By Carl Hanson
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Cabbage is one of nature's perfect foods. It's highly nutritious, inexpensive, long-lived, easily preserved, and rich in healthy phytochemicals. Cabbage isn't flashy like it's cousin kale -- kickin' it in trendy smoothies and such. It goes about its business humbly; the business of being an incredibly versatile ingredient, shape-shifting in flavor and texture in countless dishes. Yes, cabbage sizzles in stir-fries; simmers in soups, stews, and braises; adds healthy crunch to salads; and does wonders for casseroles, gratins, and meat pies -- cabbage does it all, and for a bargain price.

The key to cooking cabbage: don't overcook it. Cabbage is sweet and aromatic when cooked correctly. But the same sulfuric compounds that provide many of its health benefits can turn saboteur when overcooked, creating a pungent, unpleasant smell.

How to Cook Cabbage

You can steam, stew, and sauté cabbage; braise and grill it; ferment it (sauerkraut and kimchi). Cabbage is also very tasty raw, of course -- say, with fish tacos or as coleslaw. Let's look at some top-rated cabbage recipes and cabbage cooking methods:

1. BRAISED AND SIMMERED CABBAGE: How to Cook Cabbage on the Stove

To braise cabbage, give thin slices of cabbage a quick saute (just a couple minutes will do), then salt, and add liquid (e.g., wine, water, vinegar, and broth) and cook until the liquid evaporates and the cabbage is nice and tender -- check after about 5 minutes. If your cabbage isn't quite tender enough, add a splash more liquid and cook for a few additional minutes.

"We're going to cook a very beautiful, super easy cabbage side dish. It's a little bit sweet and a little bit tangy, with a tiny hint of caraway to interest you," says Chef John." There are so many ways to tweak this versatile recipe! Add raisins or currants; shallots, onions, or leeks; apples or and pears. Chef John knows how to braise red cabbage: Cook the cabbage in the hot butter until it begins to soften, then season with salt. Add a little water, red wine, and red wine vinegar, along with sugar and caraway seeds. Braise about 5 minutes until the liquid evaporates and the cabbage is tender.

Chef John's Braised Red Cabbage | Photo by Allrecipes

This recipe works great with either ground pork or ground beef. You'll brown the ground meat and saute the onion, green pepper, and garlic, then add the cabbage and pour over the diced tomatoes. Cover and simmer without stirring until the cabbage wilts a little, about 15 minutes. "A great one-pot meal for a busy night!" says France C. "I used the full can of Rotel, since a half can didn't seem like enough. Perfectly seasoned with just a hint of heat."

Photo by France C.

"A delicious recipe. I followed the recipe, but did add one chunked up apple when I added the cabbage," says quincy12.

Chicken Apple Sausage with Cabbage | Photo by lutzflcat

"This was a satisfying meal, nothing fancy, but just good, old-fashioned, home-cooked food. I did add more seasoning," says lutzflcat.

Ground Beef and Chopped Cabbage | Photo by lutzflcat

2. SAUTEED OR STIR-FRIED CABBAGE: How to Cook Fried Cabbage

To sauté cabbage on the stovetop, add shredded or chopped cabbage to a little oil, butter, or bacon fat, with a couple pinches of salt, and cook until tender and crisp -- about 5 minutes is all it takes. If you like, sauté with onions and a little garlic.

Here's how to cook cabbage with bacon! You'll sauté chopped bacon until crispy; add the onion and garlic, sauteing until the onion caramelizes; then stir in the cabbage and cook for 10 minutes; season and cook for about 30 minutes more. "It is a beautiful dish with many colors and full of flavor," says Kathi Richards Smith. "Warning, it is addictive."

Photo by SunnyByrd

"An authentic and simple Chinese recipe for doing a healthy vegetable dish without losing any vitamins," says Lynn Wheaton. This recipe shows you how to stir-fry cabbage, along with broccoli and cauliflower. You'll stir-fry all three veggies with garlic in hot oil for just 5 minutes. It's ready in an instant.

Vegetables and Cabbage Stir-Fry with Oyster Sauce | Photo by Rock_lobster

3. SLOW COOKER CABBAGE: How to Cook Cabbage in a Crock Pot

Here's a great tip for how to cook cabbage in the slow cooker: add your cabbage toward the end of the cooking time. Let the roast slow cook the day away, then swoop in and add your chopped or shredded cabbage with 30 minutes to an hour remaining. The cabbage doesn't need all day to cook; adding it at the end will keep it from getting overcooked.

Here's how to cook corned beef and cabbage! Do it in the slow cooker, adding the cabbage in the last hour. "No more dry corned beef! Cook this in your slow cooker all day and you're guaranteed success!" says LUSYRSGIRL.

Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage | Photo by Allrecipes

This recipe reveals how to make borscht in the slow cooker. You'll cook the beef stew meat, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, onion, garlic, with beef broth and seasonings all day; then stir in the shredded cabbage and slow cook on high for about 30 minutes. "The best thing about this borscht (other than its delicious flavor) is that it can cook all day long in the slow cooker and be waiting for you when you come home at night," says DAVISAM1. "One of my family's ultimate winter comfort foods."

Photo by Shans

4. BAKED OR ROASTED CABBAGE: How to Cook Cabbage in the Oven

Here's how to bake or roast cabbage in the oven. Cut your head of cabbage into wedges (keep the core attached to help hold things together) and brush each side of the wedges with oil. Sprinkle with salt and whatever spices you like, and roast away on a baking sheet in a hot oven for 30 minutes, turning the cabbage wedges halfway through. Serve with a drizzle a little olive oil and lemon juice over the top! Here are some other other recipes for baked or roasted cabbage:

Roast these seasoned cabbage wedges until their charred in some areas. If you prefer less char, tent your wedges for the first 15 minutes or so of roasting. "Excellent cabbage," raves my sherrie. "If you've a cabbage lover this will quickly become your favorite; if you're a cabbage hater, this will definitely change your mind!"

Photo by Deb C.

You'll stuff the cabbage leaves with seasoned ground lamb, rice, parsley, almonds, and currants and bake the rolls in broth and tomato puree until the lamb is tender and the rice is cooked. "Loved the flavor and texture of the rolls. Did a double batch and froze half," says aputler.

Lamb and Rice Stuffed Cabbage Rolls | Photo by Oksana Seaman

5. BBQ'D CABBAGE: How to Cook Cabbage on the Grill

The grill does great things for cabbage. You'll love the caramelized leaves and crisped texture of grilled cabbage wedges. And you can't beat grilling cabbage for ease of prep. Here's how to grill cabbage: Slice your cabbage into quarters, brush with a little vegetable oil, season with salt, and place over a hot, seasoned grill. To keep it from falling apart, you can also grill it in foil or in a metal pan.

Here's how to cook cabbage on the grill by sealing it up in foil. You'll cut the cabbage into wedges before removing the core; then season the wedges and seal in foil, grilling for about 30 minutes, until tender.

Photo by Molly

Here's more way to grill cabbage. Top cabbage wedges with pats of butter and seasoning and arrange the cabbage in a large metal baking dish, along with a little water into the dish. Cover the dish with foil and grill for about 30 minutes."This is a delicious way to use up cabbage, and a great way to make someone a cabbage lover!" raves ericasalad.

Barbecued Cabbage | Photo by bd.weld

6. PRESSURE COOKING CABBAGE: How to Cook Cabbage in the Instant Pot

It's cabbage on the quick! To make cabbage in the pressure cooker, simply add chopped cabbage to the pot with a little butter, stock, and seasonings, and cook for a mere 3-to-5 minutes. Easy! EyeSpy raves about pressure-cooked cabbage: "Preparing cabbage in a pressure cooker preserves most of the nutrients and produces a very sweet yet savory dish."

You'll start with cooking the bacon in the pressure cooking for about 4 minutes. Then add a little butter, your chopped cabbage, broth, and salt and pepper, and cook on high for 3 quick minutes. "A good pot of cabbage can be served stand-alone with some cornbread or as a side dish to your favorite meal," says EyeSpy. "This recipe is quick, flavorful and easy!"

Photo by lutzflcat

First, sauté sausage and onions in the pressure cooker until browned, about 5 minutes. Then add stock, seasonings, and cabbage, and cook for another 5 minutes. "This quick cabbage and sausage dish was a big hit in my house," says Amy Van Siclen. "The cabbage came out soft, but not mushy or overcooked. It's perfect for the Instant Pot or other similar electric pressure cookers with a sauté function."

Photo by lutzflcat

7. RAW CABBAGE

Cabbage in the raw! It's such a simple way to add healthy crunch to salads and more.

"Love this dish! It doesn't make a mess of the kitchen and it gave me a chance to try out my new Spiralizer," says Jen.

Raw Pad Thai | Photo by Eroshound

Marinade thinly sliced red cabbage in cider vinegar, olive oil, and seasonings; then top it off with blue cheese and slivered, toasted almonds.

Photo by The Sea Salt

8. FERMENTED CABBAGE

Here's an age-old way to preserve cabbage that's having a huge second act recently, as we learn about the health benefits of probiotics like sauerkraut and other fermented foods.

"Here are step-by-step directions for how to make and can your own sauerkraut," says MARCIAMOLINA.

Homemade Sauerkraut | Photo by Meredith


Check out our collection of Cabbage Recipes, including recipes by type of cabbage, e.g., red or purple cabbage, green cabbage, napa cabbage, and savoy cabbage.