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Braised Red Cabbage with Red Onion, Apples and Balsamic

Braised red cabbage with red onion, apples and balsamic.

I’m happy to finally share the recipe for one of my favorite side dishes, braised red cabbage with apples. It’s a delicious, slow-cooked mix of red cabbage, red onions, balsamic vinegar and paper thin apples.

Braised red cabbage with red onion, apples and balsamic.

I think I got hooked on braised red cabbage back in college after dining at Houston’s in Atlanta. Has anyone tried their braised red cabbage? It’s awesome! Over the years I’ve prepared it at home here and there but last fall I created this variation with apples that we can’t get enough of and I’ve been making it at least once a month. I’m always looking for new vegetables to add to the rotation so this has been a welcome one!

A head of red cabbage.

From a health perspective, red cabbage is packed with nutrients and just a one cup serving of cooked red cabbage delivers 79% of your daily vitamin K, 69% of your daily vitamin C (crazy right!?), 20% of daily B6 and 17% of daily manganese. It’s also high in fiber and just one cup cooked contains 16% of your daily fiber needs. (Source)

Braised red cabbage ingredients.

The ingredients list is super short. All you need is a head of red cabbage, a red onion, an apple, balsamic vinegar and coconut oil. (Side note: we love our giant vat of coconut oil.)

Braised red cabbage recipe prep.

The first step (and probably the most time consuming part of this whole recipe) is thinly slicing the cabbage, onion and apples. I think that red cabbage is so beautiful when it’s shredded.

Satueed apples and onions.

The apples and onions go into a large skillet (that has a lid) with the coconut oil.

Braised red cabbage with red onion, apples and balsamic.

And then the cabbage goes in.

Braised red cabbage with red onion, apples and balsamic.

I sauté everything uncovered until it’s mixed together well and just starting to soften. Then it’s time to add the liquids (balsamic vinegar and chicken stock or water) before reducing the heat, covering the skillet and letting the cabbage do its slow braise. The low heat and slow cooking is key. You have to leave it alone and just give it a stir every 15 minutes or so while the braising magic happens.

Braised red cabbage with red onion, apples and balsamic.

The result about 45-60 minutes later is a big pan of tender, melt in your mouth red cabbage with a perfect balance of tart and sweet thanks to the vinegar and apples. Many braised red cabbage recipes call for sugar but I find that the mixture of the apples and the reduced vinegar give it all the sweet flavor it needs.

Satueed bone-in pork chop with mashed sweet potatoes and braised red cabbage with apples.

It’s a wonderful side dish to go alongside everything from pork to chicken to salmon. I’ve also served it to dinner guests several times and everyone always raves over it. The full recipe makes a generous amount and the leftovers are amazing!

This isn’t a “quick” weeknight side dish but definitely simple and something you could prepare ahead of time (like if you do Sunday food prep) to enjoy all week long. Give it a try!

Braised Red Cabbage with Apples
(Recipe developed by Jen DeCurtins)


2 tablespoons coconut oil (can sub olive or vegetable oil if desired)
1 head red cabbage, sliced thinly/shredded
1 red onion, sliced thinly
1 apple (gala, fuji, pink lady, etc), sliced thinly
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth or water
Salt and pepper, to taste


In a large skillet that has a cover, melt the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add apples and onions and saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add shredded cabbage and continue to saute for about 5 more minutes, stirring often. Add the balsamic and then the chicken broth or water. Reduce heat to low (very low, like a 1-2 on the dial) and cover. Continue to cook, stirring every 10-15 minutes or so, until softened. Resist the urge to turn up the heat to shorten the cooking time. The mixture will burn to the bottom of the pot easily if you do so. Start checking for doneness around 45 minutes but it may take up to an hour.

Yield: 6-8 servings

{ 27 comments… add one }
  • maya March 22, 2016, 3:48 pm

    Thank you for this recipe. I love braised red cabbage with apples, but I tried making it in a slow cooker and six hours later I ended up with the most offensive brown mush that tasted awful. So I keep buying it ready made from my supermarket because ai habe to have it once a week. Your version looks the part (still pink!) and I can’t wait to make it. Have a great week Jen!

    • Jen DeCurtins March 22, 2016, 4:20 pm

      You’re so welcome! I hope this turns out well for you. I can totally see where slow cooker red cabbage could become a scary mush! 🙂 Hope you have a good week too!

  • Liz March 22, 2016, 4:28 pm

    I’ve been needing a new veggie recipe and this looks great! I was looking forward to the recipe after seeing it on your snapchat feed. I love all the pictures of your dogs as well!

  • Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine March 22, 2016, 4:40 pm

    Well I love the sweet apples! That’s perfect!

  • Callie March 22, 2016, 4:41 pm

    I’ve been waiting for this recipe! Can’t wait to make it! I’m making your spiced chicken recipe tonight…so good!!

    • Jen DeCurtins March 22, 2016, 4:42 pm

      LOVE that spiced chicken recipe! It’s a staple here. Enjoy!

  • Nathalie Cone March 22, 2016, 8:43 pm

    I have about three pints of homemade red kraut that I’m kind of sick of eating as-is, so I think I might see what happens if I use it up in this recipe! The kraut is still pretty crunchy so I think it might be okay…

    • Jen DeCurtins March 22, 2016, 9:12 pm

      Report back!

      • Nathalie Cone March 29, 2016, 12:21 pm

        Jen, this turned out even more amazing than I imagined! I was unsure the first night I made it, but once it sat overnight the flavors really mellowed out and came together beautifully. Actually, I think it’s even better the third day. Thank you!

  • Celia at Chicago Jogger March 22, 2016, 10:08 pm

    This sounds amazing! I love red cabbage. Adding this to my recipe list.

  • Alyssa March 23, 2016, 5:25 am

    Thanks so much for posting this. I’ve been really curious to know how you cook your cabbage. Mine never turns out well. I’m going to try this recipe. PS We have the same tub of coconut oil! Love it.

  • Shannon March 23, 2016, 8:17 pm

    I made this tonight and WOW!!! I honestly think this is the first time I’ve had red cabbage and it’s SO good. I will definitely be making this more often, thank you!

    • Jen DeCurtins March 23, 2016, 8:39 pm

      Oh, I’m so glad it turned out well for you Shannon! Glad you enjoyed the recipe and thanks for reporting back!

  • Julie @ Running in a Skirt March 24, 2016, 8:59 am

    oh wow! This looks so good and I love how simple it is. I also didn’t realize red cabbage was so good for you!

  • Jessica April 5, 2016, 6:07 pm

    Making this right now and so excited about it!

  • Kimberly April 14, 2016, 9:08 pm

    Finally got around to trying out this recipe and it turned out great! Received rave reviews from all. Thanks for sharing : )

  • Stephanie January 19, 2017, 8:25 am

    I made this last night with dinner and it was a delicious side! I cooked it in my Instant Pot, which was super quick and easy. I sauteed the onions and apples for a few minutes then added the remaining ingredients (I used 1/2 cup water for the liquid to account for the lack of evaporation) and cooked for 3 minutes then did a quick release and it was perfect! Thanks for the recipe 🙂

  • Jen March 14, 2017, 12:01 pm

    This was amazing! I’ve been searching for a whole30 compliant recipe for red cabbage. My fiancé grew up in Germany and he said he hasn’t tasted cabbage this awesome outside of Germany. Leftovers are amazing. Served with brats.

    • Jen March 16, 2017, 6:52 pm

      So awesome to hear that you guys enjoyed this and it was a hit!

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