Southern Instant Pot Collard Greens

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This instant pot collard greens recipe with smoked turkey necks is healthier than the traditional southern collard greens.

Southern Instant Pot Collard Greens

I will show you how to cook the best instant pot southern collard greens recipe ever!

Growing up, I wasn’t a fan of collard greens, which always smelled funky. These days, things are a bit different. I’m in charge of cooking my food now, and I’ve discovered that collards can be delicious when cooked properly.

Greens are a southern staple, and for a good reason. They’re delicious!

Southern collard greens are a traditional dish comfort food in the American south, and they can be made with bacon, ham hocks, or smoked turkey necks. The dish is cooked in a large pot on the stove for hours until the greens are soft and the flavors have married together.

I believe the long cook time makes collards too mushy, but that’s how we were taught. In my community, we usually overcook our vegetables because of the long cook times to break down the smokey meats.

But what if you don’t have time to cook your greens for hours? How do you cook smoked turkey necks so the meat can fall off the bone in a short time? What if you wanted to make them in an instant pot or another pressure cooker?

I’m here to tell you that it is possible to make delicious southern collard greens in an instant pot. The instant pot will speed up the cooking process, and the flavor will be smokier than traditional southern collard greens.

So if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to make southern greens, give this instant pot collard greens recipe a try.

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How to Clean and Prep your Collard Greens?

Improper cleaning of your collards can leave you with a pot of gritty sandlike texture in your greens.

Before you begin cooking this soul food dish, be sure to clean the collards thoroughly. To ensure your collards are correctly cleaned, follow these steps.

  1. Clean your kitchen sink with hot soapy water. Then fill it with cold water, about a 1/4 filled per 2 lbs. of fresh collards and kosher salt; 15 minutes before cooking. Larger flake salts like kosher and coarse sea salt will help scrub the greens.
  2. Swish them around a bit to loosen any dirt or grit that might be attached, and then lift them out of the water; repeat 3 times. Drain in a colander until dry.
  3. If there is still sand or dirt present on the leaves of the collards, repeat step 2 with 2 tablespoons of salt until all particles are removed.

Two ways you can prep your greens

1) Grab the end of the stem in one hand and use your other hand to pull the leaf from the stem.

2) Stack your collards on top of each other, trim, and discard the thicker stems. The stem inside of the collards will get tender as it cooks.

Once your greens are stemmed, roll them up like a cigar and cut crosswise. That’s all you need to perfectly clean and prep your greens. Remember that collards have a thicker stem than mustard greens or turnip greens.

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Key Ingredients

You’ll need a few ingredients to make some fantastic instant pot collard greens.

Collards

Always seek to find fresh collard greens that look healthy. Deep army green, no brown spots, and the leaves should look strong and not wilted are withered. Tuscan kale, turnip greens, and mustard green are great additions or substitutions for collards.

Smoked Turkey Necks

I no longer eat pork, and to make my southern collard greens recipe still has that great smoky, salty flavor that ham hocks provide. I use smoked turkey necks.

Yellow Onions

This is one of my secret ingredients. I’ve had them with and without onions, and the flavor profile is massive. Don’t make greens without an onion. I like to use yellow Spanish onions, but a white onion will work. 

Vinegar

Most people are fans of apple cider vinegar with their collards, but I like to use white distilled vinegar because it takes out the bitterness of the green without the sweet notes in apple cider vinegar.

Garlic

A little garlic goes a long way to making a great pot of greens.

Seasoning

My favorite collard green seasoning is kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. If cayenne pepper is too spicy, you can use red pepper flakes.

How to make the best instant pot collard greens?

Can you pressure-cook greens? Absolutely! If you’re ready to impress your family with a delicious pot of southern greens, cook them in a pressure cooker.

Step 1: If you only have a 6-quart instant pot, only cook half of the recipe so that it’ll fit in one pot. The first step is essential, add onion and garlic, cook them on the saute function, add smoked turkey necks and water and cook for 15 minutes.

Step 2: Release the pressure from the pressure cooker, then add collards, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, cayenne, vinegar, and water. Turn the instant pot to cook on high-pressure, lock lid, and pressure cook for 15 minutes.

Step 3: Quickly release the steam to release pressure and stir to break up turkey necks; this will shred the meat and create pure deliciousness in every bite. Taste and adjust seasoning before serving.

Serve the greens over rice with a slice of hot buttered cornbread.

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Instant Pot Collards Recipe Tips & Tricks:

Here are some of my top tips and tricks to help you make a delicious instant pot collard greens:

  • If you only have a 6-quart instant pot, only cook half of the recipe.
  • You can use 4 lbs. of fresh chopped collard greens in a bag to save time.
  • Feel free to use your favorite greens: mustard, kale, or turnip greens in place of collards. Also, you can do a blend of all the above greens.
  • If you want to make a pot of vegan greens, omit the butter and smoked turkey necks and use 2 teaspoons of liquid hickory smoke with vegetable broth.
  • Feel free to use red pepper flakes in place of cayenne. Red pepper flakes add some heat to the dish without overpowering.
  • You can use apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar if you’re looking for a tangy-sweet flavor in your collards.
  • If you cannot find smoked turkey necks, use smoked turkey wings, turkey legs, thick-cut bacon, or ham hocks.
  • If you use a turkey leg, remove the skin and long cartilage from the leg before serving.
  • I usually don’t use chicken broth because the smoked turkey necks will create an amazing smelling and tasting homemade turkey stock, but you can use chicken broth to intensify the flavor.
  • If you use chicken broth to bring more flavor. I recommend using a low-sodium chicken broth since the smoked turkey necks or other smoked meats will have tons of sodium.
  • Drink the pot liquor (likka). It’s full of nutrients and great for dipping your cornbread in.

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FAQs

Here are the answers to some of the most asked questions about making instant pot collard greens.

What are collard greens?

Collards are a type of green leafy vegetable. They are popular in southern cooking and can be served as an entree with some rice or side dish, and are often cooked with smoked turkey necks or ham.
They are an excellent source of dietary fiber, calcium, iron, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese.

Why do you put vinegar in Collard Greens?

The vinegar helps to give the collards a tangy flavor that helps to soften them up and counter some bitterness. You can use any vinegar; white distilled vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or fresh lemon juice does the trick.

How do you get the bitterness out of collard greens?

There are a few ways to remove the bitterness from collard greens. One way is to blanch them in boiling water for a minute, then shock them in ice water. Another way is to add vinegar or sugar.
Blanching the greens will also make them more tender.

To blanch, bring a medium or large pot of water to a boil and add the greens. Boil for one minute, remove the greens and shock them in ice water. This will stop the cooking process and remove some of the bitterness.

After blanching, you can use them in any way you like. We avoid the need to blanch by cooking the collards in an instant pot.

My fun twist on two southern classics is collard green stuffed with cornbread dressing.

How long does it take for collard greens to get tender?

The amount of time it takes depends on how you cook them.
Blanching them takes 1 minute. The traditional southern way is in a large pot, about 30-45 minutes. In a pressure cooker, about 20-25 minutes for collard greens to get tender.

Can you overcook collard greens?

Yes, you can overcook collard greens, which will become soft and mushy if cooked too long. Most people cook greens for a long time to ensure that the smoked meat is cooked and the meat falls off the bone.

What is a good substitute for collard greens?

Some good substitutes for collard greens would be mustard greens, turnip greens, or kale. Collard greens have thicker stems than other greens, so those would be suitable substitutes if you’re looking for something with a similar texture.

How to store collards?

Instant pot collard greens are best served immediately. However, you can make them a day in advance, and the flavors will develop further. Store them in an airtight container for 7 days in the fridge.

You can freeze them for 2 months in a freezer-safe airtight container. Reheat your southern greens in a medium pot with 1/4 cup of pot liquor over medium heat until hot.

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More Soul Food Side Dishes

Here are a few more soul-food side dishes that you might enjoy.

  • Southern Mac and Cheese
  • Buttermilk Biscuits
  • Candied Yams
  • Sweet Potato Casserole
  • Cornbread Dressing

Latest Recipe Video:

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Before You Begin

Here’s what you need to do to make the most flavorful instant pot collard greens that will make your family and loved ones think that you put hours into making them.

Step 1: Get all ingredients for the southern collards out on the counter.

Step 2: To save time, chop and measure all ingredients into separate bowls.

Step 3: You don’t want any surprises, so ensure your instant pot lid locks and turns on before getting started.

Step 4:  Follow the recipe and get ready for the best instant pot collard greens you will ever make.

If you are looking for a healthier version of southern collard greens, this instant pot recipe bursting with amazing flavor is perfect for you.

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Southern Instant Pot Collard Greens

Kenneth Temple
This instant pot collard greens recipe with smoked turkey necks is healthier than the traditional southern collard greens. They are not as mushy, the flavor is smokier, and the pot liquor (likker) is also more intense.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 14 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 46 mins
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Soul Food, Southern
Servings 8 persons
Calories 249 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 lbs. collards rinsed, stemmed, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion chopped medium
  • 4 garlic cloves chopped fine
  • 1 lb. smoked turkey necks
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 teaspoons white distilled vinegar
  • 3 cups cooked rice

Instructions
 

  • Turn a 6-qt instant pot to sauté; add oil and butter, once butter is melted cook onion for 5 minutes. Then add garlic and cook for 15 seconds until fragrant. Stir in turkey necks and water, pressure cook on high for 15 minutes.
  • Release the pressure, then add the collards, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, cayenne, white vinegar, and water. Turn the instant pot to high-pressure cook, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Release the steam, stir to break up turkey necks, taste, and adjust seasoning. Serve hot over rice.

Notes

Pro Recipe Tips & Tricks
  • If you only have a 6-quart instant pot, only cook half of the recipe.
  • You can use 4 lbs. of fresh chopped collard greens in a bag to save time.
  • Feel free to use your favorite greens: mustard, kale, or turnip greens in place of collards. Also, you can do a blend of all the above greens.
  • If you want to make a pot of vegan greens, omit the butter and smoked turkey necks and use 2 teaspoons of liquid hickory smoke with vegetable broth.
  • Feel free to use red pepper flakes in place of cayenne. Red pepper flakes add a kiss of heat to the dish without overpowering.
  • You can use apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar if you’re looking for a tangy-sweet flavor in your collards.
  • If you cannot find smoked turkey necks, use smoked turkey wings, turkey legs, thick-cut bacon, or ham hock when you make them.
  • If you use a turkey leg, remove the skin and long cartilage from the leg before serving.
  • I usually don’t use chicken broth because the smoked turkey necks will create an amazing smelling and tasting homemade turkey stock, but you can use chicken broth to intensify the flavor.
  • If you use chicken broth to bring more flavor. I recommend using a low-sodium chicken broth since the smoked turkey neck or other smoked meats will have tons of sodium.
  • Drink the pot liquor (likka). It’s full of nutrients and great for dipping your cornbread in.
Storage:
Collard greens are best served immediately. However, you can make them a day in advance, and the flavors will develop further. Store them in an airtight container for 7 days in the fridge.
You can freeze them for 2 months in a freezer-safe airtight container. Reheat your southern greens in a pot with leftover pot liquor over medium heat until hot.

Nutrition

Calories: 249kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 15gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 1030mgPotassium: 370mgFiber: 5gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 5830IUVitamin C: 42mgCalcium: 293mgIron: 1mg
Keyword collard greens, southern greens, southern instant pot collard greens
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