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This easy Braised Red Cabbage recipe is the perfect seasonal make-ahead vegetable side dish, slow cooked with spices and apples to make the humble cabbage into something extra special.

A side dish full of braised red cabbage.

Would Christmas lunch be Christmas lunch without Braised Red Cabbage

It’s a sweet and sour tang that transforms the humble cabbage to something special, and one of my most favourite festive dishes. It’s just unmistakably Christmas, and it also looks colourful and pretty on the plate.

And the best thing? It can be made WELL in advance – can be frozen even – then just heated up again on the big day. Hurrah for minimising work for the main meal!  

Why you’ll love this Braised Red Cabbage recipe

⭐️ Ultra convenient make-ahead dish

⭐️ Delicious sweet and sticky tang

⭐️ Looks colourful and super festive

Braised red cabbage in a dish sprinkled with pomegranate seeds and parsley.

About this recipe

This is another dish where your trusty slow cooker comes into its own, or you can make it in the oven.

With your Christmas prep head on, this one is a gem for getting organised before the big day because you make it up to 1 MONTH in advance, and then simply store it in the freezer (notes on reheating are below).

Your future Christmas Day self will love you for it!

Ingredients for Braised Red Cabbage laid out on a counter.

Braised Red Cabbage Ingredients

  • Red cabbage
  • Red onions
  • Cooking apples
  • Dark brown sugar
  • Mixed spice
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Unsalted butter
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pomegranate seeds

How to make Braised Red Cabbage

How to make braised red cabbage. Step 1.
  1. Put all of the ingredients (apart from the cranberry sauce and garnish) into a slow cooker or heavy lidded saucepan, then mix well.
How to make braised red cabbage. Step 2.

2. Cook according to the recipe below. When tender, stir through the cranberry sauce and season. Serve sprinkled with the pomegranate seeds.


When cold, you can either: 

  1. Keep it covered in the fridge for up to 2 days OR
  2. Freeze it for up to 1 month.


  • Complete the recipe (but don’t add the pomegranate seeds until just before you serve).
  • Pack into a sealed freezer-proof container. 
  • When you’re ready to serve, defrost fully in the fridge overnight.


You can then either reheat:

In the slow cooker on HIGH for 1-2 hours (try not to overcook, but do check it’s hot through).

In the microwave, covered, for 3-5minutes or until hot through (this timing will depend on the portion you are reheating and also your own microwave).

My preferred option:

On the hob. Pop into a lidded saucepan over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes until hot through. Stir regularly and if the cabbage is drying out at all add a splash of water.

Top tips


It’s really important to add some red wine vinegar when cooking red cabbage as it’s what keeps the gorgeous red colour.


A mandoline is really useful for making this dish or any type of coleslaw. I use this adjustable mandoline slicer.


Help! I forgot to defrost the cabbage!

It’s OK, you CAN carefully defrost this from frozen, but it takes a little more work to reheat, which you might not want to do on Christmas Day.

You can either pop it into the slow cooker for about 1 hour on HIGH or 2 hours on LOW. 

You can do it in the oven in a lidded casserole dish, on 180C for 20 minutes or so.

On the hob, gently heat in a lidded saucepan for about 10 – 15 minutes (it might need a little water).

You can also do it in the microwave for approximately 10 minutes.

Stir occasionally for each method and make sure the cabbage is heated all the way through before serving.

Let me know how you got on and what you thought of these recipes. Please rate the recipe using the ⭐️ below.

Also I’d LOVE to see your cooking creations. If you’d like to share yours with me, you can tag me on Instagram (@tamingtwins).

5 from 53 votes

Braised Red Cabbage {with Apple}

Braised red cabbage is the perfect make-ahead vegetable side dish. Slow cooked with spices and apple, it's a colourful and delicious addition for a big festive feast.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 8 People


  • 1 Red cabbage, Shredded
  • 2 Red onions, Chopped
  • 3 Cooking apples, Peeled, cored and chopped
  • 75 g Dark brown sugar
  • 3 tsp Mixed spice
  • 1 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 75 g Unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp Red wine vinegar
  • 100 g Cranberry sauce, Optional
  • Salt and pepper

To serve

  • 80 g Pomegranate seeds, I buy a small preprepared pack


For the slow cooker:

  • Put all ingredients apart from the cranberry sauce into the slow cooker and mix well.
  • Cook it on HIGH for 2-3 hours or LOW for 4-5 hours. Check occasionally to make sure that the red cabbage doesn't over cook.

To oven cook:

  • Preheat the oven to 140C.
  • Put all ingredients apart from the cranberry sauce into a heavy, lidded saucepan and mix well.
  • Put the pan, with lid on into the oven and bake for 1.5-2 hours until the cabbage is tender.

To serve:

  • When cooked, stir through the cranberry sauce and season with salt and pepper.


Vinegar: It’s really important to add some red wine vinegar when cooking red cabbage as it’s what keeps the gorgeous red colour.
Slicing: A mandoline is really useful for making this dish or any type of coleslaw. I use this adjustable mandoline slicer.
If freezing: Add your cranberry sauce before freezing.


Calories: 206kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 2gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 35mgPotassium: 394mgFiber: 5gSugar: 25gVitamin A: 1450IUVitamin C: 65mgCalcium: 76mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Family Food
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5 from 53 votes (48 ratings without comment)

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  1. 5 stars
    This is our go to at Christmas but now we make extra and stick it in the freezer. What a treat on a rainy Tuesday in March!

  2. 5 stars
    I was looking for the perfect red cabbage recipe and I found it in your Christmas menu. I absolutely love it, in fact I was almost drooling while it was cooking in the slow cooker. I have made a big batch so I have enough ready now for todays lunch ( i had to check out the recipe before the big day lol) Christmas and New Year, but honestly I think this will be perfect all year around.

  3. Made on the stovetop. Sautéed onions, spices, apples, sugar in (less) oil. Sweated cabbage with vinegar in a fry pan. Combined in Dutch oven with cranberry sauce and let it cook down. Faster than the other methods. It was a hit.

  4. This is absolutely delicious. We had this last night and my family enjoyed it. Adding pecans was brilliant. It gave extra texture. Thank you so much for sharing. Can’t wait to prepare this again.