Easy Boiled Cabbage Recipe

If you mostly enjoy cabbage in coleslaw, it's time to expand your repertoire. It's easy to turn your nose up at boiled cabbage if all it brings to mind is a watery soup meant for diets ... not to mention its pungent smell. While this recipe does entail boiling cabbage, it also involves a respectable amount of butter. As for the smell? You'll get over it as you enjoy this comforting side dish described by its creator as "flavorful and slightly salty." 

Tasting Table recipe developer Susan Olayinka from The Flexible Fridge brings us this easy dish that makes use of a vegetable packed with health benefits (per Healthline), that doesn't always get the time of day from home cooks. She shares that the boiling process "makes cabbage more digestible and also brings out a savory taste that you don't get when [it] is raw." There's no grating, shredding, or dicing involved; the prep won't take you more than a couple minutes and you can even make it ahead of time.

Gather the ingredients for this boiled cabbage recipe

Aside from the quick process, you only need four basic ingredients for this recipe. Pick up a head of white cabbage (the flavor is subtler than red ones), salt, black pepper, and unsalted butter. 

If you want to swap out the dairy, Olayinka confirms that "you can substitute olive oil for the butter in this recipe." Of course, the flavor will change in consequence. 

Start by prepping the cabbage

A giant cabbage head can be a little intimidating, but it's a simple procedure. Remove the tough outer leaves — these won't soften much and they're probably not especially clean either. Then, place the cabbage steadily on a cutting board and cut it into even quarters.

Cook the cabbage in boiling water

Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil on the stovetop at a medium-high heat. Once bubbles start forming, sprinkle in the salt then add the four pieces of cabbage. Decrease the heat to medium-low and set a timer for 12 minutes while the cabbage simmers. 

It should be tender when the time is up; a quick poke with a fork can help you determine its doneness.

Plate the cabbage and brush it with butter

At this point, drain the cabbage and transfer it to a serving plate. Place the butter in a microwave-safe dish and melt it. Then, using a pastry brush coat the cabbage quarters in butter. In case you don't have the specific tools, Olayinka says that "you can use a clean paper towel or a clean dishcloth to brush the butter onto the cabbage." 

Serve this boiled cabbage as a side dish

The final touch is to crack some fresh black pepper over top. If desired, add a squeeze of lemon juice and some fresh parsley for a tangy, herbal touch. If you want to make this ahead of time, it keeps up to four days in the refrigerator. Follow Olayinka's advice and be sure to store it in a sealed container for maximum freshness. 

This is a great side dish alone, or our recipe developer suggests that "you could add other vegetables to this dish, such as carrots or potatoes." Meanwhile, if you want to turn it into an easy meal, she recommends, "You could also add some bacon or sausage for additional flavor."

Easy Boiled Cabbage Recipe
5 from 40 ratings
If you're looking to incorporate new vegetables into your dinner rotation, this easy boiled cabbage makes for the perfect side dish.
Prep Time
Cook Time
boiled cabbage on plate
Total time: 14 minutes
  • 1 head white cabbage
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  1. Remove the cabbage head's outer leaves, then cut it into quarters.
  2. Fill a large pot or Dutch oven with water and bring it to a boil on medium-high heat.
  3. Once boiling, add the salt and the cabbage.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 12 minutes.
  5. Drain the cabbage and transfer it to a serving dish.
  6. Melt the butter in the microwave and use a pastry brush to coat the cabbage.
  7. Sprinkle on the black pepper and serve.
Calories per Serving 112
Total Fat 6.0 g
Saturated Fat 3.7 g
Trans Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 15.3 mg
Total Carbohydrates 14.3 g
Dietary Fiber 6.1 g
Total Sugars 7.6 g
Sodium 572.1 mg
Protein 3.2 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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