Rotkohl, or Red Cabbage, is one of the most popular German side dishes. Beautiful purple-red cabbage is cooked till perfectly tender. This simple side dish strikes the perfect balance between savory, sweet, and sour.
You can serve this easy side dish with Schnitzel, a complimentary side of Spätzle (German egg noodles), and Creamy Cucumber Salad. Finish it with a slice of Streuselkuchen and you've got a perfect German meal.
Good To Know
In the area of Germany I grew up in (the beautiful city of Düsseldorf), Red Cabbage is referred to as Rotkohl. But in other parts of Germany, primarily the south and German-speaking Austria, red cabbage is known as 'Blaukraut' or 'Rotkraut.'
However, all of these terms refer to the same vegetable. And no matter what you'll call it, this easy recipe is simple and delicious.
BUTTER - Use unsalted butter.
APPLES - Granny Smith apples add a subtle hint of tartness.
ONION - You can use sweet, yellow, or even white onions.
RED CABBAGE - Look for heavy heads with bright colors. You can find red cabbage all year long, but the peak season is between late summer and early winter.
SUGAR - We'll use a bit of granulated sugar to balance the tartness and get that delicious sweet and tangy taste.
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR - This vinegar provides acidity and flavor.
RED WINE - Adds depth of flavor.
HERBS & SPICES: To season the red cabbage, we need bay leaf, fresh sage, and a couple of cloves.
How To Make Red Cabbage
- Use a large knife to shred the cabbage. The thinner you'll cut the cabbage, the less time it will take to cook tender.
- Peel and chop onions. Core and dice green apple. Measure and set out the rest of your ingredients.
- Use a large pot and melt butter over medium-high heat. Once melted, add onions, apples, and sugar. Reduce heat to medium-low and sauté for 6-7 minutes.
- Add shredded cabbage and immediately pour in apple cider vinegar and red wine. This will ensure the color of the cabbage remains vibrant.
- Add sage, bay leaf, and cloves. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 30-35 minutes stirring occasionally until the cabbage is tender. Season cooked red cabbage with salt and pepper.
More German Side Dishes
Recipe Success Tips
This recipe is all about cabbage.
To find good cabbage look for these signs:
- The head should feel heavy.
- Avoid heads that have discolored or dried out outer leaves
- The leaves are not separating from the stem.
- Smaller heads (about 2 pounds or less) are more tender.
How Shred Cabbage by Hand
- Begin by turning the cabbage upside down and cut it with a sharp knife into four quarters.
- Put each of the quarters on its side. Hold the knife at an angle and slice out the core from the to the bottom. Discard the core.
- To shred the cabbage hold your knife at an angle and cut by thinly slicing each quarter crosswise.
Did you know that a cabbage's core is eatable, but it mostly gets discarded because it is not as tender as the outer leaves?
STORE - Got leftovers? Store the cooked cabbage in an airtight container. It will last for 3-5 days in the fridge.
REHEAT - When it's time to reheat, warm over medium-low heat on the stovetop.
More German Recipes
Braised Red Cabbage
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium sweet onion diced
- 2 green apples diced
- 1 medium head red cabbage shredded
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ⅓ cup red wine
- Use a large pot (or Dutch Oven) and melt butter over medium-high heat. Once melted add onions, apples, and sugar. Reduce heat to medium-low and sauté for 6-7 minutes.
- Add shredded cabbage. Immediately pour in apple cider vinegar and red wine. This will ensure the color of the cabbage remains rich and vibrant.
- Add sage, bay leaf, and cloves. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 30-35 minutes stirring occasionally until the cabbage is tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
I love German Rotkohl. Can't wait to try your recipe.