Sweet and Sour German Red Cabbage

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

German Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage in a Bowl
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.

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!

Stovetop Braised German Red Cabbage in a bowl
Elise Bauer

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


Watch This Sweet and Sour German Cabbage Recipe

Sweet and Sour German Red Cabbage

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Servings 3 to 4 servings


  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1/2 large red cabbage, sliced 1/4-inch thick

  • 2 tablespoons 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 the sugar and vinegar, 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 but not mushy. Stir often, about 30 to 45 minutes total.

    Simple Tip!

    The cooking time will depend on the age and tenderness of the cabbage you are using.

  3. Season:

    Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
119 Calories
6g Fat
16g Carbs
2g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 119
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 4g 18%
Cholesterol 15mg 5%
Sodium 156mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 16g 6%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 12g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 35mg 173%
Calcium 49mg 4%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 286mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.