Cabbage Soup

Healthy, simple cabbage soup, a nourishing soup with cabbage, chicken stock, onions and tomatoes.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds (or 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (or 1/4 teaspoon ground fennel)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds (or 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 4 to 5 cups, packed, 1/4-inch wide sliced green cabbage (from about 1 small cabbage or 1/2 large cabbage)
  • 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon salt (more or less depending on the saltiness of your stock)
  • 1 15-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Method

1 Grind spices if using whole spices: If using whole spices (coriander, fennel, cumin), grind them in a mortar and pestle or in a spice grinder until well ground.

2 Sauté onions and spices: Heat olive oil and butter in a 4-quart, thick bottomed pot on medium heat. Add the chopped onion and stir in the ground spices. Cook until the onions have softened, about 5 minutes.

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3 Add cabbage and tomatoes: Add the sliced cabbage to the pot and stir to mix the cabbage with the onions. If you are using unsalted stock, sprinkle the cabbage with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add the canned whole tomatoes, with their juices, to the pot. Stir to combine.

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4 Add stock, simmer till done: Add chicken stock to the pot. Bring to a simmer and taste for salt. Add more salt to taste. Lower the heat and cover the pot. Let simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cabbage is thoroughly cooked.

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Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper to serve.

 

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Comments

  • Iniki Galway

    Oh, wow! I was halfway through making southern boiled cabbage when I decided I wanted soup instead. I didn’t use an onion but there was loads of garlic in the dish already. Just the addition of the tomatoes and spices (and a little more of my homemade chicken stock) and this was a perfect soup. Super yummy!

  • Gwyn

    This soup is so nice for a cool winter evening. I think the quality of the broth can make a world of difference! I use my own homemade bone broth and it makes most soup (including this one) delish and healthy!

  • Rose

    Didn’t know if i would like this soup but girls at work always talk about cabbage dishes. Well I tried this soup and BINGO ! It’s delicious! Boiled with a smoked hock, and added cannelli beans nothing else as to make it simple enough , fast enough. Can’t wait to make this soup for my next function. Did I say delicious? Straight from a speciality restraunt.

  • Mari

    I had a head of cabbage I didn’t know what to do with, so I tried this recipe. It was pretty tasty, but I had to double up on the spices because I could not taste them. I’m not sure this is what I’d call a keeper, but it’s worth trying and I imagine it would not be difficult to tweak it to suit your own tastes.

  • Lana

    I made this last night at a glance, so I didn’t get the measurements right. But it was absolutely delish and probably will be a new super easy inexpensive staple food for me being a busy busy student. Thanks!

  • Suzanne Prael

    I love your recipes! I love cabbage and I’ve been making a fabulous cabbage soup for many years that everyone loves, I’m going to try this recipe to see what it’s like; it sounds delish!
    NOTE: I always simmer a huge ham hock in my cabbage soup until almost falling apart; remove, shred meat from bones and add to soup. I also add beans–kidney, cannellini, any kind! The flavor from the ham hock is fabulous!

  • Kelly

    Made this soup today and it was delicious! Used my own homemade stock and that really makes a difference over canned. I used the spices called for and really liked, my husband loved this soup! Will definitely be making again.

    • Elise

      Hi Kelly, homemade stock makes a huge difference! I’m so glad you liked the soup!

  • Holly Schuetz

    I have 2 heads of red cabbage ( they look like purple tho). Dont’ have coriandor, fennel seeds but I do have cumin and paprika. I only have 1 can of chicken stock. What should you suggest i use instead if I don’t have fennell or corinado seeds? I have ground beef in freezer. Can I add that to the soup? What do you suggest? I could add carrots to the soup. 1 can of chicken stock? I have chicken bouillion cubes? Will that work?

    Holly

    • Elise

      Hi Holly, well the good news is that cabbage soup is very flexible. If you have bouillon, you can make some additional stock using it by dissolving a bouillon cube into a cup of water. Using cumin and paprika will give the cabbage soup more of a southwestern flair. You could add carrots, though cut them small and add them to the soup early, with the onions, so they have more time to cook. As for the beef? I’m not sure. I could see adding ground pork or sausage. You could always try sauteing a little of the beef separately and adding it to some of the soup to see how it tastes. Good luck!

  • Hunter Stuart

    Did I miss something, or is there no instruction on what to do with the “whole peeled tomatoes”? Are they supposed to stay whole while you simmer the soup and then you throw them out before serving? I ended up chopping mine up and then immersion blending. It came out pretty well. But I’m curious what I was supposed to have done.

    • Elise

      Hi Hunter, just put in the whole peeled canned tomatoes. They’ll break up as they cook with the cabbage and as you stir. Or you can break them up with your fingers as you add them to the pot. They don’t need to be blended, you want chunks of tomato in there with the cabbage.

  • Mike

    Delicious!! Neighbors are sampling it soon. They’ll ask for the recipe. Living in Fla., can’t imagine how tasty it is up north. Thanks

  • Bob

    This is the time of year for this soup to be sure. My latest version has ground (hot) sausage and a can of RO*TEL original just like Leona said above. Don’t know if i’m ready for carrots in this one, they seem to wind up in every other soup i make…
    plus, without potatos and carrots, this is a candidate for freezing, as mentioned above.

  • David Mooney

    Love this soup. I have made it with diced carrots and caraway seed instead of the fennel on my “meatless mondays”. Other times have added sliced kielbasa, which my son loves.

  • Mark E Miller

    Just found this site as I was Googling for cabbage soup recipes… I made rice and lentil stuffed cabbage rolls, and needed something to use up the rest of the cabbage core after the outer leaves had been blanched free and stuffed. Very good and simple.

    I need to check out the rest of the site.

  • patty

    I make this the same way except your recipe adds cumin Never thought of that will add some the next time. I add bacon chips to mine

  • Meagan

    I veganized this and added cauliflower. Perfect for my sicky husband. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Leona Olson

    I make the soup and do freeze it. I also use Ro-tel as well as canned tomatoes.

  • Jane H from MA

    I just recently made “cabbage roll soup” that is similar to this but made with beef stock, browned ground beef and pork, and rice. It was very good, but still I was disappointed with the seasonings (thyme, paprika). Now I am inspired to try again with your combo of fennel and cumin, and I think the chicken stock will be a nice change, too. Thanks!

    Go, CABBAGE!

    • Rudy

      If you want your soup to taste like stuffed cabbage, substitute allspice, coriander and paprika (preferably smoked) for the spices in this recipe. The result will taste exactly like stuffed cabbage.

  • Denise

    I make mine with beef stock instead and it is awesome

  • Kevin Surratt

    I’m a Chef here in Las Vegas and I must say that this is a very simple but most delicious soup!! Fantastic texture and taste! Great job, can’t get enough!!

  • marie

    I Just made it for dinner…Delicious!

  • sue

    Does this soup freeze well? I’ve never made cabbage soup before…thanks

    • Elise

      Hi Sue, I haven’t tried freezing it, so don’t know what to tell you. If you try freezing it, please let us know how it goes!

  • Justin

    Made this tonight, very nice! Added some fresh coriander and spring onions at the end and also one grated carrot with the cabbage. Winner winner, will be putting this in the book, thanks!

  • Janie

    Made this soup today with organic ingredients, all fresh, toasted the freshly ground spices, and was so surprised at how bland and uninteresting this soup was. I added a lot of spices to kick up the flavor and some kale pesto cubes (frozen from the summer crop of kale) to enrich the broth. I won’t be making this again as I make soups all the time and this one gets zero stars :-((

    • Elise

      Sounds like you may have needed to add more salt. That’s the usual culprit when something turns out bland that shouldn’t be.

  • sylvia

    Made this but added radish greens, extra tomatoes, and cannelini beans. Yummy!

  • Norm

    This was ridiculously easy and very flavorful. I believe it’s the spices which send it out of the ordinary. I saw another commenter who toasted the spices before grinding, and I hadn’t thought of that. I also will try some of the comments which added extra ingredients,

  • colleen carter

    i just love the soup,its so good just to enhale it with a cold don,t forget to eat it

  • LeeAnn

    I made this soup at home and it was a huge success! I then posted a link to it on Facebook and got oodles of comments on it and those who made it thought it was awesome! Thanks for a GREAT recipe!!!

    • Elise

      I’m so glad you liked it!

      • dave

        i love beef soup with tomatos, can i substitute beef stock for chicken?

  • Debra in Israel

    Hi Elise your recipies are always well recieved in my house. This is a great recipie and we love the spices that are popular here in the middle east. Thanks

  • Laura Pokorski

    I made this last week but added cooked brown rice & lean browned ground beef. It reminded us of my mother-in-law’s stuffed cabbages, a family fav! Loved the freshly ground spices!

  • Slaf

    Love cabbage, but this soup let me down.

  • Carla

    Hi Elise, In the past week, I have cooked your Salsa Verde Pork Carnitas (http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/salsa_verde_carnitas/ and also your Borscht recipe. I love making big pots of soup or stew that we get several meals out of, and those recipes are both winners! And coincidentally, each one called for a quarter head of cabbage. Hmmm, what to do with the rest of the cabbage? I guess I am on my third Simply Recipes great recipe for this week. Thanks!

  • Mahua

    i have cooked the soup..it is really awesome..but i have also used cornflour to thickend it

  • borisa

    This is very popular dish in Balkans. Maybe you can try adding some smoked meat, like bacon or sausages. It just gonna give it a little more aroma from south:)

  • Maurice Lane

    I have made Cabbage Soup a meal on occasion by adding a couple of things to this recipe. Brown a pound of lean hamburger, a half cup of diced celery, half cup of green peppers and diced raw potatoes and cook till potatoes are soft. I enjoy this with some garlic bread and that’s a light meal. It freezes well too.

  • David O.

    My wife and I made this for supper last night. It immediately went on our keeper list. This site has become our “go to” for tasty recipes. Thanks

  • Pamela

    This is a winner! Next time I will add minced garlic to the sautéed onions. I did drop a couple of chicken bouillon cubes to the soup as it was cooking. Delicious and healthy, thank you.

  • Christian Gehman

    Adding a few peeled, sliced or wedged fresh beets, and changing the spice blend a bit would turn this into a delightful borscht — excellent served with a dab pf sour cream or Greek yogurt. Duck duck broth, or goose broth made from the carcass of a roast goose, are also excellent bases for cabbage soup. And if you have goose broth, I’ll hope you’ve managed to save out some of the goose grease drippings from the roasting pan, which is not only lighter than butter but a very Russian treat spread on black bread and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Wishing all the happiest of midwinter tales ….

  • Kiki Corcoran

    This soup looks terrific, tasty, and timely. Love us some cabbage here in the south, and it combines simplicity with good and healthy ingredients. I use a Knorr product from the Hispanic foods section that is a tomato/chicken bouillon that is terrific when making Mexican Rice and I bet it would be great in this soup as well. Thanks for sharing.

  • lynda

    I was raised on this soup. having Italian mother and a Polish father we had it all the time. my grandmother made it just the way you did she add Italian sausage to it. what a great cold night soup.

  • L.D. Meyer

    Cabbage is a good keeper, I use it to make salads rather than iceberg lettuce. I use cabbage for tacos, fajitas and of course out here on the western plains for our notorious Runzas, aka: bierocks, kraut burgers, pasties, bunzas. Sometimes when I’m hungry on one hand but a little lazy on the other I’ll use sauerkraut instead of cooking down shredded cabbage for my Runzas. Cabbage is one if not the first of the veggies to be cultivated by mankind, its also more nutritious than any lettuce you can buy. Bon Appetit. Hasta La Bye Bye! L.D.

  • Dawn

    This recipe is brilliant in so many ways. Simple and tasty, but also it forms a great base for creativity. Other veggies in the fridge? Add them too – I have used up carrots and various types of peppers in this soup. Want a bit more protein? Just add some diced cooked chicken, shrimp or cooked crumbled Italian sausage. For a hearty meal, add a little carb in the form of cooked barley, diced potatoes or even pasta. Very delicious and so flexible. Oh, and it freezes well too!

  • A J

    Fabulous! My Lithuanian heritage had a similar soup, but they also used beef bones or short ribs to enrich the broth, with a little tomato paste at the end. The best! Thanx for the memory! A.J.

  • Sarah Jean

    Cabbage makes a vegetable soup. I am not familiar with the spices in this one and will have to test them out first. My soup starts out with a pound of browned ground beef (drained of fat), three cans of Swanson’s chicken broth, two potatoes quartered and cut into bite size pieces, one or two chopped onions, two carrots cut across into slices, two cans of Mexican style stewed tomatoes, one can of sliced stewed tomatoes, and half a cabbage cored and chopped and sprinkled over the top of the soup to steam for at least ten minutes or until tender. Salt and pepper if needed. And the last touch, a quarter cup of white wine. I make a lot and send containers home with family members.

  • Melinda

    At first my husband dubbed this “weight-loss soup” because of it’s simplicity but after going back for his fourth bowl he finally admitted that he really likes it! It was really easy to prepare with ingredients I regularly have on hand, minus the cabbage which is always available. Super delicious. Glad I made a double batch because dh is sneaking a 5th bowl instead of a late-night snack! Thanks for another great recipe!

  • Sandy S

    Looking forward to trying this recipe Elise! Love cabbage but have never made a cabbage soup. This has some of my favorite spices. I feel lucky to have 2 local sources for buying herbs and spices in small quantities! Easy on the pocketbook and helps with using fresh spices and herbs.

  • susan

    any substitutes for fennel and caraway? i dont care for either
    would it be ok just to use coriander seeds and cumin?
    should i add paprika and or turmeric?
    thanks for this great looking recipe. i have been looking for some
    cabbage dishes and this looks fantastic

    • Elise

      Hi Susan, this soup is open to interpretation and experimentation. Play around with the spices you have and see what you like best!

      • Daisyc

        I added chicken that cooked in the crock pot the day before.This will be dinner.I also used already shredded cabbage but the flavor is amazing.

  • Jeffrey A. Hogan

    I’m glad someone had the wisdom to post a comment concerning the toasting of the whole spices. It takes such a short amount of time yet enhances their flavour in ways you can only imagine until you’ve tried it.

  • Nicole

    Yummy! This makes me think a kimchee inspired soup is a must!

  • Diane

    Love cabbage,boiled,baked, fried, fermented or raw. I am vegetarian so will leave out the chicken stock, can’t wait it make it. I work late this week so maybe I will put it in the crock pot and eat it when I get home. Yum.

    • L.D. Meyer

      I don’t know how well the cabbage will hold up in a crock pot all day, it could turn out too soft and slimy even on low. On a personal note I don’t care for cabbage that is over cooked. When I make my traditional “Corned Beef n’ Cabbage” for St. Pat’s I wait and add the cabbage to the crockpot in the last hour of cooking and it comes out to my liking. Well, Bon Appetit, Adios n’ Hasta La Bye Bye!

  • Ann Marie Kelly

    I saw this when you posted it to Facebook, and like many others here, coincidentally had a cabbage that needed a purpose. This did the trick! The soup is very full of flavor despite its simplicity. My only subs: diced tomatoes for the whole and caraway seeds (which I ground) for the fennel. Actually, I was surprised to find coriander seeds in my cabinet. Who knows how old they are! Thanks.

  • Karen

    I used the whole seeds and toasted them in a dry frying pan before grinding them. I also added 2 minced cloves of garlic and 1/8 tsp. ground turmeric after the onions had been sautéing for a few minutes and 1/4 c of parsley finely chopped at the end. This is a wonderful soup.

    • Karen

      Correction……….AMAZING Soup.

  • Lindsey

    This looks yummy! I love cabbage… especially in homemade fermented sauerkraut!

    I also love this easy recipe: saute cabbage in some butter or olive oil, after a few minutes, sprinkle with a bit of garlic powder and drizzle some soy sauce over it. When the cabbage is softened, drizzle with a bit of balsamic vinegar. I can eat half a cabbage by myself with this recipe, it’s so good!

    • Kay

      Try sautee’ing garlic with the cabbage instead of sprinkling garlic powder over it. Yum

  • Susanne

    Hi Elise
    Glad you’re on the mend. This soup looks wonderful — I’m wondering what it would be like with red cabbage. Any thoughts? I have half a red cabbage left from making braised red cabbage with a pork roast (so good). With just my husband and me, I end up with left over vegetables.
    Thanks!

    • Elise

      HI Susanne, red cabbage will turn a rather unappetizing color of blue unless it is cooked in a vinegary solution (then it stays brilliant maroon). So, the taste will be fine if you use red cabbage for this recipe, but the soup might look weird.

  • Robin from Israel

    What a coincidence. I was just looking at the cabbage in my refrigerator this morning and thinking “I should make soup”. This one looks like a great option for me.

    Coriander and cumin seeds are already in my pantry but I’m not crazy about fennel. Would caraway seeds be a reasonable substitution or maybe better to go with hot or smoked paprika?

    • Elise

      Yes, caraway seeds are great with cabbage.

      • Robin from Israel

        Thanks Elise! I made this last night subbing caraway seeds for the fennel and it was delicious – and I’m looking forward to polishing off the leftovers for lunch today :).

  • Leesa Gentry

    We make a version that calls for onion, bell pepper, cabbage, smoked keibash, diced tomatoes, and rotel tomatoes. Make a wonder soup that is filling and inexpensive.

  • Michael D

    Thanks for the recipe. We have 20 heads of cabbage that will be ready from the garden very soon. We will definitely give this a try. We use chicken stock as a base ingredient in a lot of our dishes. Would like to add in carrots as well.

    Need a great recipe for sourkraut???

    • Violet Hawkins

      I would really appreciate a great recipe for sourkraut if you will share.

      Looking forward to receiving, Thanks.

  • dolly

    Love cabbage but I don’t have any of those spices, I have never used them. Would it taste awful with just the salt and pepper in it?

    • Elise

      It would be fine, though you might want to spice it up a little with some paprika or cayenne. You could also try caraway seeds, or juniper berries. Experiment! You can also add minced garlic to the onions, or some browned Italian sausage to the soup.

    • Bob

      No, just salt and pepper is fine. Go strong on the pepper. I like to brown up some hamburger and throw that in too. Minced garlic is quick and works well.

    • Mark E Miller

      Never used coriander, cumin, or fennel? How sad! I cook with coriander and cumin just about every day, these are so wonderful and go with so many dishes — you really ought to try them.

      • Edward M Rose

        I also like to cook but I don’t use coriander or fennel. I find they dominate the flavor of whatever you’re cooking. Cumin is good whenever I make bean soup or chili. By the way, try a can of cannellini beans in your cabbage soup. Adds more flavor and texture and works well. Oh yes! Sliced up sausage is nice in your soup.

    • William Main

      Try curry, it contains most of them anyway (except fennel)