Simmered Cabbage with Chicken Broth – My Favorite Recipe

Growing up, we never ate cabbage. So the first time somebody gave me a homegrown head of cabbage, I had no idea what to do with it. Boil it? Fry it? No clue.

simmered cabbage on a plate
simmered cabbage on a plate

And then an elderly lady at church made cabbage for a potluck, and I was in love. I had to know how she made it. Of course, she didn’t have a recipe. She tried to tell me she just used a little of this, and a little of that. But try as I might, I never could get it to taste like hers.

Not until I came across this cabbage recipe, that is! When I saw it, it sounded so much like the way this lady had prepared hers, I knew it had to be good. And boy is it!! She made hers a little sweet, but I’ve been omitting the sugar with just as delicious results.

It’s simple, very inexpensive (especially if you’ve grown the cabbage!), and tasty enough that even my kids enjoy it. The secret is in the chicken broth.

Varieties of Cabbage for Simmered Cabbage

You can use just about any kind of cabbage for this simmered cabbage recipe, including green, savoy, Napa, and Red Cabbage.

Personally, I prefer using red cabbage and I pull the leaves apart so that it’s more of a leaf cabbage in form (although true leaf cabbage would technically be kale).

I just find it’s easier to manage in this way, and I also prefer the taste. If you harvest red cabbage when it’s young and tender, the flavors are unbelievable!

Red cabbage looks just like green cabbage except it’s more purple than green in color. The heads are smaller, too, but the leaves are moist and heavy. You can slice your red cabbage thinly (you would use it in coleslaw in this form, too) or you can just pull apart the leaves, as I did in this recipe.

I like using red cabbage because it is filled with antioxidants (as most colored vegetables are) and it gives the water a really cool blue color when you cook it.

That’s one of the reasons why I recommend washing and draining it first. Besides getting rid of dirt and pests, it also lets the dyes leach out so they don’t turn the broth a weird color!

If you don’t want the discoloration to happen, you can add an acid (like lemon juice) when you cook it.

simmered cabbage on a plate
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5 from 3 votes

Simmered Cabbage with Chicken Broth Recipe


  • 1/2  head cabbage chopped into 1″ squares, or one head cabbage torn into sheets
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 T. butter
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 c. chicken broth
  • 2 tsp. sugar optional


  • Heat oil and butter in a large pot, till melted.
  • Thoroughly wash and rinse your cabbage. I usually rinse mine several times, just so I’m sure I’ve removed any dirt along with pests like cabbage worms (they tend to hide in all the nooks and crannies). Again, using leaf cabbage can help prevent some of the pests from hiding!
    soak and clean cabbage
  • Add chopped cabbage, salt and pepper, stirring over low heat for 5 min
  • Pour in the broth and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat to med-low, cover, and allow to continue cooking for 15 min., stirring occasionally, or until tender.Raise the heat to med., uncover, and cook until the liquids have reduced by half.
    boil cabbage in broth
  • Taste and season.

Recipe Notes

This recipe is not only delicious, but it’s loaded with nutritional benefits. Cabbage has less than 25 calories per cup and is a great source of fiber and vitamin K. Bone broth is also a great source of nutrients.

You could easily substitute bouillon cubes or some other form of storebought stock when you make this recipe, but I always stick to canned chicken stock that I’ve made myself. Not only is homemade bone broth rich in vitamins and minerals like calcium, phosphorous, and magnesium, but it’s also a valuable source of collagen.

Collagen helps support your bone and tissues and also contains lots of iron, selenium, and manganese. It’s great for your joints and is loaded with protein, too.

You can make large pots of chicken stock up ahead of time and freeze or can them (using a pressure can) to have on hand for recipes like this.

You can also just make the chicken stock when you make your cabbage broth by boiling about three pounds of chicken bones with a gallon of water. It only takes about 12-24 hours and can be done overnight in a slow cooker.

This is seriously the only way I make cabbage now.

Do you have a favorite cabbage recipe to share?

simmered cabbage recipe pinterest

48 thoughts on “Simmered Cabbage with Chicken Broth – My Favorite Recipe”

  1. This was wonderful. I only had a small cabbage, so I cut up some Brussels sprouts and added them. I also added 1/3 cut up honey crisp apple. This is a new yummy dish, at my house

  2. 5 stars
    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS! I modified it a little bit – hope you don’t mind.

    Sauteed a half onion that I sliced in 1 TBSP each of EVOO, Unsalted Butter and Bacon Grease. Added a clove of crushed garlic once onions were sweated. Had Half a head, so sliced it into strips, added it to the pot and sauteed a few minutes. Then added the S& P & chicken broth. Instead of sugar, added aa packet of artificial sweetener (I’m doing keto) and a couple of links of sausage as recommended by another poster. Let it simmer, in a loosely lidded pot, stirring occasionally, until almost all of the liquid was evaporated. Something about cabbage says “mustard” to me, so on my serving, added a drizzle of Gulden’s spicy brown.

    OMG!!! YUM!!! I am literally shoving forkfulls of this into my mouth as I’m typing! LOL

    FYI – Cabbage (and celery) keep for WEEKS in the fridge if you just wrap them up in aluminum foil! (Who knew?)

    • To Angel …
      Thank you so much for your hint re celery. I end up throwing some out so I look forward to trying this.
      Norma W.

  3. I needed to use up a head of cabbage and make a side dish to go beside my steak and kidney pies, this will be perfect! Thanks for sharing! I’m doing another side dish of baby potatoes and onions with a little thyme. First boiled the potatoes and will add to the frying pan. Should all be delish 🙂

    • 5 stars
      In addition I have usually added a tablespoon or so of bacon fat and a dash of cayenne pepper to my cabbage when cooking. Now I have another delicious recipe for those cabbage cooking days. I, too, could eat cabbage every meal and everyday!

  4. I have made this recipe for the first time on New Year’s Day a year ago. We are not a cabbage eating family. I always hated it growing up but my Mom insisted I eat a little on New Year’s (Something about it bringing money). It was a tradition. I now have my own family and want to pass some traditions down to my kids, so I went on a hunt to find a cabbage recipe. I came across yours and decided to give it a shot. I only made half the cabbage head the first year because I assumed (like I had always done) that my family and guests would only want to take 1 bite. The first year, the little I made was gone with complaints that I didn’t make more. I couldn’t believe it. I actually liked it myself. This year I made the whole head and it too was GONE. I have picked a winner. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. It will now be part of our family traditions.

  5. My favorite is browned Italian sausage & cabbage. The oils from the spicy sausage flavors up the cabbage. I also add sauteed onions & red or green peppers! So good for a easy quick hearty meal.

    • I prefer my cabbage without the water. Bell Peppers and Sausages also add to the dish . I top mine with a dash of red Pepper seeds or doll seeds . Fantastic !!!
      Serve with CORNBREAD ( with diced peppers ) !!!

  6. Came across this recipe today while I was looking for a new recipe to use up the rest of my cabbage.

    So simple! So delicious!!

    I was using it as a side dish with my pork chop so I sliced 1/2 of an apple and cooked it for about 10 minutes when I added the broth, then removed them before they became mush. Then as I love my food to bite back, I added some crushed chili peppers. It looked like I had made too much, turns out I hadn’t made enough. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    The only thing I would change next time… make more!!

  7. Made it tonight and it was a total hit! Seriously should have doubled the recipe because it went fast! I substituted vegetable broth for the chicken but otherwise, followed the recipe to the letter. Thank you for posting!!

  8. What do you do with the extra cabbage that is harvested. I have an abundance and need to put it up some way but hesitate to freeze or can it. Don’t know what would be the best way for future eating.

  9. Just found your website and love it!! We are harvesting lots of cabbage (started from seed in our little greenhouse!) and zucchini! The recipes are terrific – and I am inspired!

  10. I made this last night and it was fantastic. I blogged it as well. Thanks for posting this. It will be a great goto recipe.

  11. Pea and Cabbage Salad

    10 oz. fresh picked peas (you can use thawed frozen)
    2 c. cabbage, finely shredded
    1 green onion, thinly sliced
    1/4 c. mayo
    1/4 c. sour cream
    1/4tsp. salt
    pepper & celery seed,to taste
    1tsp. wine vinegar
    1tsp. Dijon mustard
    3/4 c. Spanish Peanuts(can use cashews if allergic)

    Mix all ingredients right before serving. If making ahead add nuts right before eating. Yummy

  12. We have a small yard, with a few raised beds, so we don’t have room to plant a lot of cabbage. Last year I had one large beautiful head, and I waited one day too long to pick it. A squirrel (my worst garden nemesis here), munched on it. I still picked it, cut off the damaged part and we ate it. So good! This year I have several planted and I WILL beat the squirrels to them. 🙂

    My favorite way to eat cabbage is the way my grandma and mom always made it… comfort food from my childhood. Chop it up and simmer in a large pot of water for about 30 minutes, then add peeled, quartered potatoes. When potatoes are done, add a pound of sliced polish sausage, and simmer another 15 minutes or so. It’s a one pot meal, where we scoop out the 3 ingredients and season with salt and pepper on our plates. So easy, and so good!

    Your cabbage is beautiful!

  13. A girlfriend of mine told me how to keep the bugs off of the cabbages:

    1.) Burn some paper down to ash.

    2.) Throw in some powdered black pepper.

    3.) Mix together in a paper grocery bag.

    4.) Sprinkle liberaly on the plants. Re apply when it rains.

    There is nothing worse than finding worms in your cabbage! If you notice cabbage moths flying around your garden, it is time to powder up!

  14. I like to chop mine, put butter in a fry pan, when hot add sliced onions and cabbage. Cook until almost soft. Then add two sliced or cubed Granny Smith apples. Continue cooking until the apples are soft. I add salt and pepper and that is it. Sometimes some polish sausage but mostly we just eat it like this.

  15. I love to just boil my cabbage with just a little water. Then I like to eat it with sour cream & black pepper on top. I planted cabbage for the first time this year. A friend of mine had extra plants. I can’t to see how it turns out!

  16. Our three favorites in this house is haluski, cole slaw, and sour kraut. Some others we do is Pennsylvania Dutch Pigs in a blanket (also known as cabbage rolls) or sometimes I’ll fry it up with some kielbasa. So many possibilities with cabbage! It’s a staple in our house when we can get it cheap!

  17. Peasant Cabbage with Garlic-Fried White Beans

    For the Cabbage:
    Several heads of cabbage – mixtures of large/small, red and green are fine
    1 white Onion
    Several Carrots
    Half a head Garlic
    ½ cup Homemade Chicken/Turkey Stock or Vegetable Stock if preferred
    ½ cup good White wine (something you’d want to drink, not cooking wine – substitute with water if
    A handful of Savory Herbs – whatever you have on hand e.g. parsley, thyme, rosemary (go easy on
    the rosemary – it’s potent), sage, marjoram, etc.
    ½ cup grated Hard cheese (parmesan, asiago, etc)

    For the Beans:
    2 cups White Beans – soaked overnight
    6 cups Water
    1 tsp salt
    Glug of Olive Oil
    3 cloves Garlic

    Soak 2 cups white beans in a pot of water overnight. Strain out the water, refill a few inches above
    the bean level. Add salt & olive oil. Bring to a boil over high heat, turn down to low and simmer for
    about 40 minutes to an hour, until beans are cooked but still have some bite (not mushy!). Strain
    beans in a colander and leave in the sink to drain while prepping the cabbage mixture.

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

    For the Cabbage:
    Remove outer leaves from cabbage, core & quarter (halve for the mini cabbages). Peel and smash
    the garlic, peel & quarter the onion, quarter the carrots, chop the herbs.
    Add cabbage, garlic, onion, and herbs to a cast iron dutch-oven (or casserole dish with lid/foil), pour
    the wine and water in, add salt/pepper to taste. Cover and place in oven for about an hour or until
    throughly cooked with the cabbage somewhat soft but not falling apart. Remove cabbage mixture
    from oven and set aside.

    For the Beans:
    While cabbage is cooking, smash the 3 cloves of garlic, add a glug of olive oil to a cast iron frying
    pan and brown the garlic a little over medium heat. Add the beans and spread them out to cover
    the bottom of the pan. Now leave them there without stirring for awhile so that they develop a nice
    brown crusty underside. Stir to turn the beans over and again allow them to sit on the heat and develop a crust. Turn off the heat, add salt & pepper, give a final stir.

    Pile the cabbage mixture on top of the beans on a plate, serve with hot crusty bread smothered in butter. I usually add some extra salt/butter to the top of the cabbage as well and dust with a parmesan or other hard cheese.

  18. I love fried cabbage just with oil and salt…then sprinkle it with vinegar..mmmmm

    My wife makes Runza’s a cabbage, meat and onion mixture stuffed into a slightly sweet dough…awesome with mustard!

    • Here we call those bierrocks, and i always add half a slice of american cheese, or a small pile of grated cheddar before adding the meat/cabbage mixture. I have sold them to raise money for the small library in the area. YUM

  19. I don’t remember where i found the recipe but I’ve been making this same one (without the sugar) for the last couple years…SO GOOD! I tried starting some cabbage from seed this year but they were destroyed by bugs before I even got them in the garden 🙁 Yours looks amazing, congrats! I hope my fall cabbage do better!

  20. If you find your kids don’t like the strong flavor or semi-bitterness of some cabbages, try steaming them in milk instead of cooking with water or broth. Not boiling, steaming with a steamer.

    My mother did this, then drained the milk and added a little butter and salt/pepper on top. Really good.

    My husband makes a killer cole slaw with raw cabbage, shredded carrots, etc. with a little vinegar dressing (not mayo).

    Or we cook cabbage with onions and potatoes to go with corned beef on St. Patrick’s day. 🙂

  21. Sausage and cabbage stirfry
    1 pound ground sausage
    1/2 head cabbage, shredded
    2 celery stalks, chopped
    1 can crushed tomatoes
    3 Tbls apple cidar vinegar
    salt/pepper to taste

    Brown the sausage then add all the rest of the ingredients to the skillet. Stir fry until the cabbage is nice and wilted. Maybe 20 minutes?

    The first time I made this, I didn’t add the vinegar until after I cooked it the first time. It just needed a little something else, so I sprinkled it on after I had served myself. The second time, I added 3 Tbls to the pot, and that seems about right.


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