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Horizontal shot of red braised cabbage in a bowl with spoon

Rotkohl (German Braised Red Cabbage)

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: European, German
Servings: 4
Calories: 263kcal
Author: Edyta
Rotkohl is a classic German side dish for braised red cabbage. It may be served with or without bacon and it has a very distinct sweet and sour cabbage flavor. It's braised in apple cider with a touch of sugar (sometimes with the addition of cherry preserve) and spices then finished off with an apple cider vinegar. 
Print Recipe


  • 2 tbsp Butter Unsalted
  • 4 cups Red Cabbage Shredded (half a medium head of cabbage, it can be up to 5 cups)
  • 1 Yellow Onions chopped, small size or half medium size
  • 1 Apple any kind, peeled and cubed
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • 1 cup Apple Cider up to 1.5 cups
  • 4 slices Bacon chopped, optional
  • 2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon Salt more or less to taste
  • 1 Bay Leave
  • 5 cornels Allspice
  • 5 Cloves
  • 2 Juniper Berries optional
  • 1 tablespoon Cherry preserve optional
  • Fresh Dill for garnish


  • Chop your onions, apple, and cabbage;
  • Heat up your butter in the braising pot; add onions and sauté for about 5 minutes, until translucent.
  • Add cabbage, apple and spices (sugar, salt, pepper, allspice, clove, bay leaf, and if using juniper berries), apple cider and preserve if using; cover it up.
  • Braise the cabbage for approximately an hour. Mix it frequently to avoid burning and add more liquid as needed (you can add a little bit more apple cider, but at this stage mostly add water or vegetable stock). Make sure your cabbage is mostly submerged in liquid.
  • Chop bacon and fry up the pieces, until crispy.
  • Add apple cider vinegar to the cabbage; mix well and taste for seasoning. Adjust with salt and pepper as needed.
  • Transfer the cabbage to a serving dish, top with bacon and (optionally) with dill. 


  • Juniper berries and cherry preserve are optional ingredients and you don't have to use them if you don't have them;
  • You don't need to add bacon to this braised cabbage;
  • You can make it vegan by using oil instead of butter and skipping the bacon;
  • Make sure your cabbage is submerged in liquid; add up to 1.5 cups of apple cider and the remaining liquid should either water or the broth of your choice.


Calories: 263kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 1390mg | Potassium: 421mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 1195IU | Vitamin C: 56.3mg | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 1.1mg