Braised Red Cabbage

Braised Red Cabbage ~

I’ll tell you one thing, Braised Red Cabbage might not be the most glamorous dish on the holiday table, but it provides a perfect sweet/tart element that brings everything else on your plate to life. Plus you can’t beat that magenta for a gorgeous pop of color.

Braised Red Cabbage ~ a beautiful pop of color for your holiday table! ~

Braised Red Cabbage has been on our holiday tables ever since I can remember thanks to my German great-grandmother.

It took me a full 20 years to come around to appreciating its finer points, but now I’m a believer! The subtle sweetness from the apple, the bite of the vinegar and the earthiness of the cabbage rounds out a forkful of turkey and gravy like nothing else. It plays well with creamy mashed potatoes and squashes, goes great with green beans, but the most sophisticated pairing of all happens when it comes into chance contact with a bit of zingy cranberry sauce ~that’s an explosion of flavor you won’t soon forget.

A head of red cabbage for Braised Red Cabbage ~

Did you know that red cabbage is a super food ~ it’s even more healthy for you than green cabbage.

It’s low in calories, high in fiber, and packed with vitamins and minerals. It’s also available all year long, and I love to use it in salads during the warmer months. Despite all this, red cabbage is usually just a secondary ingredient in recipes. This Braised Red Cabbage is one of the only times it gets to shine on its own.

TIP: Some people shred the cabbage for this dish, and some people grate it on a box grater. I prefer the texture when I shred the cabbage by hand, with a sharp knife. I  just quarter the cabbage, remove the core, and then slice it thinly.

Chopping red cabbage for Braised Red Cabbage ~

Braising red cabbage is a sort of science experiment…the color changes according to the ph balance of the cooking liquid.

Normally cabbage will turn blueish when cooked, but when you add vinegar, or an acidic fruit like apple, the cabbage turns red, pink, or magenta. Even the ph balance of the soil it’s grown in will affect the color of the plant. My braised red cabbage is a slightly different shade every year!

 TIP: The amount and type of vinegar you use is up to you. My great grandmother used plain white, but I like the flavor of cider vinegar. Taste the cabbage as it cooks and adjust it to your taste.

Braised Red Cabbage, the unsung hero of holiday meals ~

My recipe is super simple, it’s the one that my great grandmother used, and I stick to tradition. But there are other variations that you might want to try. Some people fry up some bacon in the pan first. Some add diced onion. You can even add a hint of spice, like allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. The apple and vinegar are non negotiable.

Braised Red Cabbage ~

Braised red cabbage
5 from 2 votes

Braised Red Cabbage

Author Sue Moran


  • 1 head of red cabbage
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 apple peeled and diced
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • apple cider vinegar to taste
  • salt and fresh cracked black pepper


  • Rinse the cabbage, cut it in half and remove the white core. Cut it again into quarters. Slice the cabbage as thinly as you can.
  • Put the oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot. Add the cabbage, the diced apple, brown sugar and 4 tablespoons of vinegar. Bring the pot to a simmer, stirring often. When the cabbage begins to release its moisture, cover and continue to cook gently for about 20 minutes, or until the cabbage is just tender. Taste and add more vinegar as needed.
  • Serve hot, with salt and pepper to taste.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.


  • This is not a dish I typically make ahead of time. You can shred the cabbage a day ahead and store in a zip lock baggie, if you like, but I usually cook it the day I am serving it.


Don’t forget to pin it!

Braised Red Cabbage pin.

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    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    Sabrina Zaragoza
    November 25, 2016 at 5:30 am

    Truly I have never tried braised cabbage before I read your article, Sue! I have known red cabbage is better than green one, and I also usually use it to cook than green cabbage. And, I also love apple cider vinegar! So, I shall embark on cooking this dish soon to know how is the braised cabbage, if it is delicious to me as you tell or not. Thank you! Have nice holidays!

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    November 23, 2016 at 4:46 am

    So pretty and such a great idea for a side dish!

  • Reply
    Beth Lawrence
    November 21, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    Sue, thank you so much. My dear Dutch Uncle came to NZ after the 2nd world war, and taught my Aunt how to make this. We all loved it, but they have passed on, and we did not have the recipe. However, I do remember that they used butter!

  • Reply
    Laura | Tutti Dolci
    November 21, 2016 at 10:14 pm

    That color is so stunning, a striking addition to any fall feast!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    November 21, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    We love green cabbage but I didn’t know this variety is healthier!~ We’ll have to give it a try – and I especially love the addition of the apple. It must be terrific and it is certainly is beautiful!

  • Reply
    November 21, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    What a gorgeous color, Sue! I love braised cabbage and wish I could coax my husband into eating it 🙂 Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

  • Reply
    November 21, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    How much and what spice would u add as u mentioned above?

    • Reply
      November 21, 2016 at 3:58 pm

      I would go by taste, maybe start with 1/4 teaspoon and go from there. Those fall spices can be overwhelming if you use too much.

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s Recipes
    November 21, 2016 at 11:26 am

    Lovely! I haven’t had this in years because the man in the house can’t stand the cooked you have me craving some too.

  • Reply
    Nancy Long
    November 21, 2016 at 9:03 am

    Yum, we love cabbage. will try this soon – it will be great with some pork sausages and my applesauce

    • Reply
      November 21, 2016 at 9:27 am

      Mmmm, that sounds good 🙂

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    November 21, 2016 at 8:50 am

    Cool! I LOVE the color and never knew that a bit of vinegar in cooked cabbage would help it retain the gorgeous color! It looks scrumptious!

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