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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- Remove the stem of the cabbage, then cut it in half.
- Cut the halves into fine ribbons.
- Sauté the bacon. Transfer the bacon to a plate using a slotted spoon. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of drippings from the pan.
- Sauté the onion in the pan.
- Add the oil, cabbage, and spices. Sauté cabbage for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Stir in the Worcestershire. Remove the pan from the heat and add the lemon juice. DIG IN!
- 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.
- 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 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.
What to Serve with Fried Cabbage
- Beef. Corned Beef Brisket would be excellent with this fried cabbage. It would also be tasty with Air Fryer Hamburgers.
- Pork. Smothered Pork Chops and fried cabbage with bacon is a good meal (don’t forget the Cornbread Muffins).
- Chicken. Pair this recipe with Pan Fried Chicken Breast or Baked Chicken Thighs.
- Salmon. Serve this cabbage with Bourbon Glazed Salmon or Salmon Croquettes.
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.
Cabbage, hop on into our carts!
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
This recipe is pan fried in bacon drippings and oil, but it is not deep fried.
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.
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 and reserved bacon. 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.
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More Recipes with Cabbage
It sounds wonderful and I plan to make it ;however, where is the sodium amount in the nutrition information? Some of us need to watch that.
Hi Nancy, I stopped including sodium info because it can vary so much depending upon what products you used, and I found a lot of conflicting info online, so ultimately I didn’t feel comfortable publishing it because sometimes it wasn’t even in the ballpark. If you’d like to calculate it yourself, there are lots of free tools online (myfitnesspal.com is popular). I hope that helps!
WOW! I decided to go a little non-traditional with our St. Patrick’s Day meal so I made this recipe to go with my corned beef in place of traditional boiled cabbage, potatoes, carrots, etc.
It was fabulous!!! This is going in our dinner rotation to compliment a lot more than corned beef. I shared it with my Facebook cooking club group and they are stoked to try it!
Fantastic recipe, Erin – thank you for sharing!
So happy to hear Debbie! Thank you!