Impress your guests with this recipe for Irish-style cabbage. Warning: it may contain bacon!

Irish American Mom Mairead Geary teaches you how to cook the best cabbage!

Irish-style cabbage recipe

Note: Cooking half a head of cabbage yields about 4 servings. I usually cook just half a head at a time, but this recipe works fine if you cook the whole head of cabbage, yielding about 8 servings.


  • 1/2 head of green cabbage
  • 1 teaspoon of peppercorns
  • 3 slices of streaky bacon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • Water for boiling.


Here is my trick for adding a little bacon flavor to my American boiled cabbage. I take the outer leaf off the cabbage head and remove the hard stalk at the very end.

Next, I place 3 slices of bacon folded over in the center of the leaf, together with 1 teaspoon of peppercorns.

Next, it's time to fold up this flavor packet by bending the sides of the leaf inwards over the bacon, then rolling up the cabbage leaf. Secure it with some cotton thread that will withstand boiling water.

Next, cut the cabbage head in two halves. Remove the inner hard core of the cabbage by slicing on either side of it. Wiggle it and it should pop right out.

Peel the leaves off the cabbage head, layer by layer. Pop them in a colander and rinse them under cold water.

Transfer the cabbage leaves into a large saucepan, tearing any large leaves into smaller pieces. Add the bacon and peppercorn packet prepared earlier.

Cover the cabbage with water and season with salt. Bring to a boil.

Turn the heat down and simmer for 20 minutes until the cabbage is tender.

Drain the cabbage and return it to the pot.

Discard the cabbage package with the bacon and peppercorns.

Using a knife, cut through the cabbage leaves.

When shredded nicely, add some butter, if desired.

Serve with potatoes and corned beef. Simply delicious with a few knobs of butter melting over the cabbage and potatoes.

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You can see more IrishCentral recipes here.

* Originally published August 2015. Updated in June 2023.