We are here to answer and show you how long to boil cabbage to make a healthy side dish or sou with it! Diced into bite size pieces makes it easy to get tender but we also talk about how to cook a whole cabbage too so you can try them all!
How Long Does it Take to Boil Cabbage
That depends on what you are making. If you are adding other ingredients, cooking under pressure to make Instant Pot cabbage soup you’re looking at about 12 minutes cook time. You will get quite soft very wilted leaves but with the other items it works very well together. With this one we are going more simple on the stove in a pot.
Stewed cabbage in a Dutch Oven pot is closer to 7 minutes give or take. There is always a range when it comes to cooking vegetables on the stovetop because everyone has a preference as far as how soft you want them to be. I am right in the middle. It needs to be wilted but still some oooph so it doesn’t just become mush.
Just like boiled chicken legs you always want to make sure the water is bubbling before adding you food. This is a MUST or the texture will be way off and not in a good way. Use a pot that is large enough for your food plus enough liquid for it to be submerged + 2 inches or so.
As far as how to cut cabbage for this, the smaller the faster it will wilt. Shrinks pretty well too so larger is better. Do NOT walk away from this pot when boiling cabbage either. 1 minute too long and the whole thing will be ruined. 2 minutes total is just about right, then you want to get it out of that hot liquid or it will continue cooking.
If you just want light seasoning you can skip the butter but that is a must for us. Easiest way to move it quickly is to just pour the whole thing into a colander. Run cool water over the top to stop the cooking entirely. Then you can move it back into the pot or a large bowl and fold in some salt and pepper unless you’re just blanching to make Pigs in the Blanket with Cabbage.
How Long to Boil Shredded Cabbage
This is very fast, only 1-2 minutes depending on how thick you sliced it. The only time I cut it into shreds honestly is to make quick sauerkraut. If you have a different recipe you wanted just wilted shreds then yes this is how long it would take to get it to soften.
How Long to Boil Quartered Cabbage
If you wanted boiled cabbage wedges you would just remove the hard end, slice into fourths and submerge into boiling water or about 8-12 minutes until it became as soft as you wanted. Then follow the same steps as far as draining the liquid and running cool water over the top so it doesn’t get any softer.
How to Blanch Cabbage Leaves
If you are making corned beef and cabbage and just want wilted leaves, or want to soften to make stuffed cabbage leaves you may need this. All you need is 1 minute. Just use outer leaves that are large, drop into boiling water and test until tender.
How Long to Boil a Whole Cabbage
If you don’t want to slice at all you can remove the core and submerge the whole thing for about 15 minutes, then slice and enjoy. This is NOT my preference. If you are a texture person it won’t be yours either, but totally possible. The negative to doing this is by the time the center leaves / core begins to soften the outer leaves will be really really soft.
Cook times listed are the same for boiling red cabbage or green cabbage. Check at the minimum timing to ensure you don’t overcook cabbage because that can happen fast.
How to Cook Boiled Cabbage
When it comes to the liquid used, broth is going to provide the most flavor. You can use homemade Instant Pot chicken broth, bottled or add 1 bouillon cube per 2 cups of water or so to give it more flavor. You could use pork or vegetable broth too if you’d rather. The flavor usually depends on whether you are going to add it into a different dish.
- In a large pot bring to a boil 10 cups of water, broth or half and half on the stove. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- On a cutting board cut the end off your full head of cabbage and remove the outer leaves. Slice in half, thru middle of core at bottom.
- Set flat side down on cutting board and slice about 8 times, then turn and slice again the other way about 8 times so you have a bunch of large bite size squares.
- When water is boiling break pieces apart with your hands and submerge into the water for just 2 minutes or until they are as tender as you’d like.
Pour into a colander to drain liquid. Run cool water over the top to stop the cooking entirely. Make Fried Cabbage and Bacon or just add butter (or olive oil) into your still hot pan and sit so it begins to melt. Add boiled leaves on top for a few minutes so it melts completely. Gently fold together, season with salt and black pepper and serve.
THAT is how to cook cabbage on the stove in hot water. We have tons of other ideas too if you click that link. Boiled cabbage recipe is a great side with any main dish for dinner we say.