Make Ahead

Grandma Netta's Red Cabbage

November 17, 2010
4.3 Stars
Photo by Rocky Luten
Author Notes

My maternal step-grandmother was actually Italian but married my German/Swedish grandfather, whom she met while working in a German restaurant. She had to learn to cook good German and Swedish meals because that was all my grandfather would eat. When I stayed over, she always made me Italian food and him, calves liver and onions.....oh yuck! (Hey, I was 10 at the time.) The 2 things I wish I had begged her to show me how to make were her wonderfully light potato dumplings (which I can still taste today) and her great sauerbraten. I did manage to squirrel away the red cabbage recipe from my Uncle, who still makes it every fall holiday meal. I know there are no onion or apples in this recipe. It is just a simple, light sweet-sour sauced cabbage dish. Here's to you, Grandma Annette, and to whoever gets the bay leaf.....the dishes are all yours. —Stockout

Test Kitchen Notes

This delicious red cabbage was so simple to prepare—just dump the ingredients in a large pot, cover, and simmer for an hour. The glazing that occurs during the next uncovered phase (about 1/2 hour) not only concentrates the delicate sweet-and-sour flavor, but also creates a nice shine, which prevents the tender cabbage from looking dull on your plate. I didn’t miss the typical additions of apple and onion at all, as there was just the right amount of sweetness from the brown sugar. It’s a set-it-and-forget-it dish, which makes it an ideal holiday side. —The Editors

  • Serves 6 to 8
  • 1 large head red cabbage (about 2 pounds)
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter (4 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock (or chicken)
  • 1/2 cup good stout beer
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt & pepper to taste
In This Recipe
  1. Quarter, core, and chop cabbage into 1/4-inch slices. Place all ingredients into a large 5-quart stockpot and simmer, covered, for 1 hour.
  2. After 1 hour, uncover, and simmer until liquid is almost all gone and the cabbage is glazed.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • AntoniaJames
  • Fran McGinty
    Fran McGinty
  • bd20009
  • Mr. T
    Mr. T
  • Homebaked

18 Reviews

aa December 18, 2021
Delicious! Used 12 ounces Michelob Amber beer +4 ounces of water for the liquid. No other changes. The red cabbage was from our garden. The color was gorgeous.
Amy O. December 25, 2019
I made this to go along with my Mom's Swedish meatballs. It has great flavor and is super easy. I only wish it would retain the beautiful red color after cooking.
judy February 7, 2019
This is delish. I cannot eat brown sugar any longer, nor cooked sugars. So I cooked this down and then added about 3 Tbsp of sugar at the end which melted in beautifully. Really nice. Less than half the recipe and really well re civet from my hubby.
AntoniaJames December 18, 2017
This one's a keeper. I used Stockyard Oatmeal Stout and stuck to the brief to the letter, though I braised it a bit longer than suggested. I used vegetable stock from River Cottage vegetable bouillon (recipe on this site). Easy, gorgeous, tastes great, can be made ahead . . . . what more can you ask of a holiday side? ;o)
KR December 10, 2017
Made this & it was DELISH: My variation was no beer or broth, only about 1 c of water. Even though I forgot the butter & added it at the end, it was fab! Thx for the recipe! It's much like the one my mom made, although she made a slurry w the vinegar, sugar & cornstarch ....this version is much easier.
rachelib January 22, 2013
eating this out of the pot as is simmers done. Delicious made almost as directed (no beer)
Tarragon September 4, 2012
This is a wonderful recipe. For a weeknight I reduced the initial 1 hour to 8 minutes by using a pressure cooker. I also omitted the beer and just increased the vegetable stock. Will definitely make again - I like bd20009's idea of the balsamic vinegar to make up for the beer, but it really isn't necessary.
Fran M. April 22, 2011
I wanted to make a cabbage dish tonight I saw this and I am thinking about making it. The question i have is I don't like the taste of beer. I was wondering if in the final dish you can taste the stout?
bd20009 April 22, 2011
I couldn't taste it. It simmers for so long, the alcohol must cook out, and the stout gives it a depth of flavor. But not beer flavor :)
bd20009 January 2, 2011
I am really happy with the results! Used brown ale (all I had on hand) and substituted beef stock for the vegetable stock. I added a splash of good balsamic vinegar to make up for the brown ale substitution. Really tasty!
Author Comment
Stockout January 2, 2011
Thank you, bd. I just made a batch myself this weekend to eat with sagegreen's winning latkes and a roasted miso chicken, also from here, which I am making tomorrow. Happy New Year to you!
Author Comment
Stockout November 19, 2010
You could make this up to a week in advance. The vinegar and sugar help to preserve the cabbage and don't tell anyone but I once found a leftover container of this in my fridge that had to be 2 months old and it not only looked ok, it did not smell (yes, I know....cabbage??).
Mr. T. November 19, 2010
Can this be made in advance for T-Day and if so, how many days beforehand? Thank you! I'm really looking forward to making -- and eating -- this! ;o)
AntoniaJames November 19, 2010
Ooops. That was me. I was on Mr. T's computer and didn't realized he hadn't logged out . . . .;o)
Author Comment
Stockout November 17, 2010
I wish I had said that a well as you have. I just assumed Netta added the stout to calm Grandpa
AntoniaJames November 17, 2010
Too funny!! I'm really looking forward to trying this recipe. And I'll be thinking about Netta, and your Grandpa, when I do!! (And also thinking about how my mother served herself liver and onions, happily, while we ate something else, and our reactions to the liver was, always, "Oh, yuck!" I have so been there.) ;o)
Homebaked November 25, 2017
I never minded eating the liver and onions, it was my sister who gagged on it. ;) Love my mom's red cabbage, might have to try this version, it sounds great.
AntoniaJames November 17, 2010
My mouth is watering, just reading this. So, so delicious sounding. Really like the addition of the stout . . . just a touch of bitterness to balance the sweetness of the cabbage and sugar. Love it!! ;o)