Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry

$7.14 recipe / $1.79 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.85 from 349 votes
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If you’re one that struggles to work vegetables into your diet (isn’t that pretty much all of us?) you’re going to love this Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry. It’s full of vegetables and absolutely addictive. And the best part? It uses vegetables that are super inexpensive so you can know that you’re doing your body and your wallet good. Winning!

A bowl of Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry topped with sriracha, chopsticks on the side

Can I Substitute the Beef?

Yes, you can definitely make this cabbage stir fry recipe with other types of ground meat! I think pork or even ground turkey would work just as well or better, and will most likely be less expensive than beef. You can use a whole pound of meat if you like extra protein, but I found that the half-pound I had provided me with just the right ratio of meat to cabbage.

What Other Vegetables Can I Add?

In addition to the cabbage, I also added some shredded carrots and sliced green onion to this beef stir fry for color. There are so many other fun things you can put in your beef and cabbage stir fry. Try adding some of these vegetables:

  • sliced mushrooms
  • thinly sliced red bell pepper
  • water chestnuts
  • snow peas
  • broccoli
  • baby corn

Make it even FASTER!

You can totally take a shortcut here and buy a bag of pre-shredded coleslaw mix to replace the 1/2 head of green cabbage and carrots listed below. Sometimes that’s a more economical purchase and saves you from having a half head of left over cabbage. :)

What to Serve with Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry

This Ground Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry goes great with Easy Egg Drop Soup, Thai Cucumber Salad, Savory Coconut Rice, Pork Gyoza. Although most of the time I just eat it as is! You can also serve it over a bed of rice to bulk up the servings.

Chopsticks digging into Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry close up
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Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry

4.85 from 349 votes
This fast and easy Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry is a filling low carb dinner with big flavor and endless possibilities for customization. 
Servings 4 (1.5 cups each)
Prep 15 minutes
Cook 15 minutes
Total 30 minutes



  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce ($0.18)
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil ($0.33)
  • 1 Tbsp sriracha* ( $0.05)
  • 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar ( $0.02)


  • 1/2 head green cabbage ($1.78)
  • 2 carrots ($0.22)
  • 3 green onions ($0.17)
  • 1/2 Tbsp neutral cooking oil ($0.02)
  • 1/2 lb. lean ground beef ($3.90)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger ( $0.13)
  • Pinch of salt and pepper ($0.05)

GARNISHES (optional)

  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds ($0.08)
  • 1 Tbsp sriracha ($0.05)


  • Prepare the stir fry sauce first. In a small bowl stir together the soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, sriracha, and brown sugar. Set the sauce aside.
  • Shred the vegetables so they are ready to go when you need them. Cut one small cabbage in half, remove the core, and then finely shred the leaves of one half the cabbage (4-6 cups once shredded, save the other half for another recipe). Peel two carrots, then use a cheese grater to shred them (1 cup shredded). Slice three green onions. Mince two cloves of garlic. Peel a knob of ginger using either a vegetable peeler or by scraping with the side of a spoon, then grate it using a small-holed cheese grater.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot add the cooking oil, ground beef, garlic, ginger, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook the beef until browned (about five minutes).
  • Add the cabbage and carrots to the skillet and continue to stir and cook until the cabbage is slightly wilted (or fully wilted, if you prefer). Stir in the prepared sauce and the green onions. Top with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and a drizzle of sriracha, then serve.

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* 1 Tbsp sriracha makes a medium-spicy stir fry. If you don’t like spicy, I’d start with 1 tsp. The sriracha adds flavor as well as heat, so I don’t suggest skipping it all together.


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 195kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 16gFat: 9gSodium: 756mgFiber: 4g
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P.S. If you love cabbage as much as I do, check out our Cabbage Soup Recipe!

Overhead shot of a bowl of Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry

How to Make Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry – Step by Step Photos

Stir Fry Sauce in a small bowl

Prepare the easy stir fry sauce first, so it’s ready to go when you need it. In a small bowl stir together 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil (it has a dark amber color and VERY nutty flavor, not always labeled as “toasted”), 1 Tbsp sriracha, and 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar. This makes a medium-spicy stir fry, so if you’re sensitive to heat, start with 1 tsp sriracha.

Shredded cabbage and carrot, sliced green onion

Next, shred the vegetables. Cut one small cabbage in half, remove the core, then slice half of it into fine shreds (save the other half of the cabbage for another recipe). You’ll need about 4-6 cups of shredded cabbage. Peel and shred two carrots (about one cup). I used a large-holed cheese grater to shred the carrots. Slice three green onions. You’ll also want to mince two cloves of garlic and grate about 1 Tbsp of fresh ginger (I use a small-holed cheese grater for this). More info on working with ginger can be found here.

Browned Beef Garlic and Ginger in the skillet

Heat a LARGE skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add 1/2 Tbsp neutral cooking oil (something like canola, corn, vegetable, safflower, peanut, etc.), 1/2 lb. ground beef, the minced garlic, grated ginger, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook the beef until fully browned.

Wilted Cabbage and Carrots in skillet

Add the shredded cabbage and carrots to the skillet and continue to cook and stir until the cabbage has wilted slightly. I like my cabbage to still have a little crunch, so I only cooked it until it was partially wilted. If you like the cabbage fully cooked and soft, just cook it a bit longer.

Pour on Stir Fry Sauce for the Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry

Pour on the prepared stir fry sauce…

Mix in Green Onion into Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry

… and toss in the sliced green onions. Stir until everything is evenly combined.

Garnish with Sriracha and Sesame Seeds

Garnish the Beef and Cabbage stir fry with a little drizzle of sriracha and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. I particularly liked the sesame seeds for the texture they added to the dish!

Close view of the skillet full of Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry

And that’s it! This Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry is probably one of the easiest dishes I’ve ever made. :)


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  1. It was delicious. Very simple and easy to make. Everyone in the family loved it. I highly recommend this for a quick one pan meal

  2. Love this recipe, but I have some new dietary restrictions. No sugar or soy. Is there another sauce or flavoring you’d recommend to go with the stir fry?

    1. Hi Joey, You can try coconut aminoes, which have the flavor profile and umami of soy sauce and contain just one gram of sugar per teaspoon.

  3. One of my favorite recipes. Sorry quick and easy. Delicious as is, but the addition of soba or ramen noodles really ups the satiety factor.

  4. Made this tonight with a shredded chicken breast because that is what I had on hand. A great pantry/fridge meal and so flexible (the chicken worked well!) I might add oyster sauce to the stir-fry sauce next time.

    1. Just made it because I had literally all the ingredients already! I used 95% lean beef so there wasn’t much leftover fat which was perfect. Probably did 1.5 the amount of cabbage and doubled the sauce (minus the siracha) Super yummy. Will definitely make again!

  5. This is my favourite recipe ever! It’s so delicious and easy to make.

    I personally like to double the beef and sauce (but not the sriracha).

    I also like to double the carrots and shred an entire cabbage, but freeze half this mixture so it’s ready to go for the next time I make it!

  6. I loove this recipe and make it often. It is simple but very flavorful. Thank you for sharing!

  7. This is delicious! I used 3 cups of bagged slaw and added about 3 more cups of mushrooms, red pepper, broccoli, and celery. The veggies cooked down and 1/2 lb ground beef is perfect. I prepared your Sesame Cucumber Salad to go with and wow! Thanks for 2 great recipes!

    1. Hi, Danielle! This would freeze very well! However, I would just cook the cabbage and carrots you plan to freeze until they are slightly wilted (rather than fully wilted) so you have more wiggle room to reheat each portion without overcooking it. I would also leave out the green onions (and cut some up fresh) since they won’t keep as well in the freezer after they’ve been cooked. ~Marion :)

  8. Hmmm. So you don’t drain the grease from the meat? I have had lean ground beef and always drained it before the next step. Is it important to this recipe to not drain it? I appreciate that you tell us how to make the recipe less spicy. Thank you

    1. Hi, Patricia! Draining ground beef will help make the dish lower in fat and is generally recommended if you have A LOT of extra grease in the pan that would ruin your final dish. But it isn’t necessary for this application because the leftover fat from the meat is what’s used for cooking the cabbage and help it extra yummy!

      You can make it less spicy by eliminating or reducing the amount of sriracha used — or replace it with a milder store-bought sauce like Huey Fong’s Chili Garlic Sauce, Sambal Oelek, Gochugjang or a pinch of red pepper flakes. ~Marion :)

  9. Could you cheat and make this with coleslaw (shredded cabbage and carrots) mix? If yes how much of a 14 ounce bag would you use?

  10. I have been using Beth’s recipes for years. My go to recipe site, I love her simple recipes. This is delicious I have made countless times.

    1. Thanks for being a part of our community, Bethany! — Marion :)

  11. Thanks for making affordable recipes available. It looks yummy and a grocery budget is needed these days