Rotkohl (Red Cabbage German Style)

Next to the Klöße, the other typical Beilage (side dish) for Sauerbraten is Rotkohl (red cabbage). In Germany red cabbage is prepared in a similar way as in the Netherlands (where it is called rode kool met appeltjes), with a sweet and sour flavor profile, often by adding apple and/or black currant jelly, and spices such as cinnamon and star anise. There are many different variations. Here is mine.


For 4 servings

1 red cabbage, about 1 kg (2.2 lbs)

200 ml (3/4 cup) red wine

6 Tbsp cider vinegar

1 tart apple

3 Tbsp black currant jelly (or jam)

1 bay leaf

1 cinnamon stick

1 star anise

1 tsp juniper berries

1 onion, minced

2 Tbsp butter


1 Tbsp sugar


Cut the cabbage into 8 wedges and remove and discard the trunk.

Slice the cabbage into thin ribbons. You could also use a mandolin for this.

Heat 2 Tbsp butter in a casserole or frying pan with a cover. When the butter foams, add the minced onion and season with salt.

Stir over medium heat until the onion is soft and slightly golden, 5 to 10 minutes.

Add the cabbage and the red wine…

…and the cider vinegar…

…and the bay leaf, cinnamon, juniper berries, and sugar.

Stir well, making sure that the cinnamon, star anise, and bay leaf will end up submerged in the liquid.

Cover and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat to a slow simmer. Simmer for half an hour. Stir once in a while.

After that half an hour of simmering, add the apple (peeled, cored, and chopped), and stir to incorporate. Continue to simmer for another half hour. Keep stirring once in a while, and add a bit of water if it becomes too dry.

When, after about an hour in total of simmering, the cabbage is tender but firm to the bite, turn off the heat and the black currant jelly. Remove the bay leaf, cinnamon, and star anise.

Stir to incorporate the black currant jelly. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt (or perhaps a bit of sugar).

Serve as a side.



Saté kambing is made using goat meat (but lamb is a good alternative). In Indonesia the word saté refers to a skewer with meat (or some other protein), but in the Netherlands the word saté refers to the peanut sauce.


7 thoughts on “Rotkohl (Red Cabbage German Style)

  1. molto buono stef
    I prepare red cabbage in the same way..well actually I have not cooked it like this in yrs.. but this is one of the nicest things one can do to a cabbage. I love it when it is cold, I mean at room temperature, after a good rest in the fridge… red cabbage one of the few veggies that here in the UK are always of good quality. ciao, stef

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Some Italian recipes are a bit similar, like sancrau, but that is made with savoy cabbage (verza). As a kid I hated red cabbage because my mother would buy it frozen or from a jar with the apple already included and it had an awful flavor.


  2. Being german, I’m pretty happy to see some german classics on the “menu”. 🙂 Red cabbage like this is one of my favorites. In my opinion it’s even better the next day when the flavors have fully developed. Sometimes I marinate the raw shredded cabbage in salt, sugar, vinegar and spices overnight. It is a nice variation to use goose or duck fat instead of butter. Stefan is spot on: the cabbage should be firm to the bite. The canned stuff is always too soft and mushy. Fresh red cabbage is the way to go.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Stefan, again you make my mouth water. As a German I was brought up with “Rotkraut” frequently on our menu. Mama made it the same way as you, and her recipe of course is also used in my own kitchen. And I also agree, better even the next day and also cold (Room temperature) Delicious.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. In Italia è ormai un po’ tardi per i cavoli, di ogni genere, ma salvo a ricetta, tornerà il freddo prima o poi (sebbene debba ancora arrivare il caldo)

    Liked by 1 person

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