A Spicy Perspective

Irish Bacon and Cabbage

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Irish Bacon and Cabbage Recipe made with only 5 ingredients. Make this tantalizing side dish for Saint Patrick’s Day, or for dinner any night of the week!

Irish Bacon and Cabbage Recipe in bowl

Cooking Cabbage

The humble cabbage… Often thought of as bland and boring.

Well, there’s nothing boring about today’s Irish Cabbage and Bacon.

This recipe is packed with rich comforting goodness!

Irish Bacon and Cabbage Recipe close up

I don’t know why boiled cabbage recipes get such a bad wrap.

It has a lovely mild flavor that is complemented by sweetness like in coleslaw, spice like in kimchi, and rich fatty ingredients like bacon, butter, or nuts.

Although cabbage can be tough when raw, it turns silky and soft once cooked, giving chopped cabbage a noodle-like quality.

Boiled Cabbage Recipe in bowl with forkful coming up

Irish Bacon and Cabbage

Today’s Irish Cabbage and Bacon is a classic Irish dish usually made with large slabs of bacon (pork belly) boiled down into a rich fatty broth that the cabbage is later stewed in.

As I’m not Irish, I have a hard time swallowing the idea of boiling bacon in water.

Instead, I decided to make a quickie version, using the same ingredients, but a slightly different cooking method.

What Ingredients You Will Need

My Irish Bacon and Cabbage is made with only 5 simple ingredients:

  • Thick-cut Bacon
  • Large Green Cabbage
  • Large Onion
  • Chicken Broth
  • A Tablespoon of Mustard Seeds
  • Salt and Black Pepper – To taste (or add red pepper flakes!)

How To Make Irish Cabbage and Bacon


Place a large stockpot over medium heat to medium-high heat. Cut the bacon strips into 4 pieces each with a knife. Separate the bacon pieces and place them in the pot. Stir and sizzle until the bacon is cooked, but not fully crispy.

Meanwhile, peel the onion and cut it into 8 wedges. Then cut the cabbage in half and remove the core. Cut the cabbage into 12 wedges. Once the bacon is mostly cooked, add the onion to the pot and sauté for 3-4 minutes to soften.

Add the cabbage, chicken broth, and mustard seeds. Stir to move the cabbage to the bottom of the pot and bring the bacon upward. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the thickest parts of the cabbage have a tender silky texture. Stir once or twice while cooking. Taste, then salt and pepper as needed.

Serve in a bowl with whole-grain mustard on the side, if desired.

pot of bacon and cabbage

Tips & Tricks

  • Get the bacon just slightly crispy! You don’t want super crispy bacon in this recipe because it will be harder to eat! So make sure it is slightly crispy, but not too much.
  • Serve with whole grain mustard! The mustard seeds in this recipe will shine with a little extra whole grain mustard on the side.
  • Goes well with potatoes! To turn this into a hearty meal, serve with some roasted potatoes!

See The (Printable) Recipe Card Below For How To Make Irish Bacon and Cabbage. Enjoy!

Irish bacon with cabbage cooked down in pot

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does This Fried Cabbage Recipe Last In The Fridge?

You can store the leftover pan-fried cabbage in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. Reheat these leftovers in a large skillet instead of a microwave.

What Do I Serve With This Recipe?

Although you can serve this cooked cabbage recipe as a side dish with corned beef, proportionally there is a lot of bacon in this recipe. Enough protein to make it a main dish in my opinion.

In Ireland, it’s often served as the main course with mustard and boiled potatoes.

Should I Drain The Bacon Fat/Bacon Drippings?

No need to pull out paper towels to pat the bacon dry. The bacon grease that comes off the bacon slices will only be a few ounces, and it will help create the flavor of the recipe and enhance the taste as the cabbage cooks in it. That is what makes this a delicious fried cabbage with bacon recipe!

Can I Make A Smaller Portion?

Of course, you can. You can find a small head of cabbage to use for this recipe and then cut the rest of the ingredients in half. This low-carb dish can be based on the size of the cabbage head you find!

Easy Cabbage and bacon in bowl

Other Easy Irish Recipes You Might Like:

Check the printable recipe card below for the nutrition information for this vegetable side dish including calories, carbohydrates, protein, cholesterol, sodium, fiber, and vitamin c percentages.

Print Recipe
4.96 from 50 votes
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Irish Bacon and Cabbage Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
This traditional Irish Cabbage and Bacon Recipe is made with only 5 ingredients! Make this tantalizing side dish for Saint Patrick’s Day or for any dinner! 
Servings: 8



  • Place a large stockpot over medium heat. Cut the bacon strips into 4 pieces each. Separate the bacon pieces and place in the pot. Stir and sizzle until the bacon is cooked, but not fully crispy.
  • Meanwhile, peel the onion and cut it into 8 wedges. Then cut the cabbage in half and remove the core. Cut the cabbage into 12 wedges. Once the bacon is mostly cooked, add the onion to the pot and sauté for 3-4 minutes to soften.
  • Add the cabbage, chicken broth, and mustard seeds. Stir to move the cabbage to the bottom of the pot and bring the bacon upward. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the thickest parts of the cabbage are tender. Stir once or twice while cooking. Taste, then salt and pepper as needed. Serve with whole grain mustard on the side, if desired.



Serving: 8ounces, Calories: 79kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 11mg, Sodium: 170mg, Potassium: 90mg, Fiber: 0g, Sugar: 0g, Vitamin A: 30IU, Vitamin C: 9.6mg, Calcium: 12mg, Iron: 0.2mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Irish
Author: Sommer Collier

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55 comments on “Irish Bacon and Cabbage”

  1. I couldn’t help but laugh when you mentioned not wanting to boil bacon. In Ireland, boiling bacon is a cured pork loin from the back of the neck of the pig. The bacon you are referring to is often called streaky bacon, the bacon we as Americans eat. No, I wouldn’t boil that either, but I do cure my own boiling bacon and then boil that for St. Patrick’s Day as an authentic Irish dish. Also, it is suggested to use Napa cabbage as a substitue for Irish cabbage.

  2. Came upon this recipe looking for an Irish boiling bacon recipe– yours isn’t Irish at all, but it does look super delicious, and I’m definitely going to make it this week! (“Boiling bacon” is nothing like American bacon- it’s from the pork collar, not pork belly, and the texture/taste is much more similar to ham, which means boiling it isn’t a disgusting idea lol. Also, in Ireland, they wouldn’t cook this kind of cabbage, just use it for making slaw. We don’t really have Irish cooking cabbages here but the closest thing I’ve found is a Savoy cabbage- much looser, softer, different flavor.) 

  3. Definitely needed more seasoning than just salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon of mustard seeds. But the consistency was awesome! Very low maintenence recipe that can easily be made every month (with way more seasoning). I added garlic powder, onion powder, & Cajun seasoning.

  4. Quick, simple and delicious!

  5. I made this for my son’s Irish fiance who was visiting recently. She had told me previously that Bacon and Cabbage was her favorite meal. I showed her this recipe, and she said it was legit, even using “streaky bacon” as she called the bacon we find in our grocery stores. This meal was a HUGE HIT! Everyone loved it! I will be making this again and again.

  6. I just returned home from Ireland and haven’t been able to find the answer to this question: the green cabbage 🥬 in Ireland seemed different than the green/white cabbage in the states.  (I did not have this recipe, just boiled cabbage as a side veg) I really loved the flavor, and wondered if that variety was ever sold here. It had some dark green to it. 

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  8. Delicious recipe, thanks so much Sommer! Couple suggestions for the noobs. 1) once you have fried up the bacon and onions then remove to a mixing bowl etc then place the broth, mustard seed and cabbage into the pot and placed bacon mixture on top as it’s quite difficult to bring all that bacon/onion up without losing cabbage to the dog 🙄😄
    2) use the bacon grease(as the OP suggested) and just about a cup+/- of broth as you will get additional juices from the cabbage as it cooks down but you can always add more to your liking.
    3) it’s probably going to take 30-45+/- minutes in reality
    4) it’s gonna need quite a bit of salt
    5) it’s gonna be goooooo—ooood

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  10. Yes I noted that in the comments way back in July 2020 but nobody seems to have noticed. “Boiling bacon” is a large slab cut from the back or shoulder, and it is much different from the fatty sliced pork belly bacon used in America. Also Irish bacon is more lightly cured and not smoky like American bacon.

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  12. Hi Summer,

    This is a recipe that is similar to one I like to make. I have some Irish roots and the boiled dinner does nothing for me! Boiling is a waste of good ingredients as far as I am concerned. Happy Sy Patricks Day!

    • This is so crazy to me I’ve never liked my parents corned beef and cabbage or hash or whatever it is so I never really ate it growing up but I recently attempted to make my own version of it to see how it turned out. 2 years later, today, I did a quick Google search as I was putting all my ingredients in my pot, just wondering if anybody else liked or used the same type of recipe or way of cooking it as I do because nobody else seems to have had it done my way that I’ve talked to about it. And this is exactly like my recipe and cooking method to a T. and I never looked it up the first time cooking it this way… and I’m Irish more than anything else in my DNA

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  15. Hey! I made this and it was great. However, I was left with a ton of chicken broth in the pot still. I cooked it for way longer, too, but it was still there. Is it supposed to be there? It doesn’t seem like yours has any at the end. 

    • Glad it wasn’t just me with a ton of broth left over. Having said that, it was truly delicious and something that will go on the regular dinner menu. My son dislikes bacon and took two helpings of this deliciousness.
      As for the excess broth, I think I’m just going to make sure and drain the bacon grease well after sauteeing the onion, and using about 1.5 cups of broth at first, adding more as needed to get the cabbage to the desired softness.
      I’ve been looking for more yummy cabbage dishes, and I even incorporated kale into this recipe, as the cabbage we picked up was rather small for the quantity I wanted to make. Gotta say, it’s even better for breakfast the next day!

      Thanks so much for a delicious and FAST dinner idea. I added colcannon on the side, and there was not a smear of sauce left on the plates. Happy family with full bellies equals happy mama!

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  17. Sounds like a great recipe!

  18. While this is good as a side dish, it is not actually an authentic approximation of the traditional Irish bacon and cabbage main course, because this uses the wrong kind of bacon!

    The typical Irish bacon is NOT pork belly. It is a cut of back bacon, which is much leaner and does not have all those fatty layers. If you automatically assumed that bacon has to be made from pork belly per the US standard, then it’s unsurprising that you couldn’t imagine boiling it in water. But back bacon is completely different.

    I hope you will obtain a slab of Irish boiling bacon and try the recipe again in the more authentic manner. There are a number of retailers of Irish and British goods in the US that you could obtain it from.

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  20. This is The. Most. Delicious. Cabbage. Recipe. Ever! So simple to make. So flavorful. People I know who don’t like cabbage to begin with like this recipe.

  21. WOW. Made this tonight for St. Patrick’s Day. My husband said it should be in the regular rotation, not just the “token Irish veggie” once a year! It was seriously that tasty. 4/5 kids ate it up and that is an impressive percentage!

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  23. Made this for my Supper Club this past weekend and it was very good. Even a guest who doesn’t like pork enjoyed it. The sauce was great.

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  26. I made this humane & vegan, by simply using vegetable broth, and vegan bac-UN. I cut the recipe down, to make one serving (4 oz. of cabbage). I also made a savory herb, mustard/pureed white bean (vegan protein) sauce, to go on it, & served it over quartered, boiled baby potatoes, for a nutritionally complete (protein, starch, & vegetable) dish. I serve it with fruit for dessert, for a complete meal. If one doesn’t want to use pureed white beans as a protein, it could be served just as a vegetable, with other vegan starches & proteins served separately. I cooked the vegan bac-UN in olive oil, then sauteed the onion, after the bac-UN was removed, cooled, crumbled & set aside, to add as the last step, as a garnish.

    • Thank you for popping in and reminding us of our inhumanity.

      • Agreed!

      • Oh. My. Word!!!
        Laughed so hard when I saw your response.

        I will be making this tonight as it looks yummy. I do not have access to Irish bacon and my children hate corned beef. Scottish by background, but will honor the Celts today.
        Thank you for posting this quick, doable recipe. Fingers crossed my picky eater (who loves bacon) will eat this.

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  29. I never tried this before and after reading this amazing post I think I must give it a try.

  30. Such a great recipe. Perfect for St. Patty’s day coming up. Your instructions were so clear and helpful. Thanks for sharing.

  31. It was a huge hit!! Really tasty and easy to make!

  32. Definitely making this for st Patrick’s day! So good!

  33. I had a half a head of green cabbage left over and this was a delicious way to use it up!

  34. This looks so good! I could jump in that bowl. I love the addition of the mustard seeds!

  35. This looks fantastic! Did you use brown mustard seeds? Also, any tips for making ahead and reheating for a party?

    Thanks in advance!!

    • Hi Richard,

      Yes, I used brown mustard seeds. However, the color doesn’t really matter here. Use what you have. As for making this ahead. I wouldn’t make it more than a day in advance. Cabbage turns funky faster than most veggies, once cooked.

  36. I cannot wait to make this again. So stinking delicious. 

  37. I want to eat this every day, not just St. Patrick’s Day!

  38. So easy and flavorful! Definitely will make again.

  39. This looks so tasty! I can’t wait to try it out for St. Patrick’s Day. My family will try just about anything if it has bacon in it. :)

  40. This looks great! Thanks for sharing!

  41. This is the best- so good!

  42. Oh boy, this looks terrific!! A must try!!

  43. This is the first time I’ve made this and it turned out so good. Definitely making again. 

  44. This looks super tasty!! I can’t wait to give it a try! It’s all delicious ingredients :)

  45. Going to make this for my family for St. Patrick’s day. Cannot wait!!

  46. Delicious and simple. I added a little apple cider vinegar. I will definitely make it again.

  47. We LOVE cabbage here! This recipe sounds amazing and a nice twist to our regular cabbage meals. Thanks!

  48. We are cabbage lovers in our house!