LC Sugar And Spice And Everything Nice Note

Though this spiced red cabbage recipe is welcome throughout fall and winter, not just at Christmas, it does seem apropos for the holiday seeing as it contains sugar and spice and everything nice. In fact, it has so much niceness in it, you may want to go a little easy on the sugar so the spice doesn’t get lost. Start with a little sugar, take a taste, and then, if you so please, add a smidgen more.

A white bowl filled with spiced red cabbage set on white linens with a spoon resting inside.

Spiced Red Cabbage

5 from 1 vote
This spiced red cabbage recipe, made with butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and apples, is a perfect side for roast turkey or pork roast.
David Leite
Servings6 servings
Calories197 kcal
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time50 minutes


  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 3/4 pounds red cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 pound (about 2 large) cooking apples, such as Gala, Fuji, or Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and sliced between 1/8 and 1/4 inch (3 and 6 mm) thick


  • Set a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat and add the butter. When the butter has melted and the foaming has subsided, add the cabbage and onion and stir well. Cover and cook until the cabbage has softened somewhat, 4 to 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the sliced cabbage.
  • Season the cabbage and onion with salt and pepper and stir in the spices. Add the vinegar and sugar and stir again. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Place the apple slices evenly over the cabbage, cover, and leave for 10 minutes.
  • Uncover the cabbage, gently stir, and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the cabbage and apples are tender and some liquid has accumulated in the pan.
  • Transfer the spiced red cabbage to a dish and serve with your loveliest slotted spoon.
Clodagh's Kitchen Diaries Cookbook

Adapted From

Clodagh’s Kitchen Diaries

Buy On Amazon


Serving: 1 portionCalories: 197 kcalCarbohydrates: 28 gProtein: 2 gFat: 10 gSaturated Fat: 6 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 2 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 25 mgSodium: 42 mgPotassium: 416 mgFiber: 5 gSugar: 20 gVitamin A: 1801 IUVitamin C: 79 mgCalcium: 83 mgIron: 1 mg

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

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2012 Clodagh McKenna. Photo © 2012 Kate Whitaker. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I was anticipating fall spice flavors, and I wasn’t disappointed. This spiced red cabbage recipe is a definite keeper and was easy to put together. The cabbage had collapsed after cooking but still had a nice texture and the apples were tender through and through. This added a lovely color to the fish dish that I served with it.

This recipe is a nice introduction to spiced red cabbage. I used 1/3 cup brown sugar, and while my tasters and I found it on the sweet side, I think this would be a nice accompaniment to roasted meat. I left the heat on low after laying in the Granny Smith apples, and after cooking and stirring the apples into the cabbage, the apples were soft but still intact. The cabbage was reduced by a little more than half the original volume and there was only about 1/2 cup liquid left in the pan. I’ll make this spiced red cabbage again, but I think in the future I’ll only use 1 thinly sliced apple and decrease the sugar to 1/4 cup to minimize the sweetness.

This spiced red cabbage recipe made an easy side dish that could complement any number of pork or beef dishes. I served it with some pulled pork one night and again later in the week with corned beef. The spices lent the cabbage a good flavor, but next time I would use less than 1/3 cup brown sugar and up the vinegar to achieve a less sweet and more sour flavor. To speed up prep time, I used already ground cloves (about 1/4 teaspoon) and the 4-mm slicing blade on my Cuisinart to shred the cabbage and onion together in the same bowl. While those were cooking, I used the 2-mm slicing blade to slice the apples. Slicing everything in the same Cuisinart also minimized clean up time and made preparation easy enough for me to consider this a weeknight dish. The cabbage was done in the times indicated. It was soft and tender but not mushy or overcooked. The apples were also very soft but not so much that they lost their shape.

The spicing in this spiced red cabbage recipe was spot-on. The apples add a lot—some sweetness, some texture. This would be an excellent addition to a winter holiday table. I think I might experiment with adding cranberries—fresh or dried—in the future. We served the spiced cabbage with beef, but it would also be fantastic with pork. I used 2 apples that totaled 1 pound. Since I had nothing to do with an excess Gala apple half, I used both apples and sliced them about 1/4 inch thick. This did not seem an excessive amount in the end, even though the red cabbage I found was large, and I ended up using closer to 1 1/2 than 1 3/4 pounds. After the first 10 minutes of everything cooking together, this was very pretty. After the last 15 minutes, the bright fuchsia color was gone, and the cabbage was darker, fairly soft, and surrounded by purplish liquid. The apples were quite soft at this point and had absorbed a fair amount of the pink-purple color from the liquid and cabbage.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

Hungry For More?

Green Bean Salad with Mint

This easy, make-ahead summer salad is proof that tomatoes and green beans are a match made in heaven.

1 hr 30 mins

Carrot Fries with Chipotle Sauce

Need to get your fry fix without breaking your diet? These carrot fries are easy to make, healthy-ish, and come with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce.

50 mins

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating