How do I cook cabbage on the stove top?

Written by morgan o'connor
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How do I cook cabbage on the stove top?
Cabbage can be surprisingly tasty when prepared creatively. (cabbage image by Dozet from

Whether you're preparing corned beef and cabbage for a St. Patrick's Day feast or simply trying to add some variety (not to mention vitamins C and K) to your diet, boiled cabbage might be just what you're looking for. This simple dish may sound bland or even boring at first, but a little creativity can turn it into an interesting and tasty addition to your table. You can add a hint of heat with peppers or chilli flakes, a savoury note with bacon or pancetta, or more flavour complexity with tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, leeks or carrots.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 1 large head of cabbage
  • 1 tsp salt plus more to taste
  • 1 tsp black pepper plus more to taste
  • 4 tbsp butter or 2 tbsp oil

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  1. 1

    Rinse the cabbage thoroughly in cool water.

  2. 2

    Chop the cabbage into roughly bite-sized pieces, discarding the stem, then put the pieces in a large pot.

  3. 3

    Pour enough water into the pot to come halfway up the cabbage, then add the salt, pepper and 2 tbsp of either butter or oil.

  4. 4

    Bring the ingredients in the pot to a boil, then stir gently, reduce the heat and cover the pot. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.

  5. 5

    Drain the cabbage, then add the remaining 2 tbsp of butter (if you are using butter instead of oil) and more salt and pepper to taste.

Tips and warnings

  • To add bacon or pancetta, fry the meat first and use its drippings instead of butter or oil in Step 2. Cut the fried bacon or pancetta into small pieces while you simmer the cabbage and add the pieces to the cabbage after you have strained it. This will preserve the texture of the cooked meat and make it less soggy.
  • If you are adding other vegetables, such as onions, bell peppers, tomatoes or carrots, chop them into bite-sized pieces and put them in the pot with the cabbage right away.

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