Authentic German Red Cabbage (Rotkraut) |

Authentic German Red Cabbage (Rotkraut) |  Traditional German cuisine is considered one of the best in the world, and one of the most widely recognized in Germany is its sauerkraut. Carrots, onions and sometimes bacon are combined with the cabbage and pressed for days, eventually resulting in a thick and tangy, traditional German brined dish.

The world is full of flavors you’ve probably never tried before. From the citrus of a lime to the nutty taste of a hazelnut, when it comes to food there are countless new ways to enhance flavors and make them your own. Sometimes, it’s easy to recognize the flavors in familiar foods and make them your own. For example, if you grew up eating a particular dish, you might know exactly what you like. But what if you’ve never tried a particular food, like a type of soup or salad? How do you know you’ll like it? Research shows that you can learn to enjoy and even love new flavors by putting them into your daily routine.

All red cabbages are hardier and more nutritious than most. I have found no red cabbages in the United States when growing up, but I have had them imported from Germany, England and Austria. These cabbages can be grown in the same garden as a white cabbage or a Brussels sprout, but they need to be kept moist while growing (even in dry climates) to produce their characteristic deep red color.



Here’s a recipe for German Red Cabbage that you’ll love!

Are you looking for a delicious red cabbage recipe? You’ve come to the correct spot. Our German red cabbage is sweet with a hint of sourness, and it makes a delicious side dish.

Rotkraut (also known as Rotkohl and Blaukraut) is a traditional German side dish prepared of red cabbage, sweet apples, onion, and spices such as cloves and bay leaf. It’s a vibrantly colored dish that looks stunning on the serving table!

bowl of german red cabbage on white counterYou can’t miss German red cabbage!

We’re both familiar with red cabbage. It was served during big family meals on Eric’s Ukrainian side of the family when he was a kid.

Our recipe is for red cabbage as it is usually cooked in Germany, but it is enjoyed in many other countries as well.

For Sunday meals, this German dish is often served with roast duck and potato dumplings.

It’s something we’ve had a lot of while living in Germany (particularly while visiting Lisa’s grandparents), and it’s quite popular in Bavaria, where Lisa grew up!

1629407593_268_Authentic-German-Red-Cabbage-RotkrautCloves are the spice responsible for the unique fragrance of German cabbage!

As previously said, this is a more conventional apple-based recipe. As a result, some people refer it it as “Apfelrotkraut.”

We’re not using bacon or any other comparable items, but this is a fun alternative to try.

How to Cook Red Cabbage in Germany (Step-by-Step)

You may follow our recipe card but also use the step-by-step pictures as a visual reference if you want to create genuine German red cabbage.

1629407594_686_Authentic-German-Red-Cabbage-RotkrautThis is what the cabbage core looks like…

Begin by removing the cabbage’s outer leaves and thoroughly rinsing it. The red cabbage should next be sliced in half and the hard core removed.

1629407595_807_Authentic-German-Red-Cabbage-RotkrautIn German red cabbage, the chopped pieces are very tiny.

The red cabbage should now be sliced into small strips. We like thin slices, but because the red cabbage is cooked and softens up a little, this isn’t as essential as it is in our German coleslaw recipe.

Place the red cabbage strips in a dish and put aside after they’ve been sliced into strips.

1629407596_278_Authentic-German-Red-Cabbage-RotkrautChop the apples and onions… Make sure you peel them!

Both the onions and the apples should be peeled and chopped into tiny pieces.

1629407597_964_Authentic-German-Red-Cabbage-RotkrautYou’re nearly ready for cabbage if you fry those onions and apples!

In a large saucepan on the stove, heat the bacon oil, then add the apple and onion cubes and cook on medium heat until the onions are transparent. Stir every now and then.

1629407598_258_Authentic-German-Red-Cabbage-RotkrautFor the last red cabbage boil, everyone has gathered!

Then add the cabbage, mix everything together, and cook for a few minutes more. The sugar, vinegar, cloves, bay leaf, water, and red wine are now ready to be added (optional).

Reduce the quantity of water used if you’re using red wine. Give everything another toss, then reduce the heat to low and allow the cabbage cook for 40 to 50 minutes.

During that period, stir it occasionally. You may vary the time depending on how crispy or soft you want the red cabbage to be.

1629407599_994_Authentic-German-Red-Cabbage-RotkrautHere’s the finished product: ready-to-eat German red cabbage!

Remove the bay leaf and cloves before serving. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Warm it up and enjoy it!

Storage Suggestions

After serving, this red cabbage should be kept refrigerated. It will keep for two to three days in the fridge.

You may reheat it on low on the stovetop (because it’s best served hot). If you have a microwave, you may just reheat it in there.

Recipes that are similar

Try these recipes for additional excellent German dishes – or for more salads:


  • 1 red cabbage, tiny
  • 2 onions, medium-sized
  • 2 apples, medium-sized
  • 1 tblsp. bacon drippings or oil
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 leaf of bay
  • 3-5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 quart of water
  • a quarter cup of red wine (optional – reduce water amount accordingly)


  1. Remove the red cabbage’s outer leaves, wash it well, and chop it in half. Cut the cabbage into thin strips after removing the hard stem.
  2. Onions should be peeled and coarsely chopped. Also, peel and chop the apples into tiny pieces.
  3. In a big saucepan, heat the bacon fat or oil. Fry the chopped onions and apples until the onions have become transparent.
  4. Add the red cabbage strips and cook them for a few seconds as well. Combine the sugar, vinegar, cloves, bay leaf, water, and red wine in a mixing bowl (optional). Reduce the quantity of water used while drinking red wine. Stir everything together and cook the cabbage for 40-50 minutes on low heat. Stir once in a while.
  5. Remove the cloves and bay leaf after 40-50 minutes, or when the cabbage is tender enough to your taste. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve and have fun!


The red cabbage may be kept in the fridge for two to three days.

Information about nutrition:

Approximately 8 servings 1 Serving Size: 1 Serving Size: 1 Serving Size: 1 Serving Size: 1 Serving Size: 1 Serving Size 100 calories 4 g total fat 1 gram of saturated fat 0g trans fat 3 g of unsaturated fat 2 milligrams of cholesterol 27 milligrams sodium 16g carbohydrate 3 g of fiber 10 g sugar 2 g protein

An online nutrition calculator was used to determine this nutritional information. It should only be used as a guideline and not as a substitute for expert dietary guidance. Depending on the particular components used, the exact values may vary.

How did this recipe turn out for you?

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Authentic German Red Cabbage (Rotkraut) | As a child my mother used to make this for us once a year, it was a really special treat. My mother would grow her own and pick it just before it went to market, thus she would always have fresh “Rotkraut” ready . We didn’t know what it was but it was considered a delicacy and she would always save some for us.. Read more about german cabbage dish name and let us know what you think.

Una is a food website blogger motivated by her love of cooking and her passion for exploring the connection between food and culture. With an enthusiasm for creating recipes that are simple, seasonal, and international, she has been able to connect with people around the world through her website. Una's recipes are inspired by her travels across Mexico, Portugal, India, Thailand, Australia and China. In each of these countries she has experienced local dishes while learning about the culture as well as gaining insight into how food can be used as a bridge between different cultures. Her recipes are often creative combinations of traditional ingredients from various different cuisines blended together to create something new.