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Red Cabbage with Apples (Rotkohl mit Apfeln)

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Red Cabbage with Apples (Rotkohl mit Apfeln) is a classic German dish that is a wonderful blending of sweet-sour red cabbage, apples and onions.   It is flavored with red wine and vinegar and spices and gently slow-cooked until tender.  

This is an easy and flavorful side dish that compliments many meals but it is an absolute must with my German Sauerbraten dish.

Red Cabbage with Apples

Easy German red cabbage recipe

I have tried a couple of versions of this recipe and I especially like how Debby at A Feast For The Eyes uses brown sugar in her recipe.  Her version feels very authentically German and is full of flavor.

Red Cabbage with Apples

Easy German red cabbage recipe

My little twist is to add some red wine.  I find that adding red wine helps preserve the red color of the cabbage and gives Don and I an excuse to have a glass of red wine with dinner.  The flavor improves over time so it is a great recipe to make a day ahead and re-heat for a quick side dish.

Red Cabbage with Apples

Germany has many regions of which the cuisine varies

Some regions consume more beef while others enjoy pork and others wild game but they all include the delicious foods that we Americans know and enjoy.  I love Germany’s savory meat dishes, the spicy sausages, tangy sauerkrauts and the many varieties of mustards and cheeses.

Their breads are crusty and robust, more like our artisan breads.   The beer and wine in Germany is well known as one of the best in all of Europe.

This recipe for red cabbage with apples (Rotkohl mit Apfein) is just one example of the wonderful cuisine of Germany.

Adapted from Debby at A Feast for the Eyes

More recipes to check:

This is an easy and delicious German red cabbage recipe. You’re gonna love it! 

Red Cabbage with Apples (Rotkohl mit Apfein)

Red Cabbage with Apples (Rotkohl mit Apfeln)

Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

A traditional German recipe for red cabbage with apples (Rotkohl mit Apfein) that is sweet and savory having a nice balance of spices.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 1 medium sized head of red cabbage about 2-1/2 pounds, cored and sliced thin
  • kosher salt
  • pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and grated
  • 1 cup unsweetened apple pure juice (not concentrate)
  • 3/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup red wine


  1. In a dutch oven, add the olive oil and the sliced onions and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the red cabbage and braise just until the cabbage is wilted, about 3-5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper, add ground cloves, allspice, nutmeg, bay leaf, brown sugar, apples, apple juice, vinegar and red wine.
  2. Cover and simmer until the cabbage is cooked and tender---do not boil or overcook. Cooking time is about 30 minutes. Remove bay leaf and serve with a slotted spoon.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 127Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 102mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 2gSugar: 19gProtein: 1g

Nutrition information is a guideline only, is calculated automatically by third party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.

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Red Cabbage with Apples (Rotkohl mit Apfein)

Pat Nyswonger

Pat is a wife, mom of four adult children, and grandmother to seventeen beautiful children. She is a self-taught home cook and loves creating delicious meals for her family and friends. Her kitchen is the hub of activity in her home, and she loves to entertain.

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Jennifer Arens

Wednesday 18th of March 2020

Can you preserve this recipe for later use in glad jars?

Pat Nyswonger

Thursday 19th of March 2020

Jennifer, thank you for this great question! I have never tried preserving this cabbage and apples. I know that it will keep in the fridge for a few days, you could try freezing it but the texture may change. If you do experiment with preserving it I would love to hear of the results.

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