Lettuce vs. Cabbage: Difference Between Cabbage and Lettuce

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Cabbage vs. Lettuce Difference

Cabbage and Lettuce are two vegetables that almost look alike. Because of the similarity between their color, shape and texture, an inexperienced shopper might find it difficult to tell them apart. So, what actually is the difference between cabbage and lettuce?

Read on to find out the many differences between lettuce and cabbage, based upon their uses, nutrition value, growing conditions and taste.


Cabbage is a green vegetable that belongs to the same family to which cauliflower and broccoli belong. It is rounded in shape and has green leaves. Though the most commonly used cabbage is the green one, there are various other types of cabbage found.

There are more than 100 varieties of cabbages grown all over the world. The most commonly used ones are green, red and savoy.

cabbage vs lettuce
Source: pexels.com


Lettuce is more of a green leafy vegetable that is used in salads. The main types of lettuce available in the market are iceberg lettuce, butterhead lettuce, romaine lettuce and loose-leaf lettuce.

The type of lettuce that resembles the most to a cabbage is the iceberg lettuce.

Differences Between Lettuce and Cabbage
Image: pexels.com

Cabbage and iceberg lettuce look so similar that it is easy to get confused between the two and pick the wrong vegetable.

Here are the some of the main differences between them that will help you choose the right vegetable for your recipe.

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Key Difference Between Cabbage and Lettuce


Both cabbage and lettuce have short stems. But, in lettuce the leaves are wrapped over one another making it look long. Cabbage has a more rounded appearance.

Lettuce is also greener than cabbage.

Cabbage feels more firm and its outer leaves are hard. Lettuce is softer than cabbage.

Nutrition Values – Lettuce vs Cabbage

Cabbage and lettuce differ a lot when it comes to nutrition content.

Lettuce has more water content than cabbage. Cabbage has more fiber than lettuce.

Here is a Cabbage vs Lettuce nutrition comparison chart.

lettuce vs cabbage nutrition comparison
Source: foodmetrics.org

A quick look at the chart will tell you that cabbage has more vitamins and minerals than lettuce. The only thing in which lettuce scores over cabbage is Vitamin A.

Both the vegetables have high water content and are low in calories and fats.

Nutritional content wise, cabbage is a healthier choice than lettuce.

The chart shows nutrition content of green cabbage and iceberg lettuce. Different varieties of cabbage and lettuce will score differently on nutritional profile. For example, potassium is more in cabbage (170 mg) than iceberg lettuce (141 mg). But romaine lettuce (247 mg) has more potassium than cabbage.


Cabbage tastes crunchier because of its hard texture. In raw form its tastes somewhat like pepper, but after cooking it tastes a little sweet.

Lettuce on the other hand, is somewhat bland in taste.


Lettuce does not have any smell, whereas cabbage has a strong smell.

Also See: What is the Difference Between a Vegetarian and Vegan?

Culinary Uses

Lettuce is soft and has high water content. That is why it is mostly eaten raw in salads, sandwiches and burgers. Though sometimes it is cooked and made into a soup.

Cabbage is mostly cooked and eaten. The outer leaves are generally not used for cooking purpose. It is the inner soft leaves that are cooked.

Cabbage produces a strong smell when it comes in contact with heat.

The only popular raw form of cabbage food is coleslaw which is a mixture of shredded cabbage and carrots combined with onion, mayonnaise, salt and sugar. It is eaten as a side dish.

Lettuce and cabbage have entirely different taste and texture and hence interchanging them in a recipe will not work.

Growing Conditions – Cabbage vs Lettuce

Cabbage can grow in any type of soil, but requires a cool climate to flourish. It can grow in extremely cold as well as slightly warm weather. This is the reason there are so many varieties of cabbage.

Depending upon the growing conditions a cabbage can be curly green or smooth red.

Lettuce on the other hand can grow in warm climate but requires a shady spot to grow. It grows well in sandy soil.

Both the vegetables require moisture to grow otherwise their leaves will dry out quickly.

Read: Remarkable Health Benefits of Purple Cabbage (Red Cabbage)

Here is a quick cabbage vs lettuce summary chart.

Point of Difference Cabbage Lettuce
Appearance Firm, light green Soft, dark green
Nutrition content Higher nutrition content Lower nutrition content
Taste Peppery Bitter sweet
Smell Strong Odorless
Weight Heavy Light
Culinary uses Cooked, boiled, steamed Eaten raw in salads
Growing conditions Cool climate, any type of soil Grows best in shade, Sandy soil

Wrap up – Difference Between Cabbage and Lettuce

Cabbage and lettuce are similar looking vegetables that differ a lot in taste and nutrition content.

Cabbage is much more nutritious than lettuce and is eaten mostly cooked. Lettuce is eaten in salads in raw form.

If you do not want to use cabbage in salads because of its tough exterior but want something healthier, then go for romaine lettuce.

Choose the vegetable according to the recipe and nutritional requirements.

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