Fried cabbage with bacon is more than just a side dish, it’s a savory southern classic that will turn cabbage haters into cabbage lovers! This quick and simple cabbage recipe is perfect for when you're craving comfort food like grandma used to make!
Pan-fried cabbage and crispy bacon make a savory side dish or satisfying main course your family will love!
Some of the best comfort foods are the simplest. Fried cabbage really brings me back to family get-togethers or Sunday dinners as a kid and even then, I loved it! It tastes so good you forget it’s a vegetable!
I have seen fried cabbage cooked a few different ways. Some swear by a “secret ingredient” or family recipe, but I’ve found that this no-fuss method is by far my favorite.
This recipe is low carb, keto-approved, and will help you get a hefty serving of veggies. (They may be slathered in bacon grease but who's telling?)
Four simple ingredients (and maybe a pinch of sugar depending on your preference) is all it takes to make this truly delicious cabbage dish. When you pick out your head of cabbage grab a big one because you're going to want seconds!
- ½ head Green Cabbage - I often double the recipe and use a whole head of cabbage. I've come to realize no one ever has just one serving. However, if there are only a couple people eating then a ½ head should suffice.
- 2 slices Bacon - I look for a thick sliced, high quality bacon. If you're a true bacon lover you can cook a few extra slices so you can crumble some on top after your cabbage is done cooking!
- ¼ cup White Onion - I dice my onion very small. Small pieces of onion just blend with the cabbage much better.
- ¼ teaspoon each Salt and Pepper - You can always add more at the end if you need to. Taste it before adding any additional salt because bacon in itself is inherently salty and you don't want to over do it.
- 1 pinch Sugar (optional) - If your childhood memory of fried cabbage was just a tad bit sweet, add a small pinch of sugar. I find it tasty either way, so I usually omit it.
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for ingredients, amounts & instructions!*
🔪 Step-by-Step Instructions
- Prep. Dice the ¼ cup onion and chop ½ head cabbage (discard the core). Heat your skillet over medium heat.
- Cook bacon. Add your 2 slices of bacon to the hot skillet and fry until crispy. Usually about 3 minutes on the first side before flipping and cooking an additional 2 minutes on the other side. Once crisp, remove the bacon and chop it into small pieces. Then, set it aside.
- Cook cabbage. With the bacon grease still in the pan, add the chopped cabbage, diced onion, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and pinch of sugar if applicable. Continue to fry your ingredients over medium heat until soft and tender, usually about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Finish and serve. Turn off the heat and stir your chopped bacon back into the cabbage. Serve immediately.
This recipe can easily be doubled to suit the size of your party. Fried cabbage goes great alongside oven-roasted chicken, pork chops, beef roast, or really anything for that matter. I also love it served up in a bowl all by itself!
💭 Tips & Recipe Notes
- I prefer to use a cast iron skillet when frying my cabbage because the bacon grease will re-season your cast iron and there’s just something about the flavor of things made in a well-seasoned cast iron skillet. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, use a good quality non-stick frying pan and it will still be delicious.
- Turn off the heat as soon as the cabbage is soft. Overcooked cabbage gets mushy.
- If you like a little kick, add some Cajun seasoning! My husband likes things spicy and he adds it to his own bowl at the end.
- Make this dish vegetarian by omitting the bacon and substituting oil or butter for the bacon grease.
🥡 Storing & Reheating
Store leftover fried cabbage in an airtight Tupperware container. It will keep just fine in the fridge for about 3 days before you need to toss it.
You can also freeze your fried cabbage! If you want, you can separate your fried cabbage into single portions before freezing or just freeze the whole batch together.
Once cooled, transfer the fried cabbage to an airtight container or heavy-duty freezer bag. If using a bag, squeeze all the air out before sealing. If using a container, make sure the lid is on tight and wrap it in foil. Label your cabbage with the date and it will keep for up to 3 months!
Reheating Fried Cabbage
Thaw frozen fried cabbage in the refrigerator overnight before heating.
The best way to reheat your fried cabbage is on the stove. Bring your pan to medium heat and cook the cabbage just until it is heated through.
If you are in a hurry, you can microwave fried cabbage but I find it tends to get a bit soggy.
You can use turkey bacon or even a vegan bacon substitute, but they aren’t very oily so be sure to add a bit of oil or butter to your pan before cooking the cabbage. I’ve also had this recipe made with sausage and it’s quite delicious! In that case, the grease from the sausage will cook the cabbage just fine
If you need to use up the red cabbage you have in your fridge, go right ahead. Red and green cabbage really don't taste as different as you may think and they cook the same. Red cabbage will, however, stain after it has been cooked. So be aware it could stain your kitchen utensils or your couch if you're a messy eater!
Some people just really don't like grease in their food and that's OK! Just drain the bacon fat from your pan and substitute butter or oil in its place. Then, add the chopped bacon back in!
🥦 More Easy Sides
- Roasted Vegetable Medley
- Mashed Potatoes without Milk
- Sauteed Zucchini and Yellow Squash
- Smoked Asparagus
- Air Fryer Zucchini
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- 2 slices bacon
- ½ head green cabbage (cored and chopped or sliced)
- ¼ cup white onion (chopped or diced)
- ¼ teaspoon each, salt & pepper (to taste)
- Heat a large skillet or frying pan to medium heat. Add the bacon slices and cook until crisped, about 3 minutes on the first side then an additional 2 minutes once flipped. Remove from the pan and chop to add back in to the fried cabbage.2 slices bacon
- Leave the skillet with bacon grease at medium heat and add the chopped cabbage, diced onion, salt, and pepper (plus optional sugar) to the skillet. Fry until softened and tender, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes.½ head green cabbage, ¼ cup white onion, ¼ teaspoon each, salt & pepper
- Stir the chopped bacon back into the cabbage, then serve immediately.
- Add a pinch of sugar if desired (1 pinch = 1/16th of a teaspoon).
- If omitting the bacon, you will need 1-2 tablespoons of cooking oil for frying the cabbage.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!