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How to Boil Cabbage

Easy, Fast, Delicious and Full of Flavor, you can use boiled cabbage leaves for all kinds of things AND it’s delicious as a vegetable dish too! When you know how to boil cabbage, you’ve got a world of possibility at your finger tips.

how to boil cabbage
Southern Cooked Cabbage

How to Boil Cabbage

Boiling cabbage couldn’t be easier and we will review the basics here. You’ll be shocked at the number of uses for this recipe AND at how delicious it is anyway!

When you know how to boil cabbage, you’ve got a lot of recipes that you are ready to use.

My mother in law taught me this recipe for Stuffed Cabbage Rolls! Then, my mom taught me this cooked cabbage recipe which is similar to southern fried cabbage.

While you are trying out Cabbage Recipes, you might also want to try How to Cook Sauerkraut from a Bag Recipe (Easy)!

How Long to Boil Cabbage

The question most people ask is How Long to Boil Cabbage. That is going to depend on whether you are boiling the leaves, if you’ve cut them into pieces or if you are boiling large chunks or even a full head.

Cabbage cut into pieces will boil to a good texture in 10-12 minutes. Anything larger takes longer than that.

Boiled Cabbage and Potatoes

Many folks boil some potatoes in with their cabbage because this helps to reduce the “gas” in the cabbage.

Also cabbage and potatoes simply tastes terrific! Try it today.

What Is a Good Seasoning for Cooked Cabbage

You’ll find some terrific seasonings with Cooked Cabbage include spices and also things you add to your cabbage.

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Smoked Turkey Necks
  • Smoked Pork
  • Butter
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Season All
  • Vinegar
  • Cajun Seasoning
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • Chicken Stock
seasoning for cabbage

How Long to Boil White Cabbage

When boiling cabbage, cut it into pieces and it will take 10-12 minutes to boil the cabbage to a typical edible consistency.

How Long to Boil Cabbage Leaves

Whole cabbage leaves, like you use in a stuffed cabbage will take 4-5 minutes to soften up to wrap the meat in but you won’t want to eat them alone at this stage.

Here’s What You’ll Need

You won’t need much to boil cabbage, but you will need…

  • cabbage
  • seasoning
  • potatoes/baking soda

Here’s How You Do It

The process is easy and it depends on how you plan to use the cabbage, but to eat the cabbage as it is, then…

  • Cut the cabbage according to your use
  • Fill a large stock pot with water
  • Add the cabbage and seasonings
  • Bring to a boil and cook until the cabbage is cooked according to how you prefer (about 10-12 minutes).
head of cabbage and knife on cutting board
head of cabbage cut into fourths with knife on cutting board
cabbage cut into bite size pieces

Special Equipment

You really don’t need any special equipment for this recipe but a large nice stockpot or dutch oven works great. I really like this one.

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Tips and Tricks

  • Cabbage does tend to cook down, so make more than you actually think you will need. 
  • You can count on about 1/8-1/4 head of cabbage per person (depending on the cabbage head size). 
  • We like to flavor ours with bacon, but you can get a similar smoky taste from smoked turkey legs or smoked ham hocks (look in the freezer section if you don’t see any with the fresh meats at the grocery). 
  • For a smoky flavor without using meat, use liquid smoke. Be VERY careful because a little bit will do ya! Start with a tsp and then taste, the increase until it is where you like it.
  • Some folks like cabbage a little more firm and some like theres a little more floppy. If you like yours firm, it will be ready in minutes. Keep a close eye on it so that it doesn’t become too soft for your tastes!
How to Boil cabbage

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

How Long Does This Last?

If you keep it covered in the refrigerator, it will last for about 5 days.

Can I Freeze This

You really can’t freeze this recipe because the thawed cabbage isn’t the right consistency.

Watch Me Make This On YouTube

Can You Give Me a Hand?

Please leave a 5 STAR comment in the comment section below. That helps others to find the recipes at Loaves and Dishes! Thank you!

how to boil cabbage

How to Boil Cabbage

Easy Fast and Delicious, this recipe will give you a great start for how to boil cabbage for all kinds of recipes!
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Side
Cuisine: American
Keyword: how to boil cabbage
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 246kcal


  • 2 tbs butter
  • 4 strips of bacon
  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 2 cups chicken stock with more as needed.
  • splash of Apple cider vinegar
  • 3 fist sized white or red potatoes
  • 1 Tbs Onion Powder
  • 1 Tbs Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 Cup White sugar
  • ½ tsp cajun seasoning or 2 Tbs hot sauce
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt add more to taste
  • 1 tsp pepper


  • Over medium heat on the stove top, heat the butter and then fry the bacon in the butter until crispy. Turn off the heat once the bacon is crispy. Remove to a cutting board and cut into 1 inch pieces.
  • Cut the head of cabbage in half from the top to the stalk end. Then cut each half in half again from the top to the stalk end. Cut the stalk out of the cabbage and include the part that extends up into the cabbage head. Cut the cabbage into 2" strips.
  • Place the cabbage into the stock pot and add the bacon back to the stockpot. Leave the bacon grease in the pot.
  • Add the chicken stock, vinegar, potatoes, onion powder, garlic powder, sugar, cajun seasoning, baking powder, salt and pepper to the stock pot and heat over medium heat until simmering. Put the lid on the pot with a crack for steam to escape. Add more stock if needed to keep liquid in the pan.
  • Simmer the cabbage until it is cooked to the softness that you prefer. This should take 15-25 minutes.


  • Choose a cabbage that is a bright dark green on the outer leaves and that feels firm but not hard to touch when squeezed slightly. 
  • The outer leaves are edible, just be sure to wash them well and cut up small. They add a nice color to your dish. 
  • When you cut into the cabbage, you will see where the stem extends into the cabbage head. Be sure to cut all of this out of the cabbage. 
  • You will want to leave the grease from the bacon in the stockpot. This adds flavor to your cabbage. 
  • The baking soda and the potatoes help remove the “gas” from the cabbage. At least that’s what my elderly relatives have told me. 
  • adding the sugar is essential. 
  • Butter – Margarine is fine. 
  • Chicken Stock – Any stock will work, add water + Better than bouillon, bouillon cubes and water will work fine.  
  • Cider Vinegar – white vinegar will work.


Nutrition Facts
How to Boil Cabbage
Amount Per Serving
Calories 246 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 5g25%
Trans Fat 0.2g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 22mg7%
Sodium 769mg32%
Potassium 892mg25%
Carbohydrates 31g10%
Fiber 6g24%
Sugar 8g9%
Protein 8g16%
Vitamin A 364IU7%
Vitamin C 65mg79%
Calcium 83mg8%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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A Verse to Share

Tithing is something I haven’t done like I should in the past. Do you? Certainly something I need to get back to. It’s how God funds his work!

Luke 6:38

Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.

Wendi is the writer, CEO and dishwasher at Loaves and Dishes! When not in the kitchen or behind the computer, you can find Wendi serving on International Food Conference Boards, Speaking at various conferences, Leading and Cooking for the local Arts Council's "Taste of Stokes" events or donating home cooked goodies to various local non profits such as the Danbury Songwriters and Stokes Partnership for Children. Wendi is also a Registered Nurse with a Master's Degree and serves on her town's board of councilmen.

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Friday 20th of October 2023

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