Braised Red Cabbage

A perfect savory and healthy side for Christmas Dinner. Low-cal, low-sugar and ready in minutes.

Braised Red Cabbage
Diet Info: DF GF F LF Na LS VG V Fa

This delicious sweet and sour Braised Red Cabbage is perfect side for Christmas Dinner. My modern take on this gorgeous savory side is without refined sugar, sweetened with apples, no butter, and is ready in Instant Pot in just 6 minutes. Vegan, gluten free and paleo.

Oh, and don't worry if you don't own an Instant Pot. I have also included instructions to cook this recipe in simple dutch oven/heavy bottom pan. (check in notes) 

Alright then. It's time to make some Braised Red Cabbage. For everyone who always wondered what to do with Red Cabbage except tossing in slaw.. This recipe is a MUST try! If you love cabbage in soups, you will fall-in-love with this braised savory cabbage. From gorgeous color to flavor, it made me feel like a holiday dinner cooking in kitchen.

Don't wait. Let's feast!

Braised Red Cabbage with Apples

Braised Red Cabbage is very humble recipe. You can say, flavor find itself in this. No much work involved. Just put ingredients in a pot and cook. At lease this is how I learned to make it. Every time I make some, we eat it on side with all meals.. Those juicy bits of cooked flavor-soaked apples.. (can you spot those in pictures?) are truly my favorite.

Vishal is not so veggie fan. And not huge fan of vinegar either. On top of that, I like to keep his sugar in-take on check. So I don't like to cook with lot's of sugar for him. Making a braised cabbage recipe which he will like and I like to serve was my challenge behind this recipe. 

So for my take on braised red cabbage, I did some Modern day adjustments.

1) First, I decided to go completely refined sugar free. This recipe uses Agave Syrup which I'm in LOVE with these days. Agave has low glycemic index and a little goes a long way. 
2) I added 2 peeled and diced apples to give it natural fruity sweetness without sugar. BTW, there is nothing modern about this one. Braising Red Cabbage with apples is as old as chicken and dumplings.
3) Also, I used Apple Cider vinegar instead of red wine which is not that sharp and gives cabbage hint of tang without making it too sour. It was at right point of sweet and sour for my family. We been enjoying it on side with every meal. (stays good in refrigerator for a week) 

4) I did not finish braised cabbage with butter/oil (traditional) as it was delicious as-is. If you prefer, top hot cooked cabbage with some butter just before serving for dinner. The aroma and looks of this savory braised cabbage with butter sure makes delicious impression on guests. 

Christmas Braised Red Cabbage with apples and agave

Shortcut on cooking red cabbage a.k.a Instant Red Cabbage:

Cooking red cabbage is very easy. It just need time until it reaches to the perfect tender cabbage with still some bite (not mushy). To make this process quick, I followed 10-minute cooking in my Instant Pot. 

Since I owned Instant Pot 2 years ago and it was life changing experience. I had pressure cooker before but after Instant Pot, I started using it more often than my stove pressure cooker.

One benefit of Instant Pot is quick cooking for lots of meats, grains, legumes and veggies which otherwise need long time to cook. Like my Instant Pot Pho. That broth needs 8+ hours of cooking. In instant pot, it is matter of 45 minutes. Amazing and so convenient. Isn't it? 

Other than long cooking time, braising (sear and cook in liquid) is one more thing that Instant Pot does beautifully. You can sear the meat/veggies in the pot on saute setting. Next, just add the liquid and let cooker do it's magic. Like this Braised Red Cabbage recipe needs 30 minutes of cooking. In IP, it needs 6 minutes. And the resulting cabbage is perfect tender. It has little bite which we desire from braised cabbage. Yet it is not mushy. 

Delicious Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage

Friends, this Braised Red Cabbage recipe is perfect to serve for Christmas dinner. Look at the colors. Isn't it scrumptious looking? So, next time you bring home some red cabbage, try this recipe. Perfect it before upcoming holiday dinner.

Wish you a wonderful day ahead.


Some scrumptious sides for Christmas dinner:

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Coconut Curry Sauce Apple Chutney Roasted Butternut Squash with Rosemary

Braised Red Cabbage

5 (1 review)
Braised Red Cabbage
Total Time: Prep Time: Cook Time: Cuisine: European () Difficulty: Easy
Yields: 6-8 Servings - Serves: 6
(No. of servings depends on serving size.)



  • 1. Slice cabbage thin. I usually use my mandolin to make this process super fast. Additional Notes: If in hurry, you can also use pre-shredded cabbage.
  • 2. Heat Instant Pot to saute setting. Coat the pan with oil spray. Add all ingredients with cabbage and chili flakes (I added 1/4 tsp, adjust to taste), salt and black pepper to taste and saute for 2 minutes or until cabbage has started to loose moisture.
  • 3. Add 1/2 cup water. Cover the pot and cook on high pressure for 6 minutes. On completion, let steam auto-release by leaving aside for 10 minutes or release steam by switching the steam vent.
  • 4. Transfer to serving pot. Serve and enjoy. Additional Notes: Optional - Add some butter (not vegan) or some olive oil on hot cabbage before serving.
Savita's Notes:

In Dutch Oven or Heavy Bottom Pot: To cook cabbage in dutch oven, or heavy bottom pot, heat oil in pot, add all ingredient and saute. Then, add 1/4 cup more water. Cover and cook for 25-30 minutes or until cabbage is tender to your liking. (Keep an eye in between if water appears drying out, add a few tablespoon more.) Serving suggestion same as main recipe.


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6 Responses

  1. Mmm yum! I love red cabbage :) I've only ever made it in my dutch oven but maybe I need an instant pot after all haha
    Our love for red cabbage is certainly mutual, Jenn! I prefer to choose dutch oven or instant pot per time I have to put dinner on table. Dutch oven totally fine for cooking red cabbage low and slow. However, Instant Pot will give same result in 10 minutes. Thank you so much for stopping by. Cheers!
  2. I just LOVE cabbage but have never made it like this! Will have to give this recipe a try.
    Sarah, thanks. You know, if you like cabbage, this recipe will make you very happy. The sweet and sour taste are simply amazing.
  3. What a lovely recipe, Savita! I love braised cabbage too, but especially the red cabbage because it turns such a beautiful vibrant colour. I look forward to trying it out!
    Gabby, thanks. Indeed, color of red cabbage is my favorite too. I hope you get chance to try it soon.