Making a delicious pot of Collard Greens is so easy using the Ninja Foodi or Instant Pot pressure cooker! Perfectly cooked and seasoned greens are ready in under an hour.
I've been making this recipe for years. It was one of the side dishes we offered when I owned my BBQ restaurant, with one major difference. We used canned collard greens because it was too labor intensive to wash and cook fresh collards for hours, and yet, it was one of our most popular side dishes.
That has all changed because of the pressure cooker! You can get the most tender and flavorful fresh collard greens in no time at all using your pressure cooker.
I used the Ninja Foodi pressure cooker in this recipe, but the Instant Pot or any other brand of electric pressure cooker will work perfectly for this recipe and you only need a few ingredients.
Frequently Asked Questions
Fresh collards often have a lot of dirt on them and it is very important that you get it all off or your pot of collards will have a gritty texture.
The best way to clean them is a two-step process. Fill your CLEAN sink with cold water and place the collards in the sink. Dunk and swish all of the leafy greens several times in the sink. Drain and refill with clean water.
The second wash is when I look at each stem and leaf to make sure it is clean and then remove it from the sink onto a drying rack or a cutting board if cutting and using right away.
If you get the fresh cut collard greens in the bag that are already cut, they are usually washed, but I still dunk them in cold water and move them around before using.
You can freeze the collard greens after they are cooked and I recommend letting them cool completely and even refrigerating them overnight for best results. I like to freeze them with the liquid for the best flavor.
If you want to freeze fresh collards, the best way to do that is to blanche them first in boiling water for about 90 seconds and then put them in a bowl of ice water. Dry and freeze.
What Size Pressure Cooker do I Need to Make this Recipe for Collard Greens?
I tested the recipe in a 6.5 qt Ninja Foodi pressure cooker, so any pressure cooker that size or bigger will work just fine. If you have a smaller electric pressure cooker, you can cut the recipe in half or cook the greens in the same liquid in batches, removing the previous batch with a slotted spoon and then adding the next batch of collard greens to the same liquid.
What to Serve with Collard Greens
Whenever I think of collard greens, I think of BBQ or classic southern recipes. Here are my favorites that go perfectly with this southern side dish.
- Creamy Coleslaw Dressing
- Hawaiian Macaroni Salad (Stovetop or Pressure Cooker)
- Fried Green Tomatoes in the Ninja Foodi
- Ninja Foodi Pulled Pork ~ Pressure Cooked & Air Crisped
- Ninja Foodi Ribs with Raspberry BBQ Glaze
- Pressure Cooker Baked Beans in the Ninja Foodi
- Easy Key Lime Pie in the Ninja Foodi
- No-Bake Chocolate Mousse Pie
Ingredients & Substitutions
If you can't find fresh collard greens, you can use canned collard greens instead. You would want to drain the liquid from the can. Add the recipe ingredients to the inner pot with the canned collard greens and pressure cooker for 5 minutes with an immediate release of pressure. Canned collard greens are fully cooked, so you only want to infuse as much flavor as you can with a short PC time. You can also simmer the canned collards on the stove or in the pressure cooker using sear/ sauté setting with the other ingredients for 15-20 minutes. To get as much flavor as possible from the ham hock, I would slow cook on low for 4 hours.
You can also use Kale or even swiss chard in place of the collard greens.
Spinach cooks too fast and would not be a good substitute, but you can make a delicious spinach side dish with a little vinegar, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
If you have left over collard greens, give this recipe for Hoppin' John a try. While normally served on New Years Day, it's so delicious that it makes a perfect meal anytime!
My preference is white vinegar in this recipe, but you could use apple cider vinegar if you prefer.
You can omit the vinegar, but it really gives a great flavor and it also helps break down the collagen in the ham hock to release more flavor.
Onion, Garlic, Salt, & Pepper
The seasonings are always up to you. Feel free to omit or add what you like. I found that this combination of seasonings was perfect for this southern-inspired side dish, but if you like it a little spicy add in some crushed red pepper, cayenne pepper or chipotle for a smoky heat.
If you want your collard greens a little on the sweet side, try adding a couple Tablespoons of brown sugar.
There are plenty of substitutions for the ham hock, I always have one or two in my freezer so I used it. A leftover ham bone with meat will work or a piece of salt pork. You can use a smoked turkey leg and pull the turkey leg meat off after cooking or even a turkey neck. Another option is to use thick cut smoked bacon. I would leave the bacon whole so you can remove it after the PC time if you don't like soft bacon (I don't, that's for sure). Basically, you can use whatever you like that will impart a nice smoky flavor.
You can also omit the meat altogether and turn this into vegetarian collard greens by switching the chicken broth with vegetable broth.
I use chicken broth because I like the additional flavor it imparts, but you can use water or a different type of broth or stock. If you want to use a dry base, just mix it according to the package directions to equal 1 cup of liquid.
How to Make Pressure Cooker Collard Greens
First you want to clean the collard greens really well in the sink. I was really lucky this time and my greens were VERY clean, but this isn't always the case. Often times there will be dirt in the leaves and on the stems. To clean them, fill your sink with cold water and submerge the collard greens in the water and swish them around to remove the loose dirt. Drain and refill the sink, then I go leaf-by-leaf and make sure they are all clean. Trust me, you don't want to skip this because gritty collard greens are the worst.
Once they are cleaned, you let the dry if you aren't using them right away, but I usually bring them over to my cutting board in batches and cut them up. I remove about 1-2" of the hard stems, but I leave most of the stem intact because I like the texture difference with the softer leaves and the stems. That is completely up to you, though; you can remove the entire stem, if you want. Then I cut them into about 4" pieces. They shrink a lot during the pressure cooking so this works perfect for me. You can certainly cut them into smaller pieces, if you prefer.
Dice the onion into about ½" dice. I used 1 ½ cups of diced onion, which is about 1 large sweet onion. You can use a sweet onion, yellow onion, or a red onion. Mince about 3 large cloves of garlic so you have 1 Tablespoon of minced garlic. Add the broth, vinegar, diced onions, minced garlic, seasonings and the ham hock to the bottom of the pot.
As you cut the collard greens add them on top. The pot will get very full and you might think they all won't fit. They will, just press them down.
Place the lid on the pressure cooker and turn the valve to seal. Set high pressure for 20 minutes. When the time is up, immediately release the pressure. This was the perfect time for the level of doneness I like, but if you want softer greens, increase the cooking time to 25 or even 30 minutes.
Remove the ham hock and let it cool. If there is any meat (usually there is a little bit), I remove it and put it back into the collard greens before serving.
Put the collard greens into a large serving dish or if you are not serving right away, you can use the keep warm function and put the pressure lid back on with the valve to vent.
Make sure to serve the collard greens with the broth, that is liquid gold. In fact, it's called pot liquor by many. I also keep the liquid in case I need to freeze any leftovers.
Serve & Enjoy!
Pressure Cooker Collard Greens
- Electric Pressure Cooker
- 1½ lbs fresh collard greens about 24 cups chopped
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 ham hock
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- 1 sweet onion 1 ½ cups diced in ½" dice
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic about 3 large cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon fine grind sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Wash and remove the 2-3" of stems from the collard greens.
- Add 1 cup chicken broth, ham hock, ¼ cup vinegar, 1½ cups diced onion, 1 Tablespoon minced garlic, salt & pepper to the inner pot of the pressure cooker.
- Chop the fresh collard greens into 4" pieces and add to the pot. Push them down if needed. The pot will be pretty full, but it reduces quite a bit when cooked.
- Place the lid on the pressure cooker and turn the valve to seal. Set the pressure to high for 20 minutes. When the time is up, immediately release the pressure. Remove the lid. Remove the ham hock and let it cool.
- Scoop out the collard greens into a serving bowl and pour over the liquid. When the ham hock is cool enough to handle, remove any bits of ham and add back into the collard greens. Ham hocks don't have a lot of meat, but I usually get a little bit.
- Serve & Enjoy
ABOUT THE RECIPE AUTHOR, LOUISE LONG
Louise is a full-time recipe creator and food blogger @ The Salted Pepper. She has over 30 years of experience with cooking and recipe development. She owned a restaurant for several years and was a full-time RN until retiring to blog full-time.
Louise has several very active Facebook groups that help people with the basics of cooking and getting the most out of the Ninja Foodi.
Seeing the need for easy, delicious, and high quality recipes, she is focusing all of her efforts creating recipes specifically for the Ninja Foodi. Her recipes are easy for the home cook to follow and provide step-by-step instructions.
Louise is also a YouTube creator and you can find most of her recipes in video format on The Salted Pepper YouTube channel.
She is very responsive to messages and eager to help in any way she can.
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