We're reader-supported. If you buy through our links, we may earn a commission at no cost to you.

Can You Overcook Cabbage? (Things to Know)

The long and the short of it is, you can. Whether you want to… that’s a different story.

You want to cook cabbage for yourself and the family. But you have chores to do around the house or in the garden. Maybe it’s a weekday and you can’t stand at the stove all day, so you’re thinking of putting the cabbage in the slower cooker so that it’s cooked by the time you’re back from work.

Whatever your situation is, it begs the question: Can cabbage overcook? And, if the answer to that question is “yes,” is it still palatable?

Yes, you can overcook cabbage. Once overcooked, the stench is horrible and can run everyone out of the house. It will also be a mushy mess, so the primary goal is to cook it until it is tender, then turn the burner or slow cooker off.

Throughout this article, we will give you the best advice for cooking the perfect cabbage, whether for a stew or a different meal that calls for it. It all cooks the same way with the result that it should end only in fork tenderness.

If you follow these tips and rules of thumb, you will not have to move out of your home while you wait for the atrocious odor to dissipate.

How to Tell When Cabbage is Cooked to Perfection

Cabbage makes for the most delicious stews and braises. The perfect cabbage, when cooked well, will turn out tender and sweet. The keys to its preparation, as we’re about to discuss, are 1) to cook off the strong flavors and 2) not to overcook it.

When cooking cabbage, it is crucial to use the right kind of pot. An enameled Dutch oven works best; the thick walls and heavy bottom heat evenly and the enamel coating prevents the cabbage from sticking to—and burning on—the bottom of the pot.

You will also want to cook uncovered, so that the strong flavors can escape with the evaporation of the cooking liquid, and use plenty of cooking liquid as a result. Depending on the recipe, broth, wine, or beer are three of the best cooking liquids for cabbage.

If you are cooking cabbage on the stovetop, bring the liquid to a simmer and then place the cabbage in the pot. Make sure to stir it occasionally so that it does not stick and scorch on the bottom of the pot.

If it does happen, you will end up with an acrid taste in your cabbage. It should be cooked for 20 to 30 minutes or until it is fork-tender.

How to Tell When the Cabbage is Overcooked

Overcooked cabbage will smell bad and have a mushy texture. The smell alone—the smell of sulphuric compounds—is the sign you went too far. It takes a while for the smell to get out of the house, even with the windows open.

Most people feel that what they smell is what they taste. This is no different from cabbage, and it can ruin the main course dish if overcooked.

What To Do If You Overcook Cabbage

If you overcook your cabbage, discard it and clean the pot or pan well with soap and water. Be sure to wash it thoroughly because the smell will linger in the pot, just like inside the home.

The odor will be challenging to get rid of, so you may want to consider leaving the house with some windows open until it dissipates. Once the cabbage is overcooked, it cannot be salvaged. You will have to start from scratch all over again.

Special Tips for Braising or Stewing Cabbage

Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable with many qualities and is an excellent addition to any meal. It can be cooked in many different ways, including braising or stews. Check it out below! We have put together some special tips to help you when cooking cabbage.

Brown all of the meat and cook it first, then take it out of the pot and set aside;
The base is the foundation of flavor, whether a mirepoix or trinity, sauté the mixture next.

Tough veg, like potatoes and carrots, must be simmered down to soften and infuse them with the meat and mirepoix/trinity flavors. It is essential to remember it will take longer for these veg to cook down to tenderness.

Once the hard veg is beginning to soften, put the cabbage in last.

Fresh herbs should be chopped or snipped and placed for about five minutes before turning off the heat. This process allows keeping the flavors instead of cooking them down. Once cooked thoroughly, they will lose their potency, so it is vital not to cook them down to infuse the flavor in the meal.

How to Braise Cabbage

Braising is a great way to cook cabbage. It is a slow cooking process that uses moist heat to cook the cabbage. Follow the steps below to make a delicious braised cabbage dish.

Step 1: Start by browning all of the meat in a large pot or Dutch oven. Be sure to cook it thoroughly before taking it out and setting it aside.

Step 2: Add the base of your sauce, whether it be a mirepoix or trinity of vegetables. Sauté until they are soft and beginning to caramelize.

Step 3: Add the tough vegetables, such as potatoes and carrots, and simmer until they soften. This will take some time, so be patient.

Step 4: Add the cabbage when the tough vegetables begin to soften. It should go in second to last.

**Step 5: **Cook the cabbage for 20 to 30 minutes, with the lid off, or until it is fork-tender.

**Step 6: **When you take the cabbage off the heat, add the fresh herbs and stir them in. (Adding them during cooking will cook off their natural aroma and flavor.)

**Step 7: **Serve and enjoy!

Tips for Braising Cabbage

  • If you want your cabbage to have a bit of a crunch, do not cook it for as long as directed in the recipe.
  • If you are looking for a richer flavor, try braising the cabbage in beef broth or chicken broth instead of water.
  • Fresh herbs can be added at the end of the cooking process to give the dish a boost of flavor. Consider using parsley, thyme, or rosemary.

How to Boil Cabbage

Follow the steps below to make a delicious boiled cabbage dish!

Step 1: Start by cutting the cabbage into quarters or sixths, depending on its size.

Step 2: Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the cabbage.

Step 3: Cook the cabbage for 5 to 10 minutes or until it is fork-tender.

Step 4: Drain the water and serve the cabbage immediately.

How to Sauté Cabbage

Follow the steps below to make a delicious sautéed cabbage dish!

Step 1: Start by cutting the cabbage into quarters or sixths, depending on its size.

Step 2: Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.

Step 3: Add the cabbage and cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until it is fork-tender.

Step 4: Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Summing Up Everything About Cooking Cabbage

Whether you want to braise, boil, or sauté your cabbage, these methods are all simple and easy to follow. Season your dish with salt and pepper to taste for the best flavor.

We hope that you found this article most helpful in exploring cooking cabbage. Now you have all you need to know to cook your next meal for you and your family without running everyone out of the house because of overcooked cabbage!