Pickled Cabbage

Pickled red cabbage in jars.
Diana Rattray
  • Total: 12 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 2 mins
  • Pickling Time: 2 hrs
  • Servings: 8 servings

This quick pickled cabbage is a delicious condiment to have on hand since it goes with just about everything. Besides the fantastic tangy flavor, pickled red cabbage adds a pop of bright color to a plate. When the acidic vinegar brine comes into contact with the cabbage, it goes from deep purple to a beautiful shade of red. 

Toss some pickled cabbage with chopped cilantro and sliced green onions and serve it with chicken, meat, or fish tacos. It's also excellent on hot dogs and burgers, and makes a tasty topping for pulled pork sandwiches. Add quick pickles to a composed salad or take the pickled cabbage along to a potluck dinner or cookout.

Quick pickles are easy and convenient because they don't need to be processed and they're ready to eat in as little as 2 hours. For best flavor, refrigerate the pickled cabbage for 24 to 48 hours before serving. Because quick-pickled vegetables are not processed, they are not shelf-stable and must be stored in the refrigerator.

It's easy to alter the flavor profile in this recipe. If you prefer the flavor of caraway seeds or mustard seeds, feel free to use them instead of the coriander seeds. And if you like a sweeter brine, add another teaspoon or two of sugar (or a sugar replacement). You might also add different vegetables to the cabbage, such as sliced onions, shallots, or small cauliflower florets. Home-canned pickles require a vinegar with 5 percent acidity, but since quick pickles are refrigerated, a milder vinegar—such as rice vinegar or wine vinegar—may be used.


  • 1/2 head red cabbage
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic (sliced)
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds (or caraway seeds)
  • 12 black peppercorns
  • Optional: pinch red pepper flakes

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for quick pickled red cabbage.
    Diana Rattray
  2. Using a large sharp knife, a mandoline, or a food processor fitted with the slicing disc, slice the cabbage into thin shreds.

    Slice the red cabbage into shreds.
    Diana Rattray
  3. Put the water in a saucepan and bring it to a boil over high heat. Remove the pan from the heat and add the vinegar, salt, and sugar. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes, if using.

    Brine for quick pickled cabbage
    Diana Rattray
  4. Put the shredded red cabbage in a bowl and then pour the hot brine over it.

    Quick pickled cabbage in a bowl.
    Diana Rattray
  5. Divide the brined cabbage between two 1-pint jars, layering evenly with the garlic slices, coriander seeds, and peppercorns. Pour the hot brine over the cabbage mixture to cover. Place lids on the jars and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

    Pickled red cabbage in a canning jar.
    Diana Rattray

Recipe Variations

  • For a low-carb version of these quick pickles, prepare them with a sugar replacement, such as erythritol or stevia.
  • Make the pickled cabbage with green cabbage and add very thinly sliced carrots for color.