3-ingredient Charred Cabbage, aka a better, healthier and tastier fried cabbage recipe! This recipe is as simple as can be, and the flavor lies in the cooking technique. Instead of sautéing the cabbage, char it in a ripping hot skillet with oil. The only other thing it needs is a bit of salt and pepper.

fried cabbage in a white bowl topped with salt

Why I love this Recipe

This recipe was born out of a savory breakfast craving/experiment. High heat + oil + cabbage + salt are a simple combination that results in spectacular savory flavor.

The most important step is cooking over high heat in oil—we’re basically lightly frying the cabbage. But unlike most fried cabbage recipes, instead of stirring and sautéing it, we’re letting it char. That brown char is what gives the cabbage so much umami flavor. 

What I love most about this recipe is that it’s so dang simple yet you’d never know it by looking at the ingredient list

Just 3 Ingredients for Fried Cabbage

  • Red or green cabbage
  • Avocado oil, or other high heat oil such as safflower, soybean, or sunflower
  • Kosher salt or flaky sea salt
red cabbage cut into thick planks on a wood cutting board

Step-By-Step Instructions for Charred Cabbage

  1. Preheat a cast-iron skillet over high for 5 minutes. This ensures the pan is evenly heat and very hot!
  2. While the skillet preheats, cut the cabbage in half, then into ½-inch to ¾-inch slices. 
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the hot skillet and swirl to coat, or use a pastry brush to brush the oil around the skillet.
  4. Add the cabbage planks to the skillet in an even layer. They won’t all fit in the large skillet all at once, so you’ll need to cook the cabbage in batches.
  5. Let the cabbage fry, without moving, until deeply browned on the first side. Season with salt then flip and continue to cook until the second side is browned. 

FAQs & Test Kitchen Tips

Can I make this in a nonstick skillet?

Quite frankly, the cast-iron skillet is very important for getting that nice browning on the cabbage, but you can absolutely make this in a nonstick skillet. You may need a few more minutes per side to achieve nice browning.

How do I serve this?

I serve this charred cabbage as a side dish! It’s great alongside pork chops, corned beef, burger, skewers, and more. It has a slightly Asian flavor to it, so it’s also great when served as a bed for tofu with tons of fresh herbs.

Can this be made ahead of time?

I don’t recommend making this fried cabbage too far in advance. It’s best served warm or right out of the pan. I usually cook each batch then transfer it all back to the skillet to keep warm until I’m ready to serve it.

charred cabbage in a white bowl topped with salt

Variations on this charred cabbage recipe

  • Cut the cabbage into wedges instead of slices.
  • Add some heat by seasoning with black pepper or red pepper flakes.
  • Make it kinda smoky by seasoning with smoked paprika in the last 2 minutes of cooking.
  • Make it more Southern by cooking some bacon in the skillet then frying the cabbage in bacon grease. Add the crispy bacon to the charred cabbage right before serving.
  • Make this with green cabbage and finish with a little acid—vinegar or lemon juice would be delicious.

More Cabbage Recipes to Love…

charred cabbage in a white bowl topped with salt

Did you make this fried cabbage recipe? Let me know how it went—leave a comment and star-rating below. And if you snapped a pic, share it on IG and tag me @zestfulkitchen. I love seeing what you make!

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charred cabbage in a white bowl topped with salt

Charred Cabbage (aka Better Fried Cabbage)

  • Author: Lauren Grant
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20-30 minutes (10 minutes per batch)
  • Total Time: 33 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings (5 cups) 1x
  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

This simple recipe is a great go-to side dish. Savory, full of charred umami flavor, and totally versatile. Serve with pork chops, corned beef, burgers, tofu and more.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 small red or green cabbage
  • 23 tablespoons avocado oil or high heat oil
  • Kosher salt or flaky sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cut cabbage in half, top to bottom. Then lay cut-side down and slice crosswise into ½- to ¾-inch planks.
  3. Decrease heat to medium, add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet and swirl to coat, place about 4 cabbage planks in an even layer in skillet. Cook, without moving, until charred on the first side, about 5 minutes; season with salt, flip and continue to cook until charred on second side, 5 more minutes.
  4. Transfer to a platter or shallow bowl and repeat process with remaining oil and cabbage.
  5. Season with salt to taste. Optional, season with pepper to taste. 


Notes

It’s important to use a high-heat cooking oil here. I recommend avocado oil, though safflower, soybean or sunflower oil will also work.

 


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 43
  • Sugar: 4.5g
  • Sodium: 496mg
  • Fat: 1g
  • Saturated Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 8.5g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Keywords: charred cabbage, fried cabbage

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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  1. Greetings from Oaxaca Mexico! I made my own attempt, but YOURS sounds so much better! I came across the idea from Google as I hunt around for good ways to use my new cast iron skillet. Robert here Profesor Colibrí (Professor Hummingbird) an English professor.

    1. Hi Robert, it’s great to hear from you! I look forward to hearing what you think of this recipe—it’s my favorite way to prepare cabbage. Simple yet so flavorful.

    1. Yes, with a few caveats! Refined coconut oil will work just fine (it has a high smoke point). If you have unrefined, or extra-virgin, coconut oil you will likely smoke up your kitchen a bit (nothing a vent can’t handle). If you use refined coconut oil you may need to watch your heat and decrease it to avoid it from smoking.

      Let me know if you have any other questions!