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German Style Red Cabbage with Apples

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Red cabbage braised with apples and spices. This side dish is a little bit sweet, a little bit sour, and is perfect served with any kind of pork.

bowlful of braised red cabbage with apples and raisins.

If you are looking for a tasty way to enjoy red cabbage, you are in the right place. This recipe is sweet and sour, making it the perfect foil for a rich entrée like a roast or a schnitzel.

We have been getting a lot of delicious cabbage in our weekly produce boxes. Giant heads of green cabbage and smaller but oh so vibrant heads of red cabbage alike have been nestled in our treasure troves of veggies. 

Now cabbage is a vegetable I’m not usually creative with. I buy a few heads a year to make sauteed cabbage and potatoes, a family favorite that we started enjoying when I was a child.

We also have cabbage in our corned beef feast around St. Patrick’s day, or as part of Instant Pot cabbage, potatoes, and kielbasa.

heads of red cabbage, apples and onions

I do enjoy a good creamy cole slaw or egg roll bowl occasionally too, but I normally cheat a bit and buy a bag of preshredded mix for that.

Add to that the fact that my husband really isn’t a cabbage fan and I’ve had my work cut out for me to stay ahead of the cabbage supply!

Luckily he was at least mildly impressed with the cheesy cabbage casserole and I loved it! So that helped use the green cabbage. 

While I’m sure it would taste good with red, can you imagine how it would look?! Eek!

dutch oven full of sliced red cabbage

So I thought a German style braised cabbage would be a good option. So I went to pinterest to find a recipe.

 I ended up finding quite a few and pulling bits from each. I went light on the nutmeg and cloves because I wasn’t quite sure how I’d like it. Next time I think I would be braver and add a bit more.

braised red cabbage in the dutch oven

A bit of vinegar is necessary to give it that tang and a bit of sweet is needed to balance it. Instead of using sugar, I grated in some apple.

You can always give it a taste and adjust the sweet and sour balance as you go. Then on a whim I tossed in some raisins as well.

I am so glad I did. They did offer some additional sweetness and a bit of texture as well.

I didn’t see them in any of the recipes I was perusing, so it’s not traditional. But we really like it that way, so I would recommend it anyway.

We served this up with some bacon wrapped pork loin and some German style potato salad I’ll be sharing soon. It would also be great with wiener schnitzeljaegerschitzel or sausages!

dinner plate with braised cabbage pork loin and german potato salad

Tips and Tricks

You want to cut the cabbage pretty thin. You can do this with a large sharp knife, or a mandolin.

Pretty much any kind of apple works for this recipe. So use whatever you have on hand.

You can use apple juice, apple cider, or even wine in place of the water in the recipe. That will add even more flavor.

You can make this a day in advance and just warm it up when you are ready to serve. That give the flavors even more of a chance to marry together.

Can I make this braised red cabbage without the vinegar?

You certainly can, but the color won’t be as vibrant. The vinegar not only adds the sharp, sour flavor, but it also helps to set the color.

You can experiment with cutting back or omitting it, but the cabbage may start to look a little bit bleached without.

You could also play up the sweet flavors a little bit more instead of cutting back on the vinegar. Add more apples or raisins, sugar, or even a drizzle of honey if you want.

Reader Nancy Commented: Perfect! We ate the WHOLE batch with fresh raspberries and it was divine!! Thank you for sharing!! 😋 ★★★★★

Reader Ack Commented: This is delicious and easy to make. Can’t get enough of it. 😋 ★★★★★

bowlful of braised red cabbage with apples and raisins.

German Style Red Cabbage with Apples

Servings: 12 Servings
Author: Carlee
Red cabbage braised with apples and spices. This side is a little sweet, a little sour and is perfect served with any kind of pork.
4.62 from 21 ratings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes


  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 medium or 2 small heads red cabbage
  • 3 apples
  • 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • pinch ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • cup raisins
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice


  • Dice onion relatively small.
  • Melt the butter in a large pot with a lid. A enameled Dutch oven works well for this.
    2 Tablespoons butter
  • Sauté the onion in the butter over medium heat for a couple of minutes until they are translucent.
    1 medium red onion
  • Quarter the cabbage and shred into small strips. Add to the pot with the onion. Sauté, stirring occasionally for about 5 more minutes.
    1 medium or 2 small heads red cabbage
  • Grate in the apples and add the vinegar, water, salt, nutmeg, coves, pepper and raisins. Cover and cook over low heat for about an hour.
    3 apples, 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar, ½ cup water, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg, pinch ground cloves, ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, ⅓ cup raisins
  • Remove lid and continue to cook until the cabbage is soft and the liquid is reduced.
  • Stir in the lemon juice and adjust the seasonings to your liking.
    2 Tablespoons lemon juice


Serving: 1servingCalories: 85kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 2gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 236mgFiber: 4gSugar: 11g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Cooking With Carlee” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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Recipe Rating


Saturday 15th of October 2022

Made this in the crockpot…delish with spaetzle and rouladen!


Saturday 15th of October 2022

That's a great idea!


Thursday 30th of June 2022

Beautiful to look at and delicious, too. I was surprised at how tasty this was straight from the refrigerator the next day. I think I like this cold...however, we had Sweet Italian Turkey sausages with it for a warm dinner and it was a big hit. Thank you very much. As I write this, I am cooking my second batch for this month!!


Thursday 30th of June 2022

That makes me so happy! I am so glad you are enjoying it.


Monday 14th of March 2022

Very good recipe. Will make again.


Monday 14th of March 2022

I'm glad you liked it!


Wednesday 9th of February 2022

I added a good splash of Vermont maple syrup. This was SO good!


Wednesday 9th of February 2022

That sounds amazing!


Sunday 18th of April 2021

This is one of the best recipes I ever made. It is so delicious, I am addicted to eating this! It’s low fat (I cut down the butter), healthy and so filling! I gave some to my neighbor who is a vegetarian and she fell I love with it as well, she even eats it for breakfast! Thank you Carlee for turning me on to this! I will definitely give your other recipes a try!


Sunday 18th of April 2021

That makes me so happy! I am so glad you enjoy it!