Learn how to cut cabbage for slaws, stir fries, soups, and more! This step-by-step guide teaches you how to slice it into wedges, shreds, and squares.
This post is part of my mission to get everyone to eat cabbage more often. This humble vegetable is nutritious, delicious, and versatile (not to mention cheap!), but I’ll admit, from the outside, it can be intimidating. Where do you start with a veggie that looks like a miniature globe?
I hope that the step-by-step instructions and tips below make preparing cabbage feel simple. And if you need an idea for how to use it after you chop it up, find some of my favorite cabbage recipes at the bottom of this post!
Types of Cabbage
When you head to the produce section of your grocery store, you’ll likely see one or more of these types of cabbage:
- Green cabbage (pictured above) – Its crisp, pale leaves pack densely into heavy round heads. Left raw, green cabbage is perfect for classic coleslaw, but it also cooks up nicely into soups and sautés.
- Red cabbage (pictured above) – From the outside, it looks just like green cabbage, except it’s, well…red. Add it to a slaw or grain bowl, or roast it.
- Napa cabbage – This variety of Chinese cabbage has a long, ovular shape. Its leaves have crisp white stems and soft, frilly pale green edges. I love napa cabbage raw or cooked in dishes like stir fries and sautés.
- Savoy cabbage – A whole Savoy cabbage and a whole green cabbage have a lot in common. Both are round; both are green. But Savoy cabbage’s leaves are much more loosely packed, and they have a softer, rufflier texture. Though this cabbage variety hails from the French Alps, its tender texture makes it a great sub for napa cabbage in many recipes.
These types of cabbage all look different from the outside, but you can learn how to cut any of them using the guide below!
How to Cut Cabbage Into Wedges
Cutting cabbage into wedges can be your end goal OR the first step towards cutting it into another shape, like shreds or squares. It breaks down a large, unwieldy head of cabbage into more manageable pieces.
- Start by removing any outer leaves that are tough, wilted, or discolored. Rinse the cabbage and blot it dry with paper towels or a kitchen towel.
- Then, locate the stem or core. It will be at the bottom of the cabbage where the leaves join together.
- Use a sharp chef’s knife to cut the cabbage in half lengthwise through the core.
- Cut the halves in half, again lengthwise through the core, to form four wedges.
Are wedges your stopping point? Continue to slice the cabbage pieces through the core until the wedges are your desired thickness. I think 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick is a great size for searing or roasting.
Want to learn how to cut cabbage into thin slices or squares? Keep reading!
How to Cut Shredded Cabbage
First thing’s first: see the section above to learn how to cut a cabbage into wedges.
- Once you have four wedges, place one wedge cut side down on your cutting board.
- Cut diagonally along the core to remove it from the wedge.
- Then, use a sharp chef’s knife to thinly slice the cabbage wedge crosswise, working down from the pointy tip towards where you cut out the core.
- Repeat with the remaining wedges!
- Variation 1: For longer shreds, cut the cabbage lengthwise instead of crosswise. Thinly slice it along one of the cut edges of each wedge.
- Variation 2: For very finely shredded cabbage, use a mandoline slicer. Hold a cabbage wedge at the core end and run the tip over the mandoline blade to slice it. Be sure to use the safety guard!
- Variation 3: For chopped cabbage, like I use in my cabbage soup, cut each wedge lengthwise into 1-inch uniform slices. Then, cut 1-inch slices crosswise to form a grid. The leaves will separate into squares.
Favorite Cabbage Recipes
So, you learned how to cut a cabbage. How are you going to cook it? If you need some inspo, try making one of these recipes:
- Cabbage Soup
- Creamy Coleslaw
- Vinegar Coleslaw
- Broccoli Slaw
- Cabbage and Cauliflower Tacos
- Mango Ginger Rice Bowl
- Or any of these 17 Best Cabbage Recipes!
You can find even more delicious cabbage recipes in my new cookbook, Love & Lemons Simple Feel Good Food.
In fact, it includes a 3-day meal plan that’s designed to use a whole head of cabbage! The plan recipes—Seared Cabbage Wedges, Loaded Pita Nachos (pictured below), and Chickpea Tacos with Pickled Cabbage (pictured below)—are some of my favorites in the book. Pre-order it now to get a free BONUS e-book!
How to Cut Cabbage
- Mandoline Slicer (I love this one because it's small and easy to store)
- 1 head cabbage
- Remove any outer leaves from the cabbage that are tough, discolored, or wilted. Rinse the cabbage and pat it dry. Place on a cutting board.
- Locate the stem or core at the bottom of the cabbage where the leaves join together. Use a sharp chef's knife to slice the cabbage in half vertically through the core. Cut each half in half vertically through the core to form four wedges.
- To cut thinner wedges for roasting or searing, continue to cut the cabbage wedges vertically through the core until they reach your desired thickness.
- To cut shredded cabbage for slaws or sautés, place one cabbage wedge cut side down on your cutting board. Cut diagonally along the core to remove it from the wedge. Working down from the pointy tip to the core end, thinly slice the cabbage crosswise. Repeat with the remaining wedges.
- To cut chopped cabbage for a stir fry or soup, cut each wedge into 1-inch slices lengthwise, then cut it into 1-inch slices crosswise to form a grid. The leaves will separate into squares.
- Find recipe suggestions in the post above, or check out these 17 Best Cabbage Recipes.