Air Fryer Cabbage and Bacon: Southern Style Fried Delight

This air fryer cabbage and bacon is my new favorite way to make a classic Southern style side dish! Instead of having to tend it over the stove, the air fryer provides a simple way to get that beautiful caramelization, crispy bacon, and tender cabbage you love!

southern fried air fryer cabbage and bacon recipe dinners done quick featured image

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Southern style fried cabbage features green cabbage, crispy bacon, softened onions, and a handful of pantry seasonings to make something truly delicious!

This comforting dish is easy enough to serve on a weeknight alongside your favorite main courses. It’s also great for St Patrick’s Day since it’s cabbage, but equally nice for New Years as well. Though, honestly, there’s no bad time to serve it up!

It’s naturally gluten free and low carb, so this savory side fits a variety of dietary needs to fit your whole crew!

holding up a spoonful of southern air fryer cabbage and bacon

The air fryer does a great job of keeping you hands off except for a couple stirs, so there’s no more standing over a stove and tending a pan. That leaves you free to work on the main course, or just kick back and relax.

If you really want to expand your air fryer cooking arsenal, be sure to check out my curated collected of the Best Air Fryer Cabbage Recipes to enjoy today!

Ingredients List

ingredients to make air fryer cabbage and bacon
  • ½ small head of green cabbage (small being a 4-5” cabbage)
  • ¼ of a yellow onion (or half if it’s very small)
  • 4 strips of bacon
  • 1 ½ tsp granulated sugar (or brown sugar)
  • ½ tsp salt (or to taste)
  • ½ tsp black pepper (or to taste)
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ⅛ tsp crushed red pepper (optional)

Ingredient Tips and Notes

  • Green cabbage is most traditional, but you can sub red, Napa, or another variety if you prefer
  • You can adjust the amount of bacon to taste (more or less). Turkey bacon may also be used, but you’ll need to add 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil or melted butter to make up for the reduced grease to achieve the same overall dish
  • The sugar is technically optional but it’s not truly Southern style without it
  • All seasonings are adjustable to taste. You can also use fresh garlic instead of powder, or add onion powder for a stronger onion flavor. Cajun seasoning is also good instead of the red pepper flakes!

Step By Step Instructions

  1. Dice your bacon (about ½” squares), dice your onion, and then core the cabbage and roughly chop it (into around 1” pieces)
dice your bacon onion and cabbage
  1. Remove the grate from your air fryer if possible (for basket style air fryers), or line the grate or rack with foil if that’s not possible (the idea is to trap the bacon grease for this dish)
remove the rack or grate from your air fryer basket
  1. Add the cabbage to your air fryer’s basket or rack (try not to go more than 1” deep). Sprinkle the salt, pepper, garlic powder, sugar, and red pepper flakes over top
add cabbage to bottom of air fryer basket and season
  1. Evenly top the cabbage with the onion and then finish with the bacon pieces
evenly top the cabbage with onions and bacon
  1. Cook on the air fry setting at 400°F for 10 minutes
  2. The bacon should start to render, so give everything a stir to mix the grease in with the cabbage and distribute the seasonings around. Then, cook an additional 10-15 minutes (stir every 5) until the cabbage and onions are tender and the bacon reaches your desired level of browning
  3. Serve hot
overhead view of air fryer cabbage and bacon in a bowl with a serving spoon

What to Serve With Fried Cabbage and Bacon

  • Mashed potatoes
  • Latkes
  • Cornbread
  • Biscuits
  • Garlic bread
  • Mac and cheese
  • Pierogies
  • Baked beans
  • Pulled pork
  • Pork chops
  • Grilled chicken
  • Fried chicken
  • Ham
  • Corned beef
  • Salmon
  • Sausage
  • Brats
  • Meatloaf
  • Cucumber salad
  • Applesauce

There are a variety of proteins, starches, and sides that pair well with Southern style fried cabbage and bacon. Choose your favorites to complete your meal!

I serve my air fryer cabbage and bacon with Trader Joe’s Latkes in the Air Fryer, Pillsbury Cornbread Swirls in the Air Fryer, Air Fryer Pretzel Crusted Chicken, Air Fryer Ham Steaks, Air Fryer Bacon Wrapped Brats, or some Air Fryer Bacon Wrapped Salmon!

Recipe FAQs

What Is Air Fryer Cabbage and Bacon?

Air fryer cabbage and bacon is a modern take on a Southern style dish made by combining sliced cabbage and bacon pieces, seasoning them with herbs and spices, and then air frying until the cabbage is tender and the bacon is crispy.

It’s a simple and flavorful recipe that makes a perfect side dish or main course.

Can I Use Different Types of Cabbage for Air Fryer Cabbage and Bacon?

Yes, you can use various types of cabbage for air fryer cabbage and bacon, including green cabbage, red cabbage, or Savoy cabbage.

Each type of cabbage will offer a slightly different color, flavor, and texture, so choose the variety that you prefer or have on hand.

What Seasonings and Herbs Complement Air Fryer Cabbage and Bacon?

Popular seasonings and herbs for cabbage and bacon include garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and black pepper.

You can also add fresh herbs like thyme or parsley for added flavor, or red pepper flakes for a little heat. Adjust the seasonings to suit your taste preferences.

How Long Does Air Fryer Cabbage and Bacon Take to Cook?

The cooking time for air fryer cabbage and bacon can vary depending on the size of the cabbage pieces and the desired level of crispiness for the bacon. Generally, it takes about 15-20 minutes at 400°F (200°C).

Make sure to stir about halfway through the cooking process for even browning and to coat the cabbage in the bacon grease.

Can I Make Air Fryer Cabbage and Bacon in Advance and Reheat It Later?

Air fryer cabbage and bacon is best enjoyed fresh from the air fryer. However, you can make it in advance and reheat it later.

Simply store the cooked cabbage and bacon in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days and reheat in the air fryer until warmed through before serving.

Recipe Pro Tips

  • I do not preheat my air fryer for this recipe, since you’ll just have to stir it around anyway. If you do, however, you can reduce the cooking time by around 3 minutes to start to account for the warmer starting temperature
  • Your cooking time can vary based on your specific air fryer, desired bacon crispiness level, as well as the size of your cuts and the variety of your produce. That said, I made this in my Ninja air fryer and cooked it for 25 minutes total as a reference point
closeup view of southern air fryer cabbage and bacon in a white bowl

Storage and Reheating Tips

  • Store any Southern fried cabbage and bacon leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days
  • To reheat cabbage and bacon, air fry at a lower temperature of 375°F for 3-5 minutes, until warmed through and the bacon is re-crisped to your liking. Time can vary based on your air fryer and the quantity being heated

More Air Fryer Cabbage Recipes to Try

Final Thoughts

This easy air fryer cabbage and bacon recipe brings a modern twist to a classic Southern style side dish. Tender cabbage and onions pair perfectly with crispy bacon for a salty, savory bite. Season it up your favorite way to make it your own!

It pairs well with a huge variety of proteins, though chicken and pork are my favorites to serve it with. Although, it’s equally great with your corned beef for St Patrick’s Day or your kielbasa on New Year’s!

Since cabbage and bacon is naturally gluten free, low carb, and Keto friendly, it’s a versatile dish that suits a variety of different dietary needs. If you prefer your greens mixed with bacon, then make sure to check out my Air Fryer Brussel Sprouts and Bacon recipe too!

southern fried air fryer cabbage and bacon recipe dinners done quick featured image

Air Fryer Cabbage and Bacon (Southern Style)

This air fryer cabbage and bacon also features onions and southern style seasonings for a tasty side dish. It’s naturally gluten free, low carb, and Keto friendly too!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 84 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • ½ Small head green cabbage (a 4-5" cabbage)
  • ¼ yellow onion (or half if it's very small)
  • 4 Strips bacon
  • 1 ½ Tsp granulated sugar (or brown sugar)
  • ½ Tsp salt (or to taste)
  • ½ Tsp black pepper (or to taste)
  • ½ Tsp garlic powder
  • Tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Dice your bacon (about ½” squares), dice your onion, and then core the cabbage and roughly chop it (into around 1” pieces)
    ½ Small head green cabbage, ¼ yellow onion, 4 Strips bacon
  • Remove the grate from your air fryer if possible (for basket style air fryers), or line the grate or rack with foil if that’s not possible (the idea is to trap the bacon grease for this dish)
  • Add the cabbage to your air fryer’s basket or rack (try not to go more than 1” deep). Sprinkle the salt, pepper, garlic powder, sugar, and red pepper flakes over top
    1 ½ Tsp granulated sugar, ½ Tsp salt, ½ Tsp black pepper, ½ Tsp garlic powder, ⅛ Tsp red pepper flakes
  • Evenly top the cabbage with the onion and then finish with the bacon pieces
  • Cook on the air fry setting at 400°F for 10 minutes
  • The bacon should start to render, so give everything a stir to mix the grease in with the cabbage and distribute the seasonings around. Then, cook an additional 10-15 minutes (stir every 5) until the cabbage and onions are tender and the bacon reaches your desired level of browning
  • Serve hot

Notes

  • Green cabbage is most traditional, but you can sub red, Napa, or another variety if you prefer
  • You can adjust the amount of bacon to taste (more or less). Turkey bacon may also be used, but you’ll need to add 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil or melted butter to make up for the reduced grease to achieve the same overall dish
  • The sugar is technically optional but it’s not truly “Southern style” without it
  • All seasonings are adjustable to taste. You can also use fresh garlic instead of powder, or add onion powder for a stronger onion flavor. Cajun seasoning is also good instead of the red pepper flakes!
  • I do not preheat my air fryer for this recipe, since you’ll just have to stir it around anyway. If you do, however, you can reduce the cooking time by around 3 minutes to start to account for the warmer starting temperature
  • Your cooking time can vary based on your specific air fryer, desired bacon crispiness level, as well as the size of your cuts and the variety of your produce. That said, I made this in my Ninja air fryer and cooked it for 25 minutes total as a reference point
  • Store any Southern fried cabbage and bacon leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days
  • To reheat cabbage and bacon, air fry at a lower temperature of 375°F for 3-5 minutes, until warmed through and the bacon is re-crisped to your liking. Time can vary based on your air fryer and the quantity being heated
  • Exact nutritional values will vary based on brand, size, and variety of ingredients, any swaps or additions, and actual quantity consumed, so please consider this a guideline only

Nutrition

Serving: 133gCalories: 84kcalCarbohydrates: 9.5gProtein: 4.5gFat: 3.6gSaturated Fat: 1.2gCholesterol: 8.7mgSodium: 489mgPotassium: 260mgFiber: 3.1gSugar: 5.2gVitamin A: 22IUVitamin C: 41.9mgCalcium: 49mgIron: 0.7mg
Keyword air fryer cabbage and bacon, air fryer cabbage recipes, air fryer cabbage southern style, air fryer side dishes, bacon and cabbage, ninja air fryer cabbage and bacon, southern cabbage and bacon recipe, southern fried cabbage
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southern fried air fryer cabbage and bacon recipe dinners done quick pinterest
Katie Vine
5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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