German Red Cabbage (Rotkohl)

red cabbage
Gloria Cabada-Leman/Flickr
Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 3 hrs
Total: 3 hrs 25 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
215 Calories
7g Fat
27g Carbs
9g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 215
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 8%
Saturated Fat 2g 11%
Cholesterol 18mg 6%
Sodium 345mg 15%
Total Carbohydrate 27g 10%
Dietary Fiber 6g 20%
Total Sugars 17g
Protein 9g
Vitamin C 67mg 336%
Calcium 80mg 6%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 648mg 14%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Here is one recipe for German Red Cabbage (Rotkohl) that we make quite often. It is a traditional accompaniment for roast goose or bratwurst and potato purée. This is not made with any flour, so it's wheat free.

The red cabbage is cooked (as opposed to a raw red cabbage slaw) and benefits from the flavors of red wine, apple juice, a hint of sugar and cloves. The aroma, while it cooks, is beguiling.


  • 2 1/2 ounces bacon, either American or German Bauchspeck, chopped

  • 1/2 cup diced onion

  • 4 cups shredded red cabbage (about 1 pound)

  • 1/2 cup dry red wine

  • 1/2 cup apple juice

  • 1 tablespoon sugar, agave nectar, or honey

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 4 whole cloves

  • Dash freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and quartered

Steps to Make It

  1. Brown 2 1/2 ounces bacon in a Dutch oven. Add 1/2 cup diced onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add 4 cups shredded red cabbage and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

  2. Pour in 1/2 cup red wine and 1/2 cup apple juice to deglaze, add the 1 tablespoon sugar or agave nectar or honey, 1 whole bay leaf, 4 whole cloves, ground black pepper to taste and 1 peeled, cored and quartered apple.

  3. Simmer on stove top for 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Keep the liquids one finger width (1/2 inch) deep, adding apple juice or water. Adjust seasonings. Serve hot.

Raw Cabbage vs. Cooked Cabbage

Germans love their cabbage. There are so many varieties and so many ways to use them. Raw cabbage exists in coleslaws (believed to have originated with the Dutch where it is known as koolsla) and cooked cabbage pops up everywhere as a side to pork, beef, and poultry.

Even though cabbage is easy to cook, albeit a little time-consuming (but the pot needs little watching), it is sold as a convenience food in jars throughout Germany and through import stores in the U.S.