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Traditional German red cabbage

Traditional German Red Cabbage recipe

One huge perk of having in-laws that are from another culture is I have been able to learn a whole new cuisine. German food is hearty, pretty simple and I love every bit of it. Ryan's Oma and mother are both great cooks and every time we visit Germany I eagerly watch them cook to try and learn as much as I can. I bring home the recipes and tweak them in my own kitchen so Ryan can have a taste of home.

Traditional German Red Cabbage

The Oktoberfest celebrations in Germany are in full force. And even though we weren't able to head to Bavaria to take part in the festivities, we decided to make some of our favorite German dishes to celebrate at home.  Red cabbage is a staple side dish in German cuisine and I prefer it over the traditional sauerkraut. Its a mild, tasty dish that is often served with sausages or schnitzel and some sort of potato. Whenever I cook a German dinner, half of my plate is full of red cabbage and I often help my self to seconds. I love, love, love this recipe. 

Its a basic, and easy recipe full of added health benefits. Even more reason to love German red cabbage! So if you are going to throw a traditional Oktoberfest party, make sure to jot this recipe down. Its definitely a crowd pleaser! 

German red cabbage recipe

Traditional German Red Cabbage (Rotkohl)


  • 1 medium head of red cabbage shredded

  • 1/2 tablespoon cooking oil

  • 1 yellow onion sliced

  • 1 medium apple thinly sliced (peeling is optional)

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • 1/3 cup vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground clove (optional but I think it adds great flavor)


  • In a large Dutch oven, heat cooking oil over medium heat

  • Stir in onion and apple and cook until onion is tender ( 5-7 minutes)

  • Add in remaining ingredients and stir to combine

  • Cover and cook cabbage until tender (1 hour); stir occasionally to prevent burning

Serve with bratwurst or schnitzel for a traditional German dinner!

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