How to Cook Cabbage So You'll Actually Crave This Healthy Vegetable

Time to rehab the reputation of this hearty vegetable! Learn how to cook cabbage in ways you and your family will actually enjoy eating—plus how to maintains as many of its vitamins as possible.

In case you thought cabbage was just for raw coleslaw or serving with corned beef, our Test Kitchen is here to change your mind. Cooking cabbage can be both quick and easy, and recipes featuring the hearty vegetable can make for a delicious side dishe or entrée. Learn how to prep a head of cabbage, then discover some of our favorite ways to cook the vegetable. Once you find your favorite method, you'll be counting down the days until you can eat your veggies again.

Cabbage is available in several varieties—such as Napa, savoy, and red—with the round green type being the most common in American markets. Cabbage isn't just economical; it's also a good source of fiber, vitamin C, calcium, and iron. When shopping for cabbage, select a head that is heavy for its size, brightly-colored, and free of brown spots and withered leaves. Store cabbage in the refrigerator in a covered container for up to five days.

How to Prep Cabbage For Cooking

Remove the loose outer leaves and rinse the head of cabbage with water. On a cutting board, use a chef's knife to slice the head in half through the core. Slice each half into quarters.

Use the knife to remove the core from the wedges. Either cook the cabbage as-is in these wedges or coarsely chop it. To chop, lay a wedge cut side down onto a cutting board. Hold the knife perpendicular to the wedge and cut it into ¼-inch-wide pieces. As a general rule of thumb, one medium head of cabbage equals about six cups of chopped cabbage.

How To Boil Cabbage

It may be thought of as a basic cooking method, but boiled veggies can take on loads of flavor depending on what you use for boiling liquid. Boiled cabbage can be one of the easiest (and most hands-off!) ways to cook cabbage.

  1. In a saucepan, bring a small amount of water or stock to a boil. Add cabbage.
  2. Cook uncovered for 2 minutes. This allows some of the strong-smelling hydrogen sulfite gas that is emitted during cooking to dissipate.
  3. Cover the saucepan and continue to cook until crisp-tender (around 6 to 8 minutes for wedges and 3 to 5 minutes for chopped). Drain well.

How To Steam Cabbage

Steamed cabbage is a good option when you're serving cabbage alongside something else boldly flavored (like kielbasa) as the cabbage won't take on additional flavor during steaming.

  1. Cabbage wedges are recommended for this method of cabbage cooking. Insert a steamer basket inside a saucepan. Add enough water to the pan so the water level is just below the bottom of the basket.
  2. Bring water to a boil, then add cabbage wedges to the steamer basket.
  3. Cover and steam for 10 to 12 minutes, or until cabbage is crisp-tender.
Sauteed Red Cabbage with Onions and Smoked Sausage
Andy Lyons

How To Sauté Cabbage

Sautéing cabbage may be the most common way to cook cabbage on the stove because you can incorporate so many flavors and ingredients while keeping a close eye on doneness.

  1. Chopped cabbage is recommended for this method (though this bacon and cabbage recipe is proof that wedges work, too). For 6 cups of chopped cabbage, in a large skillet heat 2 to 3 tablespoons cooking oil over medium-high heat. Add the chopped cabbage.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Cook and stir cabbage 4 to 6 minutes, or until cabbage is crisp-tender.
Roasted Cabbage Olive Tapenade
Andy Lyons

How To Roast Cabbage In The Oven

If you enjoy roasted vegetables, try cooking cabbage in the oven. The hands-free cooking method imparts a buttery, carmelized flavor that goes great alongside other savory dishes.

  1. Cut cabbage into slices (kind of like a veggie steak) or chunks. Place on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, as well as any other desired seasonings.
  2. Place in 425°F oven for 30 to 45 minutes, flipping once, until the baked cabbage is tender.

How To Cook Cabbage In The Microwave

When you've got other dishes cooking on the stovetop, you can turn to your microwave to cook cabbage, too.

  1. Place cabbage in a microwave-safe bowl along with 2 tablespoons water. Cover with vented plastic wrap or a microwave-safe lid.
  2. Microwave, covered, on high until crisp-tender, stirring once. Plan 9 to 11 minutes for cabbage wedges and 4 to 6 minutes for chopped cabbage.

How To Cook Cabbage In An Instant Pot

We know you love using your Instant Pot for everything, so here's what to know about pressure cooking cabbage in whatever brand of the appliance you've got.

  1. Chopped cabbage or shredded cabbage is recommended for this method. Place 6 cups of chopped or shredded cabbage in the electric pressure cooker with ¼ cup water, ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, a pinch of salt and black pepper, a tablespoon of canola oil, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, and 1½ teaspoons dried herbs (such as thyme).
  2. Lock lid and cook on high pressure for 2 minutes. Quickly release pressure and open lid carefully. Stir before serving.
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