Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry

Simple and Healthy Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry Recipe - delicious and inexpensive

The adjustment to eating real food can be a shock to the food bill, but this recipe is the exception. This is one of my go-to recipes because it is fast and inexpensive to make. My one year-old will even eat cabbage when I make it this way!

I love this beef and cabbage stir fry recipe because it comes together quickly and easily and only gets one pan dirty! It is a healthy version of Hamburger Helper and it packs a delicious punch of nutrition.

TIP: Let the children help prepare this stir fry by letting them cut the vegetables. Even really little ones can use a crinkle cutter to safely cut veggies. I find that my kids are more likely to eat a recipe if they help prepare it and it keeps them busy and happy while I cook. (This is the crinkle cutter we have)

There are also a lot of variations to this recipe:

  • Add cumin, chili powder and salsa to make a Mexican version
  • Add fermented soy sauce and ginger to make a Chinese Variation
  • Add a dozen eggs after it is cooked and bake to make a casserole

Another simple one-pan recipe that is a favorite at our house is Pakistani Kima, which also uses ground beef but also uses sweet potato and green beans as the vegetables and seasons with a hint of curry.

The herbs and spices I use for this recipe and many others can be found on my resources page.

Simple and Healthy Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry Recipe - delicious and inexpensive

12 votes


Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry




Yield 4 -6

Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry that is fast and simple to make. Flavor variations make this recipe versatile and kid-approved.


  • 1 lb ground beef (or turkey, venison, etc)
  • 1 small head of cabbage, chopped
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • Spices to taste: salt, pepper, garlic, basil, oregano, thyme, etc- I use at least a teaspoon of each


  1. Brown beef in a large skillet or wok, adding spices to taste as you go.
  2. When beef is almost completely browned, add sliced onions and grated carrots.
  3. When onions/carrots are starting to soften, add the cabbage and spice well.
  4. Cook about 10 more minutes, stirring often until cabbage starts to soften.
  5. Can be topped with salsa or sour cream if desired.

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Beef and cabbage stir fry comes together in minutes and only needs one pan for a delicious, fast and healthy meal. Healthy alternative to hamburger helpers.

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Reader Comments

  1. I saw this post on facebook and decided to make it for dinner tonight. I had a cabbage head that I didn’t know what to do with yet. I’m smelling the aromas now as it is finishing up..Thanks for sharing.

    • do you think you could freeze this

      • I have never been able to freeze any thing with cabbage with great results. Could be because of the water content of the cabbage? It does refrigerate for 3 or 4 days quite well, however. Cabbage is a little limp, but still very tasty.

  2. Yum. Made it tonight!

  3. I am still in shock that 6 of my 7 kids who had this tonight actually ate it and liked it. THe 7th ate most of it, but didn’t like the cabbage. I have never served cabbage because I have always hated it. Thanks for encouraging me to branch out. This was delicious, and the whole family came back for at least seconds! My 13 y.o. told me I’m a good cook, and my 7 y.o. kept thanking me for dinner. I can’t wait to make this again! 🙂

  4. This was great! Before I made it, my husband suggested broccoli instead of the cabbage, but I stayed with the cabbage, although i only used half a head. He really liked it, as did my 2.5 year old. I served it with cauliflower “rice.” I used 1/2 tsp of each suggested spice and then 1 tsp garlic. Definitely going into the meal rotation! Thanks for the recipe!

  5. OK….YUM!!! I did this last night with asian spices like a few drops of sesame oil, ginger, soy sauce, and garlic. It was so delicious, I just kept eating and eating! The kids liked it as well as my husband. Thank you! It also reminds me of a recipe that my family loves that we call Joe’s special. It is ground beef with spinach (frozen or fresh, chopped), parm cheese, and a couple of eggs scrambled in.

  6. Does all soy sauce come from the soy bean? I see soy on different labels but I am not sure which ones are ok to consume. 

    • Lois, 2 of my 4 kids can’t do soy (currently BF one so I can’t do it either). There is a product called Coconut Aminos which is like soy sauce but made from Coconuts instead. A good soy sauce (preferably one without wheat) is hard to find. You should check it out.

    • I have used coconut aminos as well and i think it tastes just like soy sauce. You can also buy “tamari” which is traditionally fermented soy sauce that doesn’t use wheat. Just stay away from the ones that say “hydrolyzed soy protein” even if it’s gluten free.

  7. Had to pair this one with some Guinness.  Very yummy!

  8. This went over well with the husband and kids!  I added fajita seasoning from Wild Tree, added some cheddar, and topped with salsa.  I called it fajita salad…perfecto!

  9. My dad use to make this on the grill.  We called them hobo burgers.  He layered cabbage, onions, hamburger and chunks of potaoes.  Now one of my families favorite meals.  So…I add potatoes and have tried in the skillet.  Wonderful.  Grill in the summer…skillet in the winter.

  10. This is extremely delicious and so simple! I omitted the carrots and smothered the whole thing with my favorite tomato sauce. Yum!

  11. This is REALLY good! I added the S&P, thyme, basil, oregano, garlic…and then at the end a bit of worcestershire sauce (organic w no msg). REALLY REALLY nice! I’m making it again tonight by request as it was a big hit last week.

    • I’d guess about an hour, but I don’t remember how long I cooked it last time I made it that way.

  12. This is very good and simple. I made the version with salsa, cumin and chili powder. Be sure you add enough to give it some good flavor. Next time I may try using a pasta sauce in it. Very inexpensive and makes a lot, so you have leftovers!

  13. Love this and cannot wait to try it….simple and healthy. I’ve used so many of your recipes from food to household and beauty products. You’ve really inspired me to take the time to create my own products rather than buy unhealthy and processed products. I find it’s as easy to make these products as it is to walk into the store and buy it. I feel so much better raising my children with these natural products. Thanks for the time you put into researching, experimenting and sharing your finds. I trust your recipes and advice…..I wish we were neighbors! 🙂

  14. I am trying this asap. It looks delicious. Also, I am not a skilled cook so when I see “season to taste” I skip the recipe. THANK YOU for listing specific seasonings and at least an idea of how much you use of each. That gives people like me a starting point which is very helpful let alone time- and money-saving. I hope you give more measurements to your recipes in the future. They all sound so good. Those good cooks can take it and run with it; me, I need a little help in the starting block. 🙂

    Love your blog…thank you.

  15. Mmm…nom, nom. Thanks for the dinner idea for tonight. Looks tasty and healthy. Would this go well with Quinoa?

  16. So funny, I have made this recipe once before and my husband and I loved it! Thought I would make it again and I was SO bummed I couldn’t find it! Very glad you re-posted it 🙂 Although I think I remembered the recipe pretty well!

  17. Thanks for the recipe/idea. We had it last night and it was DELICIOUS!

  18. So simple and easy! Your dollop of sour cream on top looks divine. I recently found a soy + dairy FREE “sour cream” recipe on Healthful Pursuit (.com). I think I’m going to make this recipe and the mock sour cream this weekend. You’ve inspired me! Thanks!

  19. I just made the Mexican version (swapped the carrots for peppers) and it’s AMAZING! I found this website 3 weeks ago and have since been making everything from toothpaste to shampoo. My husband keeps rolling his eyes, but the other day I came down to find him swishing around coconut oil 😉

    • so happy for you

  20. Hi Katie! I am so incredibly thankful for your blog, it has impacted my life in ways that you will never know! Thank you for all your hard work and dedication! I know this has nothing to do with this post, but I have read several of your other posts about fermented Cod liver oil. I would like to give some to my 2 year old, but she cannot swallow pills yet. Do you have any suggestions of a trusted brand? Thanks!

  21. Made this tonight. My husband and I LOVED it. Even my one year old loved it! Definitely making it again! Thanks!

  22. Oh YUM! This was so fast, easy, inexpensive, and delicious! I made exactly as you shared above and am excited to try out some variations in the near future.

  23. Yum! Going to add this to my menu this week. Thanks for sharing. Love your ideas.

  24. Love it! I would like to see more recipes that are nightshade free and easy deliciousand healthy.

  25. I make this all the time! It has another name, you know, but I don’t like it because I feel it trivializes drug addiction. 😛
    I make mine with coconut oil, coconut aminos, fish sauce, garlic, and red pepper flakes. My 19 month old loves it too!

  26. I used to make this with smoked sausage years ago, but have been doing it with chicken and we really like that. I will have to try it this way with hamburger or venison.
    Thank you for all your help to so many.

  27. Definitely going to make this, Katie. Thank you!

  28. Great recipe! We call this Skillet Dish and I make a variation with any kind if ground meat (Lately it’s been pork/lamb) at least once a week. I double it for leftovers for lunch the next day. The key is don’t skimp on the seasonings!

  29. I’ve made this for years using taco seasoning. As my first 4 kids became teens, I added rice to stretch it. There were never any leftovers! Love all the variations posted here; I never thought to try any other spices.

  30. I made this tonight, it is fantastic! Do you know if it would freeze well?

  31. Question….why do people not eat Dairy, such as sour cream or cheese?

  32. Wow! I just made this for dinner tonight and it is SO good!!! I did mine Mexican style and added red peppers and fresh tomatoes along with the carrots, then topped it all off with a bit of sour cream and salsa. Delish! Finally, a ground beef recipe that isn’t the same old same old!
    Thanks for sharing this recipe, Katie! It is fantastic 🙂

  33. Thank you so much for the recipe! It was delicious! I really enjoy your site! 🙂

  34. Delicious!

  35. Delicious! And so easy! Thank you for giving me a recipe with good natural food that fits in my eczema diet! Going to make this a regular!

  36. I finally made this dish last night, though the quantities of everything were different and I didn’t measure the spices. I realized, after the fact, that I had no sour cream or salsa (the one in the fridge was too old to take the chance!) so I used some taco sauce. I REALLY enjoyed it 🙂

  37. I made this last week and added a fresh green chili and fresh garlic and used salt, chili powder, and oregano for a Mexican version. My family loved it!

  38. I made this last night and it was great! I seasoned with cumin, garlic, onion, oregano and a little salt & pepper. Topped with some freshly grated organic cheese and sour cream! YUM! I think this will be a great dish to make whenever we have a craving for Mexican.

  39. I have now made this recipe twice in the past week and a half. My family LOVES it. Thank you for the recipe. We recently switched to a paleo-ish diet two weeks ago. My son had eczema that just would not go away. I made the baby oil that you posted with the chamomile and calendula which helped some by itself. Just in this two week time period of no grain, his face is almost clear. I am convinced it was the grain because he did not have the eczema before he started table food. Anyway, thanks.:-)

    *By the way, I asked a question on another post that did not get answered. Is there a good substitute for coconut oil? My youngest son can not have it because of the middle chain fatty acids. We use butter most of the time. I was just wondering if there was something better to use than butter all the time.

  40. I made this tonight for my family! Whoooowheeee! I’m so happy you shared the recipe. Everyone ate it up. Including my 2 and 3 year old:)

  41. My grandma used to make those baked cabbage rolls stuffed with tomato, beef, rice and meat– I love to use this approximate recipe as a jumping off point for a really awesome “stuffed cabbage tribute” soup. Basically I just do what you’ve done, only I use lots of chunky-sliced carrots and parsnips instead of just grated carrots. Then I just add diced, canned tomatoes and enough homemade beef stock (made with oxtails if possible–my favorite!) to cover and simmer until everything is hot and fork-tender. I also add a good splash of apple cider vinegar to each serving instead of salting at the table (I find that people often automatically add salt to things, when what they’re really craving is a shot of sour). I load it with fresh minced garlic, too, so between that, the bone broth, and the cabbage, you end up with a really comforting, nourishing soup that’s great for recovering after an illness or other rough patch.

    You can also add rice if you’re into that; my grandma’s original cabbage rolls always had rice in them, but I don’t add it to the soup and I don’t miss it.

  42. Mmm! I have had this recipe on my “to try” list and finally have it a go tonight. So yummy! We tried it as described and also with an Asian twist. Loved both!

    Your reference to hamburger helper had me thinking that it would also be super yummy topped with Food Renegade’s cheese sauce. Mmm!

  43. This was a wonderful recipe!! My family loves it will a dollop of sour cream on top. We didn’t have oregano, so I used rosemary, instead, and it tasted like Shepherd’s Pie. A new fave. Thanks for sharing!!

  44. I made this tonight for dinner. One of my boys said we should have it 3x a week! We all enjoyed it. I put in some turmeric with a lot of other spices, nice color. Thank you for the recipe. I loved how quick and easy it was to make!

  45. I googled ground beef cabbage recipes and found this. I tried it last night with some picky cabbage hating kids. They were skeptical at first but I noticed that the mixture looks just like taco salad or taco filling without a shell as I was cooking it. So I put some tortilla chips on the plate and rice for a side. They scooped it or crumpled chips on it with salsa. It tastes like taco salad for the winter months (because it’s warm instead of cool.) my seasonings were garlic (lots), smoked paprika, Cajun seasoning, pepper, and cumin. It was great! My stepson said that when I said it looked like taco filling without the shell suddenly he could eat it. He hates cabbage but he ate every bite! I liked it best mixed with brown rice, quinoa, salsa and crumbled tortilla chips. Thank you for a great recipe. I’m looking for more now. 🙂

  46. Tried this recipe tonight and all I can say is THANK YOU!!! Having adrenal burnout plus two kids makes dinner planning/prep tough but this is fast, easy, nutritious and delicious.

  47. I made this yesterday, had it with sour cream and hot sauce. It was good, but something was missing. Tonight I was inspired to use it in making a burger! I heated it up in the oven along with some Cheshire cheese and had it with roasted onions and garlic, with ketchup and mustard of course, on whole wheat Chia and Flax seed bread from the local Fresh & Easy market. It was yummy, and I realized I like this better than the usual hamburger patty, And of course it is healthier, too. Thanks! 🙂

  48. We aren’t eating carrots (or beets, peas, or legumes) right now. =( What would you suggest as a replacement? Would Rutabaga be too bitter?

    • I’m not sure, but you could certainly try it!

  49. I loved this meal! I want for sure what to call it so I said cabbage hamburger stir fry casserole and I should have came up with a better name for it. My son ate half of his on bread and butter. (He went from eating everything to bread butter etc and very picky) and all 4 of the rest of the family ate it. Bit they said it was missing something missing, like it was bland but I thought it was delicious we did the basic recipe with eggs and turned it into a casserole…I thought it was great and like grandmas cooking but it wasn’t there favorite…I think its in there mind though lol BC I told them it was new etc…my grandparents I think are losing there taste buds and just go off memory I think of what they ate before. I was just wondering o anyone else noticed this??? Thank you so much for the recipe!!!I live it and will try it again this time with chicken stock…any over ideas would be appreciated! Thank you -Lenah

  50. Nothing short of ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS! Thank you again for a wonderful recipe!

  51. Hello, can you please clarify something that I find a bit confusing. The spices : by garlic, do you mean fresh garlic or powdered garlic? what about the herbs? Are basil, thyme and oregano supposed to be dry or fresh?thank you

    • In all of my recipes, the spices are dried herbs (and garlic powder) unless otherwise specified

  52. My family have alergies of spices, papers and most herbs.
    Where can I get suitable receipies?

  53. This is the first Wellness Mama recipe I have made and I LOVED it. I made the Chinese version of it. The best part was getting to use my new food processor to prepare the veggies.

  54. This sounds like a delish dish but as it is just me it would be way to much. Is it possible to freeze this recipe?

  55. I love this! I have been making it for several years. Sometimes I will just use a bag of coleslaw mix (cabbage and grated carrots only). I have added red pepper flakes, garlic, salsa or tomato sauce, sometimes add bell peppers if I have some on hand, ALWAYS put onion, salt, and black pepper in it. So good and low carb! My husband and I both have type 2 diabetes. This is a great recipe for diabetics.

  56. Hi Katie!
    Thanks for sharing, I made this recipe and my whole filt loves it! Just one question…do you drain the beef fat after browning?
    Thank you!

  57. Ok thank you! BTW, it’s supposed to say “family” not “filt” sorry!

  58. WOW…just wow! I wasn’t expecting such healthy ingredients to taste so incredibly delicious, but my entire family (including two young boys) gobbled it up! I think the spices give this dish amazing depth, and it’s so healthy! I served it with sliced apples on the side. This is a definite keeper and a fabulous way to incorporate cabbage into dinners; thank you!

  59. I made this for the first time using ground turkey. It was fantastic. I have tried it with ground chicken and ground beef also but prefer the ground turkey. Its very budget friendly. The flavors make you think its a high priced meal but the it cost so little in reality. Its the only reason I buy ground turkey. Its just so very good. We have it weekly now.

    Keep up the great recipes.

  60. Hi Katie!
    What kind of pan do you use to make this? I’m looking for a nice large family-sized pan for recipes like this one 🙂

    LOVE this recipe by the way, I now make it all the time. Thanks for all you do!

    • I usually just use a huge old cast iron passed down from a family member, but ceramic or cast iron would work too

  61. I made this for the second time, with Ground Chuck, Head Frozen Cabbage (defrosted with Hot water and pulled the leaves off gradually) and 4 carrots vegetables all ground in by food processor, all spices you mentioned on original recipe…so browned meat added spices and onion and garlic, then Cabbage and carrots, let it simmer together for a while, served w few slices Colby cheese, but it tasted bland then kinda yuck sweet,,,I’ve made it b4 and liked it but tonight I just ate a few bites of meat, and slices of Colby cheese, and through the rest away,,,where did I go wrong 🙁

    • I usually add a cup of medium salsa when cooking this. Other times, I have given a spicy Asian flavor by adding red pepper flakes and about a third cup of stir-fry sauce (this stuff is high in sodium, so I don’t use nearly as much as I would the salsa). The red pepper flakes are what adds the heat.

      I have never tried freezing cabbage.

  62. This was so delicious! Added the cummin and chili powder then added tomatoes with green chilies. Tossed it in tortilla shells and added sour cream. Even my picky one ate two of them!! This is so getting added to the recipe book. Thank you so much!

  63. I made this for our dinner last week – we all absolutely loved it! I’ve never seen my 11 yr old son enjoy eating any cooked cabbage and onion before this meal. He also said that it was the best dish I’d ever made! So thank you Katie – looks like I’ll be trying many more of your recipes….:-)

  64. This recipe is so delicious! Thought I might miss rice or something else with it- not at all! So flavorful and versatile!

  65. I know grass-fed beef is great, but flax-fed beef is a little cheaper. Could you write an article or let me know what you think about flax-fed beef?

  66. I tried this one a while back and it is an excellent dish! I plan on making it again soon! The cabbage gives a wonderful flavor! My husband loved it, too! Best of all, it is quick and simple!

  67. Loved it! Kids age 9, 6, and 3 plus hubby and I all wolfed it down. We only had 1 lb of beef and had to use a little less cabbage because a little bit of ours had started to go bad (had to cut it off). When I looked at the skillet while it was all cooking, I knew it wouldn’t be quite enough. So I roasted some yukon gold potato chunks in the oven while this finished in the skillet. Was perfect together. A great way to stretch an already economical dish! I took care not to mention that it was a cabbage dish, and I also took care to cook until the cabbage was very soft and the flavor was no longer too strong. I love cabbage in any range of raw to cooked, but the kids can get turned off if the cabbage is too strong. I would have never thought of using the Italian seasonings as suggested, but I think that really helped it become a crowd pleaser. Thanks for sharing!

  68. Could you use Napa cabbage?

  69. I made this tonight and added salt, pepper, dried basil, oregano, thyme and marjoram and used about 2 teaspoons of each. I also added a couple of tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin and Mrs. Dash salt-free original blend and a squeeze of lemon. I enjoyed the combination of all those flavors, and the cabbage added a touch of sweetness, and there were so many herbs that made it very savory.

  70. This recipe has made me famous ; ) no worries though, I always give due credit to the wellnessmama.

    I make it “sweet and sour” by adding fresh squeezed OJ, orange zest, apple cider vinegar, fresh garlic and coconut sugar. Heaven!!!

    • please list the amounts of each you use.

      • Hi! I usually add “to taste”. If I had to guess how much, I’d say:
        -Juice and zest of 1 organic Orange
        (Half added to beef after browned and half when cabbage is added)
        – 1/8c of ACV (when cabbage is added and a drizzle upon serving)
        – 1-2 Tblsp of Coconut Sugar (half added to browned beef, half when cabbage is added)
        – 2-3 cloves of grated garlic (added to raw beef)

        I hope this helps and I hope you LOVE it as much as we do!!

  71. This recipe is very similar to a family favorite. The ground beef, onions, carrots, and back then, potatoes as well. However, to make a version that suited our dietary needs, we swapped out a few things and added a few other. For a medium head of cabbage shredded, I use one large sweet onion diced, 1or 2 Sicilian Chicken Sausages (I use Trader Joe’s uncooked, but use what you like) 1 sm. or 1/2 of a med. sweet potato/yam diced, 1 small zucchini diced, 1 sm. red bell pepper (any will do) diced. Optional, but makes for a hearty, healthy serving, add a cup or more of cauliflower and one of broccoli, and a few handfuls of any greens you like (kale, spinach, etc Any of your favorite veggies would be great here.). Over medium heat, caramelize the onions in about 3 T of coconut or other healthy oil, add meat (remove casings if using sausages… if using other meat, be sure to season to taste), separate meat as you brown. Add bell pepper and sweet potato/yam, as well as broccoli and cauliflower (if using) , and cook for a minute or two. Add cabbage, zucchini and other greens. Salt (not idolized) & pepper to taste, stir to incorporate all of the ingredients, cover and simmer on reduced heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. (If over-cooked, still tasty, just limp.) Remove from heat immediately when done and serve placing leftovers in an open container to prevent from further cooking. We top our servings with a bit of grass fed butter or goat butter. Love this in winter!