It’s considered lucky to eat collards early in the new year because the folded green leaves represent money! The Instant Pot makes light work of cooking the collards right so that are wish for a prosperous new year can be made much more easily!
I’ve lived in the South for a long time, and bitter greens, like mustard, turnip, and collards have grown on me over the years, but I could never quite get the technique down. My collards especially, were either underdone or overcooked because of the tough leaves and thick stems.
Having to strip collard leaves, chop, wash, and then figure out the perfect cook time made me want to completely give up on them. And while I love the flavor, any time I order them in a local restaurant, the collard greens are always a little mushy and an unappealing dark greenish brown. In other words, often cooked to death.
But then along came the Instant Pot, and I’ve been perfectly “braising” my collard greens several times every month, I can’t get enough. I love them with a splash of vinegar, but my favorite way to make these in the Instant Pot is Southern-style, with a smoky broth with a little spicy kick.
Pressure Cooking Collards = Sweet And Tender Greens
When collards are braised, or in this case, pressure cooked, they lose a lot of their bitterness and become sweet, and also better absorb the cooking liquid. I start the cooking liquid off with some bold flavors by sauteing a chopped onion and half of a package of bacon right inside the Instant Pot, along with garlic powder, salt, and a pinch or two of red pepper flakes. Once the onion is translucent and the bacon begins to render, I add the broth and the greens, lock the lid onto the pot and set the timer for seven minutes, and walk away. It’s that easy.
The pressure from the Instant Pot also does two magical things to the collards that I could never quite master: it makes the stems tender without overcooking the leaves, and the collards stay a perfect shade of green.
Can I Use Bacon Instead Of Ham Hocks For Collard Greens?
Ham hocks are traditionally used in Southern-style braised greens recipes, but the cook time is so short in the Instant Pot, that the ham hock never has enough time to really lend any good, smoky flavor to the cooking liquid. Bacon, however, is a perfect stand-in for this recipe.
Time Savers In The Kitchen
I like to use the pre-washed and cut collards found in the produce section of my grocery store. If you have the same, grab them, it’ll save you a good 10 minutes of prep time. Stalks of collard greens also tend to be long and wide, and take up a lot of space in my refrigerator, so the bag of pre-washed collards is also a space saver for me.
Even if you don’t live in the South, these collards make a comforting side dish for the winter, and a nice change of pace during the summer. They’re great in soups, mixed into mashed potatoes, and even enjoyed cold the next day.
More Great Greens Recipes
If you love cooking collard greens, you’ll also love these delicious recipes:
- Southern-Style Turnip Greens – a similar recipe to these collards, but made on the stovetop
- How to Cook Beet Greens – one of my favorite side dishes and so easy to cook
- How to Cook Swiss Chard – simple and delicious side that is ready in minutes
Enjoy! – Christine
Podcast Episode On Pressure Cooking Collard Greens
Listen to me explain briefly about how to make this instant pot dish, with some great tips along the way, by clicking the play button below:Print
An easy and delicious way to eat more greens, the Instant Pot makes light work of cooking collard greens just right.
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 lb. (half a pkg.) uncooked bacon, finely chopped
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 16 cups (about 1 and 1/2 lbs.) pre-washed and chopped collard greens
- 1 cup chicken stock
- Select the Sauté button on the Instant Pot to preheat. When “Hot” is displayed add oil, bacon, onion, salt, garlic powder, and crushed red pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 2 minutes. Press the Cancel button.
- Add stock; stir, scraping up any brown bits. Add collards.
- Place lid on pot, lock in place. Set the valve to Sealing. Select the Pressure Cook button and set the timer for 7 minutes. After cook time is complete, immediately switch valve to Venting to release pressure.
- Remove lid. Stir collards to coat in pan broth and serve warm.
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- For easy prep, purchase pre-washed and chopped collards, found in the produce section of the grocery store.
- Freeze the unused bacon for other recipes, or cook and crumble as a topping for the collards.
- Don’t like spicy food? Omit the crushed red pepper flakes.