Braised Red Cabbage Recipe

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Braised red cabbage is an eye-catching side dish recipe. Full of aromatic spices, apples, and red cabbage, it’s tangy, sweet, and easy to make. The best part is that braised red cabbage is healthy, vegan, and gluten-free, which means everyone can enjoy it!

With an incredible flavor, braised red cabbage is the perfect accompaniment to any meal. Although it’s usually served around the holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, you can easily make braised red cabbage any time of year. This tasty side dish is particularly delicious with German meat dishes, but it goes with just about anything – try and see for yourself!

Braised Red Cabbage Ingredients

Red cabbage, apples, and red onion form the base of this delicious holiday dish.

Braised red cabbage gets its wonderful flavor from warming spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and star anise.

Red wine and red wine vinegar give the dish a tanginess, while brown sugar balances it out with a lovely sweetness.

How to Braise Red Cabbage 

Homemade braised red cabbage with apples is a cinch to make, which is ideal if you need a delicious side dish to serve over the holidays. Start by prepping your apples, cabbage, and onions. Everything should be peeled and thinly sliced. Put the cabbage, apple slices, and onions into a large pot. Pour the water, vinegar, and wine over the mixture, then give it a quick stir.

Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Put the lid on the pot and let the contents simmer for 45 minutes. Make sure to stir it every once and a while so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot. After 45 minutes, mix in the sugar, star anise, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Stir in the salt and pepper. Pop the lid back on the pot and cook for 20 more minutes, or until the apples and cabbage are tender.

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What to Serve with Braised Red Cabbage

This delicious braised red cabbage seasoned with beautiful warming spices goes with all sorts of main meals. As a traditional German recipe, braised red cabbage is especially tasty with sausages, pork chops, and bratwurst, but it’s equally tasty with steaks, burgers, roast chicken, and even game meat.

For a vegan or vegetarian option, serve your braised red cabbage with vegetarian sausages, vegan meatloaf, or a vegan roast.

Tips for the Best Braised Red Cabbage

Any type of sweet-tart apple will work for braised red cabbage with apples. Granny Smith, Jonagold, Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, and Winesap are all excellent options.

You can choose to peel the apples or leave them unpeeled.

You can use cider instead of red wine. If you don’t want to use alcohol at all, use broth, stock, pomegranate or grape juice, or extra water as a substitute.

For a sweeter, milder onion flavor, try using shallots instead of red onions. Balsamic vinegar or soy sauce are tasty savory ingredients that work well with the sweetness of this dish.

If you don’t need to make a vegan-friendly version, bacon, pancetta, and sausage are mouthwatering additions.

You can braise red cabbage in the oven or a slow cooker. Bake it at 170F for 1 to 1 ½ hour. If using a slow cooker, braise the cabbage for 5 to 6 hours on low or 3 to 4 hours on high.

How to Store and Reheat Braised Red Cabbage

Let the braised cabbage cool down, then transfer it to an airtight container and place it in the fridge for up to 2 days. When you’re ready to enjoy it again, reheat it in a saucepan, stirring occasionally, until it’s heated through.

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Can You Freeze Braised Red Cabbage?

Of course! Braised red cabbage will stay good in the freezer for up to 3 months.


red cabbage, rinsed, core removed

apples, peeled and thinly sliced


Cut the cabbage into quarters, then thinly slice it.

Place the cabbage, apple slices, and onions into a pot.

Pour the water, vinegar, and wine over the mixture.

Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to low. Stir, and place the lid on top of the pot.

Simmer for 45 minutes, stirring every so often.

Mix in the sugar, star anise, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Stir in the salt and pepper.

Replace the lid and cook for 20 more minutes, or until the apples and cabbage are tender.

Serve immediately.


You can leave out the star anise if you prefer.