Southern Fried Cabbage Recipe

| May 19, 2019 | 15 Comments

Southern Fried Cabbage

Easy Southern Fried Cabbage recipe with complete step-by-step, photo illustrated instructions and a printable recipe.

Fried Cabbage, enjoy.
Made with fresh cabbage, butter, salt, pepper, sugar. How easy is that?


Fried Cabbage, slider.
Southern Fried Cabbage recipe.

You might want to make a pan of cornbread first. You’ll most certainly want some once you get these Southern Fried Cabbage cooked and ready for the table.

I realized that a bit too late myself, but I’m giving you advance notice. You can thank me later. Smile.

This is one of those really easy southern side dishes that you can have on the table in just a matter of a few minutes. As long as you don’t try to “complicate matters” and change up the recipe that is.

I know lots of folks like to add onions, or maybe some chicken broth and other such things, which I’m sure is mighty good, but let’s just keep it simple. Shall we?

Cut up your cabbage, add some butter, maybe some bacon grease to the skillet, and fry up a batch of southern goodness really quick and easy with our Southern Fried Cabbage recipe.

I don’t use the broth because I think that’s more like a steamed cabbage than a fried version. I might be stirring up the bee’s nest with that comment but it’s just the way Mama made it and the way I prefer it.

Please note that I only cooked up half a head of cabbage to make this. The recipe calls for a full small head of cabbage and you can certainly cook a whole one if you need it. Just add it to the skillet and don’t worry about doubling up on the seasonings. I think it all will work out fine.

So, if you’re ready for a quick and easy meal, let’s head on out to the kitchen, and… Let’s Get Cooking.


Fried Cabbage, you'll need these ingredients.
Fried Cabbage:  You’ll need these ingredients.


Fried Cabbage, wash the cabbage.
Begin by washing the cabbage under cool running water.

I generally remove and discard the first outer layer of cabbage leaves. You can keep them if you like, it’s pretty much just old habit with me. Either way, rinse the cabbage under cold running water real good.


Fried Cabbage, cut the cabbage.
You’ll need a large sharp knife to cut the cabbage in half. The inner core is tough so be really careful with the knife. Cut through the core from one end of the cabbage to the other.

Then, cut the half into halves.  I also cut out the end of the core as you can see me holding in the photo above. The core is just too tough to taste good so remove it and discard it.


Fried Cabbage, cut cabbage into bite sized pieces.
Cut the cabbage into bite sized pieces.

I take each quarter and slice it again the long way. Then, I just slice those sections into bite sized pieces.


Fried Cabbage, add the butter.
Place a skillet over Medium heat on your stove top. Add the butter.

I had just fried up a package of bacon in this skillet to render out the fat. As you can see, I drained all but about one Tablespoon of the grease from the skillet and left the bits and pieces in the pan.

I always save my bacon grease. I hope you do. It’s a great seasoning for cabbage. You could easily add about a Tablespoon of bacon grease to your skillet if you have it on hand. It really does magic for the flavor of the finished cabbage dish.


Fried Cabbage, add the cabbage.
Let the butter melt down a bit, then add the cabbage.

You can fill the pan up with the cabbage. As it cooks, it will wilt down and not be overflowing the skillet.

For the record, I’m only using half of the head of cabbage I started with. You could easily use the entire head with the other ingredients listed with this recipe without having to double up on the seasonings.


Fried Cabbage, stir the cabbage to coat it with butter.
As the cabbage starts to cook down a bit, stir it good to coat the cabbage with butter.

You’ll want to stir the cabbage often as it cooks because the smaller pieces have a tendency to burn.


Fried Cabbage, add the salt.
After a couple of minutes of cooking and stirring, add in the salt.


Fried Cabbage, add the black pepper.
Add the black pepper.


Fried Cabbage, add some sugar.
Mama always liked to add a bit of sugar to her vegetables while cooking them.

I didn’t picture it in the ingredients above, but a little bit of sugar seems to also bring out the flavor of the cabbage. It’s optional of course, but I do hope you’ll try it at least once. It’s not much.


Fried Cabbage, cook until tender.
Continue to stir the cabbage as it cooks. Leave the skillet uncovered the entire time.

If you cover the skillet, steam is trapped inside and you’ll end up with a good amount of liquid in the bottom of the skillet. You’ll also have a steamed cabbage as opposed to a fried cabbage.

It’s done when it reaches the desired stage of tenderness that you prefer. Some folks like to cook it for about 15 minutes so it still has a bit of a crunch when you bite into it. That’s what I did here.

Other folks like to cook it for 30 minutes or so, until it’s really tender. It’s your choice, do it the way you think you’ll like it the best.


Fried Cabbage, serve warm and enjoy.

Crumble up some crispy bacon bits on top of the cooked cabbage and serve it while it’s still warm. It makes a great side dish for many of your favorite meals, or you can just make a meal out of the bowl of cabbage itself. Smile.

Cornbread would be nice to go along with it as well. Just saying.


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Southern Fried Cabbage recipe, as seen on Taste of

Southern Fried Cabbage Recipe

  • Author: Steve Gordon
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dishes
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American


Easy Southern Fried Cabbage recipe, with complete step-by-step, photo illustrated instructions on Taste of



  • 1 small Cabbage
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Bacon Grease, optional.
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • ½ teaspoon Black Pepper
  • ½ teaspoon Sugar


  1. Remove the first outer layer of leaves from the cabbage and discard.
  2. Rinse the head of cabbage well under cold running water.
  3. Carefully slice the cabbage in half, then into quarters.
  4. Slice each quarter again, the long way, then cut each wedge into bite sized pieces.
  5. Place your skillet over Medium heat on your stove top.
  6. Add the butter.
  7. Add the bacon grease.
  8. Add the cabbage.
  9. Stir the cabbage as it cooks down to fully coat the pieces in the butter.
  10. Add the salt.
  11. Add the black pepper.
  12. Add the sugar.
  13. Continue to stir and cook, uncovered, until the cabbage is tender.
  14. Serve while warm, topped with bacon bits if you desire.
  15. Enjoy!


Some folks like to add onions. Its your choice of course. Others also like to add chicken broth but that’s more of a steamed cabbage to me. I like to keep it simple with just cabbage, butter and the seasonings.

Keywords: Southern Fried Cabbage Recipe, made from scratch, homemade, old fashioned, bacon, butter, southern recipes


Your Comments:

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You might also like:  Ms Sally’s Pinto Beans Recipe

Or, maybe this one:  Summer Vegetable Casserole

Or this:  Squash Casserole

Thanks for looking.


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Category: Side Dishes

About the Author ()

Award Winning Food Preservationist, Fisherman, Author of three cookbooks. "From Mama's Big Oval Table, From Mama's Big Oval Table - BOOK TWO and Carolina Christmas Sweets and Appetizers." Online Contributor to Our State Magazine Newsletter.

Comments (15)

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  1. Marilyn Allison says:

    Good Morning,

    This sounded so good to me, so I told my husband about it, and he said that does sound good. And it was! Thanks for the recipe, I like some green veggies, like brocolli, green beans, spinach and peas, but agree with you, we don’t care for collard, mustard or kale “greens”. I continue to keep you and your friends in my prayers, hope you get out to fish soon.

  2. Dorothy Berry says:

    Hi Steve
    Thanks for this recipe – I guess it’s pretty much a countryside recipe, not just Southern, because Mama used to make it back in Norfolk, England. We mostly used Savoy cabbage because that’s what we used to grow. We children didn’t get the actual bacon, I think it was all given to Daddy because most things were still on ration coupons back then, but I remember the lovely bacon-y taste. I haven’t had it for years, but I’m going to make it this weekend with your recipe (and I’ll get the bacon bits!)
    By the way, I never discard the outside leaves, if they can’t be washed and cooked they go on the compost heap and I have never had to use artificial fertilizers in my garden. Vegetable waste discarded into the municipal refuse system creates methane gas which is a worse greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide!
    When I was a child I always used to beg the core of the cabbage and eat the inside of it raw! Oh, the memories!

  3. Priscilla Swayngim says:

    Love cabbage any way it’s fixed! Yes, definitely need cornbread with it—muffins with fried, pan cornbread crumbled to soak up the pot likker of boiled cabbage, or fried cornbread with any or all ways. Personally I love the middle stalk of the cabbage. I trim all the cabbage from the stalk, salt it and enjoy it raw. I would always show up at my Grandmother’s when she was chopping cabbages for sauerkraut. I got to eat lots of stalks then. Smile

  4. Susan Ciannilli says:

    My momma used to make this recipe. I forgot all about it until I saw this. Thanks for the memories Steve,I’m making this with supper tomorrow.So love the newsletters, by the way how is your bunny…..mine is getting bigger everyday !! (smile)

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Susan, Sadly, I never did find my bunny. Glad your’s is growing and doing well. Smile (Thanks for the laugh today.) I’m thankful to have you as a subscriber to the Newsletter. I appreciate your visit and do hope you’ll stop by again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  5. Kathryn Ransom says:

    Steve, this recipe is exactly what I remember my Daddy making…and it had to be made in a LODGE cast iron skillet. He also HAD to use Crisco. He did change it by adding smoked ham instead of bacon but that is basically the only difference. My Nevada husband loves this cabbage …. he never had it growing up in Nevada and in fact never had much of true Southern cooking so I am more than happy to share these recipes with him and feel blessed I found your site so I can refresh my memory or learn some new recipes I have never had …and there are a few. Thanks a bunch and as always…. Blessings to you !! I look forward to the day when you post something about using your new Kitchenaid mixer !!

  6. Judi Goodrich says:

    Hi Steve,
    It’s funny that you had cooked cabbage for this weeks recipe.
    I just made it past week and hadn’t made it for years. Actually so many years that my second Husband of over 10 years had never had it. I also only cooked half of the head, and used the other half for chicken soup I made last night. The cabbage gave it a nice sweeter than usual taste. My Husband said it was the best chicken soup he ever had. I never tried adding it before. Goes to show you can teach an old dog new tricks.
    A very good day you,

  7. Karen Miller says:

    My husband and I enjoy fried cabbage. I only fix it occasionally, but we are having some tonight. I don’t throw the core away because my husband likes it.

  8. James Boone says:

    I was raised on cabbage cooked this way. Have had cabbage with ham bits in it too. Yummmmm!!!!!
    Your right on the cornbread. Possibly Cracklin bread? And don’t forget add a pot of Pintos.
    That way you have enough to do to Wednesday or Thursday.
    God bless ya,

  9. Rayford Hudson says:


  10. Paul says:

    This is a delicious recipe, one that I’ve been making (minus the sugar) for years. I’ve been having great success following a ketogenic diet since the beginning of the year and this dish (-sugar) fits into my diet perfectly. The plus is my wife really enjoys (requests) it. Have a wonderful day/week sir and thank you for sharing your mom’s recipes. God Bless, Paul

  11. Terry (Ted) M Muse says:

    Great recipe!!! and I love any kind of cabbage, but without the sugar. My granny never used sugar in any of her good old southern dished, that I know of:-))But if she did, they were delicious!!! Thanks Steve for all your great recipes!!!
    Terry (Ted)

    • Hi Dennis Parsons in Alaska I love fried cabbage man with a ttle bit of bacon grease get back Jack that is absolutely some of the best groceries you have ever eaten and I don’t know about ya’ll but I love grits do yall know what grits stand for girls raised in the south yall have a great day and my door is never locked come on up to Alaska u will never regret it us beautiful and wonderful

  12. Joyce Willis says:

    Hi Steve! Good Monday morning to you.
    This recipe is how I cook my cabbage too. And yes it should be accompanied by a skillet of cornbread and a glass of tea. I almost made this last night. Now I have no choice after seeing all that goodness!
    Thanks and God Bless!

    • Hey sweetheart that is the way my mother and grandmother made it there is nothing like southern food especially that southern pulled pork man that is the cat’s meow lol love yall

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