German Style Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage

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German Style Sweet Sour Red Cabbage header shot

{The making of German Style Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage}


German Style Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage was served often during the winter in my childhood home. Mom, being German, made it pretty much the same way all the time, with minor variances.  Cabbage, bacon fat, apples, onions, red wine vinegar, sugar…you know, sweet and sour along with some savory elements.  Mom didn’t cook her cabbage to death either, leaving it with just a bit of textured crunchiness. It’s all good stuff.


Fat is Fat

Bacon fat.

Everyone use to keep their bacon fat.

In a small container, in the refrigerator.

Bacon fat could be used to flavor all kinds of dishes without actually having to buy and cook up bacon.  All the flavor, none of the work.  No one keeps bacon fat anymore.

Well, almost no one.  I do.  But then, I’m odd that way.

When I tell people I save bacon fat, chicken fat, and duck fat, they think I’m a crazy lady.  But seriously, fat is fat.  Calorie for calorie it’s all the same. 100 calories per tablespoon.  It’s just a matter of how much is saturated fat,  monounsaturated fat, and polyunsaturated fat.  Bacon fat obviously has more saturated fat than does olive oil, or another vegetable oil, but they obviously don’t have the same flavor as bacon fat.  So while I’m not advocating that you use bacon fat on a regular basis, sometimes, it’s a good “go to” fat.  And if you glance over at the nutritional information I’ve provided, you can see there is a total of 2g of fat in this dish.  In total.  So what the heck, you may as well add the bacon fat. If you don’t have a container in your refrigerator and you wanted the bacon flavor, you could fry up a few slices of bacon, remove it from the pan, and then just use the pan drippings to sauté the vegetables to add that depth of flavor…or you could use butter (also a saturated fat) or heck, go ahead and use that olive oil or coconut oil.  It just won’t have that smoky bacony goodness.

It will still be good. Honest. I’ve made my sweet and sour cabbage with and without.  I prefer with.  But it’s good without.

Without also keeps it vegetarian.

So let’s make some now…


A white bowl filled with delicious German Style Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage


 German Style Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage


  • 2 pounds (1 small head) red cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons bacon fat, or butter, or olive oil
  • 2 medium apples, cored and cut into a large dice (or slices)
  • 1 red onion, cut in half vertically then sliced vertically into thin slices (OK I'll admit you can cut the onion anyway you would like, but this just fits well with the cabbage. You could dice the onion or thinly slice on the horizontal - whatever floats your boat)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon allspice (or cloves if you don't have allspice)
  • 1 bay leaf, torn
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine, optional (if you don't want to use the wine, use water or some vegetable or chicken stock in its place)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


Step 1

Mix the cabbage, sugar, and vinegar together in a large bowl. Set aside.

In a large sauté pan with a lid, melt the bacon fat (or butter, or oil, or combination of all or any) until hot, add the apples and onions and sauté until just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the cabbage mixture along with the wine, spices and a large pinch of salt; cover; reduce heat to medium-low and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 20 minutes, taste and adjust vinegar and sugar levels if needed; then increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring often, until the liquid has mostly evaporated. (If you like your cabbage more well done, then cover and cook until it's done to your liking before you cook off the additional liquids). Taste and adjust for salt and pepper, remove the bay leaf pieces and serve.

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Recipe Comments

  1. posted by Jessica on January 15, 2014

    This looks like something I’d love to try! Thanks for sharing!

    • posted by LindySez on January 15, 2014

      Let me know how you like it if you do. Cheers ~ Lindy

  2. posted by Elle on January 15, 2014

    Yep, I can handle this Linda. Your recipes are so easy to follow!

  3. posted by Cher on January 15, 2014

    Wow, this looks so awesome! I’ve added it to my recipe list!

  4. posted by Tammy on January 15, 2014

    I’m sorry. Did someone mention vinegar?

    I’m so all over this.

    • posted by Vidya Sury on January 16, 2014

      Tammy, I store sliced jalapenos in vinegar and add it to practically every salad 😀 or fried rice!

  5. posted by Vidya Sury on January 16, 2014

    I am going to with the butter 🙂 What I love best about cabbage is its crunchy texture.


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Nutritional Info

This information is per serving.
  • Calories
  • Fat
    2g (1g Sat, 1g Mono, trace Poly)
  • Protein
  • Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Cholesterol
  • Sodium
  • Nutritional information is provided as a guideline and may not be 100% balls on accurate

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