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

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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 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons 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

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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15 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. peteTheCook

    It’s a great combination of ingredients. Fab. Thank you, Elise. I had come across a similar dish I the continent some time ago. Very satisfying.
    chestnuts have and acquired taste and in this recipe they are something quite different to roasted ones which you might have tried during the festive season.
    (Barbara, for the life of you, why would you use chestnuts if you never tasted them before?! since I never heard anything like this from anyone before – I would first suggest you check the sell by date on your jar)

    In my view chestnuts are one of the most important ingredients here and balance the taste combination really well. The recipe I had tried years ago I believe had walnuts in.
    Chestnuts are forgotten super food and can be used medicinally.
    If you cannot find fresh ones, you can buy them in larger packs or jars, preserved in different ways and in the fridge they tend to last a long time; they can be used in some delicious baking recipes or for a festive roast etc. They can be marinated, soaked or be pre-roasted ….. Dried or frozen ones may not work well in this recipe.


    Show Replies (1)
  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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  4. The Healthy Apple

    Love this recipe; fabulous and delicious…and I love the photo. Happy Holidays! Always loving your recipes and posts!

  5. Amlis

    Thank you! This was delicious. We had it for Christmas dinner with roast goose. It was superb the next day also. Beautiful!


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