Sweet and Sour Cabbage with Bacon

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Sweet and Sour Cabbage with Bacon- a combination of sugar, cider vinegar and crispy, salty bacon bits makes this one of the most delicious cabbage side dished ever.

Cabbage in a bowl with plate of bratwurst in background.


I love any kind of sautéed cabbage, but this Sweet and Sour Cabbage with Bacon may be my favorite. When I make it, I find myself picking the last pieces out of the pan with my fingers. It’s that good.


With crunchy bacon, onion, sweetness from a hefty dose of sugar, tang from cider vinegar, and saltiness from soy sauce, this side dish will wake up every taste bud in your mouth. So much so that you might wish it was the main dish instead of just a side.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage with Bacon in a white bowl.

I love to serve it with Bratwurst and Knockwurst. I slice them in half horizontally, place them in a skillet with a drizzle of olive oil and brown them up a little bit. But you could slice them and cook them with the cabbage for a one dish meal. Easy peasy!

Sweet and Sour Cabbage with Bacon is a simple side dish, but it is big on flavor. Only a handful of ingredients are needed. It’s a German-style side dish that is popular in the south. The part of North Carolian I am from had a lot of German immigrants and you can see the influences in southern home cooking.

This amazing side dish goes great with a side of Buttermilk Cornbread.

Try These other Amazing Cabbage Recipes:

Watch the short video below to see how easy this recipe is!

Cabbage in a bowl with plate of bratwurst in background.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage with Bacon

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Southern
Keyword: cabbage
Servings: 4
Calories: 228kcal
A German-inspired side dish. This cabbage is full of sweet, sour, and salty flavors.
Print Recipe


  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 4 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium green cabbage, cored and cut into 1 to 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce


  • Heat oil in a large, heavy pot (I use a Dutch oven) over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crisp, stirring frequently.
  • Use a slotted spoon to transfer bacon to a plate. Add onion and cabbage to pot and cook, stirring often, until cabbage is wilted (about 10 minutes).
  • Add vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce and cook until cabbage is crisp-tender, about 10 more minutes.
  • Stir in bacon.


Calories: 228kcal

Recipe Source: Martha Stewart

Originally published Oct 29, 2013.


59 thoughts on “Sweet and Sour Cabbage with Bacon

  1. The only thing I did different was to thicken the liquid at the bottom of the pot a bit. It stuck to the cabbage instead of just laying at the bottom. It was wonderful! It’s funny how something as cheap as a head of cabbage makes me sooooo happy!

  2. My son made this today after I told him my grandmother used to make sweet and sour cabbage. He found this recipe and I’m so glad he did. We had a very large cabbage, so we had to alter the other ingredients accordingly.

    Additionally, he used avocado oil and some of the bacon drippings instead of vegetable oil. He also used maple syrup instead of sugar. It was very good and we must have eaten a 1/3 of a giant cabbage each. Soooooo delicious.

    Thank you for your wonderful recipe and bringing back fond memories of my childhood. I recommend this to all cabbage connoisseurs. 🙂

  3. This is an outstanding recipe exactly as is that we’ll be enjoying often! Wouldn’t change a thing. Thank you!

  4. I haven’t made this as of yet…but was wondering if I could use “sour cabbage” that is already soured by marinating?
    If so, how long would it cook it for?

  5. Hi Cristin!
    This looked so good and I love cabbage. Especially sauteed cabbage. The only thing I had a problem with was the cabbage didn’t want to wilt in 10 minutes! That was ok and I cooked it a little while longer. Now it’s ready for supper. Yippee. It had too much liquid so just used a slotted spoon. Taste tested, it was great!

  6. This recipe is super good. I added my own “twist” by putting in 1 large Granny Smith apple 1/2” diced.

  7. Super easy Super yummy!
    I don’t eat pork so i used a tiny bit of liquid smoke and butter to cook the cabbage and onion in. And served it with pasta and chicken sausage. Total comfort food all the way! !

  8. Delicious…. Cut in half, otherwise followed as written. I will definitely make this again but won’t cut in half so I’ll have leftovers!! Thanks for sharing

  9. My Grandmother and Mother made this dish.They used cream instead of soy sauce.They were German and this was their Hot slaw recipe.Very good twist on the old recipe..

  10. I never used the olive oil in this. Once I fried the bacon I had enough fat to cook with. This was one of the first side dishes. Learned to make in 7th grade home etc. still just as good today and the recipe is simple and fail Proof! 🤓

  11. I found your post,, an knew I would have to try it ,,, when I did, I found I didn’t have any soy sauce,, but I did have some Lime Ponzu (a citrus season dressing & sauce ),,,, was so good, I’m making it again soon,, thanks for putting this out there for us cabbage lovers,,

  12. I’m making this for a family reunion and wanted to know if it is freezable or will it be too mushy once thawed.

    1. You should cook it the same day. It’s so and fast to make. Don’t freeze it it’ll lose its texture and taste.

    2. My motherlaw was polish she made this all the time. I have added polish sausage to mine. I precook the sausage by slicing it is helps Eliminate some grease from the sausage. Its a great side dish. There are lots of good ideas in the comments.

  13. I have cooked this same dish for years. For a little extra flavor I have added a clove or two of garlic. I also salt and pepper to taste before serving.

  14. I love cabbage any which way. I made this with great expectations, and somehow I felt it was lacking in taste. The only thing I did differently was to cook the bacon earlier. Do you leave the bacon drippings in the Dutch oven ? I did not keep them. Is the sugar, soy sauce and cider vinegar supposed to evaporate, or does it stay watery? Would appreciate hearing from you, as I am sure it was something I did and I would like to make it again.

    Look forward to hearing from you. Thanks in advance.

    1. Yes, leave the bacon fat in the Dutch oven. That is where a lot of the flavor comes from. A good bit of the liquid should evaporate, but there will still be some. Maybe try slightly higher heat.

    1. That’s not an Irish dish, at all, Sharon. If you’d want a real Irish dish, just check online….there’s Dublin Coddle for one. Bubble and Squeak is another, but, I forget if you boil the cabbage for that. Then, there’s Boxty.
      My mother and father were both from Ireland. I never had Corned Beef at home. We might have ham and cabbage but that’s not real Irish, either.
      For something simple, I’d just make Shepherd’s Pie. That might be more an English dish but people kind of associate it with Ireland, too. I think it’s in all the Irish Cook books.

      1. How about colcannon. I make every year for St. Pats. Don’t be fooled though. There are a lot of crazy recipes out there. I stick with cabbage, potatoes butter cream and salt and pepper

  15. Hi Christin, Your sweet & sour cabbage with bacon looks delicious. I am looking forward to trying it. May I thank you for allowing us to have a copy of the picture with the recipe.
    I am a visual person and will more likely try a recipe that I
    can see what it looks like over just having a recipe. I
    have started only keeping recipes that allow us to have a
    picture. Saves me time and effort. Thanks again for sharing.
    Happy cooking,

  16. Wow! My dear mother-in-law used to make a German potato salad (it’s still a traditional Christmas dish in our family) that tasted exactly like this………..only I think I like it better with cabbage!

  17. I love Fried Cabbage (That’s Southern for Sauteed Cabbage.) but would never have thought of this combo. I can’t wait to try it.

  18. This was awesome! I’ve never really been a fan of cabbage but I’ll definitely be making this again. The boyfriend loved it too 🙂 It was great served over rice.

  19. Yum! I love sautéed cabbage and this sweet and sour version sounds incredible! Can’t wait to try this, thanks for sharing Christin 🙂

  20. I love cabbage too! I actually love sautéing it up and putting it in a wrap with feat cheese! I’m so happy to have another recipe to use yummy cabbage in! Pretty pics too!

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