Apfel-Rotkohl – German Red Cabbage and Apple Recipe

I am a huge fan of red cabbage. This is a great way to make it really special. This is best if prepared a day in advance.

Difficulty: Moderate.
Preparation Time: 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Portions: 6.


  • 2 1/2 to 3-pound red cabbage
  • 2 tbsp. butter, or minced bacon
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 2 tart apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 2 small yellow onions, diced
  • 1/2 c. red wine vinegar (in a pinch, apple cider vinegar will also work)
  • 2 c. broth (beef, vegetable, or chicken stock)
  • 2 c. red wine
  • 6 whole cloves (make a small cheesecloth bag containing the cloves, to be removed after cooking)
  • 6 whole peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Thickener: 2 tbsp. butter and 2 tbsp. flour


  1. Remove blotchy or ragged leaves from the cabbage, cut cabbage into quarters, wash and drain thoroughly. Shred the cabbage and discard the core and tough ribs.
  2. Heat butter (or bacon, if using) in a dutch oven. If using the bacon, do not let it brown, and remove the bacon when enough fat has collected in pan.
  3. Add sugar to hot fat and saute until golden.
  4. Add onion and apple to the sugar mixture, then cover pot and braise over very low heat for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the shredded cabbage and toss until it is coated with the fat.
  6. Pour the vinegar over the cabbage and mix thoroughly.
  7. Cover pot and braise slowly over low heat about 10 minutes, or until cabbage has turned purple.
  8. Add the broth, wine and cheesecloth bag  into the mix and stir. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours.
  9. After about 40 minutes, check for seasoning. If more saltiness is desired, add salt now.
  10. Once cooked, knead together butter and flour for thickening, and cut into the cabbage pot. Simmer for 3 – 4 minutes while gently stirring, until thickened.
  11. Refrigerate until ready to use. This can also be canned for much later use. Warm before serving.

3 comments on “Apfel-Rotkohl – German Red Cabbage and Apple Recipe

  1. Where does the peppercorn come in, or the Bay leaf? There is no mention. I just put them in at the beginning of the long simmer. Also, this works better if the fluids are largely drained about half way through.

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