Learn how to make braised cabbage on the stovetop for delicious flavor and silky texture to add a healthy side dish to any plate.
How do you make stovetop-braised cabbage? First, rinse the head, cut it in wedges, bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add the cabbage, and simmer in the pot for 20 minutes before draining, seasoning to taste, and serving!
This simple 25-minute recipe is a great way to improve the tough texture of raw cabbage. Plus, the dish pairs perfectly with meat or other veggies!
What Type of Cabbage Should I Buy?
There are many different varieties of cabbages around the world. In fact, chances are you’re very familiar with several vegetables in the cabbage family you didn’t even know were cabbages! For example, did you know Brussels sprouts are considered a type of cabbage? This family of vegetables, called the brassicas, are also closely related to broccoli, cauliflower and many popular Asian greens.
For the purposes of today’s receipt for braised cabbage, you’ll want to choose one of the following cabbage varieties. All are usually easy to find at most supermarkets all year long.
- Green cabbage: This is the most common cabbage variety. It has a greenish and sometimes pale white color. This veggie can be kind of rubbery when eaten raw, but it becomes crunchy and sweet when cooked. It’s a great starting place if you’re just introducing yourself to eating cabbage for this recipe.
- Savoy cabbage: Savory cabbage is the sweetest and most tender option of these three main cabbage varieties. It’s a great alternative to green cabbage and also the best option if you’re going to cook stuffed cabbage or a similar dish. Savoy cabbage is native to northern Italy and has a distinctly crinkled leaf pattern. It can be a bit harder to find that green or red cabbage, but it’s worth seeking out.
- Red cabbage: Calling it red cabbage can sometimes confuse people as contact with water can turn it blue. And sometimes, when red cabbage comes in contact with other food, it may turn it red. Red cabbage tends to not be as tender or naturally sweet-tasting as green cabbage. It has a slightly more bitter flavor due to the same plant compounds responsible for its deep purple color. Red cabbage can always be counted on to make a statement on the dinner table, however.
There are plenty more options in the cabbage department, but these three are the best options for making stovetop braised cabbage following the recipe below.
Great Ways to Store Cabbage
We don’t always use the vegetables we buy on the day we buy them (or harvest them from the garden or farm). And if that turns out to be the case for your cabbage, you can rest assured that you can properly store fresh cabbage for quite a while until it’s time to use it.
Whichever storage method you decide to use, the important thing is to not wash your cabbage beforehand. Washing any produce will increase the speed at which it spoils.
The easiest way to store cabbage is in the fridge, preferably in the veggie crisper or drawer. Place the head of cabbage in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel. The moisture will help the cabbage stay fresh longer. If you’re storing a cabbage head that has been cut into, wrap the entire head tightly with plastic wrap.
Cabbage stores well in a cool, slightly humid space. If you have a cellar that fits the bill and want to store cabbage there, simply place the cabbage heads upside down on shelves or string them upside down from the ceiling. This is a handy trick if you’re growing a large crop of these leafy heads.
Storing your cabbage in a garden pit is a more adventurous method of keeping it that’s a relic from the days before refrigeration. To do so, dig a hole that’s 2 to 2 1/2 feet deep, line the hole with a thick layer of straw, and then place the cabbages (heads down) in the pit.
Once you’ve done this, cover the cabbages with another layer of straw to keep them insulated and then a tarp.
Cabbage can produce a pungent smell in the area it’s being stored in, but that doesn’t mean it’s gone bad. However, you do want to check the cabbage occasionally and remove the withering leaves.
The cabbage heads should keep for 2 weeks or longer.
How to Make Braised Cabbage on the Stove
Of course, there’s no need to store your cabbage using any fancy method if you plan to make this tasty recipe for stovetop-braised cabbage ASAP, which is highly encouraged. Here’s how to do it:
Ingredients for Braised Cabbage
- 1 cabbage head
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
Depending on the size of your cabbage head, this recipe will feed 6 to 8 people as a side dish.
Prepping the Cabbage
Pull that cabbage head out from wherever you’ve decided to store it, and let’s get started on this simple recipe!
Step 1: Wash the cabbage
The first step is to always wash your produce. Give the whole cabbage head a good rinse and dry it with paper towels. Remember to always wash your produce! If the outer leaves are especially dirty or rough-looking, you can peel these off.
Step 2: Chop things up
Using a chef’s knife and a cutting board, divide your cabbage head into 6 equal wedges. If the cabbage is quite large, cut it into 8 wedges. If it’s smaller, 4 it is! Whatever you do, make sure the pieces are even for even cooking.
Slice from top to bottom, through the core, instead of side to side. The core should help keep the wedges intact.
Braising the Cabbage
After you’ve chopped the cabbage, it’s time to get cooking.
Step 1: Fill a pot
Grab a large pot, fill it with water and sprinkle some salt in.
Step 2: Heat things up
Cover the pot and bring it to a boil over high heat.
Step 3: Put the cabbage in and braise
Once the water is boiling, add the cabbage wedges and cover the pot tightly. Reduce the heat so you have a constant simmer and cook the cabbage for 10 minutes.
Step 4: Turn and cover
After 10 minutes, flip your cabbage wedges in the pot, return the pot cover, and cook for another 5 to 8 minutes.
Step 5: Remove the water and wait things out
When the cabbage is fork-tender, turn off the heat. Drain the cabbage well, letting excess water drain off in a colander. Then return it to the empty pot. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Now you’re ready to serve up a healthy serving of braised cabbage. And you didn’t even need to turn the oven on!
Is It Good to Braise Cabbage?
You can eat cabbage both raw and cooked. Each can be tasty, nutritious, and versatile. However, cooking cabbage, either by braising on the stove, sauteeing, or roasting it, produces a much softer texture that some people prefer to the tougher raw alternative.
What Happens if You Eat Braised Cabbage Every Day?
Unless you personally have any issues with eating cabbage, there’s nothing to be afraid of. Cabbage is as healthy as they come, and its benefits are too many to mention! Bear in mind a healthy diet is a varied one – cabbage is great, but there are other healthy options out there to try!
What to serve with braised cabbage?
Cabbage is a highly versatile side dish. It has a mild flavor that you can easily pair with meat dishes like pork roasts or chicken. If you’re planning to keep things vegetarian, then add tofu, tempeh or a simple fried egg on top for protein!
Braised Cabbage on the Stove
- Cutting board
- Chef's knife
- Pot with a lid
- 1 cabbage head
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- Wash the cabbage well.
- Using a chef's knife and a cutting board, divide your cabbage head into 6 equal wedges. If the cabbage is quite large, cut it into 8 wedges. If it’s smaller, 4 it is! Whatever you do, make sure the pieces are even for even cooking. Slice from top to bottom, through the core, instead of side to side. The core should help keep the wedges intact.
- Fill a large pot with water and sprinkle some salt in.
- Cover the pot and bring it to a boil over high heat.
- Once the water is boiling, add the cabbage wedges and cover the pot tightly. Reduce the heat so you have a constant simmer and cook the cabbage for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, flip your cabbage wedges in the pot, return the pot cover, and cook for another 5 to 8 minutes.
- When the cabbage is fork-tender, turn off the heat. Drain the cabbage well, letting excess water drain off in a colander. Then return it to the empty pot. Add salt and pepper to taste.