Sweet and Sour German Red Cabbage

Side DishCabbage

This sweet-and-sour red cabbage makes an easy side dish for any German meal. Just four ingredients and ready 30 minutes! Great with sausages or pork chops.

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.

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A Simple Red Cabbage Recipe

This classic German red cabbage recipe is one of our favorite ways to prepare red cabbage—sautéed with butter, sprinkled with sugar and balsamic vinegar and simmered until tender. The sugar and balsamic vinegar give the sautéed cabbage a delightful sweet and sour glaze.

When the holidays come round, we take the cabbage 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!

German Red Cabbage

How to Cut Red Cabbage

This recipe calls for half a head of thinly sliced red cabbage. The best way to prepare it is to cut the head of cabbage in half through the core, then cut one of the halves in to quarters (save the remaining half for another recipe). Then thinly slice the cabbage from the top down to the core. The core is tougher than the cabbage leaves, but if you want, you can thinly slice it as well and include it.

What to Serve with German Cabbage

Sweet and sour red cabbage is a perfect side dish for sausages, pork chops, or German pork burgers. This braised cabbage also pairs well with roast chicken, duck, and roast beef.

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

Leftovers will keep for about 5 days in the fridge. Reheat them in the microwave or over low heat in a skillet on the stovetop. This recipe does not freeze well, and we don’t recommend it.

Ideas for Your Leftover Half-Head of Cabbage

Sweet and Sour German Red Cabbage Recipe

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


  • 1/2 large red cabbage, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


1 Sauté the cabbage: 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 seasonings 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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128 Comments / Reviews

No ImageSweet and Sour German Red Cabbage

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Varick

    Delicious! Added a little bit of crisp bacon, some apple slices I had in the freezer and a pinch of ground cloves.


  2. Michael

    I made Rouladen for dinner and wanted red cabbage and spaetzel (I was voted against the spaetzel and made mashed potatoes instead). Overall this was of course a very simple and quick recipe. We enjoyed it, however, my only critique is it was too sweet for my liking. I will probably cut the sugar in half. Thanks for the recipe! I’ll try to modify it a little next time and see how it goes.


    Show Replies (1)
  3. Michele

    So good, so easy, no prep time really, and not costly to tight budgets. I made the “notched up” version. Next time I’m asked to bring a dish to a dinner party, I’ll bring this one if it pairs well with the menu. If you skip the bacon, vegetarian-friendly too.


  4. Jenn

    Can you use monk fruit as a sub for the sugar?

    Show Replies (1)
  5. Williams

    Very easily done


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