Polish Fried Cabbage {Kapusta Zasmażana}

Its no news that Poles eat a lot of cabbage. Its cheap and it stores well in the cool basement storage. My grandma’s neighbor grew cabbage and she’d always buy a few “meters” for the winter. I’m not sure how much that meant, but it was enough to feed a small army through the winter. 

Part of it would be made into sauerkraut, and the rest used up for soup, gołąbki {stuffed cabbage}, bigos {Hunter’s Stew} or this belly warming autumn or winter dish. 

Eat it over potatoes, add sausage or pork-chops or both and dinner is done!

polish food recipe

Polish Fried Cabbage {Kapusta Zasmażana}

  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 20 min


  • 1 medium cabbage (about 2 lbs)
  • 1.5 c water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 10 allspice seeds
  • 1/2 c white vinegar
  • 4 think slices of smoked bacon (about 6 oz)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 tbs of butter
  • 3 tbs of flour
  • 1/2 c dill


  1. Chop cabbage, as if you would to make coleslaw. Place in a medium pot, add water, salt, peppercorns and allspice. Cook cabbage for only about 5 min. You want to preserve some crunch. Add vinegar, stir and set aside.

  2. Chop bacon and sauté in a separate pan. When the edges start getting a little brown add chopped onion. Sauté together for another few minutes, until nice and golden brown. Transfer into the cabbage mixture reserving as much fat as possible, but there probably won't be a whole lot.

  3. To the now empty bacon pan add butter and flour to make roux. Stir while it heats for about 45-60 seconds. Transfer to cabbage mixture.

  4. Turn mixture onto low-medium heat and cook uncovered until some of the water evaporates and it thickens, for about 10-15 minutes.

  5. Add dill and taste. Add salt, if needed. Serve hot.


Enjoy as part of dinner, on a bed of potatoes, "garnish" with sausage or a pork chop or eat on its own. Either way, its a win-win. 

There is also a spring version of this recipe, and it tastes just slightly fresher, as it’s made from “young” cabbage: młoda kapusta. This means that the cabbage was freshly cut and sold shortly after that, without being stored over long period of time. In Europe that normally happens in late spring, early summer. You can very easily tell the difference between “young” and “old” cabbage just by looking at it. The young cabbage has a lot more dark green leaves that stick out and away from the head. They are a lot looser and a will cook a lot faster. Cabbage that has been stored through the fall and/or winter is a lot paler, with leaves tightly stuck together to form the head. 

Try this recipe now, and again in the spring or summer. Pay attention to cook time, as the “young” cabbage may soften a lot faster. Once overcooked, it will become mushy, and you don’t want that. And remember, vinegar stops the cooking process, so use it to your advantage.

Good luck! Let me know how it turns out! Leave me a comment below!