Braised Red Cabbage with Chestnuts

Side DishMake-aheadGermanCabbage

Sweet and sour red cabbage, cooked with bacon, apples, onions, and roasted chestnuts. Great holiday side!

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Looking for a festive holiday side dish? One my favorite winter sides is my dad’s sweet and sour red cabbage. The following recipe takes that Austrian standard up a notch with the addition of apples, onions, bacon, and roasted chestnuts. So good! Pretty too.

Braised red cabbage with chestnuts is a traditional accompaniment to roast goose, but if goose isn’t on your menu it also works great alongside a pork roast or even prime rib. You can easily make ahead and reheat to serve.

Braised Red Cabbage with Chestnuts

Braised Red Cabbage with Chestnuts Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 8


  • 2 strips thick-cut bacon (about 3 ounces) cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red cabbage head, about 2 pounds, quartered, tough core removed, quarters sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 1 large green tart apple
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 6 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 8 ounces canned or jarred roasted chestnuts (NOT water chestnuts), roughly chopped


1 Cook the bacon: Cook the bacon batons slowly in a large sauté pan (with cover) on medium low heat until most of the fat has rendered out, and the bacon is lightly browned, not crisp.

2 Add onions: Add the sliced onions, increase the heat of the pan to medium high and cook, stirring often, until the onions have softened and lightly browned.

3 Add cabbage, apples, vinegars, sugar: While the onions are cooking, peel the apple and cut it into 1/2-inch thick pieces. Once the onions are ready, add the sliced cabbage, chopped apple, cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and sugar. Carefully toss to combine. Bring to a simmer, cover the pan, lower the heat, and simmer until the cabbage is cooked through and soft, about 40 minutes.

4 Add chestnuts: Uncover the pan. Add the chopped roasted chestnuts. Add salt and pepper to taste. Increase the heat to boil off excess moisture for a few minutes.

Serve hot.

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Braised Red Cabbage with Chestnuts

Showing 4 of 12 Comments / Reviews

  • Barbara Shea

    We love red cabbage, so, tried this recipe, but for the life of us couldn’t imagine why you added roasted chestnuts. We’ve never tasted them before, so, was surprised at the lack of taste & the strange consistency of them. Also, the price of a small jar is really expensive. Next time we’ll leave out the chestnuts.

  • mady

    In the intro you say this is your regular sweet and sour red cabbage recipe with apples, onions, and chestnuts added. You really should mention that it also adds bacon. A pretty important addition since it would very much change the flavor of the dish and also incidentally makes the dish non-vegetarian.

  • Lea Ann

    I have a recipe for Rode Kool that I love dearly. Sweet/sour braised red cabbage with apples and pears. I’m really liking the addition of chestnuts. I’ve also never used balsamic vinegar in my cabbage. I’m loving this version.. What a festive dish.

  • Chris

    Do you leave the rendered bacon fat in the pan? or do you drain it out?

    You leave it in the pan. ~Elise

  • April

    I make a form of red cabbage I learned from my godmother – which she learned from her Danish grandmother. Very similar, only no chestnuts in the original recipe, and I think they can only make it better (along with the bacon – bacon makes everything better, no?). Grandmother Kirk’s recipe is red cabbage, apple cider vinegar, some water, apples, butter, and yes, wait for it, grape jelly. How much of everything depends on the size of the red cabbage. Simmer all of the above for a couple of hours and you have heaven in a pot. We have it every Christmas along with apple saka (sp?) I’m adding chestnuts this year.

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