The best braised German red cabbage, seasoned and cooked to perfection with spices and shredded apple.
This healthier side dish can be easily recreated at home.
Read up my useful tips in the post and follow the from-scratch recipe at the bottom of the post with the video and process shots further below.
What is German red cabbage?
The German red cabbage is a well seasoned braised cabbage side dish.
This dish and red cabbage in german are known as rotkohl, blaukraut, rotkraut or blaukohl.
The German red cabbage name depends on the region in Germany, Austria, and German-speaking Switzerland.
Only red cabbage is used to prepare this side dish because of the red (or so-called purple/blue) cabbage results in a more flavorful dish, then white cabbage.
This side dish is commonly served during fall and winter with a main course meat meal.
The characteristic flavors of a traditional german style red cabbage are aromatic, sweet, sour and salty.
Apple is a common addition to this cabbage side dish and enhances it greatly with a fruity sour taste.
Sweetness, to balance the sour ingredients, is added in the form of brown sugar (you can use regular sugar too or honey).
The combination of spices supports the red cabbage in every way.
Bay Leaves are well known in the soup making world and will add comforting flavors into your red cabbage.
Caraway Seeds have a unique flavor and are a real game-changer if you add them whole to your cabbage.
Juniper berries will infuse your cabbage all the more with a fruity touch and they complement the bay leave aroma.
How to cook it?
This is hands down the best german red cabbage recipe ever.
I have perfected it further over the years!
You will need shredded red cabbage and shredded cabbage, as well as a handful of seasonings.
The full printable recipe and video with detailed ingredients and instructions are located at the end of this post.
Follow the 3 simple steps at a glance.
Keep your red cabbage and apple shredded ready.
Heat up a pan and cook your onion slices soft with the butter/fats.
Add the bay leaves, caraway seeds (or cumin seeds) and juniper berries.
Throw in the red cabbage, mix and combine over the heat.
Add the apple, brown sugar and apple cider vinegar into the pot and mix well
Season with black pepper and salt. Pour in the stock as well and mix.
Cook your red cabbage for about 15-20 minutes uncovered.
To prepare the slurry (which will help to thicken the dish) combine all-purpose flour with water and pour it all into the sauteed red cabbage.
Cook a little more until you are satisfied with the result, take from the heat, pick out the juniper berries and bay leaves and serve your rotkohl recipe as a side dish.
You may garnish it with a dash of sour cream, fresh cream, some whole caraway seeds and fresh parsley.
The German red cabbage is a fall side dish that means it goes well with anything that is in season in fall.
Traditionally the braised red cabbage is served with a roast, or with a deer ragout.
We love the sweet and sour flavors with...
- pork roast
- roasted sausages such as Bratwurst, Frankfurter, and Wiener
- with fish (even breaded fish sticks!)
- veal cordon bleu
- a Schnitzel such as the classic Wienerschnitzel or the Jägerschnitzel (meat cutlet in mushroom sauce).
- deer goulash gravy
- roasted duck
- roasted turkey with stuffing
Basically the german braised cabbage can be served instead of Sauerkraut too, which is rather common South Germany and Austria.
To make this cabbage side dish vegan, use plant-based oils instead of the butter.
German food is quite heavy and often while includes meat at every meal but vegan serving options are getting popular in Germany too!
Prepare the dish as per instructions and let it cool down.
Place the german cabbage dish into a freezer-friendly container with a lid and store in the freezer.
You can create smaller batches too or even cook up more for a later date.
A small quantity of german braised red cabbage can enhance another meat main course meal greatly!
To defrost the cabbage, keep it in the fridge overnight to thaw slowly or defrost with the help of a thawing plate or use your microwave.
More cabbage recipes
- German Coleslaw
- Low Carb Cabbage Sausage Soup
- Red cabbage grape mandarin juice
- Purple cabbage salad by momsdish.com
German Red Cabbage with Apple Recipe
- 2 Tablespoon Butter or clarified animal fats
- 1 medium Onion sliced
- 3 small Bay leave or 1 large
- 1 Tablespoon Caraway Seeds or Cumin Seeds
- 5 Juniper Berries
- 1 pound Red Cabbage shredded
- 1 medium Apple shredded
- 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
- 2 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
- Salt to taste
- ¼ Teaspoon Black Pepper
- 2 cup Water mixed with concentrated Stock
For the slurry to thicken the dish
- 1 cup Water
- 1 Tablespoon All-purpose Flour
- Heat up a pot with the butter or clarified fats and cook your onion slices soft.
- Add in the bay leaves, caraway or cumin seeds, and juniper berries and stir cook for a minute to allow the spices to unfold their flavors.
- Throw in the shredded red cabbage and mix well over medium-low heat.
- Add in the shredded apple with the sugar and vinegar and combine over medium heat.
- Season with salt and black pepper.
- Pour in your stock and combine everything.
- Cook your cabbages soft over medium-high heat. This may take about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Combine all-purpose flour and water to a smooth slurry. We need this to thicken the red cabbage dish.
- Pour the slurry into the cabbage and combine. Cook further until liquids have reduced and you are satisfied with the result.
- Pick out the bay leave and juniper berries and discard.
- Serve hot with some sour cream or fresh cream, caraway seeds and fresh parsley
- Use a sour variety of apple such as granny smith because you want those sour flavors that will bring out the taste of the cabbage, balance the dish and help to keep your cabbage bright red.
- The flour and water slurry is kind of optional. I add it because it helps to bind the liquids of the german red cabbage dish.
- The addition of acidity such as vinegar, prevents the cabbage from loosing it's bright purple red colors. Red cabbage is like a natural PH indicator. Red is acidity and blue base.