How to Cook Cabbage

Boil it, braise it, sauté it, roast it, grill it, ferment it — cabbage can do it all.

wedges of grilled cabbage
Pictured: Summer Grilled Cabbage. Photo: Allrecipes

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 its 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 on the Stove

Cabbage can be cooked on the stovetop a few different ways: braising, sautéing, and boiling. All of these cooking methods are quite simple — and all are incredibly well suited to cabbage's hearty nature.

Chef John's Braised Red Cabbage
Pictured: Chef John's Braised Red Cabbage. Allrecipes

How to Braise Cabbage

  1. Give thin slices of cabbage a quick sauté (just a couple minutes will do), then salt, and add liquid (e.g., wine, water, vinegar, and broth).
  2. 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.

Favorite Braised Cabbage Recipes:

How to Sauté Cabbage

  1. Heat oil, butter, or bacon fat over medium-high heat.
  2. Add chopped or shredded cabbage 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.

Favorite Sautéed Cabbage Recipes:

How to Boil Cabbage.

  1. Fill a large pot with half an inch of salted water or broth. Bring to a boil.
  2. Add cabbage wedges. Cover and simmer 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Turn the cabbage and simmer another 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Pour off the water and turn the heat to low. Cook until the remaining moisture evaporates.
  5. Add melted butter or oil and toss to coat.

How to Cook Cabbage in the Slow Cooker

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.

Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage

Favorite Slow Cooker Cabbage Recipes:

How to Cook Cabbage in the Oven

Roasting cabbage in the oven gives you crispy, caramelized edges and a tender, buttery core. The key is to cook the cabbage at a fairly high heat, 425 degrees F is perfect.

cabbage wedges roasted on plate
Pictured: Roasted Cabbage Wedges. France C
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. 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.
  3. Sprinkle with salt and whatever spices you like, and roast away on a baking sheet for 30 minutes, turning the cabbage wedges halfway through.
  4. Serve with a drizzle a little olive oil and lemon juice over the top!

Favorite Roasted Cabbage Recipes:

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.

Grilled Cabbage Wedges
Soup Loving Nicole
  1. Preheat a grill on medium-high heat.
  2. Slice your cabbage into quarters, brush with a little vegetable oil, season with salt, and place over preheated grill. To keep it from falling apart, you can also grill it in foil or in a metal pan.
  3. Grill until charred, about 30 minutes.

Favorite Grilled Cabbage Recipes:

How to Cook Cabbage in the Instant Pot

It's cabbage on the quick! This favorite countertop appliance handles cabbage beautifully.

Instant Pot Cabbage Roll Soup
My Hot Southern Mess
  1. Add chopped cabbage to the pot with a little butter, stock, and seasonings.
  2. Cook on high pressure for 4 to 6 minutes, depending on how crisp you'd like it.
  3. Do a quick release to release the remaining pressure.

Favorite Instant Pot Cabbage Recipes:

More Ways to Cook Cabbage

Kimchi in jar on green background
Andy Lyons/Meredith

Fermenting is an age-old way to preserve cabbage that just happens to also be good for you: Both kimchi and sauerkraut are associated with improved gut health and stronger immunity. Of course, cabbage doesn't need to be cooked — raw cabbage adds a healthy crunch to coleslaw or salad as well.


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