Slow Cooker Cabbage – Real Food Whole Life

Cabbage slow cooker recipe

Yes, you can cook cabbage in the slow cooker and it comes out silky, tender and full of flavor. Elevate the humble cabbage with this minimally prepared recipe. You’ll only need a handful of simple pantry ingredients and a slow cooker for a versatile, surprisingly tasty side dish recipe that works well as an accompaniment to weekday dinners or at the Christmas table.

About this slow-cooking


Well, okay, I get it, not everyone gets excited about cabbage


I hope, however, that this recipe convinces you otherwise!

We’re taking the humble, cheap, easy-to-find vegetable and elevating it with a slow stew and a hint of flavor that produces a silky, tender side that’s perfect for everyday life and versatile enough for Thanksgiving or any holiday table.

The best part is that it all comes together in the cooking pot for a one-pot meal that goes big in flavor but keeps things very minimal in the preparation and cleaning steps.

Tip: I’ve included a bunch of variations for anyone who wants to turn this dish into a more substantial meal, like adding sausage, ham, or potatoes, or hoping to make a vegetarian or vegan version!

Process & Tips

This recipe couldn’t be easier to make and is my favorite side dish for meetings and parties


Simply add your chopped cabbage, vinegar, water, salt, and bacon (if you use it) to your slow cooker

. Then let your slow cooker work its magic.

After it is cooked, you can add the optional butter, adjust the salt to taste and it will be ready to dig!

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Tip: Instructions on how to cook this out loud for a shorter cooking time are also included on the recipe card below, keeping your options open in busy weeks.

Why Use the Slow Cooker

I love using the slow cooker because it completely simplifies the process of adding vegetarian sides to any meal


And, because almost all of my slow-cooker vegetables are throw-and-use (meaning no pre-browning or sautéing is required), preparation is quick and easy.

Just chop, stir and go!

As a bonus, the

slow cooker takes the load off the oven and stove, making it a fantastic choice for

meals, parties, and holiday meals. How to cut


whole cabbage

To cut the cabbage, cut it into quarters, then trim and discard the core


Stack the leaves if necessary, then flatten slightly by hand, and then cut each stack of leaves into 1-inch pieces for this recipe.

No need to be too delicate with him, trust me, you can’t spoil this!

I know I’ll get this question and I’m usually very prepared for the team, but sorry, don’t use bagged salad mix for this recipe!

The pieces are too thin and will come out like cabbage porridge (and nobody wants that, right?).

Really, cutting a whole cabbage is

easier than you think, and as a bonus, whole cabbage is generally less expensive than bagged mixing anyway!


Make it

vegetarian or vegan

This cabbage can easily be made vegetarian and vegan by skipping bacon.

Just be sure to use some vegan or traditional butter to finish, and to add a much-needed dose of fat flavor.

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Make cabbage and potatoes

Add 10 small red or yellow potatoes, cut into quarters, along with cabbage and cook according to recipe instructions. Making

cabbage with sausage This beef, cabbage and sweet potato sausage stew is always a hit in our house, and adding


would be another great way to turn this side dish into a satisfying, protein-packed meal!

Simply add 1 pound of sweet or hot Italian sausages to the slow cooker along with the cabbage before cooking.


Simple way to turn this side dish into a meal is to add ham, and the method is essentially the same as adding sausage


Simply add 1 pound of chopped ham to the slow cooker along with the cabbage and cook according to the instructions below.

Tip: If you want to make this recipe with red cabbage, I recommend this slow cooker red cabbage recipe!

Ingredients and substitutions

Cabbage: I used green cabbage for this recipe, but red cabbage would also work if you’re looking to bring a nice splash of color to this accompaniment.

Apple Cider Vinegar

: I love how apple cider vinegar is paired with the other ingredients in this recipe (it really helps balance the richness of butter and bacon). But you can also use red wine vinegar instead.

Bacon: Just like Brussels sprouts and bacon are made for each other, I’m a big fan of combining bacon with cabbage. Since you’re adding already cooked and shredded bacon to the slow cooker, it’s also a great way to use the leftover bacon you have in the fridge. Feel free to skip it altogether for a vegetarian and vegan version.

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Kosher salt: Look for kosher salt with regular iodized salt at the grocery store (it has a more subtle flavor). Use less iodized salt if that’s what you have on hand.

Butter: We love to finish this with butter (traditional or vegan), as the fat adds flavor and an extra silky texture to the finished dish. But you can skip it to reduce fat and calories from this recipe if you want.

You can also build a bowl of grains with your favorite cooked grain, such as brown rice, white rice, or quinoa. Then add your cooked cabbage along with fresh vegetables, protein of choice, fresh or cooked vegetables and your favorite healthy dressing or sauce.

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