burn signal.
Add the collard greens, sweetener of your choosing, and the red pepper flakes. Be sure to press the chopped collard greens down into the liquid, as much as possible. The collard greens will fill up the entire pot, yet just like spinach or kale, they cook down and will shrink considerably.
Put the lid on the pot and cook on Pressure Cook High for 12 minutes, some models might call this Manual. Our Instant Pot took 5 minutes to comes to pressure.
Do a natural release of pressure for 5 minutes before doing a quick release.
Serve the pressure cooker collard greens with bacon warm with lots of pot liquids (aka potlikker), enjoy!
Be sure to scroll to the very bottom of the post to get the instant pot collard greens tips and tricks, get common questions answered, AND print off the recipe card!
- Use pre-washed and cut greens to save time and skip the collards cleaning process.
- Change up the recipe by using this process to cook kale or mustard greens, or use multiple greens in one pot.
- Swap the bacon for smoked meats like turkey, sausage, ham, or smoked turkey wings.
- Mix in precooked black eyed peas for a one dish meal.
- Increase the spice by adding even more red pepper flakes or add a diced jalapeno.
Adapting to Diet Restrictions
Low carb/keto- the pressure cooker collard greens are low carb as long as you use a keto friendly sweetener like monk fruit or Swerve.
Gluten free- it should already be GF, but double-check all labels to be certain
Paleo- to keep this paleo, be sure to use bacon with no added sugar and use a paleo friendly sweetener like coconut sugar or honey.
Sugar-free - use honey, coconut sugar, monk fruit, or Swerve
How to Store Collard Greens
Cooked collard greens will keep in the fridge for up to 4-5 days. You can also freeze the greens for up to 3 months.
What Should I Serve with Collard Greens?
The best dishes to serve along with pressure cooker collard greens are even more Southern-style dishes, of course!
- Black eyed peas
- Ribs, shredded pork, or ham
- Mac n cheese
- Baked beans
Instant Pot Mustard Greens?
If you're looking for a pressure cooker mustard greens recipe and can't find one (there was none on Google at the time of writing this), you'll be happy to know that making mustard greens in an instant pot is the exact same process as pressure cooker collard greens! Simply swap the collards for the mustard greens.
More Veggie Sides You'll Love
More Instant Pot Recipes
- Pressure cooker baked beans
- Instant Pot pulled pork recipe
- Instant pot corn
- Instant Pot cabbage with bacon.
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