German Red Cabbage (Rotkohl) in a blue bowl on a dark wooden background with dried sliced orange slices, pine cones, cloves, and juniper berries as decoration. Shot up close with the red cabbage in focus
Sides, Dips and Everything in Between

German Red Cabbage (Rotkohl)


We are inching closer to Christmas and my aim this year is to present you with classic recipes, but executed really, really well. One of these dishes is this German Red Cabbage (Rotkohl) recipe that you are seeing today! 🤗

German Red Cabbage (Rotkohl) in a blue bowl on a dark wooden background with dried sliced orange slices, pine cones, cloves, and juniper berries as decoration

When I set out to test this “series”, I thought for sure, this would be the one recipe that I would not have a problem at all creating. I mean, after all, I am German – how much could go wrong? Should this not be in our DNA? Turns out: No, and a lot that can go sideways. It took me about five trials to get the flavor of sweet and sour absolutely perfect and balanced. In between these five trials, there were possibly at least 15 calls with my grandmother (she is 92 and was ready to jump into the kitchen herself to see what I was doing wrong 🤣) about how to best cook the darn thing. I was beginning to think it was me. But then I spoke to a friend and she told me she had the same problem – it just would not taste “right”. Phew, at least I was not alone.

Clove and juniper berries on a wooden underground with German Red Cabbage (Rotkohl) visible in the background

But – fear not. We got there in the end! Luckily, red cabbage has some amazing health benefits, so I and my husband have not been missing out in terms of nutrients whilst testing. On my final trial, I had a friend over to test this German Red Cabbage (Rotkohl) recipe. She is a red cabbage lover and dubbed this to be “the best red cabbage she has ever had”. So, rest assured that this is a really good recipe 😉.

Clove and juniper berries blurred in the fron with German Red Cabbage (Rotkohl) visible in the background

Why is this German Red Cabbage (Rotkohl) good for you?

As indicated above, red cabbage has an amazing array of health benefits. But you know what one of the best parts about cabbage is? It is relatively inexpensive and therefore makes it extremely accessible, combined with an awesome nutritional profile. This cruciferous beauty is super anti-inflammatory and high in Vitamin C. It also contains healthy amounts of Vitamin K, and B6. Red cabbage is loaded with beneficial plant compounds and antioxidants. Next to Vitamin C, you can find carotenoids, flavonoids, anthocyanins, and kaempferol in cabbage.

Anthocyanin has proven to be beneficial for your heart health. A study showed that the consumption of this plant compound may significantly lower your risk of heart attacks, and may also lower your blood pressure levels. I have written an entire blog post about the science behind antioxidants and what they do in our bodies here. Studies continue to assess and prove cabbage’s anti-cancer properties, along with its lowered risk of Type 2 diabetes. Both benefits are largely driven due to their excellent antioxidant content.

German Red Cabbage (Rotkohl) in a blue bowl on a dark wooden background with dried sliced orange slices, pine cones, cloves, and juniper berries as decoration. Shot up close with the red cabbage in focus

And by the way, if you are looking for more delicious (and nutritious!) ways to use red cabbage – look on further! My Homemade Sauerkraut is a great, gut-healthy, and loving staple in our house. My Easy Purple Coleslaw is also a super-easy way to get some additional nutrients into your diet.

German Red Cabbage (Rotkohl) in a blue bowl with a spoon on a dark wooden background with dried sliced orange slices, pine cones, cloves, and juniper berries as decoration

How to ensure this recipe turns out perfect

So – the secret to this recipe is to cook it at least one if not two days in advance. It will be one less meal to worry about on the actual day 😉! You will also have to cook it for a very long time. This is the reason why I have dubbed this recipe’s difficulty “high” but in reality, it is not. You cook the cabbage on super low heat and it will just simmer in its own juices. I have left it on the stove and almost kind of forgotten about it (obviously not fully 🤣). You just need to go over every once in a while in order to give it a stir.

German Red Cabbage (Rotkohl) on a spoon with a bowl of red cabbage visible in the background

How can I adjust this recipe to my dietary requirements?

This recipe is vegetarian, vegan, paleo, and nut-free. Just a bunch of whole foods cooked to perfection 😉.

And that is it for this week 🥰. I will be posting more frequently in the next two weeks in order to provide you with a full menu option for the holidays. Please let me know how you like the recipe, both in the comments below and over on Instagram. Happy cooking!

German Red Cabbage (Rotkohl)

Recipe by Ann Robejsek
5.0 from 1 vote
Course: SidesCuisine: GermanDifficulty: High


Prep time


Cooking Time



This German Red Cabbage (Rotkohl) is simmered to perfection and provides the perfect balance between sweet and sour. Enjoy!


  • 1 large white onion

  • 2 medium-sized apples

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

  • 4 tbsp coconut sugar

  • 1 red cabbage head, ca. 1300 gr.

  • Ca. 2 cups (500 ml.) of water

  • 4 whole cloves

  • Ca. 10 juniper berries

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

  • 0.5 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 – 1.5 tbsp salt

How to

  • Start by finely slicing the onion. Wash and core the apples and cut them into bite-sized pieces. Put aside and prepare the cabbage. Take the two outer leaves off and then wash the cabbage. Put on a chopping board and split in the middle. Take out the stalk and then finely cut the remainder of the cabbage. Alternatively, you could also shred the cabbage in a food processor
  • Heat a large pot over medium to high heat and add the coconut oil until it is melted. Add the finely sliced onion and stir until translucent (ca. 4 – 5 minutes). Add the apples to the onions and continue to stir for another 2 minutes or so. Add 1 tbsp of the coconut sugar and let the onions and apples caramelize for another 2 -3 minutes. Add the cabbage, remaining coconut sugar, cloves, juniper berries, bay leaves, cinnamon, and apple cider vinegar and stir through. Now, add the 2 cups of water. Put on low heat (really low) and let simmer for about 5 hours. Stir occasionally and check whether there is still enough liquid at the bottom (the cabbage should continue to pool water – I did not have to re-fill once)
  • Once cooked, take off the heat and add the salt. I have used about 1 – 1.5 tablespoons per cabbage head. Stir through and then put aside and let sit for the next 24 – 48 hours. You can simply re-heat the German Red Cabbage (Rotkraut) with a bit more water when serving (if possible, you can also take out the spices). ENJOY!

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