Skip to Content

Buttered Cabbage with Fennel Seeds

Buttered cabbage is a quick and easy side dish I use the savoy variety and blanch it before it is sauteed in butter and fennel seeds.

When I say quick, this simple side dish is done and dusted in well under 20 minutes and it tastes wonderful.

Buttered savoy cabbage with fennel seeds.

Sauteed Savoy Cabbage

As far as I am concerned there is something so familiar yet “different” about this easy buttered savoy cabbage recipe.

Growing up braised cabbage would have been on every Sunday roast and it was always a long way from many favourite things.

To be fair that was because it went on to boil on Friday night and was grey and slimy by the time it was dished up on Sunday afternoon!

This is different though, it cooks in right around 10 minutes (and takes about the same time to prep).

It is vibrant, tasty and the perfect modern take on a much-maligned vegetable.

This recipe joins a host of other “Sunday lunch” classic side dishes on my website like roasted Brussel sprouts, glazed Chantenay carrots, roast potatoes and foolproof Yorkshire puddings.

Buttered savoy cabbage with fennel seeds served with Lancashire hotpot.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a different type of cabbage?

This technique works well with both savoy and hispi cabbage, I have a picture of it in my roast pigeon recipe.

But it does not work well with dense, tightly packed “waxy” cabbages like white or red cabbage.

If you have any leftover cabbage you should definitely make up a batch of my white bean and cabbage soup.

How do you stop the cabbage from losing its colour?

The very best way to do this is to cook it when it is ready to eat, it is quick and you can prep the cabbage in advance.

There is another tip that works, but it is not optimal. If you add a little bicarbonate of soda to the water it makes it more alkaline and it will keep the cabbage a bright verdant green for much longer.

This approach does leech away the vitamins apparently so it is not really advised, but if you are desperate for colour, knock yourself out!

Do I have to use the fennel seeds?

Nope, you can go with plain cabbage if you wish!

You can also use a host of other spices to change it up, cumin, caraway, onion seeds, fenugreek and mustard seeds are all cracking places to start.

Close-up sauteed buttered savoy cabbage with fennel seeds.

Serving Suggestions

As I have mentioned above this buttered savoy cabbage is a great side for a Sunday lunch.

It does not matter whether you are noshing down on roast chicken, roast pork or roast beef!

But it’s not just weekend fodder, it cooks gloriously quickly.

As a result, it is wonderful to serve up with my quick chicken ballotine or my simple roast chicken breast with white bean puree. I also serve it with my wild boar steak!

It’s super versatile though, it would work with everything from my sausage and mash pie, slow cooker pork loin to minted lamb shanks.

It is pictured here with my Lancashire hotpot recipe.

Overhead sauteed buttered savoy cabbage with fennel seeds.

Equipment Used

I only recommend brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. If you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Stovetop.
  • 20cm or 8″ saucepan.
  • 28-30cm or 11-12″ frying pan.
  • Sieve or colander.
  • Weighing scales and or measuring cups and spoons.
  • Kitchen knife.
  • Chopping board.
  • Slotted spoon.
Sauteed buttered savoy cabbage with fennel seeds.
Yield: 2 Servings

Buttered Cabbage Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Buttered savoy cabbage showcases an ingredient that is much maligned and one that I love, this side dish cooks in under 20 minutes, is stupidly simple!


  • 250g (Half of one Small Cabbage) Savoy Cabbage
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 50g (~3 Tbsp) Butter
  • 1 Tbsp Fennel Seeds
  • ½ Tsp Black Pepper


  1. Bring a medium to large (20cm or 8") saucepan of water to a rapid boil and season the water with the salt.
  2. Whilst the water is coming to a boil cut the tough stems from the savoy cabbage and then shred it into 3-4mm (⅛") thick strips.
  3. Just before you add the cabbage to the water heat a 28-30cm (11-12") frying pan over a medium-high heat.
  4. Add the cabbage to the pan in 3-4 parts and boil, pushing down with a slotted spoon, for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Just before you drain the cabbage add the butter to the frying pan and when the butter begins to foam add the fennel seeds and stir.
  6. Drain the cabbage and add it to the frying pan and sautee for 3-5 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle over the black pepper, toss to combine well and serve.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 221Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 1356mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 5gSugar: 0gProtein: 3g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

Skip to Recipe