How to Cook Cabbage

Boiled cabbage wedges on a white plate

The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 23 mins
Total: 33 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
117 Calories
8g Fat
12g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 117
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 5g 24%
Cholesterol 20mg 7%
Sodium 254mg 11%
Total Carbohydrate 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 79mg 394%
Calcium 105mg 8%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 420mg 9%
*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.)

Cabbage is a versatile vegetable that makes a great side dish for everything from corned beef to roast chicken. It doesn't need much to make it tasty, either. This easy boiled cabbage recipe calls for just four ingredients—cabbage, butter, salt, and pepper—and it's in about 30 minutes.

Opt for Green or Savoy Cabbage

Use green or Savoy cabbage because they're the best cabbage varieties for boiling, becoming tender and sweet after cooking. Pick heads that feel firm and heavy in your hand. Pull off and discard any outer leaves that appear wilted, browned, or torn.

Boiled vs. Steamed Cabbage

Boiling is a traditional way to prepare cabbage, though steamed cabbage is another popular option. The two methods are really very similar -- boiling cooks the cabbage in a few inches of water while steaming suspends the cabbage over the water in a steamer basket. The results are also similar and result in fork-tender cabbage.

Why Is My Boiled Cabbage Smelly?

Boiled cabbage is notoriously smelly and steaming is often thought of as a less aromatic way to cook the vegetable. However, the pungent smell is actually the result of overcooked cabbage: boil it just until tender and you won't have a stinky kitchen.

How to Serve Boiled Cabbage

Once cooked, you can drizzle the cabbage wedges with a little cider vinegar, pepper vinegar sauce, or hot sauce, if you like. Cooked cabbage is wonderful served alongside ham or roast chicken, and corned beef and cabbage is of course a popular dish on St. Patrick's Day.


Click Play to See This Buttery Boiled Cabbage Recipe Come Together

"A simple vegetable side dish can solve a lot of weeknight suppertime woes. This cabbage is simple but delicious, fast, and easy. It pairs wonderfully with a simple seasoned protein for a weeknight dinner. And there's plenty for leftovers." —Renae Wilson

How to Cook Boiled Cabbage Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 medium head cabbage

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

  • 3 to 4 tablespoons butter, melted

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for boiled cabbage recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Rinse the cabbage and cut it into 6 wedges.

    Cabbage cut into six wedges with large knife on a cutting board

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Add about 1/2 inch of lightly salted water to a large skillet or Dutch oven, cover, and bring to a boil. Add cabbage wedges and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Simmer, covered, for 8 to 10 minutes.

    Cabbage wedges placed snugly in a single layer in Dutch oven with water

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Turn cabbage carefully, and simmer an additional 8 minutes. To test whether the cabbage is done, insert a small paring knife in the densest part of the cabbage near the core. If the knife slides through easily, the cabbage is tender and ready to be served.

    Cabbage wedges in Dutch oven being turned with metal tongs

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Pour off the water and return the pan to low heat until the moisture has evaporated. Add the melted butter and mix to coat the boiled cabbage thoroughly.

    Cabbage in Dutch oven with the water poured out

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Sprinkle the cabbage with salt and pepper, seasoning to taste.

    Cooked cabbage wedges sprinkled with salt and pepper

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Recipe Variations

  • Use chicken or vegetable broth in place of the water.
  • Replace the salt with about 1/2 teaspoon of Creole or Cajun seasoning or a seasoned salt blend. If the seasoning is salt free, add salt to taste.
  • Drizzle the cabbage with store-bought or homemade hot sauce.

Is Boiled Cabbage Healthy?

Boiled cabbage is an excellent way to take advantage of the vegetable's nutrients. Cabbage is packed with vitamins C and K, and a good source of potassium, magnesium, and phytonutrients. It's low in calories, though the butter in this recipe adds calories to the dish. Additionally, the insoluble fibers in cabbage can keep the digestive system healthy and the soluble fiber and phytosterols may help reduce LDL cholesterol levels.

Article Sources
The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Brown, Lisa et al. "Cholesterol-Lowering Effects of Dietary Fiber: a Meta-Analysis." The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 69. no. 1, 1999, pp. 30-42,