How to Cook Cabbage
There’s more to cabbage than just slaw. Here are four ways to cook it — including the quintessential way to serve it with corned beef.
By Heath Goldman for Food Network Kitchen
Heath is a culinary editor at Food Network.
Whether you’re meal planning or you just picked up a head of cabbage from the grocery store, we’ve got you covered with all the different ways you can cook it. Looking for more cabbage inspiration? Head on over to our list of best cabbage recipes.
Different Types of Cabbage
These are the most common varieties that you might see at the supermarket.
Green cabbage and red cabbage are quite similar except for their color (keep in mind that red cabbage leaches that purple-red color into whatever it’s cooked with). Both are large and round with wide leaves that thicken slightly where they attach to the stem. They can be eaten raw in slaws, but their texture is firm enough to hold up to all the cooking techniques detailed below.
Savoy cabbage is round and darker green than green cabbage with delicate wrinkly-looking leaves. Because savoy cabbage isn’t crisp, it’s usually cooked – it’s commonly the type of cabbage used in stuffed cabbage.
Napa cabbage is long with light green ruffled leaves. Its flavor is sweeter and less peppery than green and red cabbage, and its leaves are thinner and more tender. It’s great eaten raw or cooked and is often used inside of dumplings.
How to Cut Cabbage
Napa cabbage is thin and delicate and you can simply slice the head in half, then start slicing or chopping down the length of each half. However, green cabbage, red cabbage and savoy cabbage all have thick stems and cores that need to be removed before you start cooking. Here’s how you do it.
Remove and discard any tough or dry outer leaves.
Slice off the root end.
Stand the cabbage on the flat end you just created and cut the cabbage in half down through the stem.
Cut each half into quarters.
With a diagonal knife cut, slice out the large white piece of core on each quarter.
You can now cook the quartered cabbage. Or to shred, thinly slice the cabbage the short way.
How to Boil Cabbage
Boiled cabbage is the perfect simple way to cook cabbage as a side dish for roasted pork or chicken, sausages or your St. Patrick’s Day corned beef.
Core and chop up your cabbage into 2-inch pieces, and then add it to a pot with 1 1/2 cups simmering chicken stock. If you’d like to add more flavor, you can add 4 tablespoons of butter to the pot along with salt, pepper and a pinch of ground nutmeg.
Cover the pot and simmer the cabbage until it’s very tender, about 20 minutes.
How to Bake Cabbage
Is just as easy to roast cabbage as it is to roast any other sort of vegetable, and the results are tender, caramelized and crispy on the outside. Here’s what to do.
Core your cabbage and cut it into eight wedges.
Transfer the cabbage to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and brush the wedges all over with olive oil — they should be completely covered. Season the cabbage wedges with salt and pepper. If you’d like you add some spices at this point, feel free to get creative. This recipe for Charred Caraway Cabbage asks you to sprinkle on some whole carraway seeds, for example.
Pour a couple tablespoons of water into the baking sheet. The water will steam as the cabbage cooks helping to tenderize it. Roast in a 400 degrees F oven until the cabbage is very tender and browned around the edges.
How to Braise Cabbage
If you have the time, slowly simmering cabbage transforms the fibrous veggie into tender, melt-in-your mouth results.
There are two ways you can braise cabbage. First, you might have heard of Melting Cabbage: cabbage that’s crispy and caramelized yet also so tender it puddles into the sauce it was cooked in. Although it has a catchy name, the technique used to make melting cabbage is braising. Much like you’d braise a big tough piece of meat, you start out by searing cabbage wedges on the stove in a skillet until the cut sides are golden brown. Then you add a flavorful white wine mixture, bring it to a boil and transfer the skillet to a 350 degrees F oven. Roast until the cabbage is caramelized and tender, about 40 minutes.
Alternatively, you can also braise sliced cabbage. This takes less time but also makes for tender results. Start by wilting sliced cabbage in a skillet with some olive oil. Season it with salt and pepper and add a pinch of sugar and a splash of red wine vinegar. Then you can cover the cabbage with about 1 cup of liquid like apple cider or stock. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is tender, about 30 minutes. For inspiration, check out this Braised Cabbage or this Cider-Braised Cabbage.
How to Grill Cabbage
Although you might not think to buy cabbage when you’re firing up the grill, grilling is one of the tastiest and easiest ways to prepare the veggie. You can grill them on a charcoal or gas grill or on a cast iron grill pan. Either way, the results are crisp-tender wedges of cabbage with deliciously charred, smoky flavor.
Simply cut your cabbage in half and then cut each half into three wedges — don’t remove the core, though because you want to make sure all the leaves stay firmly attached to each wedge. Brush the cabbage wedges generously on all three sides with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and grill over medium-high heat until crisp-tender, eight to ten minutes per side. If you'd like, you can turn your grilled wedges into salad, like this Grilled Cabbage and Corned Beef Wedge Salad.