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It might sound humble, but boiled cabbage is absolutely delicious! Swirl it with butter and salt for an easy and healthy side dish.

Boiled Cabbage

Boiled cabbage might sound humble, but here’s the thing: it can be absolutely delicious. A friend of ours mentioned this to us in passing once: “I added butter and salt to boiled cabbage, and I couldn’t stop eating it!” We had to test it for ourselves: and we agree! Boiling makes perfectly tender cabbage, and a little salt and butter makes this cruciferous vegetable taste surprisingly irresistible. Here’s how to boil cabbage so it tastes delightful.

Another great way to cook cabbage? Try Sauteed Cabbage.

The type of cabbage for boiled cabbage

The best type of cabbage to make boiled cabbage? A large head of green cabbage. While this method works with red cabbage too, we prefer it with the sweeter flavor of the green variety. Save other types of cabbage like Savoy and Napa cabbage for eating raw in salads (like this one).

Boiled Cabbage

Best way to shred cabbage

The hardest part about making boiled cabbage? Shredding the cabbage! Ever had trouble cutting even pieces of this vegetable? If you don’t know the right method, you can end up with lots of mess and uneven pieces. Here’s the trick we use for cutting a head of this veggie:

  1. Slice off the root: Remove any outer layers of the cabbage that seem tough or are not fresh, and discard them. With a large chef’s knife, slice off the root of the cabbage.
  2. Quarter it: Slice the cabbage in half through the stem. Then cut it into quarters.
  3. Slice out the root: Remove the root of the cabbage by cutting it out with two diagonal slices.
  4. Slice crosswise: Thinly slice the cabbage in the short direction, using a circular motion with the knife.

How to boil cabbage: master method

How long does it take to boil cabbage? It depends on if they’re cut into wedges or shredded. You’ll want to make sure you don’t overcook cabbage: it becomes limp and makes an unpleasant aroma.

  • Shredded cabbage takes 12 to 15 minutes to boil, when dropped into a large pot of salted boiling water.
  • Test whether the cabbage is cooked by tasting a bite of one of the leaves (after blowing on it, of course!). Be careful not to overcook. If it tastes very tender, it’s done!
  • Drain and season. Drain the cabbage in a strainer, then add salted butter or olive oil, salt and pepper. Voila!

More boiled recipes? Try Boiled Brussels Sprouts or Boiled Red Potatoes.

Seasoning boiled cabbage

Boiled cabbage tastes great with the simplest of seasonings: just butter and salt! But if you like, you can get a little fancier. But we’d recommend going simple with it: it doesn’t need fancy herbs or add-ins! Here’s what we’d recommend:

  • Salted butter or olive oil
  • Chopped chives
  • Finely chopped parsley
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Lemon juice

Keep the flavors simple, and it tastes amazing! One note: make sure to salt to taste. Every cabbage has a slightly different size, so you’ll need varying levels of salt. Make sure to salt it until the flavor pops: but not so much that it tastes salty.

Boiled Cabbage

Make it a meal: ways to serve it!

Boiled cabbage can complete nearly any meal! It’s a healthy vegetable that is low in calories and high in vitamins and fiber (source). Here are a few ideas for adding it to meals:

More cabbage recipes

Love cabbage? This cruciferous vegetable has our hearts. Here are a few more great ways to use it:

This boiled cabbage recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free. For vegan, plant-based or dairy-free, use olive oil.

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Boiled Cabbage

Perfect Boiled Cabbage

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 22 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


  • 1 large head green cabbage
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter (or olive oil)
  • Fresh ground pepper


  1. Bring large pot of water to boil with 1 tablespoon kosher salt.
  2. Remove any tough or brown leaves from the outer portion of the cabbage. Shred the cabbage.
  3. Boil the cabbage for 12 to 15 minutes, until it is very tender (ours is generally done around 12 minutes). Drain the cabbage into a strainer.
  4. Place the cabbage in a large bowl with the butter, fresh ground pepper, and kosher salt (around ¾ teaspoon for a large head of cabbage). Adjust the salt to taste: salt until the flavor pops!
  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Boiled
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Boiled cabbage

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you’ll want to make again and again.

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  1. Slice up some smoked sausage, green pepper and onion. Fry that while you’re cabbage is boiling, drain everything toss together with some sliced mushrooms. Pretty good eating I think

    1. Absolutely. Boiled, roasted, add ins or single, its Deeelicious. Just…not much. Over cooked is a sad, bad thing.

    1. Why not? I would say,
      1. if using smoked sausage like kielbasa, bring large pot of water to a boil and, turning to a simmer, add sliced sausage and let simmer 15 mins to start flavoring water.

      2. Read how many minutes your pasta will require and set aside. (Subtract that amount from the 15 or so minutes you will need to simmer your shredded cabbage I would use stripes about 1 1/2″ wide. When nearly done drop your pasta. Have a strainer ready and when pasta feels done and cabbage tender drain and return to pot. Add tomatoes, pepper, taste for salt. Toss in some chopped chives or have some sautéed leeks ready to toss through. Butter. Food of divinity.🥰

  2. Hi Sonja, This recipe gave a new approach to a cabbage. It’s an excellent addition to the list of dishes I prepare for my family — very simple and easy to make. Even the kids can do it by themselves. Thank you for this!

  3. Making this with fresh corned beef for the super bowl 🥳 Thank you for the cabbage tips ♥️

  4. Beautiful well written understandable keep up your wonderful work God bless you and yours