How Long to Boil Cabbage

Boiling cabbage can be a simple yet delicious way to enjoy this nutritious vegetable, whether as a side dish or incorporated into a soup. To ensure the perfect texture, it’s essential to know the right boiling time and approach for tender, perfectly seasoned forkfuls of cabbage. From whole to bite-sized pieces, this versatile ingredient lends itself to various cooking methods, suitable for any cabbage enthusiast.

Whether you prefer the flavors of green or red cabbage, achieving that perfect tender cabbage dish requires a few tips and tricks that we’ll share with you. With the right techniques, you’ll be able to create delightful cabbage recipes in no time!

Key Takeaways

  • Boiling cabbage is a simple technique for creating tender, delicious dishes.
  • Getting the right texture depends on the boiling duration and method.
  • Cabbage is versatile and can be utilized in various ways, from soups to sautéed dishes.

How Long Does it Take to Boil Cabbage

The duration for boiling cabbage varies depending on your cooking method and desired tenderness. If you’re using a pressure cooker for a cabbage soup recipe, it generally takes around 12 minutes to achieve soft, fully wilted leaves that blend well with other ingredients. However, if you prefer a simpler approach, like cooking on a stovetop in a Dutch Oven pot, it takes approximately 7 minutes for the cabbage to reach an ideal texture. Keep in mind that cooking times for vegetables on the stovetop may vary due to personal preferences for tenderness. A well-cooked cabbage should be wilted but still retain some firmness to avoid becoming mushy.

Boiled Cabbage

When boiling cabbage, always ensure the water is bubbling before adding the cabbage to the pot. Select a pot large enough to submerge the cabbage in liquid with about 2 inches of extra space. Cut your cabbage into larger pieces, as this leafy vegetable shrinks considerably when cooked.

Keep an eye on the boiling cabbage, as overcooked cabbage loses its texture and flavor. Two minutes is usually enough time for the cabbage to cook. Once the cooking time is up, remove the cabbage from the hot liquid by pouring it into a colander. To halt the cooking process, run cool water over the cabbage.

Boiled cabbage makes for a healthy vegetable side dish with a light texture. You can enhance its flavors by seasoning it with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. If you prefer, fold in some butter for added richness. Steamed cabbage is another cooking method that allows the vegetable to retain more nutrients, blending well with the broth and enhancing its overall taste.

You now have a perfectly prepared dish of boiled cabbage. Enjoy it as a standalone side dish or, if you’re feeling creative, use it in recipes like Pigs in the Blanket with Cabbage.

How Long to Boil Shredded Cabbage

To achieve the perfect wilted shredded cabbage, simply boil it for 1-2 minutes. The exact duration depends on the thickness of your cabbage slices. This quick cooking method is great for dishes like fast sauerkraut or any recipe that calls for tender shreds of cabbage. Enjoy your delicious, tender cabbage in no time!

shredded cabbage

How Long to Boil Quartered Cabbage

To prepare delicious boiled cabbage wedges, first, remove the tough end and cut the cabbage into quarters. Make sure to get rid of the core and stem. Next, place the cabbage wedges into boiling water and let them cook for approximately 8-12 minutes until they reach your desired softness. Finally, drain the water and run cool water over the cabbage to prevent further softening. Enjoy your tasty, freshly boiled cabbage wedges!

How to Soften Cabbage Leaves

To blanch cabbage leaves, simply rinse the large outer leaves and use a slotted spoon to immerse them in boiling water for about 1 minute. Check for tenderness, then transfer them to a cutting board. Now, you’re ready to use these softened leaves in your recipes!

How Long to Boil a Whole Cabbage

To boil a whole cabbage, whether it’s red cabbage or green cabbage, simply remove the core and submerge it for about 15 minutes. However, be aware that doing so may result in very soft outer leaves while the inner leaves and core might just begin to soften – not ideal for those who prefer a firmer texture.

You can also boil other types of cabbage such as Chinese cabbage, savoy cabbage, napa cabbage, compact cabbage, and white cabbage using the same method. Remember to check at the minimum time to avoid overcooking, as it can happen quickly!

How to Cook Boiled Cabbage

When preparing boiled cabbage, using broth adds more flavor compared to just water. Choose from homemade Instant Pot chicken broth, bottled broth, or add 1 bouillon cube per 2 cups of water. You can also use pork or vegetable broth, depending on your preference and the dish you’re going to combine it with.

  1. In a large pot, bring 10 cups of water, broth, or a half-and-half mixture to a boil on the stove. Add a pinch of salt and pepper for seasoning.
  2. Place a whole head of cabbage on a cutting board, remove the end and outer leaves. Slice it in half through the middle of the core at the bottom.
  3. Lay the flat side down on the cutting board, make about 8 slices, and then turn and slice again in the opposite direction roughly 8 times, creating large bite-sized squares.
  4. As the water boils, separate the cabbage pieces by hand and submerge them into the water. Boil for 2 minutes, or until they reach your desired tenderness.
  5. Drain the cabbage using a colander, then run cool water over it to stop the cooking process.
  6. In the still-hot pan, add softened butter (or olive oil) and let it melt. Add the boiled cabbage pieces on top, allowing the butter or oil to melt completely. Gently mix everything together, season with salt and black pepper, and serve.

And that’s how you cook boiled cabbage on the stove in hot water. It makes a great side dish pairing for any main course, be it beef, bacon, ham, kielbasa, or corned beef and cabbage. Try adding other seasonings, spices, or hot sauce if you like, or mix it with onions or garlic for even more flavor. Enjoy your delicious boiled cabbage!

How Long to Boil Cabbage

Boiling cabbage doesn't take long.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 67 kcal


  • 1 entire cabbage chopped into large bite-sized pieces
  • 10 cups of water broth, or a mixture of both
  • Salt and pepper as desired
  • 4 tablespoons of melted butter


  • Bring 10 cups of your chosen liquid (water, broth, or a combination) to a gentle boil in a pot on the stove.
  • Remove the end of the cabbage and the outer leaves. Halve the cabbage through the core at the base. Lay each half flat on a cutting board and slice it into approximately 8 pieces. Rotate and slice again to create large bite-sized squares.
  • Allow the water to reach a rolling boil, then separate the cabbage pieces by hand and submerge them in the boiling water for 2 minutes or until they reach your preferred tenderness.
  • Drain the cabbage using a colander, and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Place the softened butter into the still-hot pot and stir until it melts. Add the boiled cabbage leaves, mixing gently to coat with butter.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.


Calories: 67kcal
Keyword how long to boil cabbage
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Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to boil quartered cabbage?

To boil quartered cabbage, it generally takes 8-10 minutes until it becomes tender.

What should I do if boiling cabbage and potatoes together?

When boiling cabbage and potatoes together, add the potatoes to the boiling water first as they require more time to cook. After about 10-15 minutes, add the cabbage to the pot, and cook for an additional 8-10 minutes.

Which spices complement cooked cabbage well?

Popular seasonings that go well with cooked cabbage are:

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Caraway seeds
  • Mustard seeds

Can I cook cabbage alongside bacon?

Yes, you can cook cabbage with bacon. Sauté bacon pieces first, and then add chopped cabbage to the pan for a delicious flavor combination.

Are there any recipes incorporating boiled cabbage?

Some recipes that utilize boiled cabbage are:

  • Cabbage soups
  • Coleslaw
  • Stuffed cabbage rolls
  • Corned beef and cabbage
  • Cabbage and noodle casserole

Should I cover my cabbage while it’s boiling?

It is best to leave the pot uncovered while boiling cabbage to allow the sulfur compounds to escape. This will help reduce the smell and improve the texture of the cooked cabbage.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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