white plate full of southern style mustard greens topped with crispy bacon and a bowl of yellow cornmeal

Southern Style Mustard Greens

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If you are looking for Southern style mustard greens that are bright and tangy, a tad sweet, and perfectly tender, this is your recipe! Oh the salty bacon, the vinegar, and that brown sugar. These greens are packed full of flavor and as Southern as can be (and I’m a Carolina girl, so I should know 😉). Cook them low and slow, and they will taste better than the greens at your favorite local BBQ joint. I mean, they are really that good. Be sure to pair this recipe with my most delicious Southern Honey Cornbread. These are simple recipes with big Southern flavor. Welcome to the South my friends. I hope you’ll stay a while. We’re awfully friendly.

Before we get started…Happy, happy New Year everyone! It sure does feel good to leave 2020 behind, and like many, I am so excited for the possibilities of 2021. So many plans have been put on hold this year, but overall my family has been very fortunate in terms of our personal impact from the pandemic (knock on wood). We are certainly feeling grateful for that. Between our second baby boy due in April, being on the brink of getting vaccinated, and knowing we might soon be able to enjoy a beer with a large group of friends (maybe even indoors), there is so much to look forward to this year.

A New Year in The South

To celebrate, we kicked off 2021 yesterday with our traditional Southern New Year’s meal. For most, this meal consists of collard greens, pork, cornbread, and black eyed peas – each symbolizing different measures of good fortune. If you want to learn more, you can read more about the Southern New Year’s tradition here from the Spruce Eats. You will find Collard greens on a lot of tables, but we switch things up just a bit at our house. My husband has a strong preference for mustard greens, so you won’t find collards on our table New Years day, although they really can be prepared in the same way. Pick your preference!

The Best Greens

Of course, I planned to get this recipe up before the new year, but it just didn’t happen. Better late than never I suppose! Normally I’m not allowed to touch the greens. Dylan doesn’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen, but there are some things that he really enjoys making, and greens are one of those things! For the sake of the blog, he agreed to let me give it a whirl this year. He admitted they were “as good” as his best. I must say, I thought they were better, but I’ll take it ????. He really does make some amazing greens! We definitely agree on two things when it comes to greens:

  1. They must be made with bacon rather than ham
  2. They must be made with Texas Pete hot sauce (confusingly made in North Carolina)!

One Last Bit of Fun

A family member of mine told me this week about a greens sandwich that is wedged between two slices of fried cornbread, and I am dying to give that a try! Has anyone else ever heard of this? Apparently this delicacy can be found each year over in Eastern, North Carolina. I’d love to hear about any other interesting New Year traditions or exciting foods in the comments.

Thanks for reading and here’s to 2021!

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white plate full of southern style mustard greens topped with crispy bacon

Southern Style Mustard Greens

  • Author: Katelyn
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


Tangy, slightly sweet, and seriously delicious Southern style mustard greens braised with cider vinegar and topped with crispy bacon. The perfect Southern side dish, and better than your favorite BBQ joint!


  • 2 pounds of mustard greens (approximately 2 large bunches), washed thoroughly*
  • 8 ounces of bacon, cut into 1 & 1/2 to 2-inch squares
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 4 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar (divided)
  • 2 & 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 Tablespoon Texas Pete hot sauce 
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar 
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes 


  1. Remove the greens from the stems and tear into bite-sized pieces. I normally do this all by hand just tearing the greens away from the stem and into smaller pieces.
  2. Wash greens thoroughly in a large pot or in your salad spinner. You will need to wash the greens in batches and rinse several times to remove all the dirt and sand. 
  3. Add the bacon to a large pot or Dutch oven and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes to render the fat. 
  4. When the bacon is nice and crispy, remove it with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. 
  5. Add the diced onion to the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook onions for 5 to 7 minutes until soft and translucent. Be sure to stir the onions occasionally to avoid browning.
  6. Add the sliced garlic and cook for 1 minute or until it becomes aromatic. 
  7. Deglaze by adding 3 Tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Scrape the bottom of the pot with a heat-resistant rubber spatula to release all that flavor from cooking the bacon. 
  8. Keep the heat at medium low and add half of your greens (or as much as you can fit in your pot) and chicken stock. Cook them down until you can add the rest of the greens to the pot. 
  9. Add hot sauce, brown sugar, kosher salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes and toss everything together with a pair of tongs.
  10. Cover the pot and cook the greens over low heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour, tossing occasionally with tongs. The greens should be soft and tender, but not mushy. 
  11. Transfer greens using a slotted spoon to a serving platter, top with crispy bacon, and be transported right to the Great American South!


*Mustard greens can be extremely gritty if they aren’t washed properly. Be sure to rinse several times to remove all the dirt from the leaves.  

  • Everything should be cooked over low heat from start to finish. 
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Category: Sides
  • Method: Braised
  • Cuisine: Southern

Keywords: mustard greens, greens, southern sides

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