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!
This is one of my favorite quick dinner recipes. It’s ready to eat in under 30 minutes. It’s also pretty cheap to make and only uses 4 ingredients.
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.
Before you judge, bacon grease is the southern way. They say bacon is a healthier fat than butter.
Besides that, I don’t start with bacon grease stored on the stove, I start with fresh bacon.
I use 3 pieces of thick-sliced bacon. Use 5 to 6 slices of thin bacon if that’s what you have.
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.
If you choose to use more bacon than 3 slices, I suggest draining off some of the excess fat.
The fat in this recipe should complement the cabbage, not overwhelm it or make it greasy.
Onions and Garlic
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 the bacon grease flavors the fat and spreads those flavors through the whole pan.
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.
Use a Large Skillet
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, wait until the dish is finished cooking to avoid drawing out too much moisture. You want the cabbage to wilt from cooking not salt.
Frying 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.
It can be fried in any light flavored oil too! The same applies here, you might need more flavoring.
To make with sausage, simply saute 12 to 16 ounces of smoked sausage or Kielbasa until it is a bit browned.
Add the onions and garlic and cook until they have wilted.
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.
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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.