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Southern Fried Cabbage: A Flavorful and Easy Side Dish

Welcome to a Southern classic that’s both simple and scrumptious: Fried Cabbage. This dish features lightly seasoned, pan-fried cabbage, onions, and bacon, creating a deliciously savory combination that’s perfect as a side dish for any meal. Whether you’re new to cooking or a seasoned chef, this recipe is easy to follow and yields fantastic results.

Why Fried Cabbage?

Fried cabbage is a beloved Southern dish known for its comforting flavors and straightforward preparation. The combination of tender cabbage, sweet onions, and smoky bacon creates a delightful harmony of tastes and textures. Plus, it’s a versatile dish that can complement a wide range of main courses.


For the Fried Cabbage

  • 6 slices smoked bacon: Adds a smoky, savory flavor.
  • 2 tablespoons butter: You can use salted or unsalted, depending on your preference.
  • 1 medium yellow onion: Chopped, for sweetness and depth of flavor.
  • 1 head green cabbage: Cored and thinly sliced.
  • Salt and black pepper: To taste.
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning (optional): For a bit of heat and extra flavor.
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional): For a spicy kick.


Step 1: Prepare the Bacon

  1. Cook the bacon: In a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat, brown the bacon. Alternatively, you can bake it in the oven on a baking sheet. Once cooked, remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set it aside. Reserve the bacon grease in the skillet.
  2. Chop the bacon: Coarsely chop the cooked bacon and set aside.

Step 2: Cook the Onions

  1. Melt butter and heat bacon grease: Add the butter to the skillet with the bacon grease and heat over medium-low heat.
  2. Cook the onions: Add the chopped onion to the skillet and cook until tender, about 3-4 minutes.

Step 3: Add the Cabbage

  1. Combine ingredients: Add the chopped bacon back to the skillet with the onions and stir to combine.
  2. Cook the cabbage: Add the sliced cabbage to the skillet. Cook until the cabbage is tender, stirring several times to ensure it cooks evenly and doesn’t burn. This should take approximately 5-7 minutes.
  3. Season to taste: Season the cabbage with salt, black pepper, and, if desired, Cajun seasoning and red pepper flakes.

Tips for Perfect Fried Cabbage

Use High-Quality Bacon

If available, use nitrate-free smoked bacon. It’s healthier and imparts a richer flavor to the dish.

Reserve the Bacon Grease

The bacon grease adds depth and richness to the dish. Combine it with butter for optimal flavor.

Slice the Cabbage Thin

Thinly sliced cabbage cooks more evenly and absorbs the flavors of the butter and bacon grease better.

Quick Method

If you’re in a hurry, chop the raw bacon and cook it directly in the skillet. It won’t be as crispy but will still be delicious. Cook the bacon for 2-3 minutes, then add the butter and onions and proceed as directed.


Add a Splash of Vinegar

For a tangy twist, add a splash or two of apple cider vinegar. It complements the savory flavors beautifully.

Serve Promptly

Fried cabbage is best served immediately. Holding it in the skillet too long can lead to overcooking. We prefer our cabbage with a slight crispiness, but you can adjust the cooking time to your preference.

Health Benefits

Fried cabbage is not only delicious but also nutritious. Cabbage is low in calories and high in vitamins C and K. It’s also a good source of fiber, which aids digestion. Onions add additional vitamins and antioxidants, while bacon provides protein.

Why You’ll Love It

This dish is perfect for anyone looking for a quick, flavorful side that can be made with ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen. Its simplicity and rich taste make it a go-to recipe for busy weeknights or family gatherings.


Can I Make Fried Cabbage Ahead of Time?

Yes, you can prepare fried cabbage ahead of time, but it is best served fresh. If you need to make it ahead, reheat gently in a skillet over low heat to preserve its texture.

Can I Use Red Cabbage Instead of Green?

Yes, you can use red cabbage. The flavor will be slightly different, and the dish will have a vibrant color.

What Can I Serve with Fried Cabbage?

Fried cabbage pairs well with a variety of main dishes such as roasted chicken, pork chops, sausages, or even as a topping for burgers.

How Do I Store Leftovers?

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a skillet over medium-low heat until warmed through.

Can I Make This Dish Vegetarian?

Yes, you can make a vegetarian version by omitting the bacon and using olive oil or additional butter. You might also add some smoked paprika to impart a smoky flavor.

Is Cajun Seasoning Necessary?

No, Cajun seasoning is optional. It adds a nice spicy kick, but the dish is flavorful without it. Feel free to adjust the seasoning to your taste.

Can I Freeze Fried Cabbage?

Freezing fried cabbage is not recommended as it can become mushy upon thawing. It’s best enjoyed fresh or refrigerated for short-term storage.


Fried cabbage is a delightful and easy-to-make side dish that brings together simple ingredients for a satisfying and flavorful experience. Whether you’re serving it alongside your favorite main course or enjoying it on its own, this Southern classic is sure to become a staple in your kitchen. Give it a try and enjoy the delicious combination of tender cabbage, sweet onions, and smoky bacon.