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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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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German Red Cabbage

63 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  • Kathy Colaianni

    I make mine a bit differently. I sauté a large Spanish onion chopped very fine until it turns lightly golden. Also add 2 big finely chopped garlic just before the onion start catching color. Slice a whole red cabbage like cole slaw, very thin slices. Then grate the largest size honey crisp apple you can find, peeled of course and mix with the onion and cabbage mixture. Add about 3/4 of a one litre bottle of apple cider vinegar , add a bit of salt and about 1 tbsp. of sugar and cook it away. Taste occasionally if it needs more sugar or salt or apple cider vinegar. If there is a lot of liquid n the pot after it’s cooked, just drain some of it off. My family loves this so I have to make a lot . Goes well with pork.

  • Outdoormom54

    I loved this recipe. I added onions and garlic only because I like them. My hubby and I ate the whole pot, lol


  • Anna

    This was really fantastic. The best sweet and sour cabbage I’ve ever had. I can’t believe how good it is with on minimal ingredients. I made according to recipe, but liberal with pepper and salt.


  • Chicken Momma

    I love sweet sour cabbage! I substituted bacon fat (every good Czech has a jar in the fridge) for the butter!!! Delicious


  • 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.

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