This Dutch oven braised red cabbage recipe is simple and sweet, but not lacking flavor. This flavorful side dish has become a family favorite around the holidays. It is very similar to German red cabbage, Rotkohl, but I will not claim that it is authentic only because we have made it our own way. The first time my husband and I made braised red cabbage our boys shunned it because it was "cabbage" and they didn't like the look of it. Once they finally tasted it, they said tasted like candy. The sweet flavor from the caramelized cabbage, sweetness of the apple, brown sugar, and cinnamon sticks make this dish a big hit with family and friends. It has a perfect balance with little sweetness and a little sour like German red cabbage. It's hard to go wrong with this delicious side dish on a cold winter day on the holidays.
How to Make Braised Red Cabbage
If you have not had braised red cabbage yet and you're not a cabbage fan, this wonderful side dish might change your mind about cabbage. Cooking the cabbage this way slowly caramelizes the cabbage, giving it an even sweeter more succulent taste than just quickly sautéing red cabbage on the stove top. The butter also helps of course. This sweet cabbage dish is our favorite way to enjoy red cabbage and it will be a hit at any holiday feast.
How to Serve this Purple Cabbage Dish
The sweet simplicity of this dish will wow your guests and is easy on your kitchen sanity. It's an easy hot side dish and perfect addition for a holiday meal. Try it with a protein like roast beef, pork roast ,Christmas ham or a poultry entrée for a perfect balanced holiday feast. We love to serve it with pork chops or my husband's signature schnitzel. Also, try some on a really good beef grilled hot dog! So good! If you're not serving meat it would pair well with a spicy or savory entrée as well. Any potatoes pair well as a secondary dish dish along with this as well.
Braised Red Cabbage Ingredients
- Red Cabbage- 1 small head of red cabbage, equivalent to about 1.5 lbs.
- Apple- I normally use a gala or pink lady which is slightly tart, yet juicy
- Butter- You have got to use real butter for this recipe. There's nothing like real good old fashioned butter for this recipe. It's a must!
- Brown sugar- Dark brown sugar is preferred due to it's higher molasses content, but light will be great as well.
- Apple cider vinegar- If you do not have ACV, you could try some red wine vinegar or white vinegar, but it will not be quite the same.
- Cinnamon sticks- Just a couple dry cinnamon sticks are great.
- Ground cloves- You don't want to skip the cloves as it gives it a great flavor.
- Salt- I like to use sea salt.
- Black pepper- Just fine ground black pepper.
Sometimes this red cabbage is made with these additional ingredients.
- Star Anise- This is an ingredient I don't normally have so I've never made it with it, but I know Gordon Ramsey adds it to his recipe.
- Caraway Seeds-
- Red Onions- Onions will caramelize nicely as well, so it's an options if you want it, but I keep it simple.
- Bacon- For you bacon lovers, you could crisp up some bacon and then cook the cabbage in the bacon grease.
Large Dutch Oven- The reason a large Dutch oven is necessary is because it holds in heat well and is large enough to handle the huge amount of raw cabbage you need to add to the pot. The Dutch oven is also oven safe and allows for the slow cooking of the cabbage to maximize the caramelization which is key for this recipe.
Give this sweet & simple braised red cabbage a try and let us know what you think in the comments below.
Sweet & Simple Braised Red Cabbage (Dutch Oven)
- 2-2.5 lb red cabbage finely shredded (1 small head or ½ a large head)
- 1 large tart apple cored and quartered (I normally use a gala or pink lady which is slightly tart, yet juicy)
- ½ cup unsalted sweet cream butter 1 stick
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 sticks cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make sure you have oven racks placed with enough room to fit your pot or oven dish.
- Heat dutch oven or oven safe casserole dish on medium low.
- Once warm add butter, brown sugar and vinegar; stir till sugar is dissolved.
- Then add apples, cinnamon sticks and remaining spices; cloves, salt and pepper.
- Add shredded cabbage to the pot and stir to combine.
- Grab a large sheet of parchment paper, enough to crumble a bit and cover your pot. fully wet it and crumble it, place it covering the cabbage as shown in the collage above.
- Place pot with cabbage into the oven for 1 hr 30 minutes, stirring every 30 minutes. Also, dampen the parchment paper each time you stir and replace atop the cabbage.
- Remove paper and braise another 15 minutes for extra caramelization. (If you're out of time, the initial 1.5 hrs is just fine and just as delicious)
- Serve immediately or keep warm till ready to serve. I like to add a little squeeze of lemon juice just before serving as well.