Follow this guide on how to saute cabbage and you’ll quickly master this method!
I’ll admit, roasting is my favorite way to prepare most vegetables. But, I do love the sizzle of a skillet full of vegetables.
Cooking cabbage mellows out the sometimes peppery flavor and leaves you with tender, buttery bites of cabbage. It’s very versatile, but one of my favorite ways to eat it is in a hash with sausage and potatoes. I get hungry just thinking about it.
Bear these things in mind when cooking cabbage:
First, because it has a tougher texture than lettuce, it can more easily be used in hot dishes without ending up limp and soggy. Shredding the leaves allows it to cook faster and more evenly. A mandolin makes quick work of any slicing and chopping.
Second, heat the pan before pouring in the oil.
Third, cabbage has a high water content. This makes it worthwhile to salt toward the end of sauteing (salt draws out moisture). Don’t overcrowd the pan, so that there’s plenty of airflow and you’ll get better searing.
Let them rest in the pan long enough to get browned on one side before tossing them. That crispy texture and the flavor it imparts makes this method worth the extra effort.
How to Saute Cabbage
Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to sauté cabbage:
Prep the cabbage: Clean the cabbage head, then slice it in half from the crown to the stem. Now you can begin to slice narrow wedges from the outer edges (no more than 1/2″ at the widest, but closer to 1/4″ is better).
If the outer leaves come free, save them. Lay them in a stack, then roll them up. Now you can easily slice them into strips,too. Pat the cabbage dry before you saute. Any excess water can result in steaming the cabbage.
Prep the pan: Get out a large skillet or sauté pan. Put the pan on the burner, and turn the heat up to medium-high. Let it heat up for 1-2 minutes.
Toss frequently: Sauté comes from the French word sauter (to jump) because of the way it keeps the food moving. Experienced cooks will often use the pan itself to toss the vegetables.
However, if you’ve had messy spills in the past like me, you can play it safe and use a utensil to stir them. Just remember to let them sit long enough to sear before you start toss them.
How long to Saute Cabbage
Not sure how long to saute cabbage? Expect to sauté the cabbage for about 10 minutes, depending on desired tenderness. I recommend that you start checking them at 5 minutes.
Perform a taste test. This allows you to notice the flavor profile changing as it cooks. If it’s not ready, check again in another minute.
Pull them off the heat at crisp tender, while they still have the slightest crunch remaining. It can be easy to overcook cabbage when shooting for full tender. And, no one wants a mushy mess.
I can’t overstate the importance of testing with a fork and also tasting the vegetables when trying new cooking methods.
We prefer our vegetables more firm than soft, with a solid bite to them. If you prefer your vegetables to be a bit more cooked, just add a minute or two to the provided cooking times. It’s always better to err on the side of undercooked versus overdone.
Keep in mind that cooking times are estimates and adjust them to be exactly what you like best.
There are so many great ways to cook cabbage! Once you’ve mastered sauteeing you really have to try roasting it or even toss it in your air fryer. You have to try making these buttery cabbage and noodles, too!
How to Saute Cabbage
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cabbage, medium sized sliced or chopped
- 1 tablespoon water
- ½ tablespoon kosher salt adjust to taste
- ¼ tablespoon pepper adjust to taste
- Warm a large skillet over medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes.
- Add oil and cabbage to the skillet and toss to coat. Add 1 tablespoon of water and cover with lid. Cook for 3 minutes.
- Uncover and stir. season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking uncovered, stirring occasionally to allow the cabbage to develop browned caramelized edges, for an additional 5-8 minutes to desired doneness.
- When cabbage is tender-crisp, remove from heat. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.