Southern fried cabbage cooks up in a jiffy. It makes a quick, easy, and economical meal or hearty Southern side dish and can be prepared in many different ways. Try them all then choose your favorite!
Our cooking styles are heavily influenced by the south and our favorite way to make fried cabbage is with Bacon. In this case, Southern absolutely means fried in bacon grease!
Not everything made in the south is loaded with bacon grease or butter despite the rumors running loose!
WHY BACON GREASE?
Before you go getting yourself in a tizzy, bacon grease is the southern way. My grandmother made it with bacon grease, so it’s the way I make it.
Besides that, they say bacon is a healthier fat than butter.
I know bacon isn’t exactly cheap eats, but you are only using 3 pieces of thick sliced bacon per 12 cups of cabbage.
HOW TO MAKE FRIED CABBAGE
You will get 12 cups of raw chopped cabbage from half of a large head of cabbage.
12 cups of cabbage will reduce to 6 full cup servings once it has been cooked down.
That means each serving has less than a half slice of bacon in it.
You don’t need any more bacon than that. Not to say you can’t add more bacon, just saying you really don’t need more.
There is enough bacon in this recipe to provide plenty of smoky flavor.
Now, if you choose to use more bacon than 3 slices, I suggest draining off some of the excess fat.
The bacon fat in this recipe should compliment the cabbage, not overwhelm it or make it greasy.
There will be a bit more flavor added when onions and garlic are added. Larger pieces of garlic and onion are OK to use. They are going to cook down a bit before adding the cabbage.
Sauteeing onions and garlic in bacon grease allows the bacon fat to pick up some of the flavors of onion and garlic. The longer the onions cook, the more flavor they will develop. They will get sweeter just like caramelized onions would.
Do not add the garlic too soon in this process, it will burn.
A large skillet will be able to hold half of a head of cabbage. It will wilt down.
If using more than 1/2 a head of cabbage, add about half of the cabbage in the beginning. As it begins to wilt down add more cabbage as soon as the pan has more room.
I only cook my cabbage until it has just started to wilt. Some of the larger veiny pieces may still have some bite left to them and for me, that’s OK.
Some people prefer to have their fried cabbage caramelized. All you have to do it allow the cabbage to continue to cook but keep stirring it so you don’t burn the onions or the garlic.
When adding salt to wait until the dish is finished cooking to avoid drawing out too much moisture. You want the cabbage to wilt from cooking not salt.
DO I HAVE TO USE BACON?
No. Making fried cabbage in butter is perfectly acceptable. It may require more seasonings that frying in bacon fat though since the dish will not have the smokey bacon flavor.
Cabbage can be fried in any light flavored oil too! The same applies here, you might need more flavoring.
To make fried cabbage and sausage, simply saute the onions and garlic in butter rather than bacon fat.
When the onions are softened, add 12 to 16 ounces of smoked sausage or Kielbasa to the pan and cook until the sausages have browned a bit.
Add the cabbage and continue cooking, stirring frequently until the cabbage is cooked.
Haluski is what my mom called this dish. To make it, just cook 6 to 8 ounces of kluski noodles and add to the cabbage after it is cooked.
She used butter or bacon fat for frying the cabbage and sometimes she would add some green peppers in with the cabbage as she cooked it.
If you have a hard time finding kluski noodles, egg noodles can be used. I would cook those to al dente since they are so thin.
MAKE IT KETO-FRIENDLY
Fried cabbage without any modifications is a decent choice for those on a keto diet. Fried cabbage is not without carbs though, with 9.4 grams of carbs and 3.8 grams of fiber for a 1 cup serving.
About 2 carbs per serving can be saved by not using any onions. Skipping the onions will alter the flavors. Consider adding some onion powder to replace the missing flavor.
Watch the amount of onion powder added, there are about 2 carbs in one teaspoon of onion powder.
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Southern Style Fried Cabbage
- 3 slices thick cut bacon cut into small pieces
- 1/2 large onion chopped about 1 cup
- 2 cloves grlic peeled and minced
- 1/2 large head green cabbage cored and chopped, about 12 cups
- Cook bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat until crispy.
- Remove the cooked bacon to a paper towel to drain and set aside.
- Cook the onions in the remaining bacon grease until the onions have started to soften.
- Add the garlic and cook just until the garlic is fragrant.
- Add the cabbage and continue cooking over medium-high heat stirring frequently until the cabbage has wilted, about 10 minutes.
- Fried cabbage is best when it is just wilted, but if you want your cabbage cooked more, continue cooking until the cabbage is cooked to your desired doneness.
- Add salt and black pepper to taste if desired.