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Fried Cabbage {Cooking Through My Collection}

When many of you read fried cabbage as the title of this you were probably thinking, really fried cabbage?! Is she really talking about fried cabbage today? And let me tell you that is exactly what I used to think when I heard about fried cabbage.

You see cabbage is not my favorite food, I will eat it, but it really is not something I go out of my way to fix. It is good in coleslaw and I will eat it in soup. My husband loves it in corned beef and cabbage, but even that is not my favorite way to eat it. Basically, I can take or leave cabbage, and more often than not, I leave it.

However, for my Cooking Through My Collection Series I really want to experiment and try some things outside my normal recipes. I want to explore my collection and branch out and cook some things I have not fixed before.

So, when I recently had some extra cabbage that needed used up, I went looking through my cookbooks for a new way to serve it.

Two of my favorite types of cookbooks are older cookbooks and regional cookbooks. I love old cookbooks because so many of the recipes are basic and simple. Our grandmothers and great grandmothers knew how to cook. Most of them could make a meal out of the most basic of ingredients and there is so much to learn from them.

And I love regional cookbooks because you can learn so much about food from across the country just by looking through regional cookbooks. Regional cooks know how to cook the best foods from the area because they have worked with the ingredients for years.

So, it was no surprise when I found a recipe for fried cabbage in a cookbook I have called Mrs. Wilkes’ Boardinghouse Cookbook .

This cookbook combines old recipes and regional food. Although this cookbook is not old, in fact it was published not that long ago, the recipes in this book are for classic old fashioned recipes.

The recipes in this cookbook come from a historic boardinghouse in Savannah. This cookbook contains good old fashioned southern cooking. These are not fancy recipes, they are good home cooked tried and true meals.

So it really was no surprise that this cookbook contained a recipe like fried cabbage. And it did not take me long to realize this was the cabbage recipe I needed to try.

Now I will say that this recipe was hard for me to follow, because it contains a crazy amount of bacon grease. But that crazy amount of bacon grease might just be what attracted me to this recipe. I mean once you cover something in enough bacon grease it ought to be good, right?!

And I will admit the bacon grease made this really good! In fact, I really enjoyed this and I did not think I would since I am not a huge fan of cabbage. My family did find it, well, a little greasy. That is no surprise though since it contains so much bacon grease.

This is a recipe I will definitely make again, but next time I will cut back on the bacon grease by at least some. You need the bacon grease to give it some flavor, but I would like to avoid the greasiness next time.

I would love to hear your thoughts on cabbage. Do you love it, hate it, or are you like me and can usually take it or leave it? 



Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. I typically only like cabbage if cooked with something else with flavor. Definitely not a favorite vegetable, but I will eat it occasionally. The recipe sounds interesting. Maybe with some real bacon added to the mix it would be a winner!

  2. This reminds me of a recipe my aunt makes…shred a head of cabbage and place in slower cooker. Stir in can of sauerkraut, and a package of smoked sausage or kielbasa, sliced in coins. Dice a pound of bacon and fry. Add all bacon and grease to slow cooker. Stir to combine. Cook on low 4-8 hours. Simple, yet amazing!

  3. It’s interesting that you mention the amount of bacon grease. Every recipe I have for cabbage that I actually like -either has a bunch of bacon or a bunch of butter in it.

    • Butter would probably be good, but I am thinking the bacon helps cover up the taste of the cabbage better. 🙂 I guess it is fried after all though so high fat is probably required……..

  4. Hubby & I absolutely Love Fried Cabbage….I make it at least once a week…never heard to put sour cream in it,but i am gonna give it a try…thanks for posting.

  5. Christina says

    I bought cabbage for the first time this winter because I was getting bored of the veggies we were eating and I thought we should branch out. My thoughts on cabbage have always been pretty much what you described yours to be! I tried this recipe:
    It’s also a fried cabbage recipe and we really enjoyed it!
    I bet bacon grease/flavour would be great in fried cabbage though!!

  6. This is one of my favorite vegetables and I cook it with 98% FF chicken stock or fry it with a small amount of ICBINB spread and both ways are delicious. I do not use any bacon grease because of cholesterol reasons. Sour cream sound interesting although I have never used this. I have also added Turkey Kielbasa to both with great results.

    • Meat added to fried cabbage is a good idea and would make it more of a one dish meal. I think kielbasa would be really good added to it and will have to try it. Thanks!

  7. I never had fried cabbage until my ex-mil fixed it, and I loved it immediately! And I certainly was not a fan before that! She doesn’t put sour cream in it…that could add possibly to the ‘greasy’ taste, not sure, but you could try it w/out it, its wonderful (and save at least a few calories lol) I checked out the link to the cabbage saute that Christina posted and it has bouillon in it….so I was thinking of maybe cutting back on the bacon grease and adding a little chicken broth..not much, just enough to add to the flavor. Anyway, thanks so much for posting this, I had forgotten how much I love it and need to make it soon!!

    • I was thinking the same thing on the sour cream and I might try it without that next time. And yes I think the bouillon or chicken broth would add a lot of flavor and I think that would be worth trying as well. I think this same basic fried cabbage could really be tweaked with quite a bit. And I am glad I could remind you of a food you loved and had forgotten about. I hope you enjoy making it again.

  8. I just love that you made something I grew up eating. I’m a born and raised and still living here Georgian, so fried cabbage is nothing foreign to us. Thanks for sharing the recipe book. I think I’ll have to add that to my collection.

  9. Cabbage is one of my favorite veggies. Probably because it is so easy to fix with stir frying (with or without bacon grease). I came across a recipe like yours at a church carry-in and have been in love with it since (though that one included actual bits of bacon too).
    I am wondering if Mrs. Wilkes’ cabbage head was bigger than yours, so that’s why yours so greasy? Definitely adjust the amount of fat to taste/amount of shredded cabbage.
    If you like this recipe with bacon grease and cabbage, you might like to try a sweet and sour cabbage. That was a favorite one in my family growing up that we made with red cabbage. The sauce was made with bacon grease, vinegar, sugar and a touch of corn starch I believe to thicken some of the cooking water. It was poured over cooked cabbage, so not so crunchy. I’ve made it with white cabbage. It was in an old paperback Betty Crocker cookbook from the 60’s or 70’s., I think.
    I have thyroid issues and cabbage (the whole cruciferous veggie family really) has goitrogenic compounds that are greatly reduced when cooked, so I have been missing coleslaw. I’ve been experimenting just this past weekend with blanching the cabbage and rinsing in cold water to get a coleslaw I feel I can eat without compromising my thryoid function. It’s not exactly the same, but still a crunchy cabbage salad.

    • You might be right on the size/amount of cabbage. It might not have been greasy with a larger cabbage.

      My husband would love the sweet and sour cabbage. I will have to try that some time. Thanks for the idea.

      And blanching the cabbage for coleslaw is a good idea, I would have never thought to so that, but I have learned that you get creative when you have food limitation. I am glad that works for you.

  10. Cabbage is one of my kids’ favorite food. We live to steam big wedges and then drizzle it with olive oil, a little salt and pepper, and a squeeze of lemon. Very good!!

  11. My mother in law always made fried cabbage. We love it. I take the cut up cabbage , fry it with a small amount of oil, add butter , salt ,pepper, vinegar, & sugar. I fry it until it is cooked and looks a bit dark. I believe this is a German recipe. By the way I usually do this on the grill side burner outside as I hate the smell cooking in the house.

  12. I like cabbage a lot but don’t buy it that often. Most often I use it in sauce over rice, but I also put it in soup, make it into sauerkraut, steam it, or put it in a veggie stir-fry.

  13. I wonder how this would taste with coconut oil? We don’t eat pork, so no bacon grease for us! But we love cabbage, and cabbage rolls (btw, we cook our cabbage rolls on the stovetop in a garlic lemon broth YUM!)
    Also, I sometimes buy the sliced smoked brisket at Sam’s Club and portion it out. Maybe a bit of that chopped up in the cabbage would be good!
    I love your emails! You are so likeable and down to earth.

  14. I love cabbage any way you want to fix it. My husband wouldn’t eat cabbage at all till I fixed him fried cabbage, now that’s the only way he’ll eat it. I leave the bacon in the pan then put the cabbage in. Never used sour cream in it, will have to try that. I like mine cooked till it is wilted. Sometimes I add a little onion and fry it up with the cabbage.

  15. I never cared much for cabbage until I tried it this way too. I find that if I actually cook the cabbage with about 2 tbs of butter and add in cooked chopped bacon after the cabbage is tender, it makes the dish less greasy but gives the flavor of the bacon. Instead of the cabbage softening with grease, I just use a little water in a covered pan to finish the cooking process after the butter has absorbed.

  16. We love fried cabbage! I usually slice up a few pieces of bacon and fry till almost done. Then add the cabbage. It is just enough grease to fry and flavor without over doing it! I have used sausage before, too. Both are yummy in our opinion! Frying it leaves the cabbage crunchy and not mushy the way boiling it usually does. OH!!!! Try this one, Lynn! Slice your cabbage in wedges… place on foil with a pat of butter and salt and pepper… wrap… grill till cabbage is tender. Yummy, also.

  17. I hadn’t heard of this til a few years ago, when one of my co-workers mentioned it. Cabbage is not a favorite of the younger ones, but when I tried this, using regular canola oil and chopped onion in it, with salt and pepper, they loved it. It is the only way they enjoy it. I haven’t tried bacon or bacon grease, but may try adding some cooked bacon to it. Love your site – thanks for all the great recipes!

  18. Nancy in Winnipeg says

    Our family always cooked the cabbage & onions with salt & pepper until the cabbage is still quite crunchy. Then combine with slightly under-cooked broad noodles. Pour into a casserole dish & bake at 350 for about half an hour. My aunt learned this recipe from her Hungarian mother-in-law (who actually added caraway seed to the dish.) This was a family favorite.

  19. I have recently started steaming cabbage with a little onion & garlic. Even a little shredded apple is good. When still just a little crunchy, I add about one and a half teaspoons of vinegar, then use this instead of spaghetti. (wheat allergy issues) It is amazingly satisfying and filling with spaghetti meat sauce and the cabbage. I don’t miss the spaghetti at all! In fact, my husband and one of my kids has also started to enjoy this as well!

  20. I’m going to have to try this. We eat a lot of brussels sprouts – when they aren’t nearly $2 a pound like they have been most of this winter, and we love bacon. I have seen lots of recipes for sprouts with bacon, so imagine this is a fairly classic flavor combination. The cabbage would be a lot easier to come by at a reasonable price, too.

    I also think the old cookbooks, or more current reprints of the old recipes are a goldmine of really good ideas. Real food, easily obtained at a good price, basic recipes anyone can follow. What more could you ask for?

    Thanks for the information about the cookbook each recipe is from. I think. I might be tempted to track a few of them down to see what else is in them. Oh dear!

  21. I love fried cabbage. I add a medium hot banana pepper. This will make anyone love cabbage. Bacon grease is the key.

  22. I’m not a big cabbage fan either, but one of the best ways I have tried was given to me by a friend many years ago. Slice cabbage into big chunks, add butter, salt, and pepper and wrap in parchment paper and then aluminum foil. Bake until tender, or throw on the grill.

  23. Debra Schramm says

    I do something similar with cabbage. I use 1/2 stick of butter and a little olive oil; saute one sliced onion and 2 crushed garlic cloves; add cut up cabbage and cook to desired doneness; add salt and pepper to taste. We love it and eat it quite often. It’s a simple side dish.

  24. R. Hoehne says

    My family loves cabbage and I have many ways in which I cook it. Chop up a head and throw it into a pot with a can of undrained Rotel. Cook till tender. They also like it cooked with bacon and onions…either sauted or cooked in a pot with a bit of broth. My youngest loves it when I chop up a head,saute it ,add some cooked potatoes,and some browned ground beef…I guess you could call it a hash.

  25. I fry cabbage as well, but I add sauteed onions and crumbled bacon into the mix with the grease covered cabbage. Yummy. I didn’t know I liked cabbage til I tried it that way. I have tried cutting back on the grease and have burned the whole mess. Let us know if you figure out the magic grease to cabbage ratio!

  26. I’ve eaten fried cabbage my whole life. It’s a staple down here in the south. However I’ve never heard of adding sour cream and we generally fry up 3-4 strips of thick cut bacon and use the drippings and the bacon. Oh, and I almost always add onions. My mom thought me to make it, and it’s a meal unto itself as far as she and I were concerned. It’s a great lunch to use up left over cabbage before it goes bad. There’s always a good sized wedge left after making cole slaw, potatoes and cabbage or stir-fries.
    btw a couple of shredded carrots are darn good in it too.

  27. Wraith42 says

    I make the fried cabbage the same, however, to make it even more naughty, I use a pound of bacon cut it in half. the first gets fried and grease used to fry the cabbage in. The second half fry it then use the grease to make white gravy, pour it over the fried cabbage. Cook it in over for thirty minutes. Haven’t tried it with any other meat yet but thinking about sausage.

  28. Bill Renfro says

    Cook the bacon and add to the dish. If you like bacon then this will be even better. I am going 1 step easier and buy a bag of shredded cabbage.

  29. I’ve made this recipe before. I added a can of diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings. It was Wonderful!!!

  30. I love fried cabbage, but have never tried it this way!
    I make it using a head of cabbage, butter, soya sauce, and a bit of sugar. Just coarsely shred the cabbage, add to frying pan and steam with cover on until somewhat soft. Then add a bit of butter and start to fry – then add about 1/3 cup of soya and a bit of sugar (to taste) fry it all up and enjoy!

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