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Southern Collard Greens Recipe w/ Smoked Turkey Legs (soul food style)

Southern Collard Greens Recipe w/ Smoked Turkey Legs (soul food style)

I have yet to meet a southerner who doesn’t love a bowl of good, well seasoned collard greens! I’m talking about greens so good that you will gulp down the leftover juices from the pot! True food for the soul.
Southern style collard greens are a must-have at our holiday table…it just doesn’t quiet feel the same without them.
If you are looking for an easy, flavorful and downright addictive southern soul food collard greens recipe then HERE SHE IS!!!
Growing up, my grandmother use to prepare collard greens almost every Sunday and for a while it was the only vegetable I’d ever eat. I can remember eating bowl after bowl of these things until I felt sick.
I still love collard greens to death but I’m real picky as to how they should be fixed (as most southern folks are : )  I hope that you will enjoy this recipe and go ahead and have two bowls…collards have more calcium than milk!
Ohhhhhh I CAN NOT do this post without sharing some quick facts about collard greens:

Collard greens have been cooked and used for centuries. The Southern style of cooking of greens came with the arrival of African slaves to the southern colonies and the need to satisfy their hunger and provide food for their families. Though greens did not originate in Africa, the habit of eating greens that have been cooked down into a low gravy, and drinking the juices from the greens (known as “pot likker”) is of African origin. The slaves of the plantations were given the leftover food from the plantation kitchen. Some of this food consisted of the tops of turnips and other greens. Ham hocks and pig’s feet were also given to the slaves. Forced to create meals from these leftovers, they created the famous southern greens. The slave diet began to evolve and spread when slaves entered the plantation houses as cooks. Their African dishes, using the foods available in the region they lived in, began to evolve into present-day Southern cooking

Watch me make these Southern Collard Greens from start to finish!

Serve the turkey leg pieces right along with the greens and savor a little piece of history!

5.0 from 5 reviews
Southern Collard Greens Recipe w/ Smoked Turkey Legs (soul food style)
Author: Divas Can Cook
  • 1 bunch of collard greens
  • 1 fully-cooked, smoked turkey leg (can also use smoked turkey wings)
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • 3 cups of chicken broth
  • 1t. red pepper flakes
  • salt, pepper, vinegar, hot sauce (optional)
  1. Remove the collard green leaf from the steam.
  2. Wash the collards several times in cold water to remove any dirt and grit. You can also use salt to help remove the grit if needed. Rinse well & set aside
  3. In a large pot, add a tablespoon of olive oil and the chopped onions & garlic. Saute until tender.
  4. Add in the chicken broth, red pepper flakes, & the turkey leg. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for about 20-30 minutes. This helps the broth take on that delicious, smokey flavor!
  5. Add in the collard greens. Cook on med-low heat until tender for about 45-60 minutes. You can increase the heat if needed but do not boil the collard greens. you want to slowly steam cook. They will wilt down as they cook.
  6. When done, season to your preference. In my opinion these greens don’t need a thing but usually add in a few dashes of black pepper and few drops of hot sauce!


  1. I made your recipe for collards last night, all except I didn’t have a smoked turkey leg, so I used some fat back, but let me tell you, this is the best recipe for collards. They come out with so much flavor, and they are so darn good you may not want to share them (I almost didn’t want to). I advise this for anyone wanting to try collards…

  2. These greens are fantastic. I just drank the left-over broth straight out of my bowl! I’ve made these for a variety of people, and everyone loves these greens.

  3. Hi Monique,

    We bought a house four months ago with a big ‘ol cabbage looking plant growing in the garden. The leaves were green and really wide but the main stalk was growing very tall out of the ground (wish I could show pics). Since I couldn’t find any collard plants on the internet with a similar stalk I wasn’t sure they were collards. But when I found your recipe, I decided it was now or never that I would clip those leaves and make greens from them. Turned out they were collards after all.

    I had never made greens before, but for Thanksgiving I made the most delicious greens from your recipe. THANK YOU! I can’t thank you enough. Not only did they taste “down home” and come from my own garden, but I got to practice a part of my culture doing something my ancestors did and understand how they took what they had and made it special. That was the real lesson for me here. Funny thing is that my husband’s white and when he saw me going through all the washing, we both got a cultural lesson! We got into an entire enriching discussion about food and the black culture as I cooked your recipes.

    You are doing something very special. If there’s any other way I can show my appreciation for you sharing your family recipes, please tell me! THANKS MONIQUE!

  4. I found your recipe via youtube. I just made these greens. Sooo delicious and easy to make. I’m in my late 20′s and trying to step up my cooking game, I have none. Keep bringing recipes like this out and I might actually start fooling folks. :-) I might actually be able to bring a real dish to the family get togethers now. Hahaha…Thank you so much for taking the time to share your talents. Be blessed. Amen.

  5. I made this and I added a greens seasoning pack, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar and hot sauce and it was amazing!

  6. How many servings does this make? And do you know the calories because I’ve been craving collard greens badly and I’m on a diet and count calories.

  7. I tried this recipe today along with the tangy wings macaroni and cheese and banana pudding and this meal is on point. I know nothing about southern cooking accept for how to eat it lol. My fiancé comes home in May and I am definitely utilizing your blog so I can step my cooking game up. Thank you Diva!!!

  8. Omg you are awesome I have never ever been able to successfully cook greens… tried your recipe today and Omg it was awesome. I gave my mom a bowl and she told me she wants me to make a pot for her this weekend. As Im typing this I’m literally slurping down a bowl. thank u sooooooo much for this recipe I cant wait to try out some of ur other recipes.

  9. I just made these today and OMG!! I love this recipe. Is a keeper. I am puerto rican and I love soul food. Thank you for sharing your recipes you are awesome!

  10. These greens were sooo good! I love using your recipes! Thanks for sharing! Do you have a recipe for kale greens? Would I cook it the same way? Thanks

  11. I am making (made) these for Christmas and they are simply delectable!! This is the only recipe I will ever use to cook collard greens. Thank you for sharing the recipe and the history.

  12. I made this for Thanksgiving and it was soooo delicious Thank You so much for sharing this recipe with us!!

  13. I’ve made this twice in one week now because my family loves it that much! This is such an easy, flavorful recipe. That pot likker ain’t no joke, you really will want to drink it all up! I usually don’t have the time to clean and cut fresh greens so I use one 1lb bag of those precut Glory collards. I also HATE onions so I use a little onion powder instead. Lemme tell you, those bad oys come out PERFECT!! Thanks Diva, now I got people thinking I can really cook!

  14. Simple, easy and delicious. Even better the next day.

  15. I’m making these greens right now in preparation for Thanksgiving tomorrow. My House smells amazing.

  16. I enjoy cooking, and love collards make em all the time, But I’m gonna try these out. I know they gonna be good!!

  17. I made this last night and the greens were awesome! I’ve been missing my grandma’s cooking (even though I’ve only had it once) and this recipe definitely gave me what I was craving. Also, I had a bag of prewashed collard greens, and had enough for one recipe’s worth after I picked out the really thick stems and tore the leaves into smaller pieces.

    Thank you for such a great recipe!

  18. I made this collard greens recipe (along with your mac and cheese and bbq baked chicken) for our Sunday dinner. I followed your recipe exactly and I must say it was right on! Not only was it easy, it was delicious. Even my husband who normally does not eat collard greens had two bowls of these! And you were right, the broth is so full of flavor, you don’t need to add a thing! I made 4 of your recipes, 3 in one day and they all were amazing!!

  19. Hi diva! Just stopping by getting my holiday menu in order. I can hardly wait! By the way im using your turkey, mac n cheese collard greens,sweet potatoes, and apple pie recipes. Thank you so much for all of your hard work and efforts to keep us divas in the kitchen!

    Peace and blessings

  20. Hello Monique, I make your greens all the time and they are wonderful, so wonderful that my husband has asked me to make a large pot for his grandmothers surprise B-day party this weekend. I know this sounds crazy but can you tell me what is needed to make a large pot for about 20 people? Thank you everything I have made of yours are wonderful… Please Help!!!

  21. Hello Ms. Monique,

    Could you please tell me…

    How many people does this serve?

    Do we use one, two, or three pounds of greens?

    Thank you so much, we adore your website. You are brilliant!!

  22. first time making this tuesday night…..Loved it! cooked it again today for sunday dinner, so good…….THANKS

  23. I made this and it was wonderful!!! Thanks for sharing!!!!

  24. This recipe is great! And Isaac is adorable!!

  25. I made this recipe for the first time and I must say my family loved it I am gonna keep using it. thanx for the recipe

  26. Yay, I can actually make greens! My first time ever making collard greens, and my husband wanted to know who had actually cooked them. I’m in my mid-30s and have a reputation for not being a good cook – LOL. With a hubby and 2 kids, I realized I needed to change that. People always give me recipes to try, but yours actually turn out right!!! LOL … my husband said to make sure I leave you a comment on your Web site!!

  27. Ok, I am a brother who loves to bake and I decided that being from NC, it was time to take the skills in another direction. My cousin makes the kind of greens I can eat for breakfast and she had found a local spot where I can buy a huge head of collards for $3 so I gave it a shot. I followed the recipe here: one with red pepper flakes and one without. Wow, it is all I can add! My cousin is a caterer and I provided her a SMALL sample to which she was asking about the recipe. In an effort to be more honest, I did not take FULL credit for making them. I am growing! My lady isn’t local but she is desirous of my making some for her as well. I am making more and freezing a bunch for the long, cold winter and I wish to thank you for your skill set. I do like cooking for my lady at times and you have helped make it simpler. Handle your biz, Diva!

  28. For the last 15 years, my holiday contribution has been collard greens. My family has always enjoyed my greens, but this year, after using your recipe, they were really talking! Thanks for helping me step up my game.

  29. I made these greens for Thanksgiving yesterday and they were sooooooo good!! People were coming up to me raving and asking for the receipe! That’s never happened to me before. Thank you thank you thank you!

  30. I know this sounds strange, but I’ve never cooked greens before..I tried your recipe and girl those greens were the bomb…I give you two thumbs up..and you are right..you will want to drink the juice after making these bomb greens…Thanks for the recipe girlie..I’m going to make some more tomorrow

  31. I usually have to wait until my Aunt makes these but not anymore. They are in the pot right now. The way this house smells right now is bringing a brotha back to when I was a kid. Can’t wait to taste them.

  32. Do you have any suggestions on where I could find an already smoked turkey leg?

    • Hey! I am from Tennessee but here they normally have them at Krogers in the frozen meat section. Also at Krogers they keep in the area near the season. I have found it at Wal-mart as well near the bacon and ground beef.

  33. I have been using Yes Divas can cook for the past month now and Girlllll my family has been in heaven.. LOL

    Thank you for sharing your recipes

  34. Made these tonight and it was really good. Thank you so much for helping a Diva learn how to cook! You are the BEST!!!! Now what to cook next….

  35. Thank you for posting this! I just made it and it's REALLY GOOD!! I have to force myself to not eat the whole pot at once!..HUGS!

  36. The absolute best and easiest!! Now on to the Banana Pudding! Thanks for sharing.

  37. This recipe is on point!

  38. I made these greens for Thanksgiving and as an island girl, this was my first attempt at making greens. Your recipe was super easy to follow and the result was amazing. I was so proud of myself. These tasted like my aunt's greens which are no joke! Thank you, Thank you, Thank You!!!!!

  39. I just want to say I made this for Thanksgiving and it was a HIT! Everyone loved it and I got rave reviews. I followed your recipe exactly except I cooked them for several hours rather than just 1 hour. They were delish! Thank you!!

  40. Very good! Easy to make and very tasty! Thanks for sharing!

  41. I just made these to take to Thanksgiving dinner and they are sooooo good!!!! Thanks so much for sharing your recipe and your video. Your son is so cute in the video. Thanks again!

  42. Can mustads & collards be mixed with this recipe?

  43. How many servings does this make? I can't wait to try this!

  44. dreid05@hotmail.com

    I love this blog! I have done the green beans and yummy! I've done the mac and cheese and yummy!!Now i'm doing the collards! Thank you for posting these recipes!

  45. Just made these greens, they are so good! Thank you for this recipe, the history, and the blog!

  46. A Blatina's Blog

    I love collard greens and never made them. You definitely inspired me to whip up a pot of greens– even if my picky boyfriend won't eat them with me!

  47. They are soooo good, I made them tonight for mother's day with some hens and my daughter loves them which says soo much, girl thank you last night was the peach cobbler and we loved that as well next is the cakes!!!

  48. I tried your recipe tonight and I have to tell you that my greens came out sooo wonderful as if I have been cooking them for years but this was only my first time ever. I can't wait to try your other recipes!!!

  49. I tried your recipe and the greens were good.

  50. These were the best!!

  51. Love this recipe…so simple and easy. I made this recipe twice and well. Once for home and the second for my mother. She called me at work and said "Girl what you do to these greens?" I was like "huh,I cooked them." She was like "I know but how? They are so good you need to make them for me every Sunday. LOL

  52. This recipe turned out so delicious. I love collard greens and was never able to make them. Thank you for showing me step by step how to do it. I look forward to trying more things.

  53. Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you!!! This recipe for every the true every African American meal staple made me look like a cook extrodinaire infront of my future mother-in-law. The greens cooked quickly with this method and the coinsistency was superb. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe, I am keeping it to myself, and just let them think I could cook like this all along ;)

  54. Monique… I made these collard greens along with some meatloaf, homemade macaroni and cheese (I'm going to try your recipe next) and cornbread. I invited my homegirl over here to eat. Lets just say those collards were gone in one day..lol! We was over here drinking the juice! This recipe is in my collection. Thank you so much for sharing =)

    Teasa K

  55. JennyfromthaBlock

    OMG this is it!!! I have been searching for a good collard green recipe like my roommates grandmother use to make us year ago and this recipe is it, actually it's better!! I think it's because of the chicken broth.

    It is FULL of flavor and taste even better the next day. This will be the collard green recipe I use on Thanksgiving. Keep the recipes coming!

  56. Wonderful recipe. I'm making them now and my brother just came in the door saying that the house smells like our grandma's house…AWESOME! Thanks for posting it-they're bound to turn out great.

  57. I made these for my bf today since he is from the south and we are currently living in NY. He is always talking about how much he misses his Big Mama's greens and how me being a white girl I can't make them like she did lol When I told he I was making him some collard greens he just shook his head but when he tasted these he didn't even think I made them. He said they were the best collard greens he had ever had. He ate 3 big bowls full and asked if I would make some to take over to his mama's house for Thanksgiving. I am so happy! Thanks for this great soul food recipe girl!!

  58. Just made these today. Delish!


  59. Whoa! Luv your blog! Think I'll try your collard greens recipe this weekend. My hubby will LOVE it! Thanks for sharing!

  60. LOVE the history! Looks so delic!
    I'm ready for some right now! Have you ever used the necks or the tails? They cook a lot faster & don't have all the sinews as the legs do. I use a pressure cooker to cook down my smoked turkey til it is falling off of the bone. Girl I'm ready for some greens now! Thanks so much for sharing. MMMM mmmmm mmmm!

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