Five Reasons to Shred Cabbage with a Knife, and How To Do It.

Cabbage Sliced in Half

Experiments are extremely common in our household. One of the more recent ones was to determine whether it is better to shred cabbage with a knife, with a Cuisinart, or to buy it pre-shredded at the grocery store. Despite the fact that I own a lovely Cuisinart and that pre-shredded, bagged cabbage is readily available at the supermarket, I have always shredded cabbage with a knife. This is probably because that’s the way my mother taught me to do it. However, the results of our experiment proved, to me at least, that it’s the best way to go. So here is a brief picture tutorial on how to shred a cabbage and  five reasons why everyone should learn how to do it with a knife.

How to Shred Cabbage
1. Place the cabbage on a cutting coard with the core side down. Using a large chef’s knife, cut the cabbage in half from top to bottom as pictured below. (The core is the bottom)

Cabbage Sliced in Half

2. Now use the tip of your knife to remove the core. See the circled area in the picture below – this is what you want to remove.

Cabbage - Cut out the core

3. With your non-dominant hand, hold the cabbage on the cutting board at a 135 degree angle. Then, holding the chef’s knife at a slightly less angle, make a thin slice down the interior side of the cabbage. You’re basically shaving the cabbage. If your knife is sharp, you should be able to make one long slice, with no sawing back and forth. Continue this shaving process until the cabbage is difficult to hold. At that point, lay the cabbage on the cutting board with the interior side facing down, and chop into long thin slices.

Shredding a Cabbage

Want to practice you cabbage shredding skills? Try these recipes:
"Easy Summer Coleslaw Recipe"
"Singapore Street Noodles Recipe"

Now on to the reasons you should be using a knife to shred your own cabbage:

1. The Stuff in the Bag Tastes Like Cardboard
The pre-shredded cabbage may be quick, but it’s just not the same as fresh cabbage. It was very dry and overly light, so I’m assuming that it had been in the bag for a while and most of the moisture had evaporated.

2. A Head of Cabbage is Really Cheap
A head of cabbage is generally $0.29 to $0.59 cents per pound, while the stuff in the bag (I’m not sure I want to call it cabbage) costs at least $2.99 per bag. A large head of cabbage will go a long way. You can easily make cole slaw for large crowd with one head.

3. The Cuisinart Massacres Cabbage
I thought that the Cuisinart would do a great job with the cabbage, but it ended up shredding it into really little pieces. Think KFC cole slaw. I prefer long thin strands, so this didn’t work for us.

4. Clean Cuisinart – 3 Minutes; Clean Knife – 3 seconds
The final strike against the Cuisinart was the fact that it takes up a lot of room in my dish drain or my dishwasher. I have enough trouble keeping the kitchen clean without having to clean it as well. The knife cleans up in about three seconds, so it’s the definite winner.

5. You Get to Hack Something with a Knife
After a long day, it’s sometime really fun to hack into a large vegetable with a big, long knife. Granted, you would get to hack the cabbage even if you used the Cuisinart, since you would have to cut the cabbage into Cuisinart sized chunks. This brings me back to my earlier point, why get the Cuisinart dirty when you’ve already gotten your knife out.


  1. Koinonia says:

    The colors on your website are great! I haven’t thought of using cabbage in a long while, but seeing how easy it should be and how fresh and attractive that cabbage looks and sounds from your discussion, I’m watching for your recipes to follow!

    When cutting out the core, it’s a multi-angle cut, right? rather than a block cut? [does that make sense?]

  2. Cabbage seems so bland, doesn’t it. We started eating it when it came in our box of veggies from our local CSA and we’ve been surprised by how much we enjoy it.

    If you can envision the core as a pyramid, then you’re cutting 1/2 of the pyramid out of each side of the cabbage. Insert the tip of your knife at the top of the core and cut down one side of the pyramid. Reinsert the knife at the top of the core and cut down the other side of the pyramid. If you’ve cut deeply enough, then the cuts should meet at the back of the core, and it will just pop out.

    Mary Frances

  3. Heather says:

    Thanks so much! Your pictorial was extremely helpful to this new cole slaw newbie! :-)

  4. Great entry! I’ve linked to you rather than explain how to shred on my site.

  5. Funny, I have to insert my name to someone I don’t know who I am writing to.Oh Well.
    I also use a knife or a Mandolin Slicer. But instead of cutting out the core. I just give it one good bang on the counter (core side down)and it loosens up and I pull it out.Just loke a head of lettuce.

  6. How do I know when the cabbage is at 135 degrees? A protractor? Despite my slight sarcasm, this is a real question. Please advise.

  7. Wai Chung Hon says:

    Thanks for the tips. The last time I tried to shred cabbage with a knife, my arm was sore for a few hours. Now, I can do it quickly without the soreness.

  8. LaneyHaney says:

    My mom and dad did it your way, and I wondered why they went to the trouble. Now you’ve convinced me. (Their slaw was always wonderful, by the way.)

  9. DawnRaeSum says:

    Thank you so much for putting this up. I am making braised cabbage for the first time and found this very helpful. I’ve never shredded cabbage before and thought it was going to take forever, but it only took me about 10 minutes, maybe even less than that.The best part is that my hands aren’t even sore, which is the main reason why I was dreading shredding the cabbage!


  1. [...] went. First I wanted to make sure I was shredding and coring the cabbage correctly. Here’s a great site that shows you exactly how in case you’ve never done it. It really is a good idea to do this [...]