Simple, quick, and delicious, this fried cabbage with bacon and onions is the ultimate Southern comfort food. The cabbage is sauteed until tender with garlic, onion, and salty bacon fat.
A little seasoning goes a long way and you have the perfect and ridiculously cheap side dish ready to accompany any main course.
Serve this low-carb dish on any day of the year with almost any meal. Green cabbage tastes the best here but red cabbage (purple cabbage) is also a tasty replacement.
This dish is made with simple ingredients yet has plenty of flavor happening here. Just try it for yourself.
If you love cabbage recipes, I have a delicious collection of 40+ Best Cabbage Recipes (featuring both green and red cabbage recipes).
Table Of Contents
The full recipe and ingredients can be found in the recipe card below this post.
Cabbage recipes are our go-to when I have to fix something extremely fast for dinner that my son will eat too.
In a large cast iron dutch oven or large skillet, cook the bacon until crispy over medium heat for about 12-15 minutes.
Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Or you can easily cook bacon in the oven.
In the same skillet with leftover bacon grease (you can leave all in but I prefer discarding half of it or a little more just to make it a little healthier and enough for bacon to pick up the smoky flavors) add onions and cook until translucent.
Add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant.
Add the chopped cabbage, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, seasoned salt, and black pepper.
Stir to combine and saute for 7-10 minutes and until cabbage becomes tender.
Return the crispy bacon back to the pan. Sti in the butter, taste for seasoning and serve while warm.
Leftover cabbage can be stored in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. Reheat on the stove.
- A good old non-stick skillet or a wok is a must!
- You can cook the bacon in strips too and then later crumble them. But dicing the bacon upfront will slightly reduce the overall cooking time.
- Great tips on how to cut cabbage like a pro.
- Usually, sauteed cabbage cooks fairly quickly, just 7-10 minutes if chopped up into 2-inch bite-size pieces. Keep an eye on it so you don't overcook it.
- Garlic is essential here too. There's no substitution that will come close to the flavor and fragrance it gives to cabbage. In theory, you can use garlic powder instead but again, not the same. And don't be afraid to use plenty of fresh garlic! More than stated in the recipe instructions.
- The same goes for onion. These are the aromatics that make this cabbage taste incredible. Along with the spices of course! If you don't have it, then onion powder can be a better solution than nothing.
Don't overcook the cabbage. Tender and not soggy cabbage is what we are going for here. It has to have some crunch to it.
What To Serve With Fried Cabbage?
Fried cabbage is delicious on its own and becomes an instant favorite of anyone who tries it. With bacon or not!
What meat goes with cabbage? Cabbage is a nutritious vegetable that is so versatile and goes well with everything from pork chops and beef to lamb, chicken, and other poultry.
Cabbage is for sure a great vegetable for you that should be included in everyone's weekly menu.
This fried cabbage is traditionally served as a side dish along with the main dish which most often involves meat products.
You can even call it a meal! Serve this fried cabbage with bacon as it is, instead of the main course. We love to add cooked quinoa or rice into the mix!
Paired with a side salad and dinner rolls makes everything even better.
Freezing And Storing Instructions
Properly stored pan-fried cabbage with bacon and onions will keep in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. Transfer the cooled fried cabbage to an airtight container, secure it with a lid and refrigerate.
Reheat on the stove, you may need to add some warm water if it's dry or some extra butter for reheating.
For freezing, you can freeze this dish for 2 months but the cabbage will not be as crisp after thawing as when freshly made.
To make it ahead, you can cook the bacon 1-2 days prior. Chop the cabbage 3-4 days in advance even.
- Take this Southern Bacon Cabbage recipe instructions as a simple base for a delicious side dish.
- What you want to add extra here, is totally up to you, and many things just ‘’work’’ perfectly with fried cabbage. It's Southern classic comfort food at its finest.
- To add some heat to the dish, we like to add a pinch of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes.
- Add cooked grains such as rice, quinoa, or any of your favorite (pasta would work too, it reminds me of a polish dish, Haluski - fried cabbage and noodles, Yum!)
- Customize further with sweet bell peppers, especially red pepper. Dice it medium thick and add it together with onion.
- Go meatless - remove the bacon and simply cook everything a sit with olive oil or your favorite vegetable oil. If you want to add protein, white beans will work amazingly here. Been there, done that! For added smoky flavor - add smoked paprika.
- Substitute bacon with sausage meat. Any ground meat really or ham.
- The same recipe works well for brussels sprouts as well.
Cabbage is ready when it’s becoming tender. However, this may depend greatly on the dish you are cooking and your personal preference.
I like cabbage tender but still crisp! Especially in this Fried cabbage and bacon recipe.
Cooking cabbage in bacon fat adds a lot of smokiness and salty flavor to the cabbage. Seasoned with garlic and onions and a touch of brown sugar is the ultimate seasoning that this dish needs.
If you want to customize it further, definitely add in more seasonings, sweet or smoked paprika, cayenne or hot sauce. But don’t skip the garlic!
If you want to improve your digestive health, fiber-rich cabbage is the way to go. This crunchy vegetable is full of gut-friendly insoluble fiber, that helps to keep the digestive system working like a clock!
I love how incredibly healthy this veggie is. If you haven't included cabbage in your menu yet then this recipe along with our popular Ground Beef and Cabbage is the perfect way to start!
Cabbage usually cooks fairly quickly. If you cut it into 2-inch pieces it should take you about only 10 minutes.
The cabbage should be more tender by this time but still has some crunch to it. For more tender results, cook it for longer, 15-20 minutes.
It should soften during cooking (any method) but not lose its shape.
This being said, it will also depend on the dish you are cooking, and perhaps for the soup, you’d prefer the cabbage softer.
To cook the cabbage crispy add enough oil to the skillet and stir-fry it over medium-high heat.
This cabbage dish is not the best candidate for storing. Its flavor and texture are best right after cooking.
Later the cabbage will become soggier and the bacon fat solidifies. This is not an issue and you can reheat it until the bacon fat ‘’melts’’.
If you need to store leftovers do it this way. After you cooked the fried cabbage with bacon let it cool to room temperature.
Transfer to an airtight container or large bowl and secure with a lid or plastic wrap/aluminum foil. Keep refrigerated for 1-2 days. Reheat in a skillet over medium heat until warmed through.
No need to add oil or butter anymore.
In theory, you can freeze fresh cabbage for later use. The thing here is that it won’t be as crisp after defrosting as when fresh or stored in the fridge. But it is ideal for cooking in soups and stews.
Simply cut it into cubes or grate it and store it in a freezer-safe container with a tightly sealed lid. Freeze for up to a month.
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Fried Cabbage With Bacon And Onions
- 12 oz thick-cut bacon (pork or turkey bacon, about ½ inch or smaller)
- 1 small onion (thinly sliced)
- 3 garlic cloves (minced)
- 1 head of cabbage (cored and cut into 2-inch pieces)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar (packed)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- In a large cast iron dutch oven or large skillet, cook the bacon until crispy over medium heat for about 12-15 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Or you can easily cook bacon in the oven.
- In the same skillet with leftover bacon grease (you can leave all in but I prefer discarding half of it or a little more just to make it a little healthier and enough for bacon to pick up the smoky flavors) add onions and cook until translucent.
- Add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant.
- Add the chopped cabbage, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, seasoned salt, and black pepper. Stir to combine and saute for 7-10 minutes and until cabbage becomes tender.
- Return the crispy bacon to the pan. Sti in the butter, taste for seasoning, and serve while warm.
- Leftover cabbage can be stored in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. Reheat on the stove.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)
Recipe inspired from here.