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Best Old Fashioned Southern Boiled Cabbage Recipe

Y’all get ready for some good eating with my Best Old Fashioned Southern Boiled Cabbage Recipe. It’s good ole country cooking at its best!

Gather around friends and let me tell you about one of my all-time favorite comfort dishes: Old Fashioned Southern Boiled Cabbage. This is the kind of cooked cabbage dish that we had most often when I was growing up.

Now, this here recipe is as Southern as sweet tea and front porch sitting. It’s simple, hearty, and bursting with that down-home flavor we all love. And, since cabbage doesn’t have much flavor on its own, I’m gonna tell you how to make it wonderfully delicious.

Imagine tender, melt-in-your-mouth cabbage cooked to perfection with just the right touch of seasoning and infused with the flavors of smoky bacon and a rich stock. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

This soul food style cabbage warms the soul like a big hug from grandma. So, let’s head into the kitchen y’all and cook us up some delicious Southern-style cabbage that will have you smacking your lips at how good it is.

Savory Smothered Cabbage

Grandma's old timey boiled cabbage with bratwurst and potatoes on a blue plate

Friends, y’all don’t underestimate a classic like boiled cabbage. It is so simple and cheap but so delicious!

Now I know some of y’all are wondering “But Julia, we thought fried cabbage was the Southern way of cooking it”. Well, that is another favorite way that we love cabbage, and I do have the perfect Southern Fried Cabbage Recipe here on the blog that you’ll love too.

Doesn’t that look good y’all? That is some fine down home cooking on a plate! I have said it many times and I’m gonna say it again…”home cooked meals never have to be complicated”. Boiled cabbage case in point.

What to Serve with Boiled Cabbage

Green cabbage cooked southern-style served with fried russet potatoes and bratwurst

Wondering what to serve with your tender Southern style cabbage? I’ve got a few ideas for you!

  1. Cornbread or Biscuits – a favorite for any Southern meal.
  2. Fried Chicken – I think I’d be happy as a honey bee in a flower meadow with anything served with fried chicken.
  3. Sausages – cooked bratwurst, smoked sausage, or fried weenies go great with cooked cabbage.
  4. Other Veggies – boiled cabbage with pinto beans and fried potatoes is excellent food in this house.
  5. Mashed Potatoes – home cooked mashed potatoes are always welcome to the dinner table.
  6. Pork Chops – fried or oven baked, mmm mmm good.

And y’all don’t forget about your beverages. A cold glass of iced water or sweet tea are great with your supper.

How to make Southern-Style Cabbage

Ingredients for making Southern boiled cabbage arranged on a cutting board

Here’s what you’ll need to make the best Southern boiled cabbage:

  • Bacon – to render that flavorful bacon grease and to act as the seasoning meat. You could use ham hocks, if preferred.
  • Butter
  • Vidalia Onion – if you don’t care for bits of onion then use some onion powder.
  • Minced Garlic – if you don’t have garlic on hand then use garlic powder.
  • Head of Cabbage – I always use green cabbage for cooked cabbage because that is how I’ve always known cooked cabbage to be made. You can use red cabbage if you like.
  • Kosher Salt
  • Cracked Black Pepper
  • Red Pepper Flakes – just a pinch for a kick, but optional.
  • Chicken Stock – or vegetable broth add so much added flavor. If you don’t have stock but keep chicken base (like Better than Bouillon), add four teaspoons of the chicken base to warm water and stir to make some.

My recipe does make a wonderful boiled cabbage side dish and I hope you’ll try it my way. But, honey, if your budget is tight and you don’t have all this then just use cabbage, water, butter, and some salt and pepper to make some boiled cabbage. That’s how Mama made hers.

Down-Home Cooking in a few Easy Steps

Removing the core from a head of green cabbage

Begin by getting the head of cabbage prepped. Use a knife to cut the head of cabbage in half then cut the core out of each half.

Simple Cooked Cabbage

Cut wedges of green cabbage on a cutting board before cooking

Then, cut the cabbage into small to medium sized wedges. I prefer cutting my cabbage into wedges for cooked cabbage, but it can be chopped up too if you like it that way instead.

Let’s Flavor up this Great Side Dish, Y’all

Bacon pieces sautéing in a pot for boiled cabbage

Next, heat a large pot (I used my Lodge 3 quart enameled cast iron with lid, which was plenty big enough) on the stove top over medium heat.

Chop the bacon slices into big pieces and add them to the pot to cook and release the wonderful drippings which will add flavor to the cabbage.

You know that cabbage doesn’t have much flavor on its own so it is up to you, the cook, to add the flavor.

AHHH, the Aromatics

onion, butter, and bacon in a pot

The next step is to add the butter and diced onion. Let it sauté two minutes or so until the onions are tender. 

Then, add the minced garlic and allow it to sauté another thirty seconds.

Southern Stewed Cabbage

adding cabbage wedges to a pot to boil and seasoning

Next, add the wedges of cabbage to the pot and add your seasonings.

Rich Stock is Great for Infusing More Flavor

cabbage wedges in a pot with rich chicken stock, bacon, onion, butter, and seasonings to boil until tender

Now it is time to add the rich flavorful chicken stock then cover the pot with a lid, reduce the heat to medium-low heat, and bring the cabbage to a simmer.

Allow the cabbage to cook until tender. Cooking time may vary, but I like to let all of those flavors mingle in the pot simmering with the cabbage for an hour. It should be just perfect!

Tender Southern Boiled Cabbage

Using a serving spoon to hold up a wedge of tender cabbage boiled southern style

There you have it! The savory flavors of Southern culture in a succulent cabbage side dish. Best of all, it is so easy to prepare making it perfect for home cooked meals any day of the week.

Leftover cabbage cooked this way refrigerates well to be re-heated and enjoyed for up to a couple of days.

Printable Recipe Card Below

Soul food dinner with southern boiled cabbage served on a plate with sausages and potatoes

Here’s the printable recipe card with the ingredients and steps for my Best Old Fashioned Southern Boiled Cabbage Recipe. Enjoy!

And, as always, check out the full post for more tips for making boiled cabbage, as well as serving suggestions.

Yield: 1 Side Dish

Old Fashioned Southern Boiled Cabbage Recipe

the best old fashioned southern boiled cabbage recipe on a cotton boll pattern plate with fried potatoes and sausages

I've got a classic Southern comfort dish that's sure to make your taste buds sing: Southern Boiled Cabbage. This humble yet hearty side dish is packed with flavor, perfect for any family gathering or a cozy weeknight dinner. We start with fresh, crisp cabbage, simmered to perfection in a savory broth with just the right touch of smoky bacon. It's seasoned with a dash of love and a sprinkle of Southern charm. Simple, wholesome, and oh-so-delicious, this boiled cabbage will have everyone asking for seconds. Serve it alongside your favorite fried chicken or pork chops for a meal that's pure Southern bliss. Enjoy, y'all!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes


  • 2 Strips of Bacon
  • 4 tablespoons Butter
  • 1 cup Diced Vidalia Onion
  • 1 tablespoon Minced Garlic
  • 1 Head of Green Cabbage, washed and core removed, cut into wedges
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon Cracked Black Pepper, or to taste
  • 1 pinch Red Pepper Flakes, optional
  • 32 ounces Chicken Stock


  1. Heat a large pot, 3 quarts or larger) over medium heat.
  2. Cut the slices of bacon into pieces and add to the pot to cook and render their fat, stir occasionally.
  3. Once the bacon has released most of it's drippings, add the butter and diced onion. Sauté for 2 minutes.
  4. Next, add the minced garlic and sauté for 30 seconds more.
  5. Add the wedges of green cabbage to the pot and add the seasonings.
  6. Next, add the stock.
  7. Cover the pot with a lid and bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook 1 hour, or until desired tenderness.


See full post for more details in preparing boiled cabbage with other ingredient and serving suggestions.

Leftover boiled cabbage may be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated to be reheated for other meals up to 3 days.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 203Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 583mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 4gSugar: 10gProtein: 8g

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Best Old Fashioned Southern Boiled Cabbage Recipe

Well, y’all, there you have it! A pot full of Old Fashioned Southern Boiled Cabbage that’s sure to bring smiles and full tummies to your table.

Whether you’re serving it up with a side of cornbread, fried taters, or alongside your favorite meat, this humble yet delicious favorite Southern side dish is bound to become a family favorite.

So, from my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy every last bite. Remember, the best meals are made with love and shared with those who matter most.

Before you head off, be sure to sign up for my weekly emails. Subscribers receive my e-newsletter with the latest recipes and news here on the blog, so you never miss a thing. Plus, it’s a great way for us to stay in touch.

Until next time, love and happy cooking!


Meet Julia

Author of Julia's Simply Southern

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Sunday 26th of May 2024

I am so excited to see this recipe, I love boiled cabbage, and order out because I never can duplicate the flavor. I’m going to get my cabbage now, wish me luck, thanks

Julia Jordan

Sunday 26th of May 2024

Thank you! You've got this! I sure do hope you enjoy it! ~Julia

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