Cabbage is such a humble vegetable, isn’t it? It’s economical and unassuming but if you give it just a little attention, it turns into something so flavorful and slightly sweet. This Southern Fried Cabbage is possibly my favorite way to prepare it – quick, easy, and totally no-fuss, it turns out a sweet and tender side dish (with plenty of salty, crispy bacon for good measure) every single time.
You start with the bacon. (Isn’t that always a nice place to start?) You want to brown up the bacon until it’s nice and crispy and then set it aside but leave all the drippings in the pan.
See, the cabbage is going to cook down in the drippings so that there really is bacon flavor in every bite. Onion and garlic take a turn in the pan first, and then all that chopped cabbage gets added and cooks down until it’s soft and tender, which should only take about ten minutes.
The bacon rejoins the party and then you’re ready to serve.
That’s only twenty to thirty minutes of your time, depending on how fast of a chopper you are, which makes it an excellent option when you haven’t planned in advance. I turn to this as a side often when I haven’t thought ahead – it’s one of those great “emergency” recipes to have in your back pocket since it comes together quickly with ingredients that are easy to keep on hand. (It doesn’t hurt that it’s totally delicious, too.)
Southern Fried Cabbage
10m prep time
20m cook time
- 1 lb bacon, chopped
- 1 white onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 head green cabbage, cored and chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- In a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, but leave drippings in pan.
- Add onion to skillet and cook until soft, 6-8 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.
- Add chopped cabbage, along with paprika, cayenne pepper (if using), and season with salt and pepper.
- Cook, stirring frequently, until cabbage is tender, 8-10 minutes. Add bacon back to skillet and stir to combine.
- Serve and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from A Southern Soul.