Here's How To Boil Cabbage Perfectly Every Time (2024)

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Ingredients Directions

We’ve developed plenty of recipes that let the humble cabbage shine, from steamed to braised to fried with bacon. That being said, when we’re looking for a no-frills, easy side dish—or for the missing piece to our St. Patrick's Day meal—we turn to one of the simplest methods: boiling. If you’ve never boiled cabbage before, follow our 2-step recipe for perfectly tender cabbage in less than 20 minutes. Perfect it, then season it and serve it as you please—this recipe is nothing if not versatile. Here’s everything you need to know:

The best type of cabbage for boiled cabbage:
A large head of green cabbage works best here. It’s sweeter and more pleasant to eat on its own than some other varieties (save that head of red cabbage for our classic coleslaw).

How to cut cabbage:
When it comes to cutting your cabbage, you’ve got two options here: cutting it into wedges, or slicing it thin. Both options will be delicious, it just depends on what you’re serving it with and your desired texture. One thing to keep in mind: If you’re low on time, sliced cabbage will cook faster than wedges (in around half the time).

How long should I boil cabbage?
Shredded cabbage will be done in around 5 minutes; for wedges, it’ll be done around 10. You want to cook until tender, but err on the side of caution—overcooked cabbage will turn limp and give off a less-than-pleasant smell.Tip: Make sure to drain your cabbage to prevent overcooking!

Seasoning boiled cabbage:
We went basic and simple in this recipe, choosing to only use salt and pepper to season. This recipe creates boiled cabbage that is a blank slate to season as you please. We do recommend going more basic in this recipe: red pepper flakes, a squeeze of lemon, Parmesan, melted butter, or fresh herbs would all be great here.

How to serve boiled cabbage:
This versatile side pairs with a variety of mains depending on how you’re serving it. If you’re preparing cabbage wedges, corned beef with cabbage is a classic choice. If you’re going for shredded, seasoned with salt and pepper, this side would be perfect paired with air fryer tofu, a chicken dinner or a seafood dinner, like our Southern-fried catfish katsu or seared ahi tuna.

Made this? Let us know how it went in the comments below!

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4 - 6 serving(s)
Prep Time:
5 mins
Total Time:
15 mins


  • 1

    head cabbage, tough leaves removed

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper


    1. Step1Cut cabbage into wedges or slice it thin. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then add cabbage. (It's OK to crowd the pot because the cabbage will shrink!)
    2. Step2Boil until tender, about 5 minutes for shredded cabbage and 10 minutes for wedges.Drain on a paper-towel lined plate to dry. Season with salt and pepper before serving.

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Here's How To Boil Cabbage Perfectly Every Time (2024)
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