Unleash the potential of one of the most healthy and budget-friendly vegetables with this Fried Cabbage and bacon 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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Why You’ll Love This Crispy Fried Cabbage Recipe
- Cabbage Really IS Delicious! If you’ve been bypassing cabbage in the produce section, it’s time to give this nutritious, inexpensive, and long-lasting vegetable a chance. When it comes to cruciferous vegetables, preparation is key (same with Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic). 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.
- It’s a Versatile and Easy Side Dish. Whether you need a fast weeknight side like Sautéed Cabbage or are looking to make a big-batch, budget-friendly recipe, this easy fried cabbage recipe is just the thing. It pairs well with just about any protein and could even be served alongside pasta, casserole (like Broccoli Quinoa Casserole), or anything else you enjoy!
- Cabbage Is Good for You. Cabbage is a powerhouse of vitamins (particularly vitamin C), minerals, and antioxidants. It’s also high in insoluble fiber, which can help with digestion. Cabbage has a low calorie count too, so it’s an excellent addition to any meal (try it in my Cabbage Soup and Cabbage Roll Soup too).
How to Make Fried Cabbage
- 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 fried cabbage 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.
- Halve the Cabbage. Remove the stem of the cabbage, then cut it in half.
- Slice the Cabbage. Cut the halves into fine ribbons.
- Sauté the Bacon. Transfer the bacon to a plate. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of drippings from the pan.
- Sauté the Onion. This will smell heavenly.
- Sauté the Cabbage with Oil and Spices. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Stir in the Worcestershire. Remove the pan from the heat and add the acid and bacon. 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 kielbasa would be scrumptious).
- 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. (Try this on Sautéed Brussels Sprouts next!)
- 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 and Bacon
- Beef. Corned Beef Brisket would be excellent with this fried cabbage recipe. It would also be tasty with Air Fryer Hamburgers or Air Fryer Steak.
- Pork. Smothered Pork Chops and fried cabbage with bacon is a good meal (don’t forget the Cornbread Muffins). Baked Pork Tenderloin and Honey Garlic Pork Chops would be tasty too.
- Chicken. Pair this fried cabbage recipe with Pan Fried Chicken Breast, Baked BBQ Chicken, or Baked Chicken Thighs.
- Salmon. Serve this cabbage with Bourbon Glazed Salmon, Grilled Salmon Fillet, 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 this healthy fried cabbage recipe. If you don’t own a sauté pan, a Dutch oven will also work.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Cut the Cabbage Thin. To ensure the cabbage caramelizes and crisps, remove the core, then slice it thinly.
- Use a Large Skillet and Don’t Stir Too Often. The cabbage needs plenty of space to brown and crisp evenly. If it’s too crowded, it will steam. 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. Try fried cabbage with vinegar (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.
- 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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