An authentic Hungarian fried cabbage and noodles recipe passed down by my great grandmother who emigrated from Austria-Hungary… Also known as Haluska, Krautfleckerl, or Káposztás Tészta, this simple buttery caramelized cabbage recipe packs a lot of flavor for VERY little money!
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Hungarian Cabbage and Noodles
Aside from the whole not allowing my food to touch thing, I was not a picky eater as a child. But there were a handful of foods that I would NOT eat: like asparagus, tomato soup, and this fried cabbage and noodles dish.
Strangely enough, I LOVE them ALL today! Though my aversion to different foods touching remains…
It was easy to tell when fried cabbage and noodles was on the menu for the evening. My mom would come home from the grocery store with an enormous green cabbage and a bag of No Yolks noodles. Even if I missed her unbagging the groceries, the smell of the cabbage cooking was a dead giveaway.
Back then, she’d always save some of the plain noodles before mixing the rest with the cabbage. I’d coat them with some melted butter and top them off with a generous shake of Parmesan cheese. Much as my own daughter does these days — pure comfort food!
But as I’ve grown older, I’ve gained a new appreciation for the Hungarian recipes my family has passed down. Also, I’m a sucker for budget-friendly dinners. And you can’t get much more economical than this delicious dish! I mean, cabbage is always affordably priced, AND it’s available year round.
Case in point: I picked up an massive green cabbage for $0.49/lb. and a bag of wide egg noodles for $1.99. Add in a little butter, salt, and pepper, and you’ve got a dinner big enough to feed an army for under $5 total.
Or at least a dinner that’s enough to feed MY army!
Cabbage and Noodles Ingredients
This simple dish starts with a package of No Yolks egg noodles. My mom used these pantry staple egg noodles in everything, including this fried cabbage and noodles recipe. But also in chicken paprikash, chicken noodle soup, tuna casserole, you name it.
These smooth, firm, and fluffy noodles are incredibly versatile! So it’s only natural that I continue to use them myself all these years later. My mom (and I) use the No Yolks Broad noodles variety most often. But they also come in Extra Broad, Fine, Kluski, Dumplings, and Stir-Fry cuts.
a large head of green cabbage — look for a head that’s crisp, firm, and feels a bit heavy for its size.
lots of butter — SIX tablespoons of butter to be exact… And please use real butter!
salt and pepper — note that the salt is added at different times in the cooking process, first to aid in wilting the cabbage and later to season the dish.
That’s it! Three simple ingredients just like my dédanyja always made it. As easy dinner recipes go, you can’t get much easier.
Recipe For Fried Cabbage Variations
As I’ve mentioned before in this sour cream cucumber salad post, it’s common to find many variations on a recipe within a culture.
I consider them ALL to be “traditional versions” of a dish, even if they’re different from my family’s authentic recipe. I realize that our cabbage and noodles recipe is a pretty stripped down, basic dish. But please know that it DOES NOT mean that I forgot an ingredient!
- caraway seeds — if you enjoy the flavor and texture of caraway seed, you can stir in a teaspoon along with the pepper when the cabbage is almost done cooking.
- caramelized onions — slice up a yellow onion and then sauté the sliced onions until translucent. Add cabbage and continue with the original recipe. I find the resulting cabbage onion mixture is a little sweeter than just cabbage alone.
- cooked bacon or bacon fat — many recipes call for sautéing the cabbage in bacon grease and/or adding cooked bacon to the cabbage and noodles. Polish Haluski recipes may add kielbasa sausage instead of bacon.
- sour cream or cottage cheese — if you’re looking to add a creamy component to this dish, you can stir in some sour cream or cottage cheese. Or you can simply top the basic dish off with either one.
Read through the comments for more variations on this recipe for cabbage and noodles. Sugar, paprika spread, walnuts, and Szalonna are mentioned, along with many others. Fascinating stuff!
NOTE: There’s also a LOT of overlap in Eastern European cuisines. For example, you may be more familiar with this recipe as Polish Haluski (vs. Hungarian Haluska)…
Haluski is a very popular Polish dish in the Pittsburgh area. It features the same buttery noodles and cabbage base as this cabbage and noodles recipe. Essentially they’re one and the same!
How To Make Fried Cabbage and Noodles
Just as No Yolks noodles are versatile, so is cabbage. This hardy vegetable stays crispy in the produce drawer for AGES. Meaning you can keep a head on hand to make this comforting dish at a moment’s notice!
Start by removing the core from a whole head of cabbage. Slice the cabbage very thinly with a sharp knife. Melt the butter over medium heat in a large skillet and add the shredded cabbage. Sprinkle a half teaspoon salt over top, and give it a stir.
Cover and cook until the cabbage starts to wilt, stirring often. At this point, you can remove the lid and turn the heat up.
Add the remaining half teaspoon of salt, and cook over medium-high heat for about 15 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the cabbage is tender and caramelizes to a deep amber color.
In the meantime, cook the egg noodles in a large pot of water according to the package directions and drain well. Fold the sautéed cabbage mixture into the cooked noodles. Season with additional salt and the pepper and serve.
What To Serve With Cabbage and Noodles
This recipe for fried cabbage is super flexible! We eat it most often as a main dish, but it also doubles as a great side dish.
Noodles and cabbage pairs well with chicken paprikash and pork paprikash. It’s also perfect with a pork roast main course for Sunday dinner.
Or keep it super simple and serve it with some grilled bratwurst or kielbasa sausages. Perfect for busy weeknights!
More Easy Hungarian Recipes
If you like this cabbage and noodles recipe, you might also enjoy these other delicious Hungarian recipes:
- Hungarian Sour Cream Cucumbers
- Chicken Paprikash Recipe
- Pork Chops with Sour Cream and Onions
- Hungarian Cherry Tomato Salad
Did you make this recipe?
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Thursday 7th of July 2022
This brings back childhood memories! My father was from Hungary and would make this with bacon and cottage cheese. We loved it.
Wednesday 29th of June 2022
My father would cook haluska for my 3 brothers and me, a lot of it. He fried the bacon crisp and set aside. Added a table spoon or two of sugar (depending on how much he was making) to the rendered fat and cooked the chopped cabbage in it until slightly wilted. He did not use onions which is one of the few dishes he made without starting with sweating chopped onions. Mix the cabbage and wide noodles (cooked) and then placed in a shallow 2x9x13 casserole dish lightly greases with butter or left over bacon fat. Cook in 350 oven for 20 minutes and remove. Then he spread sour cream about a quarter inch deep across the top, then sprinkled with paprika and the bacon bits he reserved. He then put it back into the oven for 10 minutes. We boys would eat half a casserole each. Also, your cucumber salad recipe was spot on. I still have my dad’s old wooden mandolin he shredded cukes and onions with. He got it from his mom. They came to America in 1911.
Thursday 30th of June 2022
Hi Brett -- so happy you loved my cucumber salad recipe! This haluska version with bacon and sour cream sounds divine. Definitely going to try it soon!
Friday 17th of June 2022
Our family recipe is essentially the same. We use a different noodle (bowties) and paprika in addition to salt and pepper. A family favorite. My family comes from a town near border of Austria-Hungarian border.
Monday 20th of June 2022
So interesting -- my family came from approximately the same area! I can't believe I've never tried adding some paprika. Definitely giving it a try next time I make it!
Saturday 28th of May 2022
Croatian ancestry here & I have this in the oven right now. Neither my grandma or my mom made this dish, but they made their own noodles. Dough spread over the dining room table thin as can be & my mom would cut it into noodles. We always had cabbage & I still like to fry cabbage & onions in bacon grease. Yum!!
Saturday 28th of May 2022
Oh, yum!! I really need to make homemade noodles more often - so good!
Sunday 15th of May 2022
We called this dish kaposzta teszta. Haluska would be the Slovak name. Either way, it's the same dish, simple and delicious!
Sunday 15th of May 2022
Thanks for sharing, Kevin! These little nuances always make me think about the whole pop/soda, buggy/shopping cart, and other debates here.