Nani’s Scrumptious Pork And Cabbage Soup

bowl of cabbage soup

One of the many gifts my grandmother, Nani, gave me was her delicious family recipes. I call them heritage recipes. They are all warm and filling and full of the most delicious flavors! Today I’m gifting you with her amazing Cabbage Soup recipe.

I grew up eating this scrumptious soup and have been making it for decades.

I’ve shared a couple other recipes from Nani. Her packed with flavor Sauteed Rice and my very favorite Sauteed Chicken.

These recipes and Cabbage Soup are what I like to call peasant food.

My Nani was one of 11 children. The daughter of an immigrant coal miner. You needed to make meals that would go a long way for just a few $$ to feed a big family like that!

I recently found our ancestral home in Tomhicken Pa on the side of Sugarloaf mountain. I saw the remnants of the coal mine my great grandfather work 18 in hours a day! And I got to talk to some of the people in this tiny village whose families lived there for generations.

This was a life-changing experience and I will pass all the stories to my children and grandchildren!

My Nani and her family were poor but my great-grandmother was a good and frugal home cook. I loved to hear how my Nani would talk so warmly about her time growing up!

They might have been poor but they were rich in love of family and delicious recipes!


Now that big heads of field-grown cabbage are bountiful in my local farmers market I know it’s time to make Nani’s Cabbage Soup!

This recipe makes a big pot! And it is not rocket science so you can add a little more of this or a little less of that, except for the meat! The pork makes the stock, and soup is all about a good stock!


There is really not much you can do to mess up Cabbage Soup. It’s that easy! But here are a few tips that will help make it scrumptious!!!!

First, make sure you have a big pot! It makes a lot. You can half this recipe, but why? Make it and freeze it. It’s one of those soups that just gets better!

Use the biggest head of cabbage you can find or use two smaller heads. Cut out the core and the spine of the cabbage. It’s hard and fibrous and tough to eat.

I think salt is a matter of taste. Layer salt as you add ingredients. Putting salt into soup at the end just makes it salty instead of bringing out the flavors in the soup.

Cabbage soup just begs for a heavier hand when it comes to pepper. I pepper my pork chops before I sauteé them and then give a few good grinds of pepper to my bowl of soup.

4.67 from 3 votes


a hearty and full flavored pork and cabbage soup
Print Recipe


  • dutch oven


  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 4 large center cut, bone in pork chops
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large head of cabbage, chopped into 2 inch cubes
  • 6-8 cups chicken stock
  • 1 can tomato soup
  • 1 15.5 oz diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups pealed, diced potatoes, optional
  • salt
  • pepper


  • Salt and pepper both sides of the pork chops.
  • Heat the oil over medium heat in a large dutch oven and brown the pork chops on both sides a couple at a time.
  • Move the browned pork chops to a plate and set aside.
  • Add the onions to the dutch oven and sprinkle them with a little salt. Stir and sweat the onions over medium-low heat until translucent, about 4 minutes.
  • Add the garlic to the onions, stir and cook for 1 minute.
  • Put the pork back into the dutch oven.
  • Add the tomato soup, diced tomatoes, and chicken stock. Stir, turn the heat to high, and bring the pot of ingredients to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer for an hour.
  • Add the cabbage and cook. The cooked cabbage should be soft but not mushy. Simmer for about 30 minutes.
  • Add potatoes to the last 20 minutes of cooking time.
  • Taste and add salt and pepper.
  • Remove the pork from the soup and shred using two forks.
  • Put the pork back into the soup and discard the bones.
  • Garnish with sour cream and sliced green onions.
  • ENJOY!


This soup is even better the second day when all the flavors have a chance to marry! And it freezes well.
Country spare ribs can be used instead of pork chops.
Course: Soup

We often eat delicious Cabbage Soup for dinner and the leftovers for lunches! And don’t forget the crusty bread! YUM!


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Recipe Rating


  1. Patricia Diana Folk says:

    5 stars
    Thanks for your treasured recipe from Nani. I love cabbage soup !
    My family comes from Western PA and were coal miners
    too, so cabbage and pork was always staples on the table.
    My Mother’s version uses pork shoulder and more onions, no garlic, but generous with sweet paprika. Always paprika..
    I hope your blog viewers try this recipe because it is so great, especially on a cold winter day.

    1. Yes. What amazing additions to the soup! Are you Hungarian? Sounds just like my family!

  2. DJ Dennis says:

    Thank you for sharing this recipe, Yvonne. The stories that go with your heritage recipes are lovely. I just recently became a grandmother – you and your Nani inspire my new title! Can’t wait to try this and I will share it’s origin with my family:)

    1. Oh, how delightful! You will love being a grandparent! God bless your new little one

  3. Miche Ortega says:

    I love Nani’s recipes. I haven’t made her rice yet, but I have made her chicken dish several times, and we love it. Thank you, Yvonne, for sharing your precious heritage recipes with us. Do you live in Pennsylvania, or Georgia?

    1. Hi Miche, you are so welcome. And thank you for understanding just how special these recipes are! We live in Lancaster Co. Pa. But my great grandparents lived in Tomhicken Pa and then Phoenixville, Pa.

  4. This looks delicious and I will try when the weather gets a little cooler. Thanks for sharing your wonderful decorating knowledge, DIY’s and tips. Have a lovely day.

  5. I recently made your Taco Soup and have some in the freezer. I really liked it. It’s that time of year to make soups and stews. This sounds delicious. Cabbage is very nutritious! Love your recipes.

  6. Yvonne…this looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it! Love cabbage…because I am a coal miner’s daughter. Not too far from your family home…up the road in Sugar Notch, PA – outside of Wilkes Barre. We lived in a company home and my father worked in the mines for 40 years. Those old “make the meal stretch” recipes are the best!

    1. Yes, they are the best Ann! YUM! Hope you like it as much as we do!

  7. Bev Burton says:

    can this be made in a slow cooker?

    1. Yes. Give it a try! I like how soup tastes when it’s been cooking on the stove. But I think a slow cooker would fine for this soup.

  8. leeann frydrych says:

    the cabbage soup sounds so good!! Don’t suppose you have nutrition info?

    1. Sorry, Leeann! I am not a food blogger so I do not have that info. All I know is that it is so so good!

  9. 4 stars
    I made this soup today. It is very good. I have made several of your recipes and all of them are on my ” Keep this one” list. Thank you very much for sharing your delicious recipes

  10. 5 stars
    Will be making this scrumptious dish, Saturday. Yum!!!! Thanks for sharing

  11. Mary Roth (Kearny, NJ) says:

    Now that we’re approaching the fall season and as the days become shorter and the cooler weather sets in, I can’t wait to make your hearty soups for my family.
    Your note at the end of your Nani’s Pork and Cabbage Soup Recipe is very similar to my ancestry as well. My father’s family were also coal miners from Shenandoah, PA and his grandparents were immigrants as well and worked in the coal mines.