Crockpot Cabbage Recipe


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Even though this Crockpot cabbage is perfect to serve with corned beef on St. Patrick’s day, this dish is so easy and delicious that you’ll want to serve it with dinner year-round!

Crockpot Cabbage

Making cabbage in the Crockpot is not only super delicious, it’s also so easy to make. It has crispy bacon pieces with sauteed onions and garlic that add so much great flavor to the cabbage. As it slow cooks, it becomes perfectly tender and flavorful.

It’s braised in a flavorful mixture of savory chicken broth, tangy apple cider vinegar, brown sugar for a subtle sweetness, crushed red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. It’s the best balanced combination of savory, sweet, and tangy. A bit of butter adds some richness and creaminess that takes it to the next level. This slow cooker cabbage is perfect for an easy side dish, and the leftovers make a great easy lunch option during the week.

This is one of my favorite side dishes to serve on St. Patrick’s Day! If you’re looking for more holiday inspiration, be sure to check out our corned beef seasoning (this one has tons of 5-star reviews), this ham and cabbage, our corned beef brisket and cabbage, this Irish soda bread recipe, or this colcannon recipe.


Cabbage: Green cabbage is the base of this dish. It’s hearty, healthy, and delicious. Cooked cabbage has a mild flavor that takes on the other flavors in this dish very well. Look for a head of cabbage with tight leaves that feels heavy for its size.

Bacon: Bacon adds a smoky, savory flavor that complements the cabbage nicely.

Onion and Garlic: These aromatics add tons of depth of flavor to the dish. Garlic adds a savory flavor and onion adds a lightly sweet flavor.

Chicken Broth: This is the liquid we’re using to cook the cabbage in. By using chicken broth instead of water you’re able to season the cabbage with a rich savory flavor from the inside out.

Apple Cider Vinegar: This adds a tangy note that balances out the richness of the bacon and the sweetness of the brown sugar.

Brown Sugar: This adds a hint of sweetness that enhances the other flavors in this dish. I prefer the lighter taste of light brown sugar, but if you want more of a molasses flavor, you could use dark brown sugar.

Salt and Pepper: Salt enhances the other flavors in this dish, and pepper balances out the richness from the bacon and the sweetness from the sugar.

Red Pepper Flakes: These are optional, but the heat nicely balances out the other sweet and savory flavors.

Butter: Butter adds a bit of richness that the cabbage really needs.

The labeled ingredients for crockpot cabbage.

Alternative Ingredients

  • Swap the Meat: If you don’t have bacon, you could use leftover ham, cooked ground beef, smoked turkey, or cooked sausage crumbles instead.
  • Add Spices: If you want to play with the flavor a bit, you could add a little bit of caraway or fennel seeds. They both pair really well with cabbage.
  • Vegetarian Version: For a vegetarian version, omit the bacon and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. I’d also add a little bit of smoked paprika to add a little bit of the smoky flavor that the bacon adds.

How To Cook Slow Cooker Cabbage

Prep the Broth Mixture: In a small bowl, combine the chicken broth, apple cider vinegar, light brown sugar, fine sea salt, ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes (if you like a bit of heat). (See the recipe card below for the full printable instructions.)

Prep the Cabbage: Slice and core the cabbage and place it in the bottom of a 6-quart slow cooker.

Mixing broth, sugar, and seasoning together in a small mixing bowl, and then adding to cabbage in a crockpot.

Cook the Bacon: In a large skillet, cook the chopped bacon until it starts to crisp. 

Saute the Onions: Add the thinly sliced onions to the skillet with the bacon and cook them in the bacon grease until they become translucent and slightly caramelized. 

Cooking bacon in a hot skillet half way, and then adding onions and sauteing until translucent.

Add the Garlic: Next, add the minced garlic and saute until it’s aromatic.

Adding garlic to the onion and bacon mixture, and then cooking until aromatic.

Combine Ingredients in the Crockpot: Transfer the cooked bacon, onions, and garlic to the slow cooker, spreading it out evenly over the cabbage.

Add the Liquid to the Crockpot: Pour the broth mixture over the cabbage in the slow cooker.

Adding onions to the crockpot with cabbage and bacon, and then adding liquid and butter pieces.

Add the Butter: Dot the top of the cabbage with small pieces of unsalted butter.

Cover the Slow Cooker: Cover the slow cooker with a lid and cook.

Covering and cooking the cabbage half way in a crockpot, and then tossing the cabbage mixture.

Stir the Cabbage and Finish Cooking: Stir halfway through to evenly coat the cabbage with the liquid, then cook until it’s reached your desired tenderness. See the recipe card below for the full written instructions, including ingredient amounts, and helpful tips, etc.

Cooking the cabbage mixture until desired tenderness reached.

How Do You Cook Cabbage Without It Getting Mushy?

The key is to not overcook it. Overcooked cabbage will get mushy. As long as you keep an eye on it towards the end of cooking, you shouldn’t run into any problems. Cabbage is also a bit more forgiving when you don’t cut it into super small pieces. That’s why this recipe calls for 1-inch thick slices. If you sliced it really thin, it could get mushy pretty easily.

How Long Does Cabbage Take To Soften?

It really depends on how long you’re cooking it and how thick or thin you cut the cabbage slices. On the stovetop it should only take 5-10 minutes, but in a slow cooker it will take about 3 hours on HIGH or 4-6 hours on LOW.

Tongs lifting out of a crockpot with a scoop of cabbage and bacon.

How Do You Know When Cabbage Is Done?

  • Color: As cabbage cooks, the color changes. It starts out a light, vibrant green, but as it cooks it changes to a more muted color with olive green undertones.
  • Texture: Cabbage is very crispy when it’s raw, but it’s tender when it’s cooked. You can taste test it as it cooks to see when it reaches your desired tenderness.
  • Smell: Cooked cabbage has a distinct smell. As you start to notice that earthy smell, you’ll know that it’s getting close.

Why Do People Put Vinegar In Cabbage?

It helps to both balance out the rich and sweet flavors in this dish, and it also helps tenderize the cabbage. Cabbage is naturally pretty hardy and tough, so the vinegar helps it break down.

An overhead image showing the cooked wilted cabbage with crispy bacon throughout.

Storing And Freezing Instructions

Cool any leftovers, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Alternatively, you can store any cooled leftovers in a freezer-safe bag, removing as much air as possible, for up to 2 months. Thaw any leftovers in the fridge overnight, then reheat on the stove in a skillet over medium heat.

What To Serve With Crockpot Cabbage

This pairs well with corned beef (made with our corned beef seasoning) or a ribeye roast, some mashed potatoes without milk or some seasoned rice, and a slice of moist Jiffy cornbread

A bowl of cooked cabbage with bacon pieces throughout.

Keep In Touch

I’d love to hear what you thought of this recipe in the comments or on Instagram! @KeyToMyLime #KeyToMyLime

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A Pinterest pin image with a picture of crockpot cabbage with title text at the top.

Dinner Recipes

If you like this recipe, be sure to check out all of our other comforting dinner recipes. Some reader favorites are:

The best crockpot cabbage recipe.

BEST Crockpot Cabbage Recipe (Slow Cooker Cabbage with Bacon)

Crockpot cabbage is perfect with corned beef on St. Patrick’s day, but it’s so easy and delicious that you’ll want to serve it year-round!
5 from 1 vote
Servings: 6
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 25 minutes
Print Pin Rate


  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional, for a bit of heat
  • 1 small-sized cabbage head core removed and sliced into 1-inch thick strips (about 8 cups)
  • 6 slices of bacon chopped
  • 1 large onion thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter


  • In a small bowl, mix together the chicken broth, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using), and set aside.*
  • Place the cabbage in the bottom of a 6 quart slow cooker.
  • In a large skillet, cook the chopped bacon over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the bacon begins to crisp. Add in the sliced onions and cook until they are translucent and slightly caramelized, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and saute until aromatic, about 1 minute.
  • Add the cooked bacon, sautéed onions, and garlic to the Crockpot, spreading it out evenly over the cabbage.
  • Pour the chicken broth mixture over the cabbage, and dot the top of the cabbage with small pieces of unsalted butter.
  • Cover the Crockpot with a lid and cook on HIGH heat for 3 hours or LOW for 4-6 hours. Stir halfway through the cooking time to evenly coat the cabbage in the liquid so that the cabbage cooks evenly.


  • *If you tend to like less salt, you can wait to add the salt and pepper until the halfway point in cooking when you stir the cabbage. At that point, you can taste the cabbage, and season it to your preference.
  • Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • To reheat, place the desired amount in a microwave-safe dish and heat until warmed through.


Calories: 84kcal | Carbohydrates: 9.6g | Protein: 4.1g | Fat: 3.7g | Fiber: 3.2g | Sugar: 1.6g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

I hope you love this Crockpot cabbage recipe as much as I do! It’s the perfect vegetable side dish for St. Patrick’s day.

The best crockpot cabbage recipe.

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