Steamed Cabbage Recipe 2 Ways

Steamed cabbage recipe two ways in two bowls

The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 8 mins
Total: 13 mins
Servings: 2 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
138 Calories
12g Fat
9g Carbs
2g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 138
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 15%
Saturated Fat 7g 36%
Cholesterol 31mg 10%
Sodium 171mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 59mg 296%
Calcium 79mg 6%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 313mg 7%
*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.)

Whether you use the stove or the microwave, steamed cabbage is a fantastic and healthy dish. It is a quick and easy side that works great with beef, pork, ham, and sausage.

Surprisingly, cabbage is one of the few things that actually cooks well in the microwave. If you don't have a stovetop steamer or steamer basket, use the microwave. No microwave or steamer? Not a problem. All you need is a large pot (stockpots work well here) with a lid and a metal colander to steam on your stovetop.

Steaming any vegetable is a breeze no matter what tools are at your disposal. You'll find that steaming is one of the best ways to enjoy many of your favorite veggies. You get to enjoy their natural flavor and nutrition, yet it's enhanced with this simple cooking method and a little seasoning. This recipe shows you how to steam cabbage such as a classic green cabbage, you can use any member of the cabbage family, including red, napa, savoy, or even bok choy. Cooking times may need to be adjusted, depending on what you use—experiment and see what works best for you.

For steamed cabbage, you can keep it very simple—the addition of butter and salt lets that delicious cabbage flavor shine. If you like, add freshly chopped dill with 2 tablespoons of sour cream instead of the butter. Or just add a few of your favorite dried herbs to the butter and salt.

“Never forget how easy it is to whip up some tasty vegetables for any meal. Cabbage is multipurpose but can easily stand on its own merit like this, I recommend serving it with a pork dish.” —Noah Velush-Rogers

Steamed Cabbage Recipe 2 Ways
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1/4 small cabbage, thinly sliced

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • Kosher salt, to taste

Steps to Make It

Steam Cabbage in the Microwave 

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for steamed cabbage in the microwave gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Place the sliced cabbage in a small microwave-safe casserole dish.

    Thinly sliced cabbage in a white oval casserole dish

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Add 1/4-inch of water.

    Sliced cabbage in a casserole dish with water

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Cover and microwave on high for 8 minutes. If your microwave doesn't have a turntable, rotate the dish 1/4 turn halfway through cooking.

    Cabbage in a covered casserole in the microwave

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Drain the water from the dish.

    Water draining out of the casserole dish with cabbage

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Add the butter and salt. Serve and enjoy.

    Cabbage in a casserole dish topped with butter and salt

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Steam Cabbage on the Stove

  1. Fill a large pot with water and set a steam basket or metal colander on top of the pot. The water in the pot should be just below the basket.

    Large pot with water and a metal colander on top

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the sliced cabbage to the basket.

    Cabbage in a metal steamer basket in a pot

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Cover the basket with a lid and steam until the cabbage is tender and crisp. Most cabbage takes about 5 to 8 minutes. Some varieties like napa, bok choy, and savoy cabbage may only take 3 to 5 minutes. If using a colander, be sure that you leave a little space so the steam can escape. Tilting the lid works quite well.

    Cabbage cooking in a steamer insert in a covered pot

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Remove the cabbage from the basket, add butter and salt, and serve.

    Cooked cabbage in a bowl with butter and salt

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck


  • This recipe serves two people but you can easily increase the number of servings. Begin with more cabbage and use 2 tablespoons butter for every 1/4 of a cabbage head.
  • If your mesh colander is too big for your pot you just need to cover the gap. Simply tear off a piece of foil that reaches halfway around the pot, then tear that in half lengthwise. Wrap these two pieces of foil around each side of the pot and colander to help seal the steam inside. If you fold the edge of the foil over the top of the colander, it will stay in place.

How to Store

If you have leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days, but it will lose its crispness the longer it's in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave on low or in a small pot with a bit of water, just until it's warm. Or repurpose the cabbage in other dishes such as colcannon or soup.

Is Steamed Cabbage Healthy?

Cabbage is a healthy low calorie, low-carb vegetable and steaming is an excellent way to cook it while preserving the nutrients. Cabbage is high in fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin K.

Do You Need To Wash Cabbage?

Before cooking cabbage, it's best to give it a good wash and pat dry. Remove the outer leaves since they are tough and are more likely to carry residual pesticides. Now the cabbage is ready to use in your favorite recipe and can be quartered, chopped, or sliced.