Sweet and Sour German Red Cabbage

Side DishComfort FoodGluten-FreeVegetarian

Braised Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage, German-style! Only 4 basic ingredients, so easy to make. Perfect with to serve with pork.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

A reader emailed the other day asking if I was Austrian on account of all the sauerkraut and cabbage recipes on Simply Recipes.

My father’s grandparents on both sides were from Austria and he grew up with many traditional German and Austrian dishes and a love for cooked cabbage in all forms.

This is one of our favorite ways to prepare red cabbage—sautéed with butter, sprinkled with sugar and balsamic vinegar and simmered until tender.

When the holidays come round, we take it up a notch, adding chopped apples, onions, and if we have them, roasted chestnuts. It’s wonderful served alongside pork chops or a pork roast!

Sweet and Sour German Red Cabbage Recipe

  • Prep time: 7 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 3-4


  • One half a large red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


1 Sauté sliced cabbage in butter: Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced red cabbage and toss to coat with the butter. Sauté until slightly wilted, about 5 minutes.

2 Add sugar, balsamic vinegar, cover and simmer: Sprinkle sugar over the cabbage and toss to coat evenly. Add the balsamic vinegar to the pot. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium low. Cover and simmer until the cabbage is completely tender, stirring often, about 30 minutes total.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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German Red Cabbage

Showing 4 of 59 Comments / Reviews

  • Elke Hillman

    My German mother made this for us,it was a family favourite. She added pieces of chopped pork, dill, sugar, cinnamon and thickened with cornflour if needed.

  • Molly

    I added a red onion that I sautéed until soft before adding the cabbage. I also substituted coconut oil for the butter because we are dairy free.
    Absolutely delicious recipe and perfect for cold winter in New England.

  • Sue

    A lovely dish. I added 2 peeled apples and some fresh grated nutmeg and a dash of cinnamon I also used the apple cider vinegar. This recipe is a good base, I love seeing all the changes people have made.


  • Pixie

    Just like grandma used to make ! Add a drop of mustard to give it an edge. yum !

  • Christel Picciano

    Add a pinch of allspice and simmer for ~2 hours. My German asked for this recipe.

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