Sautéed cabbage or pan-fried cabbage is first shredded, then tossed in hot melted butter in a skillet over medium high heat. This cooking method creates a tender, but slightly crispy cabbage side dish.
Sautéed or pan-fried cabbage may not be top of your veggie side dish list, unless you love cabbage like me.
I’m Irish , so I grew up eating cabbage and love all kinds of green vegetables. This sautéed cabbage recipe tastes extra delicious because it's tossed in the good old Irish staple ingredient - butter.
In years gone by in Ireland, cabbage was cooked alongside bacon in a big black pot known as a bastible. All of the family cooking was done in this pot, that hung over open fires in Irish cottage kitchens.
Boiled cabbage is the more traditional way of cooking cabbage Irish style.
But today I want to share my new favorite way of cooking cabbage, in a hot skillet with melted butter. Simply lip-smacking good.
Crispy and Tender Cabbage:
Many people in America claim they don't like cabbage, unless you’re an Irish cabbage fan like me. Cabbage often makes an annual appearance on dinner menus in America, to accompany the preferred Saint Patrick’s Day meal of corned beef and cabbage.
In America, cabbage is also recognized primarily as the main ingredient in coleslaw. I do love raw cabbage. But let’s face it - you need a lot of dressing to jazz it up and make it tasty.
Not so, with this skillet cabbage tossed in butter. I think this recipe may change how many people feel about cabbage. It’s quick and simple to cook, and ever so tasty. This simple dish may actually surprise you.
Types of Cabbage For Skillet Cooking:
Cabbage comes in many shapes and colors, including red, purple, white and green. Cabbage leaves can be wrinkled or smooth.
This vegetable has been grown around the world and in Ireland for thousands of years, Plus the good news is that cabbage is loaded with vitamins and minerals.
In Ireland Savoy or York cabbage is very popular. However, in America green or white cabbage are the most commonly stocked on grocery store shelves.
Savoy cabbage is darker and greener than white cabbage, and resembles Napa cabbage. Crinkled leaves feature for both Savoy and Napa cabbages.
I love to use pointed or heart shaped cabbage for this recipe. The leaves of this variety tend to be a little more tender and sweeter than regular cabbage. Pointed cabbage is found all over Ireland.
Any cabbage will turn out great using this cooking technique. However, for this recipe photo shoot, I used regular old white cabbage, the kind that is easiest to find in stores.
Adding Flavor To Pan Fried Cabbage:
Sautéed cabbage recipes can be plain and simple like the one I’m sharing today. I simply use melted butter to cook the cabbage, and add my favorite Irish spices, salt and pepper.
But don’t be afraid to get creative, and jazz up your cabbage by adding a few extra ingredients. You can sauté onions in the pan before adding the cabbage. Minced garlic also works great.
If you’d like to add a little bacon flavor, you can also substitute the butter in this recipe with bacon grease.
Now that adds a little extra saturated fat. If you’re watching your fat intake you can also reduce the butter and use a combination of butter and oil.
I prefer the flavor of butter, but olive oil works great too. I don’t like using coconut oil for this recipe - I find it’s flavor overwhelms the cabbage. But my palate is trained to appreciate butter and cabbage.
A sprinkling of red pepper flakes at the very end is extra tasty and spicy, but definitely not an Irish garnish. However, in modern day Ireland, spicy foods are far more popular than in years gone by.
Ingredients for Skillet Cabbage:
Here you’ll find a quick list of what you’ll need for this recipe. Check out the printable recipe at the bottom of this post for US and Metric equivalent versions of the recipe. There you can choose the measurement system that works best for you.
Here's what you'll need:
- White or green cabbage
- Salted butter
- Freshly ground black pepper
How simple is that. Just five ingredients.
If your head of cabbage is very big, then simply cut in in half. Reserve the other half for another day or another recipe.
Directions for Pan Fried Cabbage:
Here you’ll find step-by-step photographic instructions to help you recreate this recipe successfully. There are plenty of tips included along the way.
Firstly, we need to prepare the cabbage. Remove the tough outer leaves from around the cabbage.
Cut the cabbage into quarters with a sharp knife, and remove the inner core.
Slice each quarter vertically into long thin shreds.
Place the cabbage shreds in a colander and rinse them under cold running water. I always like to wash my cabbage before cooking it, since earth can be caught between the leaves.
Shake well and blot dry with paper towels or a clean dish towel.
Add the water, 2 ounces of the butter and a ¼ teaspoon of salt to a wok or large skillet. I like to use a little bit of water in the pan to speed up the cooking and tenderize the cabbage.
Heat until the butter melts completely. Add the cabbage and toss while cooking over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium high. Cover the skillet and continue to cook for 2 more minutes.
Shake the pan occasionally until the cabbage is cooked. This helps prevent it from sticking to the pan. You don’t want to let the cabbage start to brown.
Remove from the heat. Season with salt, and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Add the remaining butter and toss to coat.
Transfer to a warmed serving dish and serve immediately.
What To Serve With Cabbage
If you’re Irish born like me, you’ll immediately think of bacon and cabbage as the perfect dinner duo. If you’re Irish American it’s corned beef that first pops into your mind.
But don’t forget to serve cabbage throughout the year, and especially in the fall and winter when it’s in season.
I love cabbage with pork chops, lamb chops, beef or chicken. It’s also delicious with a stuffed pork loin. And don’t forget, left over cabbage and mashed potatoes can be used to make some bubble and squeak. But that’s a recipe for another day.
Printable Recipe For Sautéed Cabbage
Here you’ll find links for a free printable recipe. You can choose to print this recipe either with or without images.
Sautéed Buttered Cabbage
- 1 small cabbage white or green
- 1 tablespoon water
- 6 tablespoons salted butter
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper freshly ground
- Remove the tough outer leaves from around the cabbage. Cut it into quarters with a sharp knife, and remove the inner core. Slice each quarter vertically into long thin shreds.
- Place the cabbage in a colander and rinse under cold running water. Shake well and blot dry with paper towels or a clean dish towel.
- Add the water, 4 tablespoons of the butter and a ¼ teaspoon of salt to a large wok or skillet. Heat until the butter melts completely. Add the cabbage and toss while cooking over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Cover the skillet and continue to cook over medium high heat for 2 more minutes, shaking occasionally to prevent the cabbage ½sticking to the pan.
- Remove from the heat. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Add the remaining butter and toss to coat before serving.
Nutrition Information is estimated based on the ingredients and cooking instructions as described in each recipe and is intended to be used for informational purposes only. Please note that nutrition details may vary based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients used.
I don't add any sauces to this cabbage. Melted butter is the simple coating I use. But that doesn't mean you can't experiment. A few dashes of soy sauce to the cabbage in the skillet work great. Or you might like to add some minced garlic.
I hope you’ll enjoy this easy, no hassle way for tossing cabbage in a skillet with butter.
Thanks for following my recipes and ramblings.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and Blessings)
Irish American Mom
Here are some more recipes and ramblings you might enjoy…
- Easy Healthy Red Cabbage Slaw Recipe
- Potato and Chive Salad
- The Best Homemade Guinness Barbecue Sauce
- The Sweet and Healthy Taste of Parsley Buttered Potatoes
- The Step-By-Step Guide to Crispy Smashed Potatoes
- Spiced Red Cabbage
- Minted Peas - An Irish and English Side Dish
- Summer Fennel Salad With Lemon and Sherry Vinegar Dressing