German Rotkohl (Braised Red Cabbage)


I haven’t shared one of Oma’s recipes in a while so I thought today I would post her German Rotkohl. A red cabbage side dish cooked with caramelized onion and semi-tart apples that she served with a roast. Traditionally, Rotkohl is a sweet and sour dish that uses up to a cup or more of white sugar. I prefer a more subtle dish. Therefore, I have changed Oma’s recipe using a sweet wine instead of sugar which gives it more sophisticated undertones.


Prep the Veggies and Apples:

Quarter, core, and thinly slice 1 head of red cabbage. Transfer to a large bowl and cover with water.


Peel, core, and shred 1 semi-tart Apple. I am using a Granny Smith. Place in the water with the cabbage. Let soak while preparing the rest of the meal. This keeps it crisp and from turning brown.

Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil over medium heat in a large skillet. When hot and shimmering add 1 medium thinly sliced yellow onion. Cook until caramelized and just beginning to brown, 5 – 8 minutes.

Prepare the Dressing:

Add 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar and cook, stirring, for three minutes. I like the lest tangy, more diluted flavors of white wine vinegar, but distilled vinegar can be used if you like a more intense flavor.

Drain the cabbage and apples well. Add to the onion mixture in skillet.

Add 1 cup of German sweet wine, like Riesling, 1/4 cup loosely packed dark brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon allspice, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste. Toss to coat thoroughly.


Cover the pot and cook over low heat for one hour. Stir occasionally, tasting, adding more salt, pepper, and vinegar as desired. It will start out with excess liquid but will reduce during the cooking process. Be sure liquid is cooked out before serving

Add some Meat to the Dish:

In the last 30 minutes, preheat a griddle over medium-high heat. Cook 5 – 6 German brats for 8 minutes, turning to brown all sides. Lower heat to medium and continue cooking brats until cooked through 12-15 minutes. Turn occasionally.


Save leftover cabbage for later this week.– Ella💙

German Rotkohl
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 10 mins
Course: Side Dish
Keyword: German Food, side dish
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Ella @
  • 1 medium head red cabbage, quartered, cored and cut in thin strips
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 semi-tart apple, peeled, cored and shredded
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup semi-sweet wine
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  1. Cover the cabbage with cold water, set aside.
  2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet, add the onion. Cook until caramelized and just beginning to brown, 7-10 minutes.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of the vinegar and cook, stirring, for three minutes.
  4. Drain the cabbage and add to the skillet. Add the apple, wine, brown sugar, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, 2 tablespoons vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste. Toss to coat thoroughly.

  5. Cover the pot, and cook over low heat for one hour, stirring occasionally.
  6. Taste adding more salt, pepper, vinegar, and/or wine to achieve the right balance for your taste.

Author: Ella

Just a girl who loves to cook farm-to-fork foods living the dream!

10 thoughts

    1. Oh you must try it. I love using Riesling in this dish. Not only does it reduce sugar but it adds an unique tang to the dish.

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