German Red Cabbage


This German braised red cabbage recipe is delicious—and tastes even better the next day after the flavors mingle. Loganberry preserves and red currant jelly are more traditional in this dish, but can be harder to find—cranberry sauce makes an excellent substitute.

a recipe photo of German Red Cabbage
Photo: William Dickey
Active Time:
55 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 25 mins

Back in the days before imported fresh produce from warmer climates became available year-round in every supermarket, cabbage played an important role in German cooking. Properly stored in a cool place, a head of cabbage keeps for months, and it was one of the only vegetables that Germans ate during the long winter months.

White cabbage (often called green cabbage) is used for everyday dishes such as soups, stews and stuffing, as well as for sauerkraut. It's often associated with poor people's cooking or survival food during wartime shortages in Germany. Red cabbage is quite different in the way it's used in German cuisine. It is mainly braised and served as a side dish together with potato dumplings to accompany pork roast or sauerbraten, marinated and braised beef that is traditionally served for Sunday lunch. Braised red cabbage is also the ubiquitous side dish for festive holiday meals such as stuffed goose, turkey or duck. In the fall, braised red cabbage is served with game like boar and venison.

Germany has highly diverse regional cuisines, but braised red cabbage is one of the few traditional dishes that are prepared almost exactly the same way all over Germany (although it has different names—in Bavaria it is called Blaukraut or "blue cabbage" whereas in the rest of Germany, it it called Rotkohl or Rotkraut, "red cabbage"). Vinegar is added for flavor and to help the cabbage maintain its bright color. Some recipes also call for finely diced or shredded tart apples. For a fruity touch, red currant jelly or loganberry preserves are stirred into the dish at the end of the preparation process.


  • 1 small head red cabbage (about 2 pounds), shredded

  • ½ cup red-wine vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced

  • ¼ cup dry red wine

  • 2 whole cloves

  • 1 large bay leaf

  • 2 tablespoons red currant jelly, loganberry preserves or cranberry sauce

  • ¾ teaspoon salt

  • Ground pepper to taste


  1. Combine cabbage, vinegar and sugar in a large nonreactive bowl. Cover and let stand until the cabbage releases some liquid, about 30 minutes.

  2. Heat oil in a large, nonreactive heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until lightly colored, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the cabbage mixture and any accumulated liquid, wine, cloves and bay leaf. Stir until evenly combined. Cover and slowly bring to a boil. Cook over medium-low heat for 45 minutes, stirring frequently and checking for liquid. If the mixture seems dry, add water, 2 tablespoons at a time (the finished cabbage should be soft but not mushy or soupy).

  3. Stir in jelly (or preserves or cranberry sauce), salt and pepper to taste. Remove and discard the cloves and bay leaf.

To make ahead

Refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

125 Calories
5g Fat
18g Carbs
3g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Serving Size about 1 cup
Calories 125
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 18g 7%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 11g
Added Sugars 2g 4%
Protein 3g 6%
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Vitamin A 1693IU 34%
Vitamin C 88mg 98%
Folate 31mcg 8%
Vitamin K 58mcg 48%
Sodium 335mg 15%
Calcium 77mg 6%
Iron 1mg 6%
Magnesium 27mg 6%
Potassium 408mg 9%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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