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Last updated on May 26th, 2024 at 04:02 am

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Easy Bacon Fried Cabbage [Video]

Bacon-fried cabbage is delicious and super easy to make. With only a few ingredients, it is flavorful and ready in less than 30 minutes! Also known as southern fried cabbage, it is made with chopped cabbage cooked in bacon grease with crispy bacon pieces, garlic, and seasonings for a dish bursting with robust flavor.

The Best Bacon Fried Cabbage

Southern Bacon Fried Cabbage is one of our favorite dishes to enjoy year-round. It is easy to make with simple ingredients, resulting in such a flavorful and delicious side dish. All you need is four ingredients – cabbage, onion, garlic, and bacon, along with a few seasonings.

The name is self-explanatory here because this cabbage is fried in bacon grease. It is also a popular Irish dish often served alongside corned beef. Try it with my instant pot corned beef and cabbage for a fun meal to serve on St. Patrick’s Day.

This recipe deserves the name Quick and Easy. Preparing this meal and having it on the table will take about 25-30 minutes. Because cabbage is like a sponge, it takes on the flavors of the bacon, garlic, onion, and all the delicious herbs and spices. The smoked paprika gives your food a smoky taste that adds depth to your meal, and the oregano adds a fresh, herby flavor. 

You can add other ingredients to the chunks of bacon and cabbage, or just serve it with a few chunks of crusty bread and a salad. This is a versatile dish that you can tailor to your needs. If you are serving someone who does not like onions or garlic, you can leave them out. Or, for someone who enjoys sweeter cabbage, toss in some sugar or honey. It is always going to be delicious, no matter what.

Why you will love this recipe

  • Very few ingredients: All you need to make this delicious dish is cabbage, bacon, onion, garlic, and some seasonings.
  • So fast and easy: Cook it all in one pan, which only takes about 25 minutes.
  • Make it like you want it: You can also change things to make it your own unique meal. You could even make it vegan without the bacon.
  • It is so inexpensive: The total cost of this entire meal for six people is about $10, and about $7 of it is for the bacon!

What you’ll need to make this bacon fried cabbage

Special items:

  • Large skillet – I prefer my cast iron skillet because it makes everything so crispy. 
  • Spatula – I use my silicone spatula to flip the bacon and stir the rest of the ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • Bacon – I prefer thick-cut maple bacon for this, but you can use what you like, cut into one-inch pieces.
  • Cabbage – Green or savoy cabbage, cored and chopped but not cooked.
  • Onion – My family prefers yellow onions, sliced thin, to enhance the rest of the ingredients.
  • Garlic—Freshly minced garlic cloves will give your cabbage and bacon an intense garlic flavor. If you do not want as much garlicky flavor, add one instead of five or use garlic powder.
  • Oregano – Dried oregano adds a beautiful aroma and earthy green flavor profile.
  • Smoked paprika – If you do not like smoked flavor, use sweet paprika instead.
  • Salt – Kosher salt is fresh and flavorful without any bitter additives.
  • Pepper – Grind your fresh black peppercorns for the best flavor.
  • Green onion – Chopped green onions for garnishing your meal.

How to make bacon fried cabbage?

  1. Fry the bacon: First, fry the bacon in a deep pan over medium-high heat until it is crispy. Then, remove it and set it on a plate.
  2. Drain and add onion: After you have cooked all the bacon, cover the plate to keep it warm and drain all but three tablespoons of grease. Add the onion and cook it until it is soft, about two or three minutes.
  3. Cook the cabbage: Now, add the cabbage chunks and seasonings. Toss and continue cooking over medium-high heat until tender but a little crispy. It should take about 15 minutes. Then, reduce heat to medium-low and cover, cooking for another 10 minutes until it is as tender as you like.
  4. Mix it all together and serve: Finally, add the bacon back to the pan with the garlic and cook for another three minutes. Serve with chopped green onions.

Expert tip

How do you keep cabbage crisp while cooking it?

When you cook your cabbage in several steps, like this recipe calls for, it can get overcooked or mushy. That is why it is important to cook it in hot bacon grease. Keep it hot enough to cook the cabbage quickly, making it slightly tender inside but searing it on the outside so it stays crispy.

Searing your cabbage before you add all the rest of the ingredients prevents it from absorbing too much liquid or grease from the bacon. If you want it to be especially crispy, it is actually better to undercook it rather than overcook it. You can also add some salt to draw out the water before you add it to the pan. But do not forget to pat it dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture and salt.

If this recipe makes your cabbage too soft, consider roasting it instead of frying it in bacon grease. Dry roasting will keep it from getting soggy, and then you can add it to the rest of the ingredients at the end, letting it absorb the flavors for a minute or two.

Recipe variations and add-ins:

  • Sweeten it up: My kids love it when I add honey or sugar to the mixture right at the end.
  • No bacon: Instead of bacon, sometimes I use chopped ham, turkey, or chicken.
  • Less fat: For less fat and cholesterol, you could use turkey bacon, but you may need to add a bit of olive oil for frying.
  • Spicy cabbage: Toss in some chopped jalapenos or add cayenne pepper to your dish for a spicy kick.
  • Add veggies: To make this a heartier meal, toss some chopped broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, and avocados.
  • Make it tangy: Add a bit of red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar for a tangier dish.

Serving suggestions:

Bacon fried cabbage is a perfect side dish for all sorts of meals. Try one of these fantastic ideas.

  • Instead of corned beef, serve this cabbage with lamb stew for St. Patrick’s Day. My easy lamb stew recipe with red wine and Bella mushrooms is perfect.
  • Serve it as a side for corned beef sandwiches.
  • If you are looking for a spread of comfort food, then pair it with this juicy homemade meatloaf.
  • This saucy dish needs some bread to soak up that extra grease. Serve it with soft dinner rolls or French bread.
  • Going with the southern theme, this will be delicious along some crispy fried chicken.
  • It also pairs well with burgers and hot dogs for a picnic or barbecue.

Frequently asked questions

Is fried cabbage good for you?

Although the bacon in this recipe is not what anyone would call healthy because of the high fat and cholesterol, it can be fried in extra virgin olive oil without the bacon to make it healthier. Of course, that would take away the bacon flavor, so you could add some turkey bacon to make up for it. Try it stir-fried without the bacon and just season it with fresh herbs, spices, onions, and garlic.

Why is my fried cabbage bitter?

Both cabbage and onions have enzymes and compounds with sulfur, giving them a bitter flavor if not cooked properly. One way to prevent this is to soak your cabbage for about 15 minutes before you cook it. Add some salt or capers as well to counter the bitter taste. Salting chopped cabbage will keep it from releasing these bitter compounds while drawing out the moisture to make it cook up crispier. 

How do you core a cabbage?

Even though a cabbage core has plenty of vitamins, it is typically tough and not optimal for eating. We usually remove it before proceeding with the recipe. The easiest way to core it is to cut the cabbage head in half and use a knife to slice around the core to remove it. 

How can I prevent cabbage gas?

If you are one of the many who end up with stomach cramps and flatulence after eating cabbage, you will find that cooking it will help keep that issue at bay. It breaks down the fibers to make the cabbage easier to digest. The sugars in the cabbage are not digestible, but they are also decreased when cooked. You could also add fennel or caraway seeds, which help reduce gas naturally.

How to store:

  • Refrigerate: To preserve your leftover bacon-fried cabbage, put it in an airtight container in the fridge, where it will stay fresh for several days. 
  • Freezing: If you cannot finish all your leftovers right away, pack them in a heavy-duty freezer bag, and they can stay frozen for several months.   
  • Defrost: To get the best taste and texture, thaw frozen leftovers overnight in the fridge.
  • Reheating: For the best results, put your leftovers in a skillet and reheat on medium-high for one or two minutes. 

More cabbage recipes:

Recipe tips:

  • Cook your bacon in batches if necessary. Cook it in a single layer so it gets crispy.
  • A cast iron skillet is a beautiful way to give your bacon and cabbage the perfect sear.
  • Sautéing onions and cabbage in bacon fat gives them an extra flavor boost, and the garlic adds an intense taste. 
  • Do not overcook your cabbage in the first stage, or it will end up soggy.
  • When adding the bacon back to the pan, pat the excess grease first.
  • Use savoy or green cabbage to get this dish’s best flavor and texture.

Easy Bacon Fried Cabbage

Bacon-fried cabbage is made with chopped cabbage cooked in bacon grease, crispy bacon pieces, garlic, and seasonings. Ready in 30 minutes.

  • Prep Time5 MIN
  • Cook Time25 MIN
  • Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound sliced bacon chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 onion finely sliced
  • 1 medium head cabbage cored and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 5 cloves garlic minced

Garnish:

  • Chopped green onion

Instructions

  • Place a large cast iron skillet or non-stick deep pan over medium-high heat. Add bacon pieces in one layer and cook until crispy. If needed, cook in batches. Once cooked, remove from pan and set aside on a plate.
  • Discard the grease, leaving about 2-3 tablespoons.
  • Add the sliced onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, until soft.
  • Add the chopped cabbage, salt, pepper, oregano, and smoked paprika. Toss and cook until tender but still a little crispy, for about 15 minutes. Toss and taste. If needed, reduce heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and cook cabbage for ten more minutes until the preferred tenderness is achieved.
  • Add the garlic and bacon, and cook cabbage for 3-4 minutes.
  • Serve immediately, and garnish with chopped green onions if you'd like.

Nutrition Facts

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Comments

(30)
Dawn Kiser

Dawn Kiser

I have been making this for years but with one addition. I add eggnoodles to the mix after it's all cooked. My family loves it.

Ana@oasisoftaste

Ana@oasisoftaste

I tried this recipe. Delicious and easy to make. Thanks for sharing.


Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet

I am very happy that you loved it, thanks for the feedback!

Wayne

Wayne

Fabulous I cooked the cabbage a little to long and put the bacon in to quick it got soggy first time making this will do better 2nd time but it still was good

Kathy

Kathy

My family loves cabbage. I just took a ham out of freezer for dinner and was thinking about a side dish. This would be perfect because I love ham and cabbage together.

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