Quick Beef and Cabbage Skillet Recipe – Hearty Winter Fare

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Bobbie Laughman’s Quick Beef and Cabbage Skillet Recipe

Winter was almost ignoring us here in south-central Pennsylvania: not too frigid and hardly any snow, and heck, I even wore shorts last week. Well, indoors, at least. Then that stupid groundhog saw his shadow on February 2, signaling six more weeks of winter. And then, someone must have passed the message along to Winter because it started paying attention again. Now everything’s completely white, and it got cold. I hate groundhogs and cold weather and snow, but hey, at least the food’s good. Quick Beef and Cabbage Skillet is hearty and filling, perfect for a cold winter’s day, but still budget-friendly. Oh, and delicious.

*Edit 2/13/2015: New photo, ground pork for the ground beef in the original quick beef and cabbage skillet recipe. You can also use ground turkey. If you opt for either ground pork or turkey, add a teaspoon of Worcestershire to up the umami flavor that ground beef provides -Heather* This is a family favorite recipe that we usually make a couple of times a month.

The first time I cooked this combination of ingredients, I was selfish: I love cooked cabbage, and I thought I was kind of alone. At least, I knew my husband hated cabbage rolls, and although this has no rice or tomato and is almost completely unlike cabbage rolls in any way, aside from the cabbage and meat, I still felt as if I was throwing caution to the wind.  

I was amazed. My husband kept saying how much he liked it, so he could be sure I’d make it again. Talk about a win-win. And cheap cheap, too. Cabbage was recently as low as 49 cents per pound at my favorite store, and even when it’s not “on sale,” it’s still one of the best deals in the produce department. Learn to love cabbage, and your budget will love you.

Yield: 4 Servings

Bobbie Laughman's Quick Beef and Cabbage Skillet

Bobbie Laughman's Quick Beef and Cabbage Skillet

Quick and hearty, this filling budget-friendly dish makes excellent use of winter vegetables

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 approximately 2-pound head of green cabbage
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  •  2 bay leaves


    1. Choose a large, heavy skillet or pot with a lid with a capacity of at least 6 quarts. I used my 8-quart stock pot, which gave me plenty of stirring about room. Set it over medium heat, and add the ground beef.
    2. Peel and coarsely chop the onion, and add it to the meat, stirring it up a bit with a sturdy spoon. Stir the meat and onions occasionally while you prepare the cabbage and carrots.
    3. Using a large chef's knife, cut the head of the cabbage in half from the top, through the core, then cut each half again so you have 4 pieces approximately equal in size.
    4. Carefully slice away the core and discard. (If you don't get all of it, don't worry. It's perfectly safe to eat - it's just a bit tough sometimes.) Roughly chop the cabbage - neatness doesn't count. Cleanliness does, so keep it off the floor. I usually cut the cabbage into approximately one-inch chunks, which works pretty well.
    5. If you have a box grater or other tool for shredding foods, use that for the carrots. Otherwise, use the chef's knife and finely chop them. Sometimes, I leave them out if I'm in a huge hurry or don't have carrots.
    6. Once the meat is browned, stir in the salt, pepper, and bay leaves (these are NOT optional - their flavor is essential to the results), then add the carrots and cabbage. Stir to mix well.
    7. Cover and turn the heat to low.
    8. Cook for about 20 minutes, occasionally stirring until cabbage and carrots are tender. (You shouldn't need to add any liquid - the juices that cook out of the meat and vegetables should be sufficient, but if it seems dry, add up to 1/4 cup of water. )
    9. Remove bay leaves and discard.
    10. Serve


Serve Quick Beef and Cabbage Skillet with mashed potatoes or some crusty rolls and butter for a simple, comforting meal.

What do you need to make Bobbie Laughman’s Quick Beef and Cabbage Skillet Recipe?

Need more ideas for what to do with cabbage? Try these recipes:

Bobbie Laughman is an elder caregiver, writer and Generally Shy Person, Except On The Internet. She lives and breathes and tries to keep warm and sane in Gettysburg, PA. If you have a mind to, contact her at Bobbie@home-ec101.com.

Old images are kept only for posterity and humor.

Quick Beef and Cabbage Skillet: This simple meal is easy on the budget, simple to make and tastes great.
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15 thoughts on “Quick Beef and Cabbage Skillet Recipe – Hearty Winter Fare”

  1. I’ve never made this recipe with a slow cooker, but it should work. After browning the meat & onions, combine everything in the slow cooker. Don’t add any more liquid. I’d cook it on low for at least 6 hours, and 10 at the most.

  2. My mom used to make something delicious almost exactly like this only with caraway seeds, not bay leaves. I wonder how different it tastes.

    • Yes, but it will taste quite different. You could just leave the bay leaveas out — I forgot to add them one time and it was still good, but I could tell I’d done something differently.
      Other herbs that work well with cabbage and would be worth trying here: Caraway seed. Dill. Cumin. Savory. Hmmm…..maybe oregano? Oh, and I’d just use ONE of these.
      I think garlic would also be good in this. I wonder why I never tried that? Garlic could be used together with one of those herbs above.

  3. Just made this dish after seeing the recipe on Pinterest. I added teriyaki sauce, red wine vinegar, onion, powder, and garlic powder and it was fantastic! Thanks for the idea.

  4. I do a similar recipe using Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage and I cook a cup of Quinoa on the side and the blend it in once cooked. So good!

  5. After you get everything married together drain extra moisture off or with heat off spoon moisture then fold a paper towel and tilt pan to one side, place paper towel to absorb liquid. Make a batch of yeast rolls then roll out flat cut 4″x4″ section add a scoop of cabbage mixture. Lift corners to center and pinch seams to make a bundle. Bake until golden. Great in the car on game night snack or supper picnic. Too much moisture makes bundle soggy.


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