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Gran's German red cabbage recipe

Gran's German red cabbage recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Side dish
  • Vegetable side dishes

This yummy, sweet and sour red cabbage is easy to make!

305 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 30g butter
  • 350g shredded red cabbage
  • 125g sliced green apples
  • 80ml apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

MethodPrep:20min ›Cook:1hr30min ›Ready in:1hr50min

  1. Place butter, cabbage, apples and sugar into a large saucepan or casserole. Pour in the vinegar and water, and season with salt, pepper and clove.
  2. Bring to the boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until the cabbage is tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.


German red cabbage

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(440)

Reviews in English (352)

A fantastic recipe. I made it to the letter, except for using only 3 tablespoons sugar, less salt, a red instead of green apple, and red wine vinegar because I didn't have cider vinegar. I also skipped the cloves, but am sure they'd be lovely. Wonderful and highly recommended for a Christmas side!-07 Nov 2011

Made for Christmas dinner as an accompaniment and was utterly delicious with an excellent balance of sweet and sour flavours. Quantity made plenty for our 6 persons lunch with plenty over to have with cold meats later. Kept well in the fridge for 3 days. Might have lasted longer but it disappeared! Recommend.-24 Feb 2014

Absolutely delicious. It tastes just like my mum used to make and will be a firm favourite from now on. I did add a few sultanas but I don't think I'll bother next time.-04 Dec 2014

In Germany, you&rsquoll find this dish called by different names depending on which region of the country you are in.

  • Northern Germany calls the dish Rotkohl (pronounced rhot-COAL).
  • In central and western Germany, it is known as Rotkraut (rhot-CROWT).
  • While in the southern part of Germany, it is known as Blaukraut (blau-CROWT).

Let&rsquos take a little German lesson:

Kohl is the northern word for cabbage, while kraut is the word used in central and southern Germany for the leafy vegetable.

Rot is red and blau is blue.

So, basically, the three names all boil down to a dispute over whether to call the dish blue cabbage or red cabbage.

Easy German Red Cabbage

This authentic sweet and sour cabbage is a quick and easy side dish. Add chopped apples, chestnuts, or walnuts for a tastier variation on the original. Serve it as a side dish with beef, chicken or even sausage. 

Serve this delicious cabbage on the side of a full German-inspired menu. 


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • ½ head red cabbage, sliced
  • ¾ cups water
  • ½ cup cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup sugar or honey
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


1. Heat evoo in a large pan or pot on low. Add onions and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, until softened and translucent.

2. Add cabbage, water, vinegar, honey or sugar, pepper, cloves and salt. Cook on low 30 minutes. Serve as a side dish for chicken or beef dishes.

German Braised Red Cabbage (Rotkohl)

As promised in my Pork Schnitzel recipe post, today I’m sharing my recipe for sweet and sour German braised cabbage – AKA “Rotkohl”!

I shot this recipe last week, but let me tell you… what I wouldn’t give to be eating some of this right now.

We’re experiencing severe weather here (floods, windstorms, tornadoes…. so far), and it’s so incredibly dark and gloomy outside that all I want is some comfort food.

For some people, comfort food is fried chicken, meatloaf, or spaghetti. For me, it’s German food.

Serve me a platter of sauerbraten, spaetzle, and rotkohl and I’m a happy camper. Bring me some fondue and mulled wine to go along with it, and I’m a full-bellied, slightly intoxicated camper.

Which is obviously the best kind of camper.

Alright, let’s talk about this German red cabbage recipe.

I’ve heard of people using plain white vinegar when making braised red cabbage, but I think it’s a little harsh for this recipe and prefer to use either apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar. I’ve tried it both ways and really can’t taste a difference. Just use whatever you have on hand.

I love to throw a few juniper berries in with my rotkohl because they add a wonderful freshness to the dish. I don’t how know to describe the flavor of juniper berries other than to say that they give gin its distinctive flavor.

I know that some people are adverse to the flavor if you are one of them, then skip the juniper berries.


Your recipe sounds like a spiced red cabbage. Extension and USDA do not have a recipe for canning red cabbage however the Ball Blue book has a tested recipe for spiced red cabbage. They are a reliable canning source.

I assume your German Red Cabbage is a pickled, spiced, chopped cabbage dish. Here is the recipe that is in the Ball Blue Book. which provides safe, tested recipes for consumers, so we are comfortable recommending it.

Spices are always negotiable in pickled products, so you can safely add or subtract dried spices to your taste, or to match the cooked recipe you prefer, but for the cabbage, vinegar and salt do follow the recommendations to ensure it is a safe product.

The vinegar brine makes this a pickled product, so it can be safely boiling water canned. Pressure canning cabbage results in discolored and strong flavored cabbage, so it is not recommended and we do not have research based times for canning cabbage. .

Spiced Red Cabbage (Source: Ball® Blue Book Guide to Preserving. 2014)

12 pounds cabbage (about 3 large heads)

½ cup Ball ® salt (canning/pickling salt)

2 quarts red wine vinegar

Ball ® Pickle Crisp (optional)

Remove outer leaves of cabbage, core and shred. Layer cabbage and salt in large bowl. Cover, let stand 24 hours. Rinse, drain thoroughly on towel-lined trays, about 6 hours. Combine sugar, mustard seed, mace and vinegar in a large saucepot. Tie whole spices in a spice bad. Add spice bag to vinegar mixture. Boil 5 minutes. Remove spice bag. Pack cabbage into hot jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Add Pickle Crisp to each jar, if desired. Ladle hot liquid over cabbage, leaving ½ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 20 minutes in a boiling water canner.

If you do not want to use this recipe then I suggest you freeze your German Red Cabbage recipe to assure safety.

The best pairing is with a roast or poultry like a goose or duck. I am sure it will go very well with a turkey, too, think of your next Thanksgiving! You can have it with potatoes but it tastes best if you have dumplings with it!
Since it takes some time to cook, it is a good idea to cook a large batch of it on a rainy weekend. Then you just freeze it and let it appear magically on a lucky day with a delicious (feast) meal.

My TiP: When freezing red cabbage I put it in Ziploc bags and make them really flat, so it can thaw in almost no time.

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Father’s Day is just around the corner. Are you looking to do something special for dad this year? Why not take over the grilling duty and prepare an outstanding meal. From the main course to dessert, any of these 21 easy grilling recipes will make a dynamite dinner for dad.

Beef Brisket with Red Cabbage

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Product overview

  • gluten free
  • lactose free
  • no artificial colours
  • vegan
  • vegetarian
  • without preservatives

Original Red Cabbage - 2 minutes

Red Cabbage with Apples - 2 minutes

Barrel Red Cabbage with Apples

First, in a large pot add olive oil over medium heat and when it’s hot add chopped onions and sauté about 2 minutes.

Stir in diced apples and chopped cabbage. Let it cook for another minute.

Then turn down the heat to medium low.

Add in the sugar, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper and cover the pot.

Let the cabbage simmer another 50-55 minutes.

Stir occasionally to be sure your stove is not cooking too high. If it seems dry, add a little water and turn the heat to low.

Cook until cabbage is tender.

Health Note on Cabbage

The ancient Greeks believed in the curative power of Cabbage.

Hippocrates often prescribed it boiled with salt for patients with violent colic.

Pythagoras even composed several entire books on the virtues of Cabbage.

It was said that Diogenes ate cabbage on the recommendation of Pythagoras while Aristippus, another Greek philosopher, refused to even have it in his kitchen.

Maybe it’s just a coincidence but Diogenes lived to the ripe old age of 90 and Aristippus died at the age of 40.


  1. Scand

    Yeah ... got out och cool

  2. Jabir

    Funny as hell. Or, I'm afraid, it’s not funny, but creepy.

  3. Athmarr

    I apologize for interrupting you, there is a proposal to take a different path.

  4. Nagis

    You have missed the most important.

  5. Jerard

    Oh thank you

  6. Tajo

    What rare luck! What happiness!

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