Fried Cabbage- and Southern Misconceptions


This is the last post in my Oh My Bacon Grease! Series. To see the first post, click here. The second post, click here :)

I’m going to start this post by letting you know, in the interest of full disclosure, that while the recipe I am bringing you today serves about four or five people (give or take), I ate every blessed bit of it all by myself. ~grins~ I know, I’m proud of me, too. It took me more than one meal but I’m no quitter! It’s that kind of steady work ethic that has gotten me where I am today. “Well, Christy, where exactly are you today?” I’m glad you asked coz I’m gonna tell ya. I’m waist high in laundry, ankle deep in dirty dishes, shoulder high in kids, and about as happy as a pig in slop! Life couldn’t be any better.

So now on to the business of bacon. As I’ve been focusing on filling up my bacon grease jar all week I’m going to bring you one more bacon dish that utilizes both the drippings and the bacon itself. I dearly love cabbage in all forms. Raw, boiled, fried, and even sauerkraut. In fact, there would have been a lot more in this dish had I not of eaten so much of it raw while I was chopping it. Out of all the ways I eat cabbage though, this is the absolute best in my eyes.

Don’t let the “fried” part scare you off. Some folks hear “fried” in relation to Southern food and they automatically think vats of oil, like we sit around in our hoop skirts on the lawns of plantation houses gnawing on fried chicken all day long.  ~sighs~. God love’em. You know I was talking to my friend Jyl the other day and we were talking about how neither one of us have ever known a rich plantation owning Southerner, but all of the movies and such would have you believe that the majority of us are descended from them. Boggles the mind, really.

With regards to fried foods though, there is a simple reason why so many of our recipe titles start out with “fried”. You see, we refer to a large skillet as a “Frying pan” and so everything we cook in it usually gets labeled “fried”. We’re not big on fancy words like “saute'”, which is really what we are doing here. The definition of “Saute” is cooking something in a small amount of fat over high heat. No, Southern cooking doesn’t put on any airs, so we just call it “fried”. You ask any old timer in the South what sounds better, Fried Cabbage or Sauteed Cabbage, and I’d be willing to put money on them choosing the first.
As far as the misconception about all Southern food being deep fried goes, I’ve decided that when anyone thinks like that about us, I’m just gonna let them keep on thinking that way and I think you should, too. That just means more of the good stuff everyone else!

Lets fry some up now..

Ingredients are simple, as they are in all of the best dishes! Cabbage and bacon. We’ll also salt and pepper it a bit.

Chop your cabbage up however you like to chop your cabbage up. I do mine in medium sized pieces but some people prefer larger or smaller, whatever cranks yer tractor.

I have to quit chopping at this point because the longer I chop the more I eat and I want to have some left over to actually cook.

The instructions begin with my favorite sentence in the world: “First, you fry you up some bacon…”

Anytime a recipe starts with that you know it’s gonna be good. (be sure to check out my sweet and sour green bean post!)

I spooned out all of the grease except for about two tablespoons

This is what you’re left with after that is done. It may not look like much, but it is the makings for some fine cabbage!

Place all of your cabbage back in the skillet

hiding tractor

Crumble your bacon and add that, too. Stir it up a bit and cook on medium high heat for about five minutes, stirring constantly.

Reduce heat to low and cover skillet. Continue cooking just until cabbage is as tender as you like it, five to ten minutes.

When it gets as tender as you like it to be, or when you just can’t wait any longer, dig in!

Fried Cabbage
  • 5-6 strips of bacon (more or less if you like)
  • 1 head cabbage, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In large skillet, fry bacon until crisp. Place bacon on paper towel lined plate and remove all of the bacon grease from the pan except for about two tablespoons. Place chopped cabbage in skillet and crumple cooked bacon on top of it. Cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly, for about five minutes. Reduce heat to low and cover. Continue cooking until cabbage is done to your desired tenderness, five to ten minutes more. Salt and pepper to taste.

Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples,

don’t count on harvesting Golden Delicious.

~Bill Meyer

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Thank you SO MUCH for all of your wonderful comments on my posts. I hope to have time to respond to more once school starts back but I want you to know that reading your comments is the thing I enjoy most about Southern Plate!




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  1. Cheryl Martin says

    Cabbage is a weekly food in our home, and it is either this way or “steamed” as my son calls it which is actually boiled but in his mind boiled cabbage is terrible but steamed cabbage is his favorite. My mother in law showed me this recipe and says when you think you have enough pepper add more :) goes great with Pepsi Pork!

    • Mary says

      Oh Ladies, My Slovak heritage uses cabbage in everything. The only difference is we sautee lots of onions in with
      the bacon. Yum ! And to really stretch a meal, and make it the main dish our peeps would add boiled eggs noodles,
      and mix it all together. Double Yum !

  2. Connie J says

    Oh, honey, I don’t need a new recipe for fried cabbage, but read it anyway. Sometimes I ‘juice’ it up a bit with chicken broth. And since I know how you feel about bacon grease, I can tell you I’ve had visitors at my North Georgia home from all over the world who many times who happen upon my grease repository and GASP, ‘you don’t use this, do you’? They’ve been the recipient of it’s wonders the whole time they’ve been visiting!!

  3. Ruth Netherton says

    Love fried cabbage! My Korean friend taught me to slice it very thin and only coook it for a minute or so. Yummy! This southern girl loves it your way too. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Dena says

    Where’s the iron skillet? Only thing I can see missing from this recipe. I have to eat it all myself(over a few days) since my yankee(italian-american) husband doesn’t like it. Hey, it’s more for me.

  5. Geraldine Green says

    Try this: chop up cabbage in dutch oven or large pot, add 1 chopped onion, 1 lb package smoked sausage link (chopped) I prefer (hot) 1 chopped onion, 1/2 cup water, and 1/2 stick butter, garlic powder, salt, pepper to taste. Cook until cabbage is tender. They always clean the bowl

    • Sidney says

      I was wondering where the apple and onion were — that’s how we fry cabbage (or any green really) with bacon. Then whatever green you use, call it KILT LETTUCE — after my Scots-Irish Appalachian hill country granny.

  6. Hannah Crume says

    I have never had a scrap of this left over and have made it for years. Thanks Chisty for keeping the southern tradition going. Of course this definitely requires corn muffins to go with it and I sometimes dice potatoes in the cabbage.

  7. Gerri Moore says

    love my cabbage cooked (fried) the way you show us. Best way to eat. And yes, I sometimes cut potatoes in mine, just for a different taste. You just cannot beat, and yes, I sometimes cook sausage with it. Oh, I could go on, but will stop.

  8. Betty says

    I add green, red and orange bells diced, sweet onions, sugar, vinegar and some allspice, cloves and nutmeg! Makes a yummy German version of yours! I love it both ways but also love the versatility of both! Gives the dish variety!

  9. Sue Wilkins says

    Love fried cabbage either this way or with smoked sausage, onion, bell pepper and little chicken broth…it is so good and always with cornbread.
    Here it is almost lunch time and now I so want me some of this cabbage.

  10. Sandy says

    My mom buys bagged cole slaw mix and fries it up. Myself, I’ve never seen the appeal, although I love cabbage raw — on sandwiches, mixed up as creamy cole slaw, with balsamic vinaigrette …

  11. Norma says

    My step-mother makes cabbage this way, but she also adds a spoon or two of sugar and several good shakes of dried crushed red pepper flakes for a little kick. Everyone loves this, along with her bean soup (baby limas) and cornbread.
    I love your recipes and your blog. Have your cookbook also. Thanks.

  12. Dianna says

    This is how a friend of ours makes his – yummy! I wanted to share one more. A sweet older neighbor once gave me a taste of hers and I have to share. You won’t believe how good it is. A head of cabbage chopped up, 1/2 to a whole stick butter, 1/2 to 1 cup of milk – according to how big your head of cabbage is. Put a lid on it, cook on top of stove in skillet or boiler on medium heat until tender, stirring fairly often. It is soooo sweet, you will think it’s dessert! Serve with cornbread and I promise you’ll be sopping up the juice.

  13. Rhonda Kimmel says

    The ultimate fried cabbage…..I use Bacon with the droppings, a spoon of sugar, a heaping spoon of butter, chopped onion, sliced potatoes and of course the cabbage. Cook/fry/saute until desired tenderness, add Rotel tomatoes for a little kick and color. Absolutely the best.

  14. Denise in Dallas says

    I made these for my mother in law who is 80 years young and recuperating from scoliosis surgery. We both loved them!

    Thanks, Christy! I’ll pray that you recover soon!

    Denise in Dallas, your Diet Dr Pepper buddy!

  15. Carolyn Bryant says

    Sometimes I add sliced smoked sausage. Sometimes I add shredded carrots and chopped onions. Sometimes I put chopped jalapeno in. No way to mess up fried cabbage!! It’s good no matter what as long as you have a hunk of corn bread to go with it.

  16. Tricia says

    My mother made fried cabbage this way & I do too except I sometimes add chopped onion. When I want to reduce the fat I leave out the bacon & grease & use water to steam it. I add garlic powder & onions to add flavor.

  17. Bruce Hill says

    Went out and got a head of cabbage today and some bacon too! This is what’s happening tomorrow! Oh yes! Can’t wait, can’t wait! Have 2 pork chops ready to cook (gonna bake those) and then it’s gonna be on like Donkey Kong! The saliva (nice word for drool) is already flowing, haha! :D
    I do love the way you walk us through these dishes Christy! Always hungry as a bear by the time I finish reading! Thanks for sharing all of this with us though. You do rock so much and we’re so lucky to have us a Christy Jordan! I know I just love ya to bits anyway ;D

    As far as the Southern misconceptions go….where does one start? I find it quite hilarious at times and usually just roll with it. Hey, if everyone knew how great it is to live in the South, it’d get way too crowded down here, and who wants that? ;D
    (no offense was intended to all of my non-Southern sisters and brothers. Love y’all, mean it! ;D )

  18. AlabamaChrome says

    I love me some fried cabbage… well, actually I’m like you… I love cabbage anyway I can get it, but fried is the best… I’m making this Sunday night to go with a roasted chicken… the picture of your finished product is makin’ mah mouth wadduh… mmmmm!

  19. Diane says

    I enjoy some of your recipes but this particular blog entry just rubbed me the wrong way. I am a native New York City girl. Born and raised and resided in NYC until I was in my late 30s and then I moved to Charlotte, NC. I listen to more bass ackwards, foolish stereotypes of New Yorkers from southerners than I ever heard New Yorkers make about southerners. As a matter of fact, New Yorkers rarely, if ever, even comment on the south. But southerns are almost obsessed with making comments about northerners. I sincerely suggest that southern folks stop obsessing about northerners because, honestly, we hardly ever give southerners a second thought.

  20. Eva says

    What a neat post, brought back memories of momma cooking up a cast skillet of it at my brothers request, we always had bacon grease, some times we had sliced fried bacon, sometimes just bits, almost always some onions green or cooking, and once in awhile all of it along with melted butter and lemon juice, which momma thought was what went with cabbage and all cole veggies.
    Just saw this on the cooking channel, a French cooking show, they did sauteed cabbage, lightly cooked in butter. Have a cabbage, so am taking the hint the universe is sending me and making this.

  21. Lisa says

    If you stir in some cooked buttered egg noodles and some garlic powder, you’ll have a dish Polish-American families (especially in/from Pittsburgh, PA) eat called Haluski. It’s delicious. :)

  22. Judy says

    I make fried cabbage too. I also as apple 3 table .apple cider vinegar and 2-3 table. spoons of sugar.
    It makes it sweet and sour. Yummy. I have also use a pork sausage from one on the local church’s instead of the bacon. My husband makes a meal of it when I do the sausage and cabbage.
    If you don’t want to use sugar I have used Trivia instead.

  23. rita reeves says

    I just came across your ,love it already ,havent had breakfast yet, ready to try the cabbage ,my hubby of 60 years will love ,loves cabbage any way you can make it . looking forward to trying side &desserts

  24. Deb says

    i love fried cabbage and bacon. I usually fry it up with a bit of sugar…….lots of northerners like it on the sweet side….but I’m going to have to try it with some other ingredients I’ve read about here. They all sound so good!!!


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