How to Cut Cabbage for Any Recipe

published Feb 7, 2023
How to Cut Cabbage

There are two techniques for cutting cabbage: into wedges (for roasting, searing, and grilling) and shredding it (for slaws, salads, sautéing, and braising).

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
cabbages cut on surface.
Credit: Photo: Linda Xiao; Food Stylist: Jessie YuChen

How you cut cabbage depends on the type of recipe you want to cook. Although we’ve seen a few creative ways to cut cabbage, there are two essential techniques that you can use for just about any recipe. The first way to cut cabbage is into wedges — with or without their cores. The second way to cut cabbage is to shred it into thin strips, using either a sharp chef’s knife or a mandoline slicer.

Before we share the two methods, we’ll note here that we’re talking specifically about round cabbage heads. Green and red cabbage are the most common grocery store varieties, although the technique also works with Savoy cabbage, another round variety. (Other kinds of cabbage, like Napa cabbage and bok choy, require slightly different methods of cutting.)

Credit: Photo: Linda Xiao; Food Stylist: Jessie YuChen

Before You Cut Cabbage, Do This

Like all fruits and vegetables, cabbage should be washed before it is cut. This is especially important if you plan on eating it raw, as in a salad. There’s no need to bust out fancy products; a good rinse and scrub under cool running water will do the trick.

Next, remove the outer leaves of the cabbage. Cabbage is very hardy, and one of the reasons it lasts so long in storage is because of those tough, protective outer leaves. They are also more likely to contain contaminants, because they act as a barrier between the rest of the cabbage and the world-at-large (including manual handling and falls from grocery store shelves). 

You may notice that the outer leaves have signs of insect damage, like little nibbles or bite marks. This is totally normal — again, those leaves are the first line of defense — and if the rest of the cabbage is unaffected, you can still eat it.

If the core extends below the bottom of the cabbage, you can slice it off with the knife before proceeding.

How to Cut Cabbage into Wedges for Cooking

Cabbage that will be cooked low and slow, as in a braise, can be cut into wedges. Although you can braise cabbage that has been cut into any shape, the smaller it is, the faster it will “melt” into a dish. So, wedges are a good technique for cabbage that should hold its shape when cooked (also useful for searing, grilling, or roasting). If you plan on quickly sautéeing the cabbage — for example, as in this one-skillet meal — scroll down to the shredding method.

When cutting cabbage into wedges, you’ll need to remove the core. Set one wedge on its side and make a diagonal incision at the bottom to cut away the core. Repeat with the remaining quarters. If you want to ensure the wedges remain in one piece while they cook, do not remove the core. It’s what holds them together. You can cut it away once the cabbage is ready to serve. Even cooked, a cabbage core is tough and too fibrous to eat.

Credit: Photo: Linda Xiao; Food Stylist: Jessie YuChen

How to Cut or Shred Cabbage for Slaw

Cabbage that is meant to be eaten raw in coleslaw or salad can be shredded. Shredding is also the best method for sautéed cabbage, or cabbage meant to be eaten by the spoonful or forkful, as in the case of soup or stew. 

You can use a chef’s knife or a mandoline slicer to shred cabbage. But whichever tool you choose, you’ll want to first cut the cabbage into wedges with the core removed. Follow the technique outlined above, so the cabbage is easier to manage when you’re shredding it.

How to Shred Cabbage with a Knife

Once you’ve cut the cabbage into wedges with the core removed, place one wedge, cut-side down on your cutting board. The cabbage should be oriented horizontally, running east-west. 

Hold onto one end of the cabbage with your non-dominant hand, with the fingertips keeping the cabbage in place, and the knuckles slightly bent. (Bending the knuckles keeps your fingertips safe from the knife blade, because they act as a barrier.)

Use a small rocking motion to slice from the opposite end of the cabbage toward your non-dominant hand. You can choose how thick the slices should be, but a good starting point is 1/8- to 1/4-inch wide.

If the cabbage feels unstable, or like it’s rolling around on the cutting board, remove the inner leaves that are nestled against the larger leaves. By slicing the two portions separately, the cabbage wedge will sit closer to the cutting board, and feel more stable in your hand.

How to Cut and Shred Cabbage with a Mandoline Slicer

A mandoline slicer is a helpful tool for slicing produce very quickly and/or into very thin pieces. Some mandolines have a standalone design, but due to their higher cost, a handheld mandoline is the right choice for most home cooks. This one from OXO has a helpful notch for sitting over bowls, three different thickness settings, and a safety guard to keep your fingertips intact.

Depending on the size of your mandoline, you may need to cut the cabbage wedges into eighths so they will fit on the slicing surface. 

Set one wedge on top of the mandoline lengthwise, with the cut side facing the blade. Place the food guard over the outside edge of the cabbage and hold onto it with one hand. With your other hand, firmly grip the mandoline handle.

Use the guard to slide the cabbage up and down, over the blade. Once you reach the end of the cabbage, you can set aside the mandoline and use a knife to manually slice any residual pieces. 

If your mandoline slicer does not have a safety guard, you will have to hold onto the cabbage wedge with just your fingers. Be very careful when slicing it. It’s better to stop slicing earlier than you have to, and cut the rest with a knife.

Cabbage Recipes

It may surprise you how much volume you get once you slice or cut a cabbage. Those densely packed leaves can amount to a quart or more of shredded cabbage once you’ve finished slicing it. If you’re looking for ways to use up the rest of your cabbage, or just need some cooking inspiration, check out the recipes below.

How to Cut Cabbage

There are two techniques for cutting cabbage: into wedges (for roasting, searing, and grilling) and shredding it (for slaws, salads, sautéing, and braising).

Nutritional Info


  • 1

    head of round cabbage (such as green, red, or Savoy)


  • Cutting board

  • Chef’s knife

  • Mandoline slicer


Show Images

How to Cut and Shred Cabbage with a Knife

  1. First, remove the outer leaves from the cabbage.

  2. Slice off the stem if it protrudes below the cabbage head.

  3. To cut the cabbage into wedges, set the cabbage on its side on the cutting board. Hold it steady with one hand, and make one or two clean cuts to separate it into 2 halves (the knife should run from top to bottom).

  4. Cut each half into two pieces, so you have 4 wedges. You may choose to cut each wedge into two pieces for 8 smaller wedges.

  5. If you wish to remove the core, set one wedge on its side. Set the knife against the core (at the bottom of the wedge) and make a diagonal incision to slice it away. Repeat with the remaining wedges and discard the core.

  6. You can now cook with your wedges, or shred them into thin strips. To shred your cabbage with a knife, you will need to remove the cores. Once that is done, place one wedge horizontally on the cutting board. Hold one end steady, and use a rocking motion to run your knife up and down the wedge, making thin slices

How to Cut and Shred Cabbage with a Mandoline Slicer

  1. To shred your cabbage with a mandoline, remove the cores. Adjust your mandoline to the desired thickness, and set one wedge, cut side-down onto the blade.

  2. Hold it steady with the safety guard, and run the wedge back and forth over the blade. You can work directly over the cutting board, or set the mandoline over a bowl if you wish to collect the shredded leaves.