Braised Red Cabbage

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please see our affiliate policy.

Tender-crisp red cabbage transforms into a tangy and savory side dish recipe in this classic German Braised Red Cabbage. This is my twist on traditional Rotkohl, a sweet-sour cabbage dish often served alongside Rouladen and other German entrees.

A bowl of braised red cabbage.


 

Braised Red Cabbage has an important role in German cuisine: It cuts through all the other hearty recipes! Whether it’s breaded-and-fried Pork Schnitzel, German Potato Salad full of bacon, or a classic plate of meaty Rouladen and gravy, Braised Red Cabbage as the antidote.

It’s also an inexpensive, naturally gluten-free, filling vegetable option for cool-weather climates. With it’s sweet-and-sour flavor profile and tender-crisp texture, this side dish gives you a moment of respite from the rest of the heavy food on your plate. This version is made with apples, too, for extra sweetness and crunch. And, in lieu of cooking it into total oblivion, we simmer the cabbage until it just begins to soften. Leave a spot on your plate for the braised cabbage!

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for braised red cabbage.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Apples: To peel, core, and slice the apples, use a paring knife to carefully peel the apples. On a cutting board, set an apple upright and slice in half. Place each apple half cut-side down and cut in half again (you will now have 4 quarters of an apple). Set each apple quarter on a flat angle side and slice out the core. Cut each cored apple quarter into slices. Look for sweet apples, or add a tart apple, such as a Granny Smith Apple, for an added twist to this classic recipe.
  • Red Wine Vinegar: Or substitute apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar.
  • Cabbage: To core and slice cabbage, remove any damaged or browned outer leaves and rinse under cold water. On a cutting board, set the head of cabbage upright on the stem and cut in half with a sharp knife. Place each cabbage half cut-side down and cut in half again (you will now have 4 quarters of cabbage). Set each cabbage quarter on its outer leaves, exposing the core, and slice out the core away from you. Set each quarter down on a cut-side and slice crosswise from top to bottom.
  • Chicken broth: Opt for store-bought or homemade broth; either will do. For a vegetarian- or vegan-friendly substitute, use vegetable broth.

Step by step instructions

  1. In a small bowl, place half of the sliced apples. Add the sliced chives and half the vinegar (1 ½ teaspoons). Stir to combine. Set aside to marinate, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Seasoned apples for braised red cabbage.
  1. Meanwhile, in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, combine the cabbage, red onion and water, and cook until the cabbage begins to soften, about 2 to 3 minutes.
A saucepan full of braised red cabbage.
  1. Add the broth, remaining sliced apples, and remaining vinegar. Stir until combined. Cover and cook until cabbage has softened, about 4 to 6 minutes more. Remove from heat, add marinated apple mixture and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper (I like ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper).
A saucepan full of braised red cabbage.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This Braised Red Cabbage recipe makes six 1-cup, side dish-sized servings.
  • Storage: Store leftovers covered for up to 4 days.
  • Make ahead: Make braised red cabbage up to 3 days in advance, then reheat on the stove top before serving.
  • Freezer: Cool the braised red cabbage completely, then transfer to a freezer-safe container. Label, date, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat on the stove.
  • Make it a meal: This Braised Red Cabbage is a brilliant side dish for Rouladen and any fried protein or cheesy casserole that could use some brightness and acidity to cut through the richness. Try this cabbage recipe alongside Chicken Milanese, atop a Pork Tenderloin Sandwich, or paired with Easy Goulash.
  • Spice up your Braised Red Cabbage: Add warming spices such as allspice, black peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, juniper berries, a pinch of nutmeg, and/or whole cloves tied in a sachet along with the cabbage in step 2.
  • Oktoberfest: See my Ultimate Oktoberfest Menu for inspiration for your next festive German event!
A plate of schnitzel, spaetzle, and braised red cabbage.
Chicken Schnitzel, Spaetzle, and Braised Red Cabbage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I reheat braised red cabbage?

Yes! Reheat leftover braised red cabbage with braising liquids in a sauce and or skillet over low to medium heat.

What can I eat with braised red cabbage?

Serve this tender side dish alongside breaded-and-fried Chicken Schnitzel, Pork SchnitzelGerman Potato Salad , or a classic plate of meaty Rouladen and gravy. This is the perfect side dish for your next Oktoberfest celebration.

More excellent German recipes

Join Us

HUNGRY FOR MORE? Sign up for our weekly newsletter and follow along on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram for our latest recipes! Tag all your glorious creations #culinaryhill so we can eat vicariously through you.
A bowl of braised red cabbage.

Braised Red Cabbage

Tender-crisp red cabbage transforms into a tangy and savory side dish recipe in this classic German Braised Red Cabbage. This is my twist on traditional Rotkohl, a sweet-sour cabbage dish often served alongside Rouladen and other German entrees.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 (1 cup) servings
Course Side Dish
Cuisine German
Calories 182
5 from 6 votes

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • In a small bowl, place half of the sliced apples. Add the sliced chives and half the vinegar (1 ½ teaspoons). Stir to combine. Set aside to marinate, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Meanwhile, in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, combine the cabbage, red onion and water, and cook until the cabbage begins to soften, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add the broth, remaining sliced apples, and remaining vinegar. Stir until combined. Cover and cook until cabbage has softened, about 4-6 minutes more. Remove from heat, add marinated apple mixture and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. (I like ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper).

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Apples: To peel, core, and slice the fruit, use a paring knife to carefully peel the apples. On a cutting board, set an apple upright and slice in half. Place each apple half cut-side down and cut in half again (you will now have 4 quarters of an apple). Set each apple quarter on a flat angle side and slice out the core. Cut each cored apple quarter into slices.
  2. Red Wine Vinegar: Or substitute apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar.
  3. Cabbage: To core and slice cabbage, remove any damaged or browned outer leaves and rinse under cold water. On a cutting board, set the head of cabbage upright on the stem and cut in half. Place each cabbage half cut-side down and cut in half again (you will now have 4 quarters of cabbage). Set each cabbage quarter on its outer leaves, exposing the core, and slice out the core away from you. Set each quarter down on a cut-side and slice crosswise from top to bottom.
  4. Chicken broth: Opt for store-bought or homemade broth; either will do. For a vegetarian- or vegan-friendly substitute, use vegetable broth.
  5. Yield: This Braised Red Cabbage recipe makes six 1-cup, side dish-sized servings.
  6. Storage: Store leftovers covered for up to 4 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 182kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 1gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 6gSodium: 1057mgPotassium: 218mgFiber: 3gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 309IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 20mgIron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @culinaryhill on Instagram so we can admire your masterpiece! #culinaryhill
Website | + posts

Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

Quick & Easy Meals in Under 30 Minutes!
15 simple recipes for busy weeknights.

You May Also Like

Questions and Comments

Thank you for your comments! Please allow 1-2 business days for a reply. Our business hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 am PST to 5:00 pm PST, excluding holidays. Comments are moderated to prevent spam and profanity.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. German Festival in town this weekend. We were not able to attend so I made a German meal at home. Have not tried this cabbage recipe before. Sehr Gut!! I liked that there was no added sugar and the marinating of some of the apple slices with fresh herbs. I had some parley to use up so I tossed that in for this step as well. Putting those in at the end so they stayed crisp was key. And the cabbage was not cooked too long. Way better than the gloopy stuff my Grandma made (sorry Anna). But that is what I love about food and cooking. This was a fresh spin on a classic and I will make it again and again. Thank you!5 stars