Southern Fried Cabbage With Bacon

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This Southern fried cabbage with bacon recipe will become an instant favorite from the very first bite. It’s simple, easy, and tastes oh-so-good!

Fried cabbage with bacon in large serving bowl

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 this Southern fried cabbage recipe all by myself. So yes, it’s both a stellar side dish and a great main if you’re like me and 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 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.

Before we dive into this Southern fried cabbage recipe, I just wanted to mention you shouldn’t let the “fried” part of this recipe scare you off. Some folks hear “fried” in relation to Southern soul food and they automatically think of vats of oil. In reality, we just don’t like to use fancy words like sauteed cabbage.

We first cook our bacon until it’s deliciously crispy, then we “fry” the cabbage and bacon in the bacon grease. Another thing about Southern cooking… we know just how tasty bacon grease is and use it all the time! Cook the cabbage until it’s as tender as you like, season with salt and pepper, and serve. This is such a simple but scrumptious Southern side dish using minimal ingredients (my favorite). I’ve included serving suggestions below, but as I said, I won’t tell if you follow in my footsteps and eat a big bowl for lunch.

Ingredients for Southern fried cabbage with bacon

Recipe Ingredients

  • Cabbage
  • Bacon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to Make Southern Fried Cabbage With Bacon

Close-up of chopped cabbage

Chop your cabbage up however you like to chop your cabbage up.

Personally, 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 leftovers to actually cook.

Bacon strips frying in skillet

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

Anytime a recipe starts with that instead of “cooking the bacon”, you know it’s gonna be good!

So yes, fry your bacon in a skillet until it’s nice and crispy.

Pouring oil into skillet

Next, remove the bacon from the cast iron skillet and place the strips on a paper towel-lined plate.

Then spoon out all of the bacon drippings except for about two tablespoons.

If you’re using turkey bacon, add in about two tablespoons of olive oil instead.

Tossing cabbage into skillet.

Place all of your cabbage back in the skillet.

Crumpled fried bacon on top of cabbage in skillet.

Crumble the crispy bacon and add that, too.

Tossed fried cabbage with bacon in skillet.

Stir up the cabbage and bacon pieces a bit and cook over medium-high heat for about five minutes, stirring constantly.

Covering skillet of fried cabbage with bacon.

Reduce heat to low and cover the skillet.

Continue to fry cabbage until it’s as tender as you like it. This is usually between 5 to 10 minutes, but feel free to “fry” it for up to 30 minutes.

Salt and pepper covering fried cabbage with bacon.

When it gets as tender as you like it to be (or when you just can’t wait any longer), the final step is to add salt and black pepper to taste.

Then you’re ready to dig into your Southern fried cabbage with bacon!

Fried cabbage with bacon in large serving bowl



  • While fried cabbage is definitely best served fresh, you can store cooked cabbage in an airtight container in the fridge. However, it does get soggy, so I wouldn’t leave it for more than 3 days. Just make sure the cabbage is cooled before placing it in the fridge.

Recipe Notes

Here are some variations to make this Southern fried cabbage recipe work for you:

  • Saute 1 chopped onion (yellow, white, or sweet onion all work) with 2 minced garlic cloves before adding the cabbage.
  • Fry 8 ounces (or 1 packet) of sliced mushrooms with the cabbage.
  • If you like your cabbage with a kick, add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes or paprika.
  • Add some additional herbs and spices to spice this dish up a bit. I have experimented with ginger, mustard, and a touch of honey and all were really good. Other popular fried cabbage recipes also use 1/2 teaspoon each of garlic powder and onion powder.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon of brown sugar if you want a touch of sweetness to balance out the savory.

Recipe FAQs

What goes well with Southern fried cabbage? 

You can add a little protein by serving this dish with ground beef, ground turkey, or sausages. I had this as a side dish with our low-carb meatloaf and boy was it good. I’d also recommend serving it with roast chicken, grilled chicken, blackened chicken, or pork chops with another one of my favorite Southern side dishes: oven-baked mac and cheese.

What meat could I use as an alternative to bacon?

While you could use ground beef, ham, prosciutto, or smoked sausage, I’d recommend using turkey bacon instead. However, keep in mind there won’t be as much oil for the fried cabbage, so a little olive oil or butter works fine instead of bacon grease.

Can you freeze cabbage?

Yes, place leftover cabbage leaves in a sealed bag and freeze them for up to one month. It won’t be as crisp as fresh cabbage, but it still works in dishes like this one!

Fried cabbage with bacon in large serving bowl

Fried Cabbage With Bacon

This Southern fried cabbage with bacon recipe is simple, easy, and tastes oh so good!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cabbage
Servings: 6
Calories: 292kcal


  • 6 oz bacon that's about 5-6 slices, add more or less depending on your preference
  • 1 cabbage head, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • In a large skillet, fry bacon until crisp. Place bacon on a paper towel-lined plate and remove all of the bacon grease from the pan except for about two tablespoons (add two tablespoons of olive oil if using turkey bacon).
    6 oz bacon
  • Place chopped cabbage in the skillet and crumble cooked bacon on top of it. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, for about five minutes.
    1 cabbage head, chopped
  • Reduce heat to low and cover. Continue cooking until the cabbage is done to your desired tenderness, which is usually about five to ten minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
    salt and pepper to taste


Calories: 292kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!

You may also like these other cabbage recipes:

Sheet Pan Cabbage and Beef Tips

Slow Cooker Cabbage Casserole

Best Coleslaw by Miss Millie

Chow Chow Recipe (Southern Relish)

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  1. 5 stars
    My Hungarian mom made a similar cabbage recipe. I can’t recall the Hungarian word for the recipe. This recipe uses all of the above recipe with the following: boil Kluski noodles til tender. Fry quartered red potatoes with the pound of bacon then add cabbage. Once cabbage is crisp tender dump in the drained noodle pot and mix til fully incorporated. Talk about eating the whole recipe! My Southern dad never said almost what I grew up with. Regardless, either way it’s comfort food!

  2. 5 stars
    I grew up eating fried cabbage, we add onion and potatoes and hamburger. Now doing keto this is an awesome alternative!

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