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Sweet and sour red cabbage recipe

Sweet and sour red cabbage recipe

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

Red cabbage is a perfect winter dish. It is the classic accompaniment to roast pork and game dishes and also goes well with ham at Christmas or sausages, any day of the week.

19 people made this

IngredientsServes: 6

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 small head red cabbage, cored and coarsely shredded
  • 120ml red wine
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp light muscovado sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 15g butter

MethodPrep:10min ›Cook:30min ›Ready in:40min

  1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until softened. Add the cabbage, red wine and allspice. Reduce heat, cover and cook gently for 20 minutes or until tender.
  2. Add the vinegar, sugar and salt and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Stir in the butter and serve.


You could also add one peeled and chopped apple to the pan. And if you happen to have some fresh cranberries, they could go in too – 10 minutes before the other vegetables are cooked. For a twist, replace the allspice with one star anise.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(2)

Reviews in English (2)

Cooked this tonight to accompany boiled gammon. Absolutely delicious! Shall definitely be using this recipe again and again! I didn't have any red wine vinegar so substituted balsamic vinegar instead and it was lovely!-06 Jan 2013

Made exactly as written and found it a little too sweet for our tastes, so I added more vinegar. The allspice was negligible, so I did give it an additional sprinkle of that spice, as well. I had to add some water while the cabbage was cooking because the moisture had evaporated, and it was starting to stick. Texture turned out nice, and taste was good.-04 Apr 2015

Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage Recipe

This recipe for tangy Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage is delicious served with German wursts, buttered noodles and sauerkraut.

My grandfather was a tall man who loved airplanes and motorcycles (though an accident in his youth left his leg permanently injured). He owned a small plane for years and flew whenever he could. And he was dedicated to work and family.

And he was someone proud of his heritage.

He grew up on New York in an immigrant family with strong ties to an area of Europe near the French-German border.

That&rsquos probably why we ate so much German food when I was growing up. It was a favorite of his and it became a favorite of mine too.

If he were alive today, I think my grandfather would love this Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage recipe &mdash it&rsquos modeled after the cabbage we&rsquod have when we dined at German restaurants.

He&rsquod also probably love that my kids, Will and Paige, have also grown up with a hearty appreciation for good bratwurst, well-made sauerkraut and other German foods.

Making this begins with thinly sliced red cabbage. You need about four cups of it, which is a small head&rsquos worth. Of course, if you absolutely love this, you could easily double the recipe.

The cabbage is sauteed in butter and seasoned with salt and pepper. Then a mixture of balsamic vinegar, apple cider and sugar are added. It cooks until the liquid is mostly gone and the cabbage is wonderfully tender.

It&rsquos easy. And Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage makes a meal like this extra special for me &mdash because it reminds me of dinners from my childhood.

My grandfather didn&rsquot always like to speak of his family, but sometimes he&rsquod tell me stories about his childhood, his family and where they came from. He would sit on our slate blue couch with the scratchy woven fabric that I can best liken to burlap. There, with me sitting in the armchair across from him, I could listen for hours.

That&rsquos where I would learn about our past. Our family history.

I wish I spent more time in that seat when I got older . . .

It makes me sad to think that there were all these stories that he shared, but I cannot remember them well enough to pass along to my own children. I never knew any of his family &mdash they were mostly gone long before I came. But I still pass along what I can.

If you make Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage, do it justice and service it with a hearty meal of the wurst of your choice and some tasty sauerkraut. Buttered noodles too. That makes for a delightful meal.


Mixed spice and allspice are not at all the same thing, though either would work in this recipe, I suppose. Iɽ like to know what was intended, originally.

Made it today.Stuck at home during the Covi19 pandemic,where in your grocery delivery you order one thing and you get another ,I had a lot of red cabbage(after ordering the green one). I found this recipe and also happen to have the rest of the ingredients at hand.Very good ,tasty and easy to make.Will make it again and pair it with the right kind of meats.

Was a little too sweet so I added a little more vinegar.

I am on whole 30 for Lent so I omitted the brown sugar/sugar. I was having a st Patrick's day FAM jam last night and served! HUGE hit with all. Will make into the menu lineup from now on. Sooooo good didn't need the extra sugar. Used a granny smith apple.

Excellent! I didn't have golden raisins, used regular, used coconut sugar. This is going to be a staple in my kitchen. I served it with this sites cider braised pork loin, also excellent (except for the listed amount of salt)!

We had a beautiful home grown red cabbage - a gift from our daughter - and I wanted to do something special with it. This is a great recipe with an interesting assortment of ingredients, all of which seemed necessary to do the dish justice. The apple and orange really gave a unique flavor. Final result was colorful and very tasty. I had doubts I would need as much cooking time as the recipe called for but I did. I do wonder if there can be an alternate (quicker) way to prepare it by sauteing. But I guess why mess with success!

delicious! made with regular cabbage, because that is what i had. could not fit quite the whole head in the pan, but got most of it in. otherwise made as directed. served warm with corned beef, and will be doing so every year!

Mustard, Sage & Maple Glazed Pork Roast with Garlic-Roasted Potatoes


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Reviews (10 reviews)

I don't know if my head of cabbage was bigger than normal or if I just sliced it too thick but the 1/4 to 1/4 recommended by these posters led to a nice lightly flavored dish but that's not what this is supposed to be (I have a german stepmother - this was always served at her mother's house). I had to almost double that and cook it much longer to get it to taste the way it should. I would recommend making double and then starting with half that and work your way up. And don't be afraid to let it stew a while!

I agree ?ith other reviewers that the amount of sugar is EXCESSIVE!

I agree ?ith other reviewers that the amount of sugar is EXCESSIVE!

We liked it. To me, if a dish is to have balanced flavours, then equal elements have to be added. so it stands to reason to me, that if you add a quarter cup of vinegar, that you add a quarter cup of sugar, which is what I did. For our taste preferences, this was a good amount.

Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage

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Our Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage recipe is festive enough for St. Patrick's Day, yet simple enough for any night of the week! We've combined the tanginess of apple cider vinegar with the sweetness of sugar to make a side dish that everyone--including the Leprechauns--will want a taste of!

Red Cabbage, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Water, Vinegar, Salt, Applesauce (Apples, Water), Citric Acid

Serving Size: (30g)
Servings Per Container: 15

Amount Per Serving: 2 Tbsp
(Percent Daily Value*)

Calories: 20
Calories from Fat 0
Total Fat 0g (0%)
Saturated Fat 0g (0%)
Trans Fat 0g (0%)
Cholesterol 0mg (0%)

Sodium 90mg (4%)
Potassium 45mg (1%)
Total Carbohydrate 5g (2%)
Dietary Fiber 0g (0%)
Sugars 4g
Protein 0g
Vitamin A (0%)
Vitamin C (2%)
Calcium (0%)
Iron (0%)

Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage

Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage was a staple during the winter in my childhood home. This recipe is one of my favorite ways to make this versatile vegetable. .

Behind the scenes making Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage

A printer-friendly recipe card can be found at the bottom of this post

Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage was a staple during the winter in my childhood home. With so many different ways to make it, with apples or without. Sweet, or more savory? Crisp-tender or long-cooked? This recipe, with bacon, is one of my favorite ways to make this versatile vegetable.


  • Red cabbage – did you know you can usually ask the produce person to cut a whole head into halves when you only want half of one?
  • Shallot – or onion, preferably red if you aren’t using the shallot.
  • Bacon – thick smoked applewood is best.
  • Chicken Broth– homemade is best, low-sodium second best.
  • Balsamic Vinegar – For best results use Balsamic, but apple cider could be used or even red wine vinegar.
  • Brown Sugar – gives a nice deep flavor, but you could use granulated or your own preferred sweetner.
  • Allspice- A single spice made from the dried berries of a plant known as Pimenta dioica, which is a member of the myrtle family. If you don’t have allspice, you can mix cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves together 2 parts cinnamon, 1 part each nutmeg and cloves, to emulate the flavor.

Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage is Quick and Easy

This recipe is very simple to make and takes about 15 – 20 minutes tops. It centers around the bacon and bacon fat which gives it a smoky flavor. The sweet is brown sugar, the sour is balsamic vinegar. You could use apple cider vinegar in place of the balsamic, but I like the deeper flavor balsamic gives.

How to Best Buy Cabbage

When you buy your cabbage, buy it as a whole head or ask the produce person to cut one in half fresh for you. While some stores sell half heads, you don’t know how long that cut cabbage has been there. So fresh cut, or cut your own and use the other half for something else – like a tasty slaw. Cabbage does store in the refrigerator well, cover the cut side with some plastic wrap and you have probably got at least two weeks before you will see any noticeable change. Maybe you will be ready for another meal of sweet and sour red cabbage by then? Or change it up with my German Style Red Cabbage which uses apples.

Featured in this Recipe

Remove outer wilted leaves and rinse under cold water. Shred or chop (do not use core).

In a heavy pot or Dutch Oven combine cabbage and apple, 1 cup of hot water and the rest of ingredients except onion. Cover and bring to a boil.

Let boil for 10 min add more water if necessary. Bury onion in center of pot covering with cabbage mixture simmer for 15 min.

Stir and taste, should be more sweet than sour. Adjust seasonings if necessary.

Let simmer for 1 hour stirring occasionally. Mixture should be slightly juicy.

Remove onion make sure all cloves are still in onion.

Slightly thicken with corn starch if desired before serving or cooling. Enjoy!!

Braised Sweet and Sour Purple Cabbage

One of my favorite Russian food show hosts is Julia Vysotskaya. I love watching her cook and her recipes are awesome too. If you speak Russian, I definitely recommend that you check her out.

I was recently watching one of her Edim Doma shows and she was making this braised cabbage. My husband and I were both thrilled with the results. Sergi isn’t a big fan of Braised Cabbage (I love it on the other hand), but when he tried this one, he actually liked it and said that it was much better than he was expecting:). I’m telling you, over the years that we’ve been married, Sergi has sure tried so many things that he thinks he doesn’t like. Some of the ingredients that he didn’t like at all, like avocado, shrimp, Asian flavors, etc. are now some of his favorites and he requests them all the time. I am so thankful that he is willing to try new things and isn’t too picky. It would be simply awful is my husband was a picky eater! I am praying and hoping that my kids won’t be picky as well:). We’ll see how that turns out.

You can enjoy the cabbage both warm and cold. It would be a perfect side dish for roasted poultry or pork. I even enjoyed a bowl just by itself. It’s slightly acidic and has some sweetness too, and I especially love that it still has some crunch to it, and isn’t mushy.

1/2 head of purple cabbage, sliced

1-2 Tablespoons brown sugar

2 Tablespoons red or black currant jam, jelly or preserves

1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 Tablespoon lemon juice, optional

1 green apple, peeled and julienned

fresh green onions, parsley, and/or dill, minced, optional (to garnish)

Shred the cabbage, slice the onion, mince the garlic, peel and julienne the apple.

In a skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon of oil. Add the onion, season with salt and cook for about 3-5 minutes, until softened and slightly golden. Add the cabbage, garlic and season with season with salt again. Isn’t the purple cabbage breathtakingly gorgeous?

Cook on medium high heat until the cabbage has softened slightly.

Pour in the water, add the vinegar, brown sugar and jam.

Mix to combine, cover the skillet and cook on medium low heat for about 10 minutes. Add the apple and cook for another 10 minutes. Season with more salt, if it needs it and also add more sugar or lemon juice, depending on how you prefer your braised cabbage to taste. Garnish with fresh herbs, such as green onion, parsley and/or dill.

  • 2.5 lbs red cabbage head
  • 4 tblsp. bacon grease
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tblsp. sugar

Place 4 tablespoons of bacon grease into a pressure cooker. Chop fine 1 small onion in grease. Brown onion to a golden brown color. Shred a 2½ lb. head of red cabbage. Mix ¼ cup of vinegar with ¼ cup of water and 2 tablespoons of sugar.

Put the cabbage into the onion and grease. Pour the mixture of vinegar and sugar onto the cabbage. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix lightly. Divide 1 large pared apple into quarters. Put apple quarters on top of the cabbage. Cook for four minutes. If using an ordinary pot you should cook for 20 minutes. This recipe will make 10 servings.

Search more Amish recipes.

Three green cabbages: La Grande Farmer’s Market/flickr Kentucky Amish cabbage: Indabelle/flickr
Unless otherwise noted, recipes adapted from Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking .

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