Naturally low in carbs, this popular Southern-style side is both tasty and comforting. Cabbage is a wonderful low-carb veggie full of nutrients and health benefits. Onion is a must: there is a rare savory dish that doesn’t call for onion! So, it is also with this side dish; onion adds a lot to the flavor — especially when it’s deliciously caramelized — and simply cannot be left out. Last but not least, just the right amount of the all-time favorite low-carb ingredient, bacon, gives a cozy, full-bodied flavor and makes the dish hearty. I prefer my Southern Fried Cabbage soft, almost mushy, but please feel free to leave your cabbage crispy if you desire. This is sure to become one of your favorite keto cabbage recipes!
Tips for preparing the Southern Fried Cabbage
Be sure to remove the bacon after frying it and add it again to the dish at the very end; this helps to guarantee a crispy result. If you cook the bacon with the other ingredients, it turns out soft and unpleasantly tasteless.
Caramelized onion is an essential part of this delicious dish. Be sure to use low enough heat for frying the onion, so it doesn’t get too brown but caramelizes beautifully and stays soft.
The cooking time highly depends on how soft you prefer your cabbage. If you prefer it crispy, 10-15 minutes should be enough, but if you prefer it completely soft, you may need 30 minutes. Check and mix the cabbage every 5 minutes until it’s to your liking.
Feel free to add more spices and seasonings. Check the Tips for variations section at the end of this post for further ideas. Freshly ground black pepper is a must, in my opinion. It’s an oldie but goodie and gives some kick to this dish!
My Southern Fried Cabbage experiments
When you get cheap cabbage, you want to buy several heads. And then you wonder what on earth to do with them! Usually, I’m just lazy and cook shredded cabbage with some curry powder and an ample amount of butter. For some reason, my son calls the dish “the other cabbage”. When he asks me to make some of “the other cabbage”, I immediately know what he means.
This time, however, I wanted to make something else. Nothing too complicated, though. Since bacon was also on offer, I had bought several packages of it, too.
Cabbage and bacon sounded like a cozy and delicious combo. That brought into my mind Southern Fried Cabbage, which features both of them as well as some onion.
First, I was thinking of using onion powder instead of fresh onion. But since I use onion powder basically in every single savory dish (onion powder is just so easy to use; it adds delicious flavor, and you don’t have to chop anything and cry your eyes off!), this time I wanted to use fresh onion. I have a small and handy manual chopper, which is perfect for chopping onion. I use it far too seldom so now it was about time to give it some use.
I was making the dish first for my small family of my husband, son, and myself. I was pondering the measurements. One head of cabbage was too much for a side dish, so after a quick calculation, I took 1 1/2 lbs (680 g) of one cabbage head and chopped it into tiny pieces.
Next, it was time to think the bacon and how much to use. One package of bacon with 8 slices might be just right, but, on the other hand, I love to overuse bacon and add it everywhere. So, should I add 8 or 16 slices? Or something in between, 12 maybe? I took one package with 8 slices and chopped them into tiny pieces.
Since onion is not the lowest in carbs, I took only one small onion for the dish and chopped it. Well, I could always add more to the next batch if this one turns out too bland.
I wanted my bacon crispy, so I fried it first and removed it from the skillet to wait until the dish was ready. Adding the fried bacon to the ready dish would guarantee it remains crispy and doesn’t get soft, which happens if you cook it with the other ingredients.
I fried the onion in the bacon fat until caramelized. It was about to get too dark and dry, so I added some water to the skillet and covered it. The heat I had was too high, so the onion was about to burn. However, the water and low heat saved the result.
After five minutes or so, the onion was deliciously caramelized. It was time to add the cabbage. After adding the cabbage, I mixed it well with the onion and covered the skillet. I let the cabbage cook for 15 minutes and checked the result. The cabbage was crispy, but since I prefer my cabbage soft, I let it cook for another 15 minutes, mixing it occasionally.
When the cabbage was done, I added the fried bacon and mixed well. I removed the skillet from the heat and seasoned the dish with salt. Because my son doesn’t like pepper, I didn’t add it to the dish, but for my own serving, I added plenty of freshly ground black pepper, as did my husband. He added some Sriracha sauce as well and was very pleased with the dish. We all very much liked this basic version! Later, I tried some other variations, but the first experiment seemed to be the best, except the small onion was clearly not enough. I recommend using a large onion to give enough flavor.
- 8 slices raw bacon
- 1 1/2 lbs = 680 g white cabbage, cored and shredded
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon (or to taste) unrefined sea salt or Himalayan salt
- 1/2 teaspoon (or to taste) freshly ground black pepper
- (optional: 5 drops liquid stevia)
- Chop the bacon into tiny pieces.
- Add the bacon to a large skillet. Heat over medium-high heat. Cook the bacon, all the time mixing, until crisp.
- Set the fried bacon aside and reserve the bacon fat in the skillet.
- Lower the heat to minimum. Fry the onion until caramelized, about 5–10 minutes. Don't let burn. Cover the skillet if the onion is about to burn or to get dry.
- When the onion is done, add the cabbage. Increase the heat to medium. Cook for 15 minutes for a crispy result. Increase the cooking time if you prefer softer cabbage, Mix every 5 minutes when cooking.
- Once the cabbage is to your liking, remove the skillet from the heat. Add the fried bacon and mix well. Don't cook.
- Season with salt and pepper (and the stevia if you prefer it sweeter) and serve immediately.
This sounds so delicious that I wanna try it already! Anyway, we must all agree that Keto diets are the most efficient in cutting weight. Whichever way you want to look at it, the diet gives you to enjoy your steak and oils, which is quite different from other diets. And, the fried cabbage, apparently, brings a new touch to my culinary skills! Thank you!
Exactly! You’re welcome 🙂
How many calories?
614 kcal in the whole batch. The recipe makes 4-6 servings.
What is the carb count per serving?
4.3 grams net carbs per serving if there are 6 servings in total, 6.5 grams net carbs per serving if there are 4 servings in total (the table is under the recipe box).
This sounds delish.. I make this with garlic, onion, sausage, coconut amino/soy sauce, salt, pepper, cilantro and hotsauce. Mmmm mmmm good!
Sounds great! I often add hot sauce, too (Sriracha or Sugar-Free Sweet Chili Sauce: https://www.lowcarbsosimple.com/sugar-free-sweet-chili-sauce/)
I use coleslaw mix, a lil shredded carrot in it n raddichio. I add 1/2 a big sliced onion n 1/2 a big sliced green pepper to 1lb pkg coleslaw mix. Cook in bacon grease, alot of it. Salt n pepper n vinegar. Mmmmm magnifique!
Yummm! Sounds delicious 🙂