Southern Cooked Cabbage

This easy recipe for Southern cooked cabbage has a lot of flexibility and is quick to make. As a fried cabbage, it has those famous flavors only from the South. So, keep reading to see how and also to see some alternate options as well. Also, this is part of our Vegetable Sides Recipes Category.

This southern cooked cabbage recipe with (or without) bacon drippings recipe is very tasty. And it's surprisingly simple and easy to make. It's often ready to serve in about 20 minutes.
Southern Cooked Cabbage Recipe

Introduction To Southern Cooked Cabbage

Southern cooked cabbage is made with or without meat. If without meat, it does typically still use bacon drippings. More on this and its substitutions and other additions. Just keep reading.

Ingredients for Southern Cooked Cabbage

The key ingredients for Southern cooked cabbage are a head of cabbage, salt & pepper, some onions, and bacon drippings. Also, vegetable oil can be a substitute if you don’t want to cook fried cabbage in bacon drippings. Above all, this recipe has unbelievably good flavors as all the ingredients meld together perfectly. So, read further for how to cook this country fried cabbage.

Cutting Head of Cabbage for Cooking
Cutting Head of Cabbage for Cooking

How To Cook Southern Fried Cabbage

This is one way of how to cook Southern fried cabbage step-by-step. The below recipe is slightly different so you’ll have two ways to start with. Also, you can optionally add in some cooked meat chunks during the lid covering stage.

  1. Lay out all your ingredients on the counter.
  2. Start to preheat a skillet or pan on medium-high heat.
  3. Cut up your cabbage in chunks about 2 to 4 inches in size. Don’t start to separate them.
  4. Peel the onion and chop it up. These are not diced small; they should be bite-sized pieces and they can be separated apart.
  5. Put your oil or bacon drippings in the hot skillet or pan.
  6. Add the cabbage and onions into the skillet and toss them to get lightly coated in the oil. You can use a large cooking spoon or some tongs to do this.
  7. About every 30 seconds to 1 minute, scrape the bottom and toss to turn the chunks over. They will start to fall apart further, which is okay.
  8. After about 3 minutes, turn the heat down to a little under medium.
  9. Add in any spices and any optional cooked meat chunks, mix everything well, and cover skillet with a lid.
  10. Turn the chunks over about every 3 minutes and recover. The cabbage sometimes gets too dry so, you can add in a very small amount of water, if needed.
  11. After about 15 minutes of this covered and turning cooking method, they are often done and ready to serve.

Another Recipe of Fried Cabbage

Here’s another great recipe of Southern fried cabbage with onions in a skillet. Tina Abernathy makes it in another excellent and very Southern way. Like me, she is also conscious of health and avoids cooking it with too much grease. Check it out along with her other super recipes and articles.

Fried Cabbage No Meat

Of all the recipes for fried cabbage, you can make this Southern recipe without meat, as the base recipe says. While it is a fried cabbage recipe with no meat, it does call for bacon drippings . However, you can change that to vegetable oil if you like. When I don’t have bacon grease drippings or bacon, I opt for using peanut oil but you can use any oil you prefer.

Fried Cabbage No Meat
Fried Cabbage No Meat

Fried Cabbage With Meat Options

There are some very popular distinct meat options that can be cooked into Southern fried cabbage. They are bacon, ham, and kielbasa. Also, you can use leftover cabbage to make cabbage soup.

In summary, you cook the optional meat first and set it aside. Then, add it back in the skillet when you’re at the last half of cooking the cabbage. It’s discussed in more detail in our “Recipe for Cooked Cabbage“. As an excellent alternative, adding some diced ham tastes great in cabbage. We list it in our “Leftover Ham Ideas” article.

What Goes with Southern Fried Cabbage?

There are a lot of recipes for cabbage that have sausage in them. So, Polish Sausage or Kielbasa could be the preferred main course item that goes real well with cooked cabbage. Another option would be Brats, Little Smokies Stove Top Recipe, or pan fried fish.

Also, here’s a main course recipe you might like perfectly with a side of cabbage: Ham with Scalloped Potatoes Casserole.

Now, if you have Southern Fried Cabbage as a main course, or as a side of a vegetable dinner, you could match it with other sides like the following:

Related Articles

Conclusion of Southern Cooked Cabbage in a Skillet

Firstly, we’ve covered a few different options of how to cook Southern fried cabbage. Secondly, enjoy exploring with this recipe to suit your own cooking styles. Finally, spice it up further and add 1/4 tsp of cayenne red pepper if you want to add a little heat to it. So, now add cabbage to your grocery list. Then, make it! Let me know how it turns out.

Southern Cooked Cabbage Recipe

Southern Cooked Cabbage Recipe with Onions

This southern cooked cabbage recipe with (or without) bacon drippings recipe is very tasty. And it's surprisingly simple and easy to make. It's often ready to serve in about 20 minutes.
5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 122kcal

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  • ½ medium cabbage cut in lge. chunks
  • 1 medium sweet onion chopped
  • 2 Tbsp bacon drippings or vegetable oil
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp dark brown sugar


  • Cutup ½ head of cabbage into large chunks and cut up the onion. Preheat the skillet to medium-high and add the bacon drippings (or oil) into the skillet.
    ½ medium cabbage, 1 medium sweet onion, 2 Tbsp bacon drippings
  • After the oil is hot, add in the onions along with the seasonings of salt, pepper, and brown sugar. Mix together well and get everything coated in the oil.
    ¼ tsp salt, ½ tsp Ground Black Pepper, 1 tsp dark brown sugar
  • Cook for 5 minutes, turning the cabbage 2-3 times. If needed, add 2 tbsp. of water. Turn the heat down to medium and cover the skillet for about 3 minutes.
  • If needed, add max of 2 tbsp. of water. Stir and turn contents. Then, turn heat further down to medium-low. Cover and cook for about 5 more minutes, or until done.


Calories: 122kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 183mg | Potassium: 296mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 113IU | Vitamin C: 46mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 1mg
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