Here’s my quick guide for How to Cut Cabbage for dishes like Coleslaw and Sautéed Cabbage, plus to how to core, slice, or shred cabbage with a knife or mandolin. So much of how you experience food can be changed just by how you cut it, so here’s how to do it well!

How to Cut Cabbage - Shown Shredded on a Cutting Board

While ingredients do matter, it’s incredible how much a dish can change simply from the texture. How you cut cabbage matters, especially for dishes like Coleslaw, because it changes how heavy the vegetable feels on the palate, and how much you have to chew through it.

In this post I will show you how I prep a fresh head of cabbage from the store, then how you can change up how you cut it depending on the dish, whether you’re making cabbage steaks, cabbage soup, or need some thinly sliced cabbage for slaw.

Consider Removing the Outer Leaves:

If the cabbage comes from the store with thick, dark, and fibrous outer leaves, and you’re making something like slaw where the vegetable will be eaten raw, you will likely want to remove those first. Those outer leaves are tougher than the inner leaves. I remove them and save for cooked applications, like sautéed cabbage or soups:

Whole Purple and Green Cabbage on Counter

Simply pull them off right at the root, and save for later.

Removed Outer Leaves from Green and Purple Cabbage

How to Cut Cabbage:

Locate the stem on the bottom, then cut the entire cabbage through the stem, which will hold all of the leaves together as you keep cutting:

Cutting Cabbage Head in Half Through Core

Cut those halves in half to yield quarters. Then it’s very easy to cut the core out, like this:

Cabbage Cut into Quarters and slicing out Core

From here, you can chop, shred, or slice as you desire.

How to Slice Cabbage:

For dishes where you want thin ribbons of cabbage, use a knife or mandolin to cut, laying the quarter on a flat side:

How to Shred Cabbage with a Knife Slicing Downward

However, if you have a mandolin, I think it’s much better for slicing and shredding.

You will get more even, uniform long strands, and it can be a lot quicker than cutting with a knife:

Shredded Cabbage - On a Board After Run on mandolin

You can see the difference here between the hand-cut shreds on the left, and the mandolin-cut shreds on the right. It’s huge! What a different chewing experience you’ll have between those two.

Shredded Cabbage - Side by Side Mandolin vs Hand Cut

I probably could’ve taken my time a bit more and made the knife-cut pieces thinner, but the mandolin is so much easier and ensures uniformity.

Now the shredded cabbage is ready to be used in whatever recipe you’d like, such as a garnish for Slow Cooker Asian Pork Tacos, swapping for the escarole in White Bean and Escarole Soup, or for a Classic Coleslaw:

Cole Slaw - with Green and Purple Cabbage and Carrot Shreds in White bowl

For more produce cutting guides, I have How to Dice Zucchini, How to Cut a Watermelon, and more in my Vegetable Sides section of the recipe index. Happy cooking!

Tips and FAQ

How do you store cut cabbage?

Store in a somewhat breathable bag or container in the fridge for up to 3 days, with paper towels inside to absorb excess moisture. I don’t recommend sealing it off entirely, because it can make the cabbage go bad quickly, but I also don’t recommend leaving it uncovered, because it can dry out and get shriveled. Leave it mostly covered, with a little bit of breathability.

When do you wash cut cabbage?

Personally I am usually okay simply washing the exterior before prepping, because I rarely see bugs inside the tightly packed leaves. However, if it seems dirty inside, I will wash cabbage after it has been cut, chopped, or shredded, then dry thoroughly with a salad spinner, then with kitchen towels, then air drying briefly. I don’t like to wash cabbage right before making salad type dishes, because I don’t want the possibility of watering down the dressing with excess moisture. If you’re using the vegetable for soups, then it doesn’t matter when you wash.

Should you shred cabbage with a knife or mandolin?

Using a mandolin is undoubtedly a better choice, as the pieces will all be uniform, and usually much finer than you can do by hand. However, a knife can work too. Make sure to place each quarter on a flat side so it’s steady as you cut.

Did you enjoy the recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page.

Finely Shredded Cabbage on Cutting Board

How to Cut Cabbage

How to Cut Cabbage for dishes like Coleslaw, soups, and more
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Ingredients

  • 1 head red or green cabbage

Instructions 

  • If using the cabbage for a raw preparation such as coleslaw, I recommend removing any thick and fibrous outer leaves.
  • Rinse and dry the cabbage well, then cut in half through the stem.
  • Cut those halves in half to yield quarters, then cut the core out of each quarter.
  • Lay each quarter on a flat side, and thinly slice into ribbons. The cabbage is now ready to be used!

Notes

Storing: Store in a somewhat breathable bag or container in the fridge for up to 3 days, with paper towels inside to absorb excess moisture. I don’t recommend sealing it off entirely, because it can make the cabbage go bad quickly, but I also don’t recommend leaving it uncovered, because it can dry out and get shriveled. Leave it mostly covered, with a little bit of breathability.
When to wash: Personally I am usually okay simply washing the exterior before prepping, because I rarely see bugs inside the tightly packed leaves. However, if it seems dirty inside, I will wash cabbage after it has been cut, chopped, or shredded, then dry thoroughly with a salad spinner, then with kitchen towels, then air drying briefly. I don’t like to wash cabbage right before making salad type dishes, because I don’t want the possibility of watering down the dressing with excess moisture. If you’re using the vegetable for soups, then it doesn’t matter when you wash.
Shredding with knife or mandolin: Using a mandolin is undoubtedly a better choice, as the pieces will all be uniform, and usually much finer than you can do by hand. However, a knife can work too. Make sure to place each quarter on a flat side so it’s steady as you cut.

Nutrition

Calories: 56kcal, Carbohydrates: 13g, Protein: 2g, Sodium: 40mg, Potassium: 385mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 225IU, Vitamin C: 83.1mg, Calcium: 91mg, Iron: 1.1mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.