Oma's Rotkohl ~ German Red Cabbage Recipe

➤ by Oma Gerhild Fulson

Check out this German red cabbage recipe, aka Rotkohl, Blaukohl, or Blaukraut, that uses apples to enhance the flavor.

Easy to make, yet tastes best reheated, so make it ahead of time if you can. 

Red cabbage recipes are really a staple for German cooking. They go particularly well with hearty meats such as beef, pork, game, turkey -- well, just about everything!

This dish will add such a vibrant pop of color to your meal and quite the punch of flavor too! Even people who say they don't like red cabbage find this dish almost like eating candy! They take second helpings, it's so good.

Sweet 'n sour red cabbage is the usual way we Germans love to make this side dish. In fact, it's the only way that I recall my Mutti ever serving red cabbage. It's German food at its best! :)

Yummy! German recipe for Red Cabbage ... so traditionally delicious.

However, there are other ways that some Germans make this. Some will insist on cooking this to a total 'mush' stage. Others, like to keep a bit of a 'bite' and will not cook this as long.

Some will insist on juniper berries, bay leaf, cinnamon, and or apple juice need to be added. 

My suggestion? Try it the way I've posted it and then try adding the various other ingredients to find the one that suits you best. 


IMPORTANT

You'll need a nice big knife to cut through the cabbage, as well as some disposable gloves.

Why the gloves?

If you don't use gloves, your hands will have stained a lovely pink and purple color from cutting the red cabbage! A stain that is hard to remove. Lemon juice will help to remove it. Oh, and do wear an apron. 


Oma's Free downloadable Herbs & Spices Chart

Want another version for red cabbage without the apples? Then check out German Red Cabbage. There are easy instructions there how to cook cabbage as well as prepare it.

Vegan Recipe

This is a really easy recipe to make vegan. In fact, it's my favorite one to use when I'm serving it to a mixed gathering, with vegans and non-vegans. Both really enjoy this.

To make a vegan red cabbage recipe:

  • Make sure you use oil instead of the butter or lard

Yep, it's that easy to convert. If you have a 'fake' vegan butter, you can use that, but it's not necessary.


Lydia Remembers...

I have so many wunderbar memories in the kitchen with my Oma, and have had MANY of her most popular and traditional recipes, like this red cabbage.

This red cabbage recipe has become one of my very, very favorites. Every family get-together we have where there is red cabbage sitting on the table, I can about imagine the priceless look on my face. Of course, I'll have more than a couple servings of it. How can I resist Oma's famous cabbage!

I tend to cheat a little bit and buy the red cabbage in a jar, instead of making it totally from scratch like Oma does for the family. Though sometimes, I know Oma likes to keep it simple and use the jarred red cabbage one, too!

When I make red cabbage, I love to serve it alongside Oma's recipe for slow cooker roast beef (tastes like rouladen), and gravy made from the meat juice. 

Try my Oma's slow cooker roast beef that tastes just like rouladen! Really! And, it's so easy to make.

When Oma makes her red cabbage from scratch...I'm telling you, it is SO lecker! Especially with the apple chunks in it. That really is the cherry on-top of the finished product.

Learn a little bit about me, Lydia, and my kitchen adventures with Oma!


Need that “all’s good with the world” feeling? Comfort food will do that. Get your copy of Oma's German favorites in her Comfort Foods e-Cookbook.

Take a look at Oma’s Comfort Foods eCookbook and enjoy the traditional taste of German cuisine!

Take a peek at all Oma's eCookbooks. They make sharing your German heritage a delicious adventure!

Oma's Tip

Our kids repeatedly ask for this. Because of that, I always make a huge stock pot full by getting the largest red cabbage I can find.

If there are leftovers, they really do taste best the next day. Extras also freeze well, and will last a few days covered in your fridge as well.

Ready to make red cabbage?

Oma's German Red Cabbage Recipe with Apples 

Check out this German red cabbage recipe, aka Rotkohl, Blaukohl, or Blaukraut, that uses apples to enhance the flavor. Easy to make, yet tastes best reheated, so make it ahead of time if you can. 

Red cabbage recipes are really a staple for German cooking. They go particularly well with hearty meats such as beef, pork, game, turkey -- well, just about everything! Or make red cabbage without apples.

Prep Time

10 minutes

Cook Time

60 minutes

Total Time

70 minutes

Servings:

Makes 6 - 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium head red cabbage, shredded
  • 2 - 3 tbsp butter, oil, or lard
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 apples, peeled, cored, shredded or diced
  • ½ cup red wine (optional)
  • 3 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch

Instructions:

  1. In large pot, heat butter, oil, lard, or combination. Lightly saute onion.
  2. Add red cabbage and apples. Continue to saute for several minutes.
  3. Add 1 cup water, optional red wine, cider vinegar, sugar, salt, nutmeg, cloves and pepper. Stir.
  4. Bring to simmer, cover. Simmer about 30 - 60 minutes or until cabbage is tender.
  5. Add lemon juice. Taste and season with more salt, cloves, pepper, sugar and vinegar as needed.
  6. Mix about 2 tbsp cornstarch with cold water and slowly stir in just enough to thicken red cabbage liquid. Serve.

Notes/Hints:

  • For an extra quick red cabbage recipe, use canned or jarred red cabbage. Add shredded or grated apples. Simmer until apples are cooked, about 10 minutes. Season and thicken with corn starch as above.
  • If you have bacon fat, use that instead of the butter.
  • The traditional "recipe for red cabbage" is cooked till almost the "mush" stage. If you prefer, you can slice the cabbage instead of shredding and cook it only about ½ hour instead if you prefer a more "textured" cabbage dish. Delicious as well.
  • Serve this as a side dish to rouladen. So traditional!

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Unless otherwise noted recipe, images and content © Just like Oma | www.quick-german-recipes.com

03.11.2021 revision update

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Leave a comment about this recipe or ask a question?

Pop right over to my private Facebook group, the Kaffeeklatschers. You'll find thousands of German foodies, all eager to help and to talk about all things German, especially these yummy foods. 

I pop in all the time as well, to chat and to answer questions. 

Meet with us around Oma's table, pull up a chair, grab a coffee and a piece of Apfelstrudel, and enjoy the visit.

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Oma's red cabbage recipe! Super easy to make!
Oma's red cabbage recipe! A delicious side for any meal
Oma's red cabbage recipe! Super easy to make
Oma's red cabbage recipe! A delicious side for any meal.

German Red Cabbage Recipe made Just like Oma



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How to Cook Pork Hocks Just like Oma


This German red cabbage recipe uses apples to enhance the flavor. Super easy to make and tastes even better when reheated the next day. Definitely a favourite!


Ingredients: red cabbage, butter, onion, apples, vinegar, seasonings, lemon juice, cornstarch,

For the full recipe, scroll up ...

Words for the Wise

"The mouths of fools are their ruin; they trap themselves with their lips."

Proverbs 18:7 (NLT)