German Red Cabbage

German Red Cabbage – Comfort German Red Cabbage with Apples

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes

Let’s take 1 hour of your precious time to make this delicious German Red Cabbage that will bring your childhood memories back!

German Red Cabbage

Traditional German Red Cabbage with Apples

Red Cabbage with Apples is a traditional side dish in many German recipes. Here in Germany, we love eating it with Beef Rolls, Sausaerbraten, and with almost anything at Christmas time!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine German
Servings 10 people


Food Processor


  • 2 kg red cabbage
  • 100 g clarified butter or lard
  • 2 onions
  • 4 apples
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp vinegar
  • 500 ml apple juice
  • 1 bay leave
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • salt


Prepare the cabbage

  • Wash and remove the outer leaves. Cut into quarters and grate. For grating, I recommend using a food processor. It saves a lot of time!
  • Wash the apples, tap them dry, peel and remove not edible parts. Cut them into cubes.
  • Peel and chop the onions.

Cook the cabbage

  • Take the pressure cooker (or any large pot that you will be using) and melt the clarified butter or lard in it. Add the onions and apples and fry until the onions are translucent.
  • Add grated red cabbage and fry for another minute.
  • Pour the apple juice all over the cabbage. Add the vinegar and the spices (bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon stick).
  • Cook for 20 minutes under pressure or for 40 minutes with a lid on.
  • Season with sugar and salt!
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


Red Cabbage, lots of it – I like to use a big red cabbage to make this tasty side dish. I cook once and freeze the rest to have it on my hands all winter long!

Clarified Butter or Lard – It really doesn’t matter which one you use, both bring amazing flavor to this side dish.

Onions – Medium once, please!

Apples – Sour apples would do.

Brown Sugar – You can use both brown or white sugar. Keep in mind that the brown one has a more distinctive flavor.

Vinegar – I use either apple vinegar or white wine vinegar.

Apple Juice – I use juice with 100% fruit content without any additional sugar.

Bay Leaf – I use the dried one.

Cloves and Cinnamon – I use whole cloves and cinnamon sticks. If you don’t have those on hand try adding 1/4 tea spoon of each to the cabbage before cooking, and a little bit more, if needed, after cooking.


Serving Suggestions

Red Cabbage with Apples is a side dish served warm and it goes incredibly well with all stews and roasts. I love serving it with Traditional German Beef Rolls, Traditional German Sour Roast, German Goulash, Traditional German Roasted Duck Legs or Traditional German Roasted Goose.

If your red cabbage is very moist, serve it in a separate bowl.

How long does the Red Cabbage last?

You can store cooked red cabbage for up to 3 days in the fridge, and up to 6 months in the fridge. So yes, if you cook enough, it will last the whole winter season. Yeah!

Haven’t you finished eating your red cabbage? That’s great news! Leftover red cabbage is even better than the one that you served just right after cooking. Cooling and reheating this particular dish improves its flavor significantly.

German Red Cabbage


German red Cabbage is sweet, sour and fresh. The sourness comes from the vinegar and sour apples and the sweetness from brown sugar and apple juice. 

It not only can – it should be! Cooling and reheating this particular side dish brings additional flavors to it.

It’s a vegetable – of course is good for you. Lots of vitamin C and A, fiber, and no fat sound good to me.

Traditional German Red Cabbage is served hot, usually in a separate dish. 

No. German Red Cabbage is cooked with vinegar, sugar, and apple juice, and seasoned with some spices like bay leaf, cloves, and cinnamon.

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Marta Kieser is a food guide and blogger who lives in Frankfurt with her husband and 1-year-old son. Apart from food guiding, she loves cooking, having guests over, swimming, hiking, and running. 



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