How to Cook Cabbage So It’s Less Gassy

Updated: Dec. 04, 2023

Discover four ways to reduce your discomfort while enjoying this cruciferous veggie.

Let’s cut right to the chase: Does cabbage give you gas? If so, you aren’t alone—this cruciferous vegetable has been known to make plenty of people toot! And while it’s great that cabbage varieties help keep your digestive system humming along, gas and bloating aren’t exactly the desired outcome to enjoying such yummy dishes as Southern Fried Cabbage with Bacon or hearty cabbage steaks.

But don’t despair, you (and your intestinal tract) will be happy to know there are several ways to cook cabbage so it’s less gas-inducing.

Why Does Cabbage Give You Gas?

“The high fiber content is one piece of the picture,” says registered dietitian Jessica Cording, MS, RD, CDN. “Additionally, cruciferous vegetables—like cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts—contain raffinose, an indigestible sugar. As it’s fermented by bacteria in the gut, gas is produced, which is why you may experience flatulence and discomfort after eating these foods. They also are sources of sulfur-containing glucosinolates, plant compounds noted for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Because of that sulfur content, gas produced when we eat cruciferous foods can have a very distinct odor.”

One way to cut down on some of the gas-producing effects is to choose cooked cabbage over raw. “Generally speaking, cooking can help reduce this effect by ‘softening’ the fiber, making it a little bit easier on the digestive system,” explains Cording. She added that cooking the cabbage also helps reduce the amount of sulfur in the veggie, which can help with the odor.

How to Cook Cabbage So It Doesn’t Make You Gassy

It’s time to stop Googling “does cabbage give you gas” and start looking for a solution to enjoying your cruciferous veggies without the unpleasant side effects. Cording suggests preparing it one of these four ways:

Ferment it

Fermenting foods can help make them easier to digest—and homemade sauerkraut is also surprisingly easy. It’s important to shred the cabbage well, and then you can get creative with different herbs and spices.

Boil it

In general, cooking makes vegetables easier to digest, which can help reduce gas. To retain the nutrients in the cabbage that would be lost when you drain the water, try cabbage soup or Mexican cabbage roll soup. You can add other vegetables, tomatoes and a protein source (like beans, lentils or chicken) for a more filling meal.

Roast it

In addition to helping improve digestibility, roasting will bring out a natural sweetness as the sugars in the cabbage caramelize. Try Roasted Cabbage and Onions for a satisfying side dish.

Add herbs

Adding the right herbs can also help ease digestion. A few of Cording’s favorites that pair particularly well with cabbage include ginger and turmeric.

Also, check these amazing coleslaw mix recipe to make for the dinner.

Should You Add Baking Soda to Boiled Cabbage?

Cording says this can help reduce the odor produced during cooking and help maintain the green color. However, she doesn’t recommend this, as it may also reduce the nutritional value of the cabbage.

Our Favorite Cabbage Recipes
1 / 35