Basic Cooked Mustard Greens

Basic Cooked Mustard Greens

The Spruce

Ratings (89)
  • Total: 80 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 60 mins
  • Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
399 Calories
30g Fat
2g Carbs
29g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This is a basic recipe for seasoned mustard greens, one of the South's favorite side vegetables. Mustard greens are excellent with smoked bacon or ham or use salt pork, pork hocks or hog jowls. This recipe also works with turnip greens or collard greens.

 To avoid grit in your greens, fill the sink, a large bowl, or dishpan with cold water. Swish the greens, change the water, and swish again. Repeat until you can't feel any sandy residue on the bottom of the sink or container. Even if the package claims the greens are "clean," rinse them thoroughly. There's nothing worse than gritty greens!

Serve the mustard greens with pepper vinegar sauce or hot sauce.


  • 2 bunches mustard greens (well washed)
  • 1 pound fat back (or ham chunks or thick bacon)
  • Optional: sugar
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Black pepper (to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Wash your mustard greens 3 or 4 times in fresh water, draining them each time. (There's nothing worse than gritty mustard greens.) Then strip the leafy part from the stems and discard the stems.

  2. In a large Dutch oven or stockpot fry 1 pound of fat back, thick bacon, or ham chunks until browned; add the mustard greens to the pot.

  3. Fry, stirring until greens start to wilt.

  4. Add 2 cups of water and cook until the greens are tender, about 1 hour or more. Add more water as needed.

  5. Some people cook mustard greens, collard greens, and turnip greens all together in one pot. You can add a teaspoon sugar to the water to sweeten the greens. Stir frequently on medium heat so they don't burn.

  6. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve with cider vinegar or hot pepper vinegar.

Mustard greens make a nice side dish with black-eyed peas, sliced baked ham, and cornbread.