Butter-Braised Cabbage

Butter-braised savoy cabbage in a bowl with fork

The Spruce Eats

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 22 mins
Total: 27 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
43 Calories
4g Fat
1g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 43
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 6%
Saturated Fat 3g 14%
Cholesterol 11mg 4%
Sodium 112mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 3mg 15%
Calcium 7mg 1%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 35mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Gently cooking chopped cabbage in a bit of butter and salt creates a tender, richly flavored side dish. It's an excellent option to serve with roasted meats of all kinds. Plus, braising cabbage is simple. The loose, gently curly leaves of savoy cabbage are especially perfect for this dish, but regular green cabbage works too. Green cabbage and savoy cabbage can typically be used interchangeably with similar results, although savoy is certainly prettier.

Whether served raw in slaw or salads, roasted, or sautéed, savoy cabbage's ruffled leaves make an attractive dish. Properly stored, raw cabbage keeps for three or four weeks in the refrigerator, making it a great choice when you're planning ahead.

This flexible side dish goes with a huge range of main dishes: roast chicken, grilled steak, broiled fish, rice, and beans—the list is practically endless.


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"This butter-braised cabbage came out tender and delicious. It's simple enough for a beginning cook, and it goes with just about any main dish. Butter gives the cabbage extra flavor, and it would be easy to make it a little fancier with some caraway seeds or fresh chopped herbs." —Diana Rattray

Butter-Braised Cabbage Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 small head savoy cabbage (or green cabbage)

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • Fine sea salt, to taste

  • 3 to 5 tablespoons water

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for butter-braised cabbage recipe gathered

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  2. Remove and discard any beat-up, wilted, or browning leaves from the exterior of the cabbage. Cut the cabbage into quarters, cutting out the thick, solid core at the center. You can either discard the core or thinly slice it and include it in the mix.

    Cabbage cut into quarters on a cutting board, outer browned leaves removed

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  3. Chop the cabbage into roughly bite-sized pieces.

    Cabbage chopped into bite-size pieces on cutting board

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  4. Melt the butter in a large saucepan or sauté pan over medium-high heat.

    Butter being melted in sauté pan

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  5. Once the butter stops foaming, add the cabbage, sprinkle it with salt, and add 3 tablespoons of water, stirring to combine.

    Chopped cabbage piled up in pan

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  6. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring the cabbage now and again as needed until the cabbage absorbs all of the liquid, about 20 minutes.

    Braised wilted cabbage, reduced in size

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  7. Test the cabbage for tenderness. If necessary, add another 2 tablespoons of water and continue cooking, with the pan covered, adding a tablespoon of water at a time until the cabbage softens to your liking.

    Water added to cabbage and stirred with a wooden spoon

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  8. Season the cabbage to taste with additional salt, if you wish, and serve it hot or warm.

    Pan with braised cabbage and small bowl of salt for seasoning

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How to Store

Leftover braised cabbage should be allowed to cool to room temperature and refrigerated within two hours of cooking. Store it in a shallow, airtight container and eat within three to five days.

Recipe Variations

  • Add extra flavor by using chicken stock, white wine, or sherry vinegar instead of water as the braising liquid.
  • Stir 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of your favorite spice mix into the melted butter before you add the cabbage. Ras el hanout, garam masala, and even curry powder are good options for interesting and unexpected flavor.
  • Sprinkle in some fresh herbs such as parsley or thyme right at the end. The French mixes of herbes de Provence or fines herbes both make a good choice. Rosemary tastes lovely, too, but start with just a little, finely chopped, since its strong flavor can easily overwhelm this more delicately flavored dish.
  • Grate some hard cheese, such as Parmesan or aged Gouda, onto the hot cabbage just before serving.
  • Chop some flat-leaf parsley and fresh chives to sprinkle over the cabbage.

Should Savoy Cabbage Be Washed Before Cooking?

Generally, it is best to rinse cabbage under running water before cooking. Though you'll remove and discard the outer leaves that protect the inner parts of the cabbage, there is a chance that worms or debris are inside the head. When you quarter the cabbage, place it in a colander and rinse it thoroughly, then let it dry as much as possible before cutting.