This easy steamed cabbage recipe is a surprising delicacy. The gentle cooking method and the butter greatly enhance this simple vegetable!
I really like cabbage. I’m not a big fan of eating it raw unless it comes in the form of tasty coleslaw or this delicious Asian cabbage salad. But when cooked, it’s not just an excellent choice – it’s also very tasty. And this particular recipe is especially good.
I also like how easy this recipe is. I am lazy about side dishes (well, about recipes in general actually), so I like them to be as easy as possible. This recipe fits the bill. It’s a delicious and easy side dish that comes together quickly and effortlessly.
The ingredients you’ll need
It may not look like much. But this simple steamed cabbage, seasoned with butter and garlic, is a delicacy. And you’ll only need a few simple ingredients to make it! The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here’s an overview of what you’ll need:
Fresh cabbage: I use green cabbage in this recipe. You can try using red cabbage if you’d like – it should work just as well as green.
Unsalted butter: If all you have is salted, that’s fine, but then you might want to use a little less salt.
Minced garlic: You can mince a fresh garlic clove, or use jarred minced garlic. Naturally, if you mince it by yourself it will taste better.
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt rather than kosher salt, I suggest you reduce the amount you use by half.
Red pepper flakes: These are not crucial, and I mostly add them for garnish. But they do add a nice layer of flavor without overwhelming the dish with their heat. I also like to garnish the dish with dried parsley, which is purely optional.
How to make steamed cabbage
It’s a truly easy recipe! And the best part: there’s no need for a steamer! Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
1. Shred the cabbage and rinse it. Then place it in a deep skillet. (Don’t dry it off. The water adhering to it will help it steam.)
2. Cover the skillet and heat on medium-high. When the dish starts to steam, lower the heat to medium.
3. Steam, covered, for about 5 minutes. Then remove the lid and cook 2 more minutes, to allow the remaining water to evaporate.
4. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Cook 2 more minutes, then serve.
Troubleshooting and tips
The main issue that arises when making this recipe is that you really do need to gently steam the cabbage over medium heat. If the heat is too high and the pan gets too hot, the cabbage might dry out, stick to the bottom of the pan, and even burn. So make sure you keep the heat to medium.
What to serve with this side dish?
What to do with leftover steamed cabbage?
You can keep leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to 4 days. Reheat them gently, in the microwave on 50% power.
More tasty cabbage recipes
You should definitely try this excellent roasted cabbage. It’s wonderfully crispy and flavorful.
Another recipe that my family greatly enjoys is this recipe for Japanese cabbage pancakes. They’re admittedly a bit more labor-intensive. But they are so good, I think they are well worth it.
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- 1 medium cabbage (2 lb. trimmed)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/8 teaspoon dried parsley
- Trim the cabbage, then shred it. To shred, cut the cabbage in half, then slice each half into thin slices and separate the slices with your hands into strips, as shown in the video below. Place the strips in a colander and rinse.
- Transfer the rinsed cabbage to a large, deep skillet, without drying it off – the water adhering to the cabbage will allow it to steam. You can a tablespoon of water to the bottom of the pan, but I don't find it necessary.
- Turn the heat on medium-high and cover. When the cabbage starts to steam, which should take about 1 minute, lower the heat to medium.
- Steam, covered, for about 5 minutes. Uncover, stir, and cook 2 more minutes to allow any remaining water to evaporate. If you still have too much water in the pan, you can drain it into a colander.
- Add the butter, garlic, salt and black pepper, stirring to combine. Cook 2-3 more minutes, stirring, until the butter has melted. Garnish, if desired, with dried parsley and red pepper flakes. Serve warm.