Deliciously Simple Fried Cabbage and Bacon Recipe

Fried cabbage and bacon is a classic dish that combines the simplicity of cabbage with the savory goodness of bacon, resulting in a flavorful and satisfying meal or side dish. This beloved dish has stood the test of time, earning its place as a staple in many households and culinary traditions. Its popularity stems from its ease of preparation, affordability, and the irresistible combination of smoky bacon with tender, sweet cabbage. Whether served alongside hearty mains or enjoyed on its own, fried cabbage and bacon is a dish that never fails to delight taste buds and warm hearts. Join me as we delve into the world of this beloved comfort food and discover what makes it a perennial favorite on dinner tables around the globe.


To prepare fried cabbage and bacon, you’ll need:

  • 3 thick slices of bacon (approximately 3 ounces), diced
  • 2 pounds of white cabbage, core removed and chopped (about 10 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon of fine sea salt, or more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Variations and Substitutions

While bacon is the traditional choice for this dish, there are plenty of variations and substitutions you can try to suit your preferences or dietary needs:

Sausage: Swap out the bacon for your favorite sausage variety. Whether it’s spicy Italian sausage, savory breakfast sausage, or a plant-based alternative, sausage adds a delicious twist to the dish.

Vegetarian Options: For a vegetarian version, omit the bacon altogether and use olive oil or butter to sauté the cabbage. You can also add meaty mushrooms or meat substitutes like tempeh or seitan for added texture and flavor.

Different Cabbage Varieties: While white cabbage works wonderfully in this recipe, feel free to experiment with other cabbage varieties such as Napa cabbage, red cabbage, or Savoy cabbage. Each variety brings its own unique flavor and texture to the dish.

Additional Ingredients: Get creative with additional ingredients to customize the dish to your liking. Onions, bell peppers, carrots, or even apples can complement the flavors of the cabbage and bacon beautifully. Experiment with herbs and spices like thyme, paprika, or cayenne pepper to add depth and complexity to the dish.

By exploring these variations and substitutions, you can tailor fried cabbage and bacon to your taste preferences and dietary requirements while still enjoying its comforting and flavorful qualities.

Cooking Process

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to prepare fried cabbage and bacon, along with some tips for achieving the best results:

Cook the Bacon: In a large skillet, cook the diced bacon over medium heat until the fat has rendered and the bacon is crispy. This typically takes about 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure even cooking. Once the bacon is crispy, use a slotted spoon to transfer it to a bowl and set it aside.

Tip: Keep an eye on the bacon while it’s cooking to prevent it from burning. Adjust the heat as needed to maintain a steady sizzle.

Prepare the Cabbage: While the bacon is cooking, prepare the cabbage by removing the core and chopping it into bite-sized pieces. Rinse the cabbage and pat it dry to remove any excess moisture.

Tip: To make chopping easier, quarter the cabbage through the core first, then cut out the core before chopping the cabbage into squares or bite-sized pieces.

Sauté the Cabbage: In the same skillet used to cook the bacon, leave about one tablespoon of bacon fat and discard the rest. Return the skillet to medium-high heat and add the chopped cabbage, minced garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, and salt.

Tip: Don’t worry if it seems like there’s too much cabbage for the skillet initially; it will wilt down as it cooks.

Cook Until Tender: Cook the cabbage, stirring occasionally, until it becomes tender and some pieces start to turn light brown around the edges. This typically takes about 10 to 15 minutes.

Finish the Dish: Once the cabbage is tender, stir in the Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, and the reserved cooked bacon. Taste and adjust the seasoning with additional salt, pepper, or vinegar if needed.

Tip: The mustard and vinegar add a pop of acidity to the dish, balancing the sweetness of the cabbage and the smokiness of the bacon.

Serve and Enjoy: Transfer the fried cabbage and bacon to a serving dish and garnish with freshly ground black pepper if desired. Serve hot as a side dish or enjoy it as a main course.

By following these steps and tips, you’ll be able to prepare delicious fried cabbage and bacon that’s tender, flavorful, and irresistibly savory. Adjust the seasonings and ingredients to suit your taste preferences, and don’t be afraid to get creative with additional toppings or garnishes!

Flavor Profile

Fried cabbage and bacon is a dish bursting with a delightful array of flavors that come together harmoniously to create a truly satisfying culinary experience. Here’s a description of the flavors in the dish and how different seasonings contribute to the overall taste:

Smoky Bacon: The star of the show, the smoky bacon infuses the dish with rich, savory notes that add depth and complexity. As the bacon cooks and its fat renders, it imparts its distinct smokiness to the cabbage, elevating its flavor profile to new heights.

Tangy Mustard: Dijon mustard brings a tangy kick to the dish, cutting through the richness of the bacon and adding brightness to each bite. Its acidity helps balance the sweetness of the cabbage, creating a well-rounded flavor profile that keeps you coming back for more.

Sweet Cabbage: As the cabbage cooks, it softens and caramelizes, developing a natural sweetness that pairs beautifully with the savory bacon and tangy mustard. The sweetness of the cabbage provides a delightful contrast to the smokiness of the bacon, creating a perfect balance of flavors.

Garlic: The minced garlic adds a fragrant aroma and subtle pungency to the dish, enhancing its overall flavor profile. It complements the other ingredients without overpowering them, lending a savory depth that ties everything together.

Crushed Red Pepper Flakes: A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes adds a subtle heat to the dish, providing a gentle warmth that lingers on the palate. It adds dimension to the flavor profile without overwhelming the other ingredients, allowing their natural flavors to shine through.

Apple Cider Vinegar: The apple cider vinegar contributes a tangy acidity that brightens the dish and enhances its overall flavor. It helps to balance the richness of the bacon and adds a refreshing zing that keeps the palate refreshed with each bite.

Salt and Pepper: These essential seasonings not only enhance the flavors of the other ingredients but also help to bring out their natural qualities. A pinch of salt enhances the sweetness of the cabbage and balances the acidity of the vinegar, while freshly ground black pepper adds a subtle heat and earthy aroma to the dish.

Together, these ingredients create a flavor profile that is savory, smoky, tangy, and subtly sweet, with layers of complexity that make each bite a delight to savor. The combination of different seasonings ensures that every mouthful is bursting with deliciousness, making fried cabbage and bacon a truly irresistible dish.

Serving Suggestions

Fried cabbage and bacon is a versatile dish that can be served in various ways to complement different meals or occasions. Here are some ideas for how to serve the dish:

As a Side Dish: Fried cabbage and bacon makes a delicious side dish to accompany a wide range of main courses. Serve it alongside grilled meats such as steak, chicken, or pork chops for a hearty and satisfying meal. It also pairs well with seafood dishes like grilled shrimp or fish fillets, adding a flavorful and comforting element to the plate.

With Pasta or Rice: Incorporate fried cabbage and bacon into pasta dishes or rice bowls for a comforting and flavorful twist. Toss it with cooked pasta and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese for a quick and easy weeknight dinner. Alternatively, serve it over fluffy rice or quinoa for a hearty and nutritious meal.

In Sandwiches or Wraps: Use fried cabbage and bacon as a filling for sandwiches or wraps for a delicious and satisfying meal on the go. Spread a layer of mustard or mayo on bread or tortillas, then top with the fried cabbage and bacon mixture. Add your favorite toppings such as lettuce, tomato, or avocado for added flavor and texture.

Pairing Recommendations

When serving fried cabbage and bacon, consider pairing it with beverages and side dishes that complement its flavors and enhance the overall dining experience. Here are some pairing recommendations:

Wine: Pair fried cabbage and bacon with a light to medium-bodied white wine such as Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. The crisp acidity and fruity notes of these wines complement the savory flavors of the dish and help cleanse the palate between bites.

Beer: Opt for a light or amber ale to accompany fried cabbage and bacon. The malty sweetness and subtle bitterness of the beer complement the smoky bacon and tangy mustard, creating a harmonious pairing that’s perfect for casual dining.

Side Dishes: Serve fried cabbage and bacon with a selection of side dishes to round out the meal. Consider serving it with mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, or a simple green salad for a well-balanced and satisfying meal. These side dishes add variety to the meal and provide additional flavors and textures to enjoy alongside the main dish.

By considering these serving suggestions and pairing recommendations, you can create a memorable dining experience centered around the delicious flavors of fried cabbage and bacon. Whether enjoyed as a side dish or incorporated into a main course, this versatile dish is sure to please your taste buds and leave you craving more.

Fried cabbage and bacon is a versatile and flavorful dish that combines the savory richness of bacon with the sweetness of cabbage. With its simple preparation and customizable variations, it’s a favorite comfort food for many. Whether you stick to the classic recipe or get creative with substitutions, the result is always a satisfying and delicious meal. So, give it a try and savor the comforting flavors of fried cabbage and bacon for yourself!

Thick slices of bacon3 slices (approximately 3 oz)
White cabbage2 pounds, chopped (about 10 cups)
Garlic1 tablespoon, minced
Crushed red pepper flakesPinch
Fine sea salt1/4 teaspoon (or to taste)
Dijon mustard2 teaspoons
Apple cider vinegar2 teaspoons
Fresh ground black pepperTo taste