Red Cabbage with Apples and Onions

Red Cabbage with Apples and Onions is a sweet/savoury variation of red cabbage.

There are as many red cabbage variations as there are German cooks I think.   Did you know you can also add a dab of sour cream to any red cabbage serving and it makes a new creamy version that is delicious too!

Head of red cabbage cut in half

This recipe came from my husband’s cousin based on his mother’s recipe.  I didn’t use to put apples in because I was afraid it would be too sweet but I am converted now.

Here is my other Slow Cooker Red Cabbage recipe that doesn’t use apples. They are both good!

In fact they are so good that here is the note my Great Niece made for me when I took red cabbage to a holiday dinner at her house!  Talk about fridge art!

Child hand written note that says Ant Carolyn, I don't like your cooking - I love your cooking, red cabbage drawn below

3 Cooking Methods

I have listed in the instructions a slow cooker, fix and forget it version, a stove top version and an oven version.

Slow cooker with red cabbage, apples, broth and bay leaves

I even give you a real cheat.  If you can find red cabbage in your grocery store it will get rave reviews as well.  I use Kuhn usually but any brand is okay.

jar of Kuhne red cabbage

Close up of red cabbage on a plate

Red Cabbage with Apples and Onions

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Course: Sides
Cuisine: German
Prep Time: 25 mins
Cook Time: 4 hrs
Total Time: 4 hrs 25 mins
Servings: 10 servings


  • 8 cups red cabbage
  • 3 apples
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 Tbsps apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsps sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves


  • Shred cabbage with a mandolin about the same as you would use for cole slaw. If using a food processor use a larger grate plate and pulse carefully so you don't make it too fine.
  • Peel and rough chop onions and apples. Saute with the vegetable oil in a large pan for about 7 minutes.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and stir well to mix evenly.
  • Slow Cooker Method: Transfer to slow cooker and cook 4 hours on high or 7-8 hours on low. Remove bay leaves before serving. Stove Top Method: Saute onions and apples in large dutch oven or stock pot. Mix in remaining ingredients, cover and cook over medium low heat for about 60 minutes. Stir often and check that it doesn't dry out. Add a bit of water if necessary. Oven method: Transfer all ingredients to a large covered dutch oven. Cook at 350 for about 1 hour until cabbage has wilted and is soft.


Variation 1:  If your cabbage has a lot of cooking liquid at the end thicken it with 2 Tbsps of corn starch dissolved with just enough water or lemon juice to make a thin paste. Stir into slow cooker during last hour of cooking.
Variation 2:  About an hour before serving stir in 1/2 cup or so of sour cream for a creamy red cabbage. Adjust for salt to taste.
Hint:  You can also buy jarred red cabbage. Kuhne is a good brand.  Drain 2 -24 oz jars and heat gently in the slow cooker on low.  (This may only take about 4 hours since it is already cooked).  Alternately you can heat covered in a 350 degree oven for about 1 hour. I don't add anything to the jarred cabbage and it gets rave reviews from many of my guests!

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