Quick Boiled Cabbage Recipe

5 from 14 votes
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Forget everything you think you know about boiled cabbage – I’ve found a way how to cook cabbage that keeps plenty of flavors and makes a mean side dish for any occasion.

Cabbage topped with pepper in a pot

Boiled cabbage recipes get a bad reputation. Maybe it’s the smell, maybe it’s the cooking process – it just leaves a bad taste in the mouth, especially if you had to eat an overcooked version as a kid. But never fear. My boiled cabbage recipe ensures there’s plenty of flavor in this staple side dish and relegates bad memories of boiling cabbage to the past.

Don’t worry – there’s no over-boiling happening here. Even better, it’s a quick and easy cabbage recipe that’s useful to have in your cooking repertoire when you want to up your veggie intake – but don’t want to put in a lot of effort.

Cabbage should be a staple vegetable in your diet – it’s just that good for you! Getting the perfect boiled cabbage means you keep lots of the nutrients that can get lost during other cooking methods. Boiled cabbage is naturally low in calories and high in Vitamin C, K, and B6.

Boiled cabbage served on a plate

It’s also high in fiber – perfect for helping with your digestion and gut health. Plus, it has lots of antioxidants, can help reduce inflammation, and helps support heart health and lower blood pressure. 

Boiled Cabbage Recipe Ingredients

There are just a few simple ingredients that you need for this recipe and minimal prep time.

  • Green cabbage: You can use different types of cabbage – including Savoy cabbage – or red cabbage if you prefer. 
  • Water: Use filtered water for this. If you want more flavor in your cabbage, you can also use chicken broth or veggie stock
  • Butter: Boiled cabbage with butter is a total game changer; you’ll need to melt it before using. Alternatively, you could use a bit of olive oil.
  • Salt and pepper: for seasoning.
Ingredients for boiling cabbage

How to Cut a Head of Cabbage into Wedges

For this recipe for boiled cabbage, we need to cut cabbage into wedges so it cooks evenly. Rinse the cabbage thoroughly and, if needed, remove a few of the outer leaves. 

Slice the cabbage into six wedges – first in half, then each half into three.

Steps for cutting cabbage

How to Boil Cabbage

Add the water and salt to a large pot or dutch oven. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat then add the cabbage (the pot should be about ¼ full). 

How Long to Boil Cabbage

When you cook cabbage on the stove, allow the pot to simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Then, carefully turn the cabbage and simmer for an additional 8 minutes or until tender (the thickest part should be knife/fork tender). 

Steps for boiling green cabbage

While the cabbage is boiling, melt your butter – you can microwave it or do it in a saucepan over low heat. Make sure it doesn’t brown. 

How to Cook Boiled Cabbage

Carefully remove the cabbage with a slotted spoon and drain the water from the pan. Place the pan on low heat and allow the moisture to evaporate – the pan should run dry.

Then, add the cabbage back into the pan and add the melted butter so it completely coats the wedges. This is how to make cabbage juicy and full of flavor after boiling. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Boiled cabbage in a large pot

Serve and enjoy. You can drizzle some lemon juice or add some red pepper flakes for heat.

How to Store Boiled Cabbage

Allow the cabbage to cool completely before transferring it into a shallow, airtight container or wrapped in aluminum foil. You can also store it in the freezer to extend its shelf life. Follow the same process and store in an airtight container or in freezer-safe bags – this boiled cabbage recipe should keep for a few months in the freezer.

Cabbage topped with pepper

How Long Does Boiled Cabbage Last

Stored properly, this boiled cabbage recipe will last between 3-5 days, though is best enjoyed fresh or within a day or two of cooking. 

What to Eat with Boiled Cabbage

Now that we know how to boil cabbage, here are some serving suggestions for this antioxidant powerhouse – a simple but nutritious side dish: 

  • Put it on the side of some creamy pasta dishes – or even incorporate it in sauces – like my Veggie Lasagne, or even some delicious ravioli.
  • Cabbage is a staple part of many Asian cuisines. Try pairing this boiled cabbage recipe with some Crispy Baked Tofu, a bowl of Easy Chili Noodles, or a classic Lo Mein.
  • Boiled cabbage is also a standard side dish in Ireland, so why not try pairing it with another staple of Irish cuisine – the humble potato? Try boiled cabbage with potatoes baked, mashed, boiled, oven-roasted, or however you like your potatoes.
  • You can also pair it with your favorite protein like beef or chicken. It’s perfect for St Patrick’s day alongside corned beef or with a Reuben sandwich.
Boiled cabbage served on a plate

FAQs

What is a good seasoning for cooked cabbage?

Salt, black pepper, onion powder, or garlic powder can enhance the flavor even more if you want a boost of taste.

Do you boil cabbage covered or uncovered?

The best way how to boil cabbage is to do it uncovered – it can lose texture if you keep it covered. 

How to boil cabbage wedges without them falling apart?

Don’t overboil your boiled cabbage wedges – this is the main reason the wedges tend to fall apart. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes on one side then turn it carefully and simmer again for 8 minutes.

How to eliminate the cooked cabbage smell?

Boiling the cabbage in an uncovered pot or cooking it in an open pan will help reduce the smell. Also, don’t overboil/overcook the cabbage. The unpleasant smell is caused by the sulfur compounds that are released when boiled cabbage is cooked too long.

More Side Dish Recipes

If you try this boiled cabbage recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

Quick Boiled Cabbage Recipe

5 from 14 votes
By: Samira
Forget everything you think you know about boiled cabbage – I've found a way how to cook cabbage that keeps plenty of flavors and makes a mean side dish for any occasion.
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients 
 

  • 53 oz cabbage 1 large head
  • 2 oz butter 1/4 cup melted (1/2 stick)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 3 cups water

Instructions 

  • Rinse the cabbage thoroughly and, if needed, remove a few of the outer leaves along with the core.
  • Slice the cabbage into six wedges – first in half, then each half into three.
  • Add the water and salt to a large pot or dutch oven. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat then add the cabbage (the pot should be about ¼ full). 
  • Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Then, carefully turn the cabbage and simmer for an additional 8 minutes or until tender (the thickest part should be knife/fork tender). 
  • While the cabbage is boiling, melt your butter – you can microwave it or do it in a saucepan over low heat. Make sure it doesn't brown. 
  • Once the cabbage is done, carefully remove it with a slotted spoon and drain the water from the pan. Place the pan on low heat and allow the moisture to evaporate – the pan should run dry. 
  • Add the cabbage back into the pan and add the melted butter so it completely coats the wedges. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Storage Instructions

  • Store: Allow the cabbage to cool completely before transferring it into a shallow, airtight container or wrapped in aluminum foil. Stored properly, the boiled cabbage will last between 3-5 days, though is best enjoyed fresh or within a day or two of cooking. 
    Freeze: Allow to cool then transfer it to an airtight container or in freezer-safe bags. Keep in the freezer for up to 10 months.

Video

Notes

Use different varieties of cabbage: I love using green cabbage for this recipe but you can also use Savoy or even red/purple. 
Boil the cabbage uncovered: this allows you to reduce the smell of cabbage as well as helps you keep an eye on it so it doesn’t overcook/overboil.
What other seasoning can I add? You can enhance the flavor with garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, cajun seasoning, or your favorite herbs and spices. 
 
Check the blog post for serving recommendations and answers to top FAQs!
Course: Side
Cuisine: American, Southern
Freezer friendly: 10 Months
Shelf life: 3-5 Days

Nutrition

Calories: 131kcal, Carbohydrates: 15g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 20mg, Sodium: 499mg, Potassium: 430mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 482IU, Vitamin C: 92mg, Calcium: 103mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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