Southern Style Cooked Cabbage – The Best Way

When you start to think of cooking you will first need to pick out what type of cabbage you are want to purchase. Cabbage comes in colors of dark to light green, and a purple color which is referred to as red cabbage. Typically southern style cooked cabbage is usually cooked with the pale green color cabbage. We are going to discuss the difference between the different colors of cabbage, how to pick your cabbage for purchase, ways to cook cabbage, the southern way of cooking, and how to store cabbage.

Photo by C Drying on Unsplash

Difference Between Red And Green Cabbage

Not only is there a color difference between red and green cabbage they also vary in other different areas as well. You cabbage chart

can see by the chart that red and green cabbage have some nutritional differences as well as texture differences. Can you use red cabbage in the place of green cabbage? Absolutely you can, but since it is slightly tougher you will want to cut it into smaller pieces before cooking. The taste of red and green cabbage are so similar that other than the color and texture, most people can not tell them apart. Also, one thing to keep in mind if you are using red cabbage to cook with, the color may bleed onto the other food when you put it onto your plate.

Ways To Cook Cabbage

Most people hear cabbage and associate it with coleslaw. Coleslaw is made of chopped cabbage in its raw form. As for cooking cabbage, you can do this in a variety of ways described below, but first, you have to purchase and prepare the cabbage for cooking.

Purchase and preparation before cooking:

  • Picking the perfect cabbage: When you are picking out a head of cabbage you will want to go for the one that has a more vivid color to it. The leaves should also feel tightly packed to the head. These are good indications of a fresher head of cabbage.
  • Preparation: Take off the outermost leaves and discard these as usually they are tough and will not end with the desired texture. No matter if you are cutting your cabbage into strips or slices you will want to take the core out of your cabbage. The core is super tough and hard to eat, so it is best to just discard it all.

* If you cut the cabbage into quarters you can remove the core with a sharp knife pretty easily.

Ways to cook cabbage:

  1. Roast – Cut cabbage into 1″ thick slices, toss with a little oil, salt, and pepper. Preheat oven to 425° and cook on a rimmed baking sheet for 25 – 30 minutes or until cabbage is golden brown and tender.
  2. Boil – Slice cabbage thin or cut into wedges. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Toss all the cabbage in and cook 5 to 10 minutes depending on how tender you want your cabbage.
  3. Blanch – Cut cabbage into wedges and with a pot of water already boiling use tongs to dip cabbage for 30 to 40 seconds and allow to dry on paper towels.
  4. Saute/Fry – Thin slice cabbage and toss with 2 tablespoons of oil, salt, and pepper in a large skillet for about 10 minutes until cabbage is tender. This is the southern way of cooking cabbage.
  5. Soup – Cabbage soup is usually a broth soup with vegetables and cabbage added. Typically a vegetarian soup, although added meat such as beef or chicken can make this very tasty as well.

Southern Cooked Cabbage


  • 2lbs of green cabbage cored and thinly sliced
  • 5 strips of bacon cut into small bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 cups of diced onion
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cups of broth or stock (I use chicken)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Prep cabbage and bacon
  2. In a large skillet (I prefer cast iron) cook bacon until crispy. Remove bacon but leave grease in the pan.
  3. Saute onion and garlic for about 2 minutes.
  4. Add cabbage and broth to pan with onions and garlic. Cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until cabbage is tender-crisp.
  5. Stir bacon back in with cabbage and serve warm.

This recipe is a quick side dish that is typical to go with corned beef at my house. Although this can be a side dish to almost any main dish, it could be the main dish itself.

How To Store Cabbage

Cabbage is pretty hearty and will keep for quite a while under the proper conditions. Whether you wish to use your cabbage soon after purchase or find a good sale and would like to keep it for a while before use. Follow the guidelines below to be sure that your cabbage does not spoil before you get the chance to cook it.

Refrigeration: After the purchase of your cabbage do not wash it until ready to use and store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Cabbage can possibly stay good up to 1 month in stored this way.

Freezer: Yes, cabbage can be frozen. If you would like to freeze your cabbage just a little preparation is needed to ensure that it will still be great when you decide to use it. Follow the preparation steps and instructions to blanch your cabbage. After your cabbage has been drained of all excess water, package in airtight containers or zip lock bags and freeze immediately.

If you find that your cabbage is soft, turning colors, or has an odor it is probably bad or spoiled.


Southern style cooked cabbage is my favorite way to cook cabbage, although I really like cabbage and cook it all different ways to mix it up and keep it interesting. The difference between red and green cabbage isn’t enough to keep me from even switching up which color I purchase either. I hope that if you have never purchased and cooked cabbage before that I have inspired you to try it the southern way. The health benefits in cabbage help outweigh what little bit of bacon you would use in it too or maybe not, but we will think that it does.

Do you love cabbage too? What is your favorite way to cook cabbage?

Eat Well 

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