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Luby’s Skillet Cabbage

Luby’s makes some of the best cabbage, their skillet cabbage is good, and easy to make. Why is this cabbage so good? It is perfectly cooked with bacon, and just the right amount of seasonings.
cabbage and bacon
So often I think cabbage is the forgotten vegetable. It is inexpensive, and can be bitter if not cooked right. It isn’t hard to cook cabbage. I want you show you how you can prepare cooked cabbage that people will ask you for the recipe. Luby’s is known for their great tasting side dishes, and this one is no exception. So the next time there is a big sale on cabbage be sure to pick up a few extra heads of cabbage and enjoy this dish.

Why is this dish called skillet cabbage?

I don’t know. This isn’t fried cabbage, this is cabbage as Luby’s the restaurant makes. Maybe at one time they put this in a skillet, maybe their marketing department thought it was a fantastic idea to call the dish Skillet Cabbage. When I recreate a CopyKat Recipe I use the name that was given in the restaurant, so you can find it better. If we used the names I personally use, it would be holy grail Alfredo sauce, that sauce I don’t like, and so forth. It’s for you I use the naming convention the restaurant uses.

But please, be sure to tell me this isn’t how you make fried cabbage, and continue to ask why is this called Skillet Cabbage. My answer is, yes, this isn’t fried cabbage, and beats me why they call it skillet cabbage.

Luby's Skillet Cabbage

  • Author:
  • Recipe Type: Side Dish
  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Serves: 8
Luby's Skillet Cabbage

You can make skillet cabbage just the Luby's Cafeteria.


  • 1 large head of green cabbage
  • 6 ounces bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter


Remove the cabbage core and discard. Slice the cabbage into 1 to 2-inch pieces; you should have approximately 12 cups. Place in a large pot along with the bacon and water. Bring the water to a boil over medium-low heat and then reduce the heat to a medium-low. Add the pepper and salt to the pot, cover with a lid, and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Before serving, stir in the butter.

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  • bob

    This is a good recipe – I do cook my bacon but keep the renderings and add her water and cabbage just like she says. I do not put the bacon in raw with the cabbage.

    In addition I mince some garlic cloves and sometimes even add a bay leaf.

  • grumpy cook

    grumpy cook

    • Lowell M. Bailey

      it’s called skillet because this recipe stopped just short of the finishing touch,
      when the cabbage and bacon, ( you can use ham or sausage too) is done, put a large skillet on the stove use butter or evoo and put the cabbage and bacon(after being drain of the liquid) in the frying pan and fry until the cabbage browns ( Glaze ) well. Keep turning with spatular until a good portion has been browned , not burned, It is good where the recipe ends, we called that boiled cabbage, but a great taste and finishing touch is to brown it in a good old iron skillet. You can add a little soy sauce or paprika to help the browning process.

      • Stephanie Manley

        Your description is not what Luby’s serves. Why they call it skillet cabbage, I have no idea. No idea. I don’t name the recipes, I just try to duplicate what is being served.

        Your recipe sounds quite tasty.

  • Michael Pearson

    O K So you bring it to a boil on MEDIUM-LOW heat then reduce the heat to MEDIUM – LOW heat right ???

  • Texas Gal

    Hey, Stephanie. I guess these folks didn’t READ your disclaimer about the name of the dish as it relates to the preparation. It seems to me they would mount a protest & take it up with the corporate office in San Antonio instead of you- lol. You are an outstandingly gracious person. Kudos. As a former employee of Luby’s, thanks for posting the copycat recipes and breaking them down to manageable measurements for those without the inclination or skill to do so. :-) Such is life.

    • stephaniemanley

      Thank you, people are always 100% right in their own head πŸ˜‰

  • Barbara from Texas

    I have two Luby’s Cookbooks (I don’t know how many there are.) The cabbage recipe is not in the 50th Anniversary cookbook. In the 60th anniversary cookbook “Luby’s Recipes & Memories” the “Skillet Fried Cabbage” recipe is as follows:1/2 c. chopped raw bacon; 2 1/2 lbs fresh green cabbage, diced about 1″; 1/4 c. butter or margarine; 1 1/4 c. diced tomatoes; 1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt; 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper. In a large skillet over medium-high heat cook bacon until slightly browned and crisp. Remove bacon from skillet and place on paper towel to drain. Reserve drippings. In a large pot of boiling water blanch green cabbage about 3 minutes until slightly cooked and tender. Remove from boiling water and drain in colander. Return skillet to medium-high heat with bacon drippings. Add butter and 1 c. of tomatoes. Cook about 2 minutes and then add salt, black pepper and blanched green cabbage. Continue to heat cabbage, stirring often, until it is hot and tender. Remove and place in serving bowl. Garnish with cooked bacon and remaining tomatoes.—My Luby’s closed down, but when it was open I ordered this all the time. I don’t remember any tomatoes, but maybe I just arrived when it was close to the bottom of the barrel and the tomatoes were gone by then.

    • stephaniemanley

      Thank you for sharing your recipe for this. Apparently my Luby’s often makes this without the tomatoes. I do find that in other locations you do receive tomatoes though.

    • Barbara from Texas

      You’re quite welcome. I do think your rendition of the recipe sounds like an easy peasy and yummy approach and I’ll be trying it soon.

  • Mumzie

    Actually, the name, Skillet Cabbage, implies that it is fried..but does not actually say, “fried”..J/S…..notice the core is discarded…I like the core and use it whenever I make cabbage…When I was a kid, in the neighborhood, the kids took turns getting the raw core as a treat when mom “fixed” cabbage… Can you imagine kids today thinking a core of cabbage is a treat! xxxo

  • Treece1049

    The way my Mother taught me was very basic to this recipe but with a very small amount of water, no lid on it, let the cabbage cook in the water then when the water evaporated let it fry. It will turn a nice brown color and oh so much flavor!

    • stephaniemanley

      I would really enjoy her cabbage. It sounds delicious.

  • Linda Jordan

    it would be helpful to me if they would give nutrition , information to help with keeping on track with my diet

  • mrspecan

    Instead of biting her head off about the fact she is boiling “luby’s skillet cabbage ” why dont you look up the menu thats what its called hence the name. You can do more than just frying in a skillet people, just be thankful she was nice enough to share a recipe

    • stephaniemanley

      Thanks. It’s really more important for folks to continue to tell me this isn’t fried cabbage or where the skillet comes in. They are the same folks that will tell me Wendy’s uses hamburger patties for their chili.

      • mrspecan

        Yeah people like to complain i guess it makes them feel superior so they can pretend they aren’t as insignificant as they truly are, i think what you’re doing is great and i appreciate it. You are awesome! I’m about to try it out now, never been to lubys but it sounds like a way i can trick my kids into eating cabbage lol.

  • Guinan

    Haha… first thing I thought was “where does the skillet come in?”… seems I wasn”t the first one. I’m Dutch and cabbage is usually eaten boiled here, but I prefer to fry it (with or without bacon) and add some (read: lots of) curry to it. Really lifts the taste!

    • stephaniemanley

      It is the name, Luby’s the restaurant gave to the dish. I did NOT NAME THE DISH πŸ˜‰ . Really, Luby’s the restaurant calls this dish Skillet Cabbage.

  • victoria

    wow…clearly they do not read the comments (OR CARE) because this poster was lambasted the last time she posted this ridiculous recipe of boiling “fried” cabbage and yet here it is again and STILL wrong. Must be a yankee. Every southern cook knows better than this. Even a Luby employee telling them it was wrong and they still repost it just as wrong as it was the last time. Shame shame shame on you.

    • stephaniemanley

      Thanks Victoria. I hope you enjoy the recipe.

  • Texan

    To those of you talking about cast iron skillets and so on, have any of you considered that THIS IS THE WAY LUBY’S DOES IT? This is not how your grandmother always did it, this is how Luby’s does it. Do you actually think that the employees at Luby’s are back there with cast iron skillets frying bacon? No, they take bacon, cabbage, salt, and pepper, throw it into one of those big restaurant warmer thingies, and boil it until done. So if you want it done like Luby’s, this is the way you replicate it at home.
    Don’t come to copycat recipes to find your grandmother’s recipes, unless your grandmother worked at Luby’s.

    • stephaniemanley

      Texan πŸ˜‰ I love you.

      • Marie

        We love you Stephanie! Thanks for this recipe! You can’t help the name of it! πŸ˜‰ Geeeze! People are critical!

        • stephaniemanley

          Heh πŸ˜‰ What can you do? Thank you for dropping by.

    • Kathy Schrader

      The point is that this is not fried cabbage this is boiled cabbage.

  • darksavior

    big time fail ! fried lol

    • stephaniemanley

      I don’t understand this comment. This wasn’t a recipe for fried anything.

  • Tom

    No cast iron skillet. No frying. This is boiled cabbage done the way my grandmother did it (sometimes used country ham) generations before there was a Luby’s.

    • stephaniemanley

      Thanks for sharing Tom. I’d love to hear more about how your grandmother cooked.

    • Tom

      Lots of fresh or home canned veggies. Lots of pork (butchered and cured right there). Fresh eggs. Grits. Relishes. Homemade rolls every night – I occasionally use her go-to recipe.

      • stephaniemanley

        Sounds like she was quite the cook. I miss my grandmother’s cooking too.

  • E.

    Stephanie, “my” Stephanie (daughter) also takes issue with your “non-fried” recipe! We have been eating at Luby’s for decades here in Dallas, TX and that is one of her favorite dishes.

    I do have to compliment you on your gracious replies to comments from others.

    • stephaniemanley

      Yes removed the word “fried cabbage” from the title. This is what I had always referred to as “fried cabbage” in this instance I must be from another planet, maybe even a different universe.

      I think this the preparation will give you a fairly decent interpretation of the recipe.

      None the less I hope you enjoy it.

  • gigimn

    Fry bacon till crisp..pour out most of grease..then add chopped onions and cabbage and fry..that’s fried cabbage..

    • stephaniemanley

      Thank you for your great tips. How much bacon grease do you leave in the pan?

      • gigimn

        about a tablespoon..enough to cover bottom of pan but not make the cabbage greasy..

        • stephaniemanley

          Thanks! My little bit may be less than yours.

  • lubys employee

    the real recipe is:
    1 gallon of chopped green cabbage
    1/2 cup cooked bacon pieces
    1/4 cup bacon fat
    1/2 tablespoon salt
    1/2 tablespoon pepper

    blanch cabbage in 185 degree water for 4 minutes. meanwhile, heat skillet over high heat. add bacon and bacon fat. After cabbage is tender, drain and add to skillet. remove skillet from heat and quickly add salt and pepper. stir thoroughly for 1 minute. done.

    • stephaniemanley

      Thank you for the share πŸ˜‰

    • AsswClass

      Not sure about other states, but the Luby’s in Texas, has 1/4 cup tomatoes in their recipe. Here it is…

      • stephaniemanley

        I appreciate your comment. I haven’t tried this to where it has had tomatoes in it. This is the done dish I pretty much order every time I go to Luby’s.

      • Texas Gal

        Many recipes are adapted to the regions they are served in.

    • Barbara Merrill

      I love cabbage any way you cook it. My mom just use to boil it with ham hocks and salt and pepper, we ate it over rice. I have fired it with bacon and onions love it. I have cut it into quarters taking out the core and boiled it with salt until done then drain it and put it into baking dish, put a lot of real butter on it and cover it with cheese and bake it until the cheese has melted, I just love it too.

      • stephaniemanley

        Thank you very much for your comment. I appreciate your comment.

    • Amelia L Adair

      That is how I make my fried cabbage. I do start it off boiled then after 4-5 minutes I put it in a pan of bacon grease and fry it! Ever try to fry cabbage before blanching it in hot boiling water? It can have a very hard texture…I like y cabbage tender!

      • Stephanie Manley

        Some people know better. Cabbage really needs blanching.

  • J’Marinde Shephard

    I’m a bit new to this, but where’s the “fried” part? After reading all the comments here, I would add in a med onion chopped with the boil, then after 30 mins, strain all — reserve any juice to drink when cool – – put all into a frying pan, if nec, add a bit of oil – – something plain, like peanut oil, and fry just a bit to caramelize a little, then add the butter (for me dairy free margarine) and serve.

    • stephaniemanley

      Great suggestion thank you.

  • Willa

    I have added shredded carrots sometimes, brocolli slaw, and LOTS of onions.

    • stephaniemanley

      Thank you for your wonderful suggestion.

  • Willa

    In all my 80 yrs. of living, I have never heard anything so ridiculous as calling plain ole boiled cabbage, FRIED!!! For those of you who would like to know how to fry cabbage, just fry up some salt pork until it nice and crispy. Remove it from pan and fry your cabbage in the pork grease. When done, put in the serving bowl and sprinkle the fried salt pork on the top as a garnish. That’s all there is to it. Been doing it for yrs

    • Stephanie

      Willa, I should have consulted with you before posting this recipe. It sounds like you make very tasty cabbage. I appreciate you sharing your technique with everyone.

    • stephaniemanley

      Sounds like I should have consulted with you before I posted this recipe. Thank you for your wise advice.

    • Lady Patriot

      Right on, Willa. I’ve been making that way, too, for years. You can substitute bacon for the salt pork.

      • Stephanie

        I am so glad to hear all of the wonderful ways everyone cooks cabbage.

    • Mary

      I agree. I don’t know where they got that it is fried cabbage.

      • stephaniemanley

        Thank you for sharing your opinion πŸ˜‰

    • Susan

      Willa your absolutely right! Thank you for sharing…

    • Cindy

      I fry my cabbage in bacon grease, just like my Mama did. Salt pork would be about the same, maybe a little cheaper since bacon has become so expensive. The above recipe, as you said, Willa, is boiled cabbage, not fried. I also don’t think I would enjoy the taste and texture of boiled bacon, yuk!!

  • Disco Dotty

    mine is better much better and like the others say, it can’t be fried cabbage if it isn’t fired.

    • stephaniemanley

      Yes, thank you for making that clear to me.

      • Sherlene Smith Dishun

        So funny. Stephanie did ya get that? Sorry they are all cramming that down your throat. Chill people.

        • stephaniemanley

          Heh πŸ˜‰ Apparently its really important to write about how to “fry cabbage’. This isn’t a recipe for fried cabbage.

  • Lady Patriot

    Why is this called “fried cabbage”? I see no resemblance to traditional fried cabbage. Y’all need to visit the South.

    • Stephanie

      Thank you for sharing your opinion.

  • RetiredOne

    I loved eating at Luby’s. It has been gone from Memphis for a long time. Does anyone have a recipe for their Waldorf Salad?

    • Stephanie

      Great suggestion. Thanks!

  • Manga Bene

    Copycat recipes are always missing something or quantities are not significant to match the original, this is something you would get at St. Paddys day dinner, omit bacon and add ham, WALLA!

    • Cathie

      Are you talking about using Walla Walla onions in the cabbage, or are you
      trying to use the French phrase

  • Dottie J. Bowman

    fried cabbage must be fried with bacon grease in an IRON skillet

    • Stephanie

      I don’t always understand the naming of recipes either πŸ˜‰ I hope you enjoy this one.

    • stephaniemanley

      You got me on this one πŸ˜‰ I appreciate your suggestion.

    • Kathy Schrader

      Exactly! And always has an onion chopped up in it. No water either.

  • Pam Linyard

    Boiled, not fried

  • Rhiannon Martin

    So, it’s actually…BOILED cabbage. Groundbreaking stuff right there.

  • Lea Ann

    I had never eaten at a Luby’s until on a trip down in Southern Texas. And we ended up eating there practically every night due to convenience and the nature of the trip. I wish I could remember the fish I had those nights. I loved it. I’m a cabbage fan so will be trying it Luby Style. Thanks for this Stephanie.

    • Catherine Baxter

      Lea Ann…the fish is to die for isn’t it? There is a Luby cook book…all the favorites (including the fish) in that but it sold out and is out of print and hard to find. Sometimes on amazon..but pricey. The fish were made baked (not fried) and the coating was crushed corn flakes. That’s about all I remember but maybe the Luby employee who posted the cabbage recipe can help.

  • JetfireK

    Cabbage, tablespoon of bacon grease, layer of cabbage layer of sliced onions, salt pepper, put in microwave, no water, no butter…five minutes at a time stir…delicious…cook to desired “crunch” or no crunch….

  • CJ

    just an FYI – on emails (or at least mine) your photo covers up some of the words that you start you newsletter with. Though you would like to know. CJ

    • Sasquatch

      Reduce your font size, should take care of it..

  • Kathy S.

    Where does the “fried”part come in?