Fried Cabbage

$3.39 recipe / $0.85 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
5 from 3 votes
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Fried cabbage is an incredibly underrated side dish, IMHO. It’s cheap, you only need a handful of simple ingredients, and it goes with everything. Plus, cabbage is one of my favorite budget ingredients because it’s so filling and nutritious, and you really don’t need a lot to make it taste great. This Fried Cabbage recipe is as easy as it gets and it’s so good that I find myself making it over and over. It’s one of those recipes where I actually look forward to eating the leftovers!

Overhead view of fried cabbage in a skillet.

Fried cabbage is a classic Southern side dish that you’re likely to find at BBQ joints and soul food kitchens across the Southern United States. It’s simply chopped cabbage that has been fried in bacon grease until golden brown and delicious. Seriously, words can not describe how amazing this melt-in-your-mouth cabbage is.

Ingredients for Fried Cabbage

It doesn’t take a lot to make fried cabbage taste incredible. Here are the few simple ingredients you’ll need to make this fried cabbage recipe:

  • Cabbage: This is the bulk of the recipe. It’s inexpensive, filling, and has tons of fiber (yay)! Look for cabbage that has a nice green color and isn’t very heavy for its size. Dense, compact cabbage can be underripe, have a tough texture, and lack flavor.
  • Bacon: Bacon adds flavor, salt, and fat to the cabbage, making it extra finger-licking good. See below for suggestions if you prefer a vegetarian fried cabbage or can’t eat pork.
  • Onion: Adding an onion to the fried cabbage brings both savory and sweet flavors to the table. The onion caramelizes a bit in the skillet bringing a slight natural sweetness.
  • Chicken Broth: Liquid helps steam and soften the cabbage, which can otherwise be quite tough. Using chicken broth instead of plain water ensures maximum flavor. You can substitute with other broth flavors, if preferred.
  • Seasoning Salt: I like to season my fried cabbage with an all-in-one seasoning salt, like Lawry’s or Tony Chacherie’s. We used Tony’s because I love the slightly spicy kick, but Lawry’s is equally as delicious.
  • Butter: A little bit of butter melted into the cabbage at the end gives the fried cabbage a deliciously rich finish.

Vegetarian Fried Cabbage

The bacon and chicken broth bring a large portion of the flavor to this dish, but you do have options if you’d like to make a vegetarian fried cabbage recipe. Simply swap out the chicken broth for vegetable broth or a vegetarian “chicken” flavored broth to start. To replace the smoky flavor and fatty mouthfeel of the bacon, I suggest either adding more butter or a tablespoon of coconut oil and some smoked paprika. You may also want to increase the seasoning salt to replace the salt from the bacon.

What to Serve with Fried Cabbage

Fried cabbage is the perfect side dish for any Southern-style dinner. Try pairing it with Pulled Pork, BBQ chicken, pork chops, potato salad, black-eyed peas, cornbread, or ham.

How to Store Leftovers

Fried cabbage is quite delicious as a leftover and you don’t need to take any special measures when refrigerating it. Simply place it in a food storage container and refrigerate for up to five days. To reheat the fried cabbage you can either microwave until hot or place it back into a non-stick skillet and sauté over medium heat until heated through. I do not suggest freezing fried cabbage as it will likely get very mushy upon thawing.

Overhead view of fried cabbage in a bowl.
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Fried Cabbage

5 from 3 votes
This fried cabbage recipe is a super easy side dish that goes with just about any meal. It's flavorful, budget-friendly comfort food at its best!
Close up overhead view of fried cabbage in a skillet.
Servings 4 (about 1 cup each)
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Total 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. bacon ($1.33)
  • 1/2 head green cabbage (about 1.25 lbs or 6 cups chopped) ($0.99)
  • 1 yellow onion ($0.37)
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth ($0.52)
  • 1/2 tsp seasoning salt ($0.05)
  • 1 Tbsp butter ($0.13)
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Instructions 

  • Add the bacon to a very large skillet and cook over medium heat until the bacon is brown and crispy. Remove the bacon from the skillet and drain the excess bacon fat, leaving about 2 Tbsp in the skillet (reserve the drained fat for later).
  • While the bacon is cooking, finely dice the onion and chop the cabbage into 1-inch pieces.
  • After removing the bacon from the skillet, add the diced onion and continue to sauté over medium heat until the onions become soft and translucent (about 5 minutes). The moisture from the onions will begin to dissolve the browned bacon bits from the bottom of the skillet.
  • Once the onions are soft, add the chopped cabbage and chicken broth. Continue to let the cabbage cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until it has softened, most of the liquid has evaporated, and the edges begin to brown. If the skillet dries up before the cabbage is soft, add 2 Tbsp of water and continue to sauté until softened.
  • Once the cabbage is soft and the liquid has evaporated, add the butter to the skillet and stir until it has melted and coated the cabbage. Turn the heat off and add the seasoning salt, starting with ¼ tsp, then adding more to taste.
  • Finally, crumble the cooked bacon and stir it back into the cabbage. Give the cabbage a taste and adjust to your liking. Garnish with some freshly cracked pepper, serve, and enjoy!

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Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 184kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 5gFat: 14gSodium: 577mgFiber: 3g
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Close up side view of fried cabbage in the skillet.

How to Make Fried Cabbage – Step by Step Photos

Cooked bacon in a large skillet.

Cook 4oz. of bacon in a very large skillet over medium heat until well browned and crispy. While the bacon is cooking, finely dice one yellow onion and chop ½ head of cabbage into 1-inch pieces (about 6 cups once chopped).

Sautéed onion in the bacon fat.

Once the bacon is cooked, remove it from the skillet and drain most of the bacon fat leaving about 2 Tbsp in the skillet (reserve the drained bacon fat for later). Add the diced onion and continue to sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent. The moisture from the onions should dissolve the browned bacon bits from the bottom of the skillet.

Chopped cabbage added to the skillet, broth being poured into the side.

Add the chopped cabbage and chicken broth to the skillet. Let the cabbage cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, allowing it to wilt down. If the skillet becomes too dry before the cabbage has softened, reduce the heat and add a couple of tablespoons of water.

Wilted cabbage in the skillet, seasoning being sprinkled over top.

Continue cooking the cabbage until it has softened, most of the liquid in the skillet has evaporated, and the edges of the cabbage begin to brown. Once the cabbage is soft, add 1 Tbsp butter and stir until it has melted and coated the cabbage. Turn the heat off and season with the seasoning salt, starting with ¼ tsp and adding more to taste (we used about ½ tsp).

Crumbled bacon added to the cabbage.

Finally, crumble the cooked bacon and stir it into the cabbage.

Finished fried cabbage in the skillet.

Taste the cabbage and adjust to your liking. You can garnish with chopped parsley, if desired, and freshly cracked pepper.

Close up overhead view of fried cabbage in a bowl.
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Comments

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  1. It’s quite popular dish in Poland. We call that “łazanki”. That fried cabbage is always served with pasta (square shaped one). You can add caraway to make cabbage easier to digest [i.e. you won’t be farty later :) ]

  2. This is the best recipe by far for this underrated, nutritious and budget-friendly vegetable. Followed the recipe exactly and there were no left overs even though it makes a lot. Thank you Beth for another genius recipe. You are amazing.

  3. My parents cooked this for me and my sisters, just a lil less ingredients but it was always delicious

  4. Not just in the South, but throughout the midwest where there were a lot of German settlers. This was a staple on our table in Iowa since I was a small child, and my mother said she ate plenty of it growing up in the 1920s, too, thanks to her German/French father frequently cooking dinner.

  5. my mom made this with egg noodles. I make mine with Canadian bacon and olive oil to be a bit more heart healthy.