Traditional German Red Cabbage

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Photo by Kimberly Killebrew
Traditional German Rotkohl is a dish that has stood the test of time.
2 hr 30 min DURATION
30 min PREP TIME
6 servings SERVINGS


  • 1⁄4 cup butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1-1⁄2 pounds red cabbage, very thinly sliced
  • 1 large Granny Smith or other semi-tart apple, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1⁄2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 3 juniper berries
  • 2 tablespoons red currant jam or cherry preserves
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons water


  • Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add and cook onion until caramelized and just beginning to brown, 7 to 10 minutes.
  • Add cabbage, and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add apple, broth, bay leaf, cloves, juniper berries, red currant jam, red wine vinegar, sugar and salt.
  • Bring mixture to boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, and add more broth if needed.
  • In small bowl, stir together flour and water, and stir into Rotkohl. Simmer for 1 additional minute. Taste, and adjust salt, sugar and vinegar, if needed. Check out more traditional German recipes.

Recipe and photograph by Kimberly Killebrew of Daring Gourmet.

This is a beloved side dish found in virtually every restaurant and home throughout Germany. Here is a thoroughly authentic recipe for this wonderful way of preparing red cabbage. Rotkohl has been around for, well, forever. Great dishes stand the test of time. Rotkohl takes the humble red cabbage and transforms it into a dish that traditionally accompanies beef roasts, Rouladen and Sauerbraten. For any of you who have traveled to Germany, you’ll remember this delicious dish.