Boiled Cabbage With Bacon

Boiled Cabbage With Bacon
The Spruce
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 6 servings

A very easy side dish, boiled cabbage with bacon is a simple combination of ingredients but packs loads of flavor. The recipe no special prep, either. Just dice and cook the bacon and onions, chop the cabbage, and then simmer the dish for about 20 minutes in chicken broth or water.

Boiled cabbage goes well with ham, a pork roast, chicken, or roast beef. Cabbage also pairs well with root vegetables such as beets and carrots. This side dish is an excellent choice for a Sunday dinner or an everyday family meal. It's also a favorite for New Year's Day and a perfect addition to your St. Patrick's Day meal, especially when that includes corned beef.


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  • 6 strips bacon (thick, about 6 to 8 ounces)
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 medium head of cabbage (about 2 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth (or as needed; unsalted or low sodium)
  • Kosher salt (to taste)
  • Black pepper (to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Boiled Cabbage With Bacon Ingredients
    The Spruce
  2. Gather your tools.

    Cooking tools
     The Spruce
  3. Dice the bacon strips into 1-inch pieces.

    Diced bacon
    The Spruce
  4. Peel the onion and chop it coarsely; set aside.

    Diced onion
    The Spruce
  5. In a large Dutch oven or deep sauté pan that has a cover, cook the diced bacon until it is fully cooked but not crisp.

    Cooking bacon
    The Spruce 
  6. With a slotted spoon, remove the bacon pieces to paper towels to drain; set aside. Leave about 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings in the pot.

  7. Add the chopped onion to the bacon drippings and cook over medium heat until tender and lightly browned, stirring frequently. This step will take about 4 to 5 minutes.

    Cooking onion
    The Spruce
  8. Coarsely chop the cabbage.

    Chopped cabbage
     The Spruce
  9. Add the chopped cabbage to the browned onions and add 1/2 cup of chicken broth.

  10. Cover the pot tightly and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes.

    Cabbage cooking
    The Spruce
  11. Add more broth or water, as needed, and cook for about 5 to 10 minutes longer, or until the cabbage is tender.

  12. Add the bacon pieces and stir. Heat through and serve.

    Boiled Cabbage With Bacon
     The Spruce
  13. Enjoy!


  • To chop a head of cabbage, set it on its core on a cutting board and slice it into quarters. Remove the core and then slice it into 1/2-inch strips. Chop the strips, if desired. A medium head of cabbage weighs roughly 2 pounds and will give you approximately 8 to 10 cups coarsely chopped or shredded.
  • Refrigerate any leftovers within 2 hours in a shallow, airtight container. It will keep well for up to 3 or 4 days.
  • Boiled cabbage without the bacon can be frozen for up to 10 months in a freezer container or bag. Wrap it in foil or freezer wrap for an extra layer of protection. Let it thaw in the fridge and use within a few days.

Recipe Variations

  • For a vegetarian version, replace the bacon with vegetarian bacon or omit the bacon and sauté the onion in vegetable oil. Use vegetable broth or water instead of chicken broth.
  • For a lighter version, use less bacon or replace it with turkey bacon. 
  • Give the dish extra color and nutrients by adding a cup or two of fresh chopped kale to the cabbage.
  • Caraway seeds complement cabbage dishes nicely; add a tablespoon or two of the seeds if you like.
  • Instead of bacon, sauté the onion in 2 tablespoons of butter and then add diced leftover ham, smoked sausage, or corned beef to the cabbage about 10 minutes before the dish is ready.