Creamy Braised Cabbage with Bacon is a creamy, savory, and versatile recipe. Serve it as a weeknight side dish for holiday meals. Its rich flavor is sure to impress.
Today we will be making a creamed cabbage recipe. This side dish is rich, savory, and fantastic to serve for family dinner, holiday dinners, and more. Read on to learn how to make the recipe, read common Q & A's and more.
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Cabbage: quite possibly one of the most underrated and under appreciated veggies... at places other than Mae's Menu, that is!
Affordable, easy to find, nutritious, and so delicious cabbage has recently turned into one of my favorite go-to side dishes. It cooks up quickly, is versatile and can handle a range of seasonings, and it can very easily be snuck into dishes to add extra veggies (chicken tacos, anyone)?
Today our cabbage preparation of choice is braising. Braising -- typically used for meats -- is a cooking method whereby the ingredients cook over low or moderate heat for longer periods of time. Even though cabbage doesn't need as long of a cooking time that meats do, the time is relatively longer than, say, stir-frying cabbage.
Most importantly, the flavor of this braised cabbage (also called "creamed cabbage" because we finish off the dish with half & half, or a mixture of heavy cream and whole milk) is similar to the savory flavors often found in braised meat.
Bacon adds depth and umami to the recipe and we add ladles of chicken broth to the cabbage as it cooks, enrobing it in moisture and flavor as it cooks. Rich, and nutty with a luscious finish, this vegetable tastes like so much more than its individual parts.
Let's chat braised cabbage with bacon:
- Easy to make. Don't let the braising fool you. This recipe does cook for 30-35 minutes, but the techniques and steps are straightforward. I you know how to slice cabbage and stir a pot, you can make this recipe!
- Versatile. Serve this side dish for a weeknight dinner but it's also impressive enough for Sunday dinner or a holiday meal. The flavors go with many main dishes (see my recommendations below), too, making it a great recipe to add to your rotation.
- Low carb and gluten-free. If these dietary requirements matter to you, this creamed cabbage recipe is a great option.
Fried cabbage and bacon ingredients:
- Cabbage - a medium head of green cabbage, sliced thinly
- Bacon - uncured bacon is best, though cured will also work.
- Low-sodium chicken broth
- Olive oil
- Half & half - a mixture of half heavy cream and half whole milk, this adds richness and texture to the dish without being overly heavy
- Cracked black pepper
- Cabbage - sliced red cabbage can replace the green cabbage
- Bacon - cubed pancetta can substitute for the bacon
- Half & half - half & half is best for this recipe, but 3 tablespoons heavy cream can work in place of the half & half in a pinch
How to cook this cabbage and bacon recipe:
- Fry up bacon in olive oil in a large sauté pan for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the cabbage and salt to the pan. Sauté for 8 minutes or until the cabbage liquid is evaporating.
- Sauté the cabbage for 10-12 minutes, stirring in ¼- ⅓ cup chicken broth each time the moisture evaporates.
- Turn the heat to low. Stir in the half and half and season with freshly cracked pepper. Serve hot!
- Turn the heat to low before adding the half and half. This will prevent the cream from scalding or burning, adding a bitter flavor to the dish.
- Stir the cabbage frequently as it cooks. This will help the bacon and cabbage cook evenly and to prevent them from burning. Also, when you are adding in the chicken broth, it will help you keep an eye on when the moisture has evaporated and you need to add more broth.
Yes, you can add milk to cabbage to make creamy cabbage. You can also add half & half or cream. In our case, we will be adding half & half. When using milk, cream, or half & half when making cabbage, add it after the cabbage is cooked and the heat is turned to low. Adding it when the heat is high will burn the milk and add an undesirable flavor to the cabbage.
There are so many great ways to use up excess cabbage. This braised cabbage recipe is an amazing choice because 9 to 10 cups of sliced cabbage reduces down to 4-5 servings. Other great ideas for excess cabbage are cabbage soup, cabbage rolls, and sweet and sour stir-fried cabbage.
This creamed cabbage recipe does not freeze well, unfortunately.
Serve this braised cabbage with almost any of your favorite main dishes. We love it with pork tenderloin, roast beef, grilled chicken, and ham.
It's also delicious served at the holidays or for Easter dinner. If you double the recipe to serve it to a crowd, I recommend adding the cabbage to the pan in batches as the cabbage cooks down.
Leftovers store covered in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. They do not freeze well.
Tools needed to make this recipe:
More side dish recipes:
- Instant Pot Baby Potatoes
- Scalloped Sweet Potatoes
- Honey Roasted Rainbow Carrots
- Savory Bread Pudding
- Corn Souffle
- Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts
- Carrot Souffle
- No Yeast Dinner Rolls
If you made and liked this recipe, don't forget to rate the recipe and let me know how it went for you in the comments! It always makes my day to hear from you!