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Fried Cabbage – WellPlated.com


Unleash the potential of one of the most healthy and budget-friendly vegetables with this Fried Cabbage recipe. Thinly sliced cabbage and onions, cooked until tender with crispy bits of bacon, this easy side dish pairs well with your favorite meats, or enjoy it on its own for a quick meal.

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If you’ve been bypassing cabbage in the produce section, it’s time to stop and give this nutritious, inexpensive, and long-lasting vegetable the chance to charm you.

Whether you need a fast weeknight side like Sautéed Cabbage, or are looking to make a big-batch, budget-friendly recipe like Cabbage Soup or its meatier cousin Cabbage Roll Soup, humble cabbage is here to help.

A cruciferous vegetable, cabbage can be bland and bitter on its own.

The key is how you prepare it!

Pan fried with bacon drippings, then perked up with a little lemon juice or vinegar to make it tangy, this southern fried cabbage is downright delicious.

simple fried cabbage with onions and bacon in a pan

Tips for Crispy Fried Cabbage

Just like Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic and Sautéed Brussels Sprouts, cabbage has natural sugars that caramelize in high-temperature cooking methods.

Make sure you follow these tips to end up with yummy pan fried cabbage with plenty of crispy bits that you’ll want to pick right out of the pan.

  • Cut the Cabbage Thin. To ensure the cabbage caramelizes and crisps, remove the core, then slice it thinly.
  • Use a Large Skillet. The cabbage needs plenty of space to brown and crisp evenly. If it’s too crowded, it will steam.
  • Don’t Stir Too Often. Leaving the cabbage undisturbed in the pan for minutes at a time gives the surface time to brown and crisp.
  • Add a Little Acid. One of the keys to ensuring cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables don’t taste bitter is to add a touch of acid like apple cider vinegar or lemon juice.
  • Season Well. As with any vegetable recipe, kosher salt is critical for flavor. From there, enjoy your own variations by adding garlic, herbs, cheese, or your spices of choice.
scooping pan fried cabbage out of pan

How to Make Fried Cabbage

This simple fried cabbage recipe is easy to make but doesn’t skimp where it counts: taste.

Serve this fried cabbage and onions as a side, or top it off with an egg and enjoy with toast for a hearty breakfast or fast dinner.

The Ingredients

  • Cabbage. Incredibly nutritious but commonly overlooked, cabbage shines in this simple recipe. It becomes tantalizingly caramelized, crisp, and coated in sumptuous bacon flavor.
  • Bacon. A delicious way to add satisfaction to this recipe. The cabbage is cooked in the bacon drippings, meaning it gets a crowd-pleasing flavor boost.
  • Onion. Once cooked and caramelized, the onions add a touch of sweetness.
  • Spices. A mix of salt, garlic powder, and pepper makes fried cabbage flavorful.
  • Worcestershire. My secret to making this the best fried cabbage recipe! Worcestershire sauce is an umami powerhouse.
  • Lemon Juice. Helps wake up the cabbage with acidity and keeps it from tasting bitter.

The Directions

slicing cabbage to fry
  1. Remove the stem of the cabbage, then cut it in half.
sliced cabbage on a cutting board
  1. Cut the halves into fine ribbons.
frying bacon for fried cabbage
  1. Sauté the bacon. Transfer the bacon to a plate using a slotted spoon. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of drippings from the pan.
cooked onions on a pan for simple fried cabbage
  1. Sauté the onion in the pan.
frying cabbage in a pan
  1. Add the oil, cabbage, and spices. Sauté cabbage for 10 to 15 minutes.
crispy fried cabbage recipe in a pan
  1. Stir in the Worcestershire. Remove the pan from the heat and add the lemon juice. DIG IN!

Recipe Variations

  • Fried Cabbage with Sausage. As my Cabbage and Sausage Skillet can attest, this pairing is delish! Sauté slices of smoked sausage with the bacon.
  • Fried Cabbage and Potatoes. Add potatoes (cut into 1/2-inch cubes) to the pan with the onions. (You could also serve this dish with a side of Potato Pancakes.)
  • Vegetarian Fried Cabbage. Make the cabbage without bacon; use butter or additional oil instead of the bacon drippings.
  • Parmesan Fried Cabbage. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese over the top of your finished fried cabbage.
  • Fried Cabbage with Turkey Bacon. Use thick-cut turkey bacon. Turkey bacon will produce significantly less drippings than regular bacon, so you will need use a little extra oil or butter.
crispy fried cabbage with onions and bacon

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate fried cabbage in an airtight storage container for up to 1 week.
  • To Reheat. Place cabbage in a microwave-safe bowl or on a plate and reheat gently in the microwave until warm. You can wake up your leftovers up by adding another sprinkle of salt and a splash of lemon juice after reheating.

Meal Prep Tip

Up to 1 day in advance, trim and slice the cabbage. Store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container until you’re ready to finish the recipe.

Leftover Ideas

Leftover fried cabbage can be the jumping-off point for so many tasty meals.

  • Take a note from Corned Beef Hash and serve the leftovers with a runny egg for a tasty breakfast.
  • Top a bowl of cooked gnocchi with fried cabbage for a hearty meal.
  • Add sliced smoked sausages to the leftover cabbage. Add some red pepper flakes if you like things a little spicy.
  • Add leftover fried cabbage to a Baked Potato.
simple fried cabbage in a bowl with a fork

What to Serve with Fried Cabbage

Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

  • Non-Slip Cutting Board. When cutting ingredients like cabbage, you need a stable cutting board.
  • Sharp Chef’s Knife. Using a sharp, high-quality chef’s knife makes all the difference in recipe prep.
  • Sauté Pan. Perfect for making fried cabbage. If you don’t own a sauté pan, a Dutch oven will also work.

High-Quality Sauté Pan

Incredibly versatile and well-made, this sauté pan is a must-have kitchen tool. It’s safe to use on the stovetop and in the oven.

simple fried cabbage recipe in a bowl

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought!

Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked the recipe.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Kinds of Cabbage Can I Use for Fried Cabbage?

This recipe can be made using green cabbage, savoy cabbage, red cabbage, or Chinese cabbage (like napa cabbage). Note that Napa cabbage will cook more quickly.

Is Fried Cabbage Actually Fried?

This recipe is pan fried in bacon drippings and oil, but it is not deep fried.

Is Cabbage Good for You?

Cabbage is good for you, which is why I love using it in recipes like this one (and my Cabbage Stir Fry). It’s low in calories and packed with beneficial nutrients like vitamin C, fiber, and calcium. While it’s hard to say whether cabbage is better for you cooked or raw, cooking does help it release additional benefits.

Can I Make this Recipe without Bacon?

Yes, you can make this fried cabbage recipe without bacon. Simply omit the bacon and use extra oil or butter to replace the bacon grease. You could also experiment with swapping in a vegan bacon if you’d like.

  • 4 strips thick-cut bacon cut into lardons (1/4-inch crosswise strips)
  • 1 yellow onion thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small or 1/2 large head green cabbage or savoy cabbage about 2 1/2 pounds
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus additional to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice or apple cider vinegar

  • Trim off the stem end of the cabbage to create a flat base. Stand it up on the base, then cut in half from its top down through its core. Place the cut sides down on the cutting board.

  • Slice the cabbage as thinly as possible around the core so that you have fine ribbons. Discard the core.

  • Heat a large sauté pan or similar heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-heat. Sauté the bacon until crispy, about 6 to 8 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Discard all but 2 tablespoons drippings from the pan.

  • Add the onion and cook until it is browned and softened, about 8 to 10 minutes.

  • Add the oil, cabbage, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and black pepper. Sauté for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring periodically, until the cabbage is tender and begins to brown. Don’t feel like you need to constantly stir it—letting it sit undisturbed a few minutes at a time will help it become caramelized and DELISH.

  • Stir in the Worcestershire and let cook 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Taste and add a few grinds of additional black pepper and/or salt if you like, or more lemon juice if you’d like to brighten it up even more. Serve warm.

  • TO STORE: Refrigerate fried cabbage in an airtight storage container for up to 1 week.
  • TO REHEAT: Place cabbage in a microwave-safe bowl or on a plate and reheat gently in the microwave until warm. You can wake up your leftovers up by adding another sprinkle of salt and a splash of lemon juice after reheating.
  • Adapted from my Sautéed Cabbage.

Serving: 1 (of 4)Calories: 194kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 6gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.03gCholesterol: 15mgPotassium: 490mgFiber: 6gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 233IUVitamin C: 86mgCalcium: 101mgIron: 1mg

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