Delicious Baked Red Cabbage with Apple A Versatile Side Dish

Baked red cabbage with apple is a delightful and nutritious dish that perfectly blends the tartness of apples with the earthy flavors of cabbage. This recipe offers a unique twist on traditional cabbage dishes, incorporating fruit and a blend of spices to elevate the taste and aroma. Ideal as a starter, snack, or a side dish, this versatile recipe can serve multiple purposes on your dining table. It comfortably serves two as a side dish but can be adjusted for more servings if needed.

The inclusion of ingredients like shallots, apple juice, and a touch of honey adds a subtle sweetness that complements the natural bitterness of the cabbage. The dish is seasoned with black pepper, a cinnamon stick, and star anise, creating a warm and inviting flavor profile perfect for colder months. Pine nuts add a delightful crunch, though they are optional depending on your preference or dietary needs.

What makes this baked red cabbage with apple recipe stand out is its simplicity and the freedom it allows for customization. For instance, you can swap the shallots for a small red onion for a sharper taste, or replace the apple juice with medium or dry cider to bring in a different level of acidity and sweetness. Each variation not only tweaks the flavor but also allows the dish to adapt to different palates and occasions.

This dish is not only easy to prepare with a prep time of 15 minutes and a cooking time of about 1½ hours, but it is also suitable for freezing. This makes it a convenient option to prepare ahead for quick side dishes during busy weekdays or for impressing guests at a dinner party without last-minute preparation stress. Serve it hot or warm alongside baked potatoes for a light meal, or let it stand alone to accompany a main dish, proving its versatility in any meal plan.

DescriptionBaked red cabbage with apple blends tart apples with earthy cabbage, enhanced by spices and optional pine nuts for texture. It’s easy to prepare, freezable, and highly customizable.
Ideal forStarter, snack, or side dish. Serves two as a side dish but can be adjusted for more servings.
Unique IngredientsShallots, apple juice, honey, black pepper, cinnamon stick, star anise, optional pine nuts.
Flavor CustomizationSwap shallots with red onion for a sharper taste, or replace apple juice with cider for different acidity and sweetness levels.
Preparation Time15 minutes of preparation, 1½ hours of cooking.
Serving SuggestionServe hot or warm alongside baked potatoes, suitable as a stand-alone side or with other main dishes.


To create the savory and sweet baked red cabbage with apple, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Red Cabbage: 1 medium head, sliced into thin strips. This is the main ingredient that offers a hearty texture and vibrant color to the dish.
  • Apple: 2 medium-sized apples, preferably a tart variety like Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and sliced. Apples add a natural sweetness that complements the cabbage.
  • Shallots: 3 large shallots, peeled and finely sliced. For a sharper taste, you can substitute with one small red onion.
  • Apple Juice: 100 ml, to provide a fruity moisture to the dish. A medium or dry cider can be used as an alternative, adding a slightly alcoholic undertone.
  • Vinegar: 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to enhance the tartness and brightness of the dish.
  • Honey: 1 tablespoon to balance the acidity with sweetness.
  • Black Pepper: ½ teaspoon, freshly ground to add a bit of heat.
  • Cinnamon Stick: 1 whole, which infuses the dish with warm, spicy notes.
  • Star Anise: 1 whole, for a subtle hint of licorice flavor.
  • Pine Nuts: A handful (optional), toasted, to add crunch and nuttiness to the final dish.
Red Cabbage1 medium headSliced into thin strips; provides a hearty texture and vibrant color.
Apple2 medium-sizedPreferably a tart variety like Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and sliced; adds natural sweetness.
Shallots3 largePeeled and finely sliced; can substitute with one small red onion for a sharper taste.
Apple Juice100 mlProvides fruity moisture; can be replaced with a medium or dry cider for an alcoholic undertone.
Apple Cider Vinegar2 tablespoonsEnhances tartness and brightness of the dish.
Honey1 tablespoonOffsets acidity with sweetness.
Black Pepper½ teaspoonFreshly ground; adds a bit of heat.
Cinnamon Stick1 wholeInfuses the dish with warm, spicy notes.
Star Anise1 wholeAdds a subtle hint of licorice flavor.
Pine NutsA handful (optional)Toasted; adds crunch and nuttiness (can be omitted based on preference or dietary needs).

Preparation Steps

Preparation Time

Total Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 1½ hours

Oven Settings

Preheat your oven to 170°C (338°F) or 150°C (302°F) if using a fan oven, or gas mark 3. This temperature allows the cabbage and apples to cook slowly, becoming tender without burning.

Combining Ingredients

Begin by placing the sliced red cabbage, apples, and shallots into a large ovenproof casserole dish. This will form the base of your dish. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the apple juice, apple cider vinegar, and honey until well combined. Pour this mixture over the cabbage, apples, and shallots, ensuring everything is evenly coated. Sprinkle over the freshly ground black pepper, distributing it evenly throughout the dish.

Adding Spices

Tuck the cinnamon stick and star anise into the center of the cabbage mixture. These spices will slowly release their flavors during the cooking process, infusing the entire dish with aromatic warmth.


Cover the casserole dish with its lid or with aluminum foil to keep the moisture in and place it in the preheated oven. Bake for about 1½ hours. It’s important to stir the mixture once or twice during cooking to ensure that everything cooks evenly and the flavors meld beautifully. The long cooking time allows the ingredients to soften and the flavors to deepen.

Finishing Touches

Once the cooking time is up, remove the dish from the oven. Carefully remove the cinnamon stick and star anise and discard them as they have served their purpose. If using pine nuts, now is the time to sprinkle them over the hot cabbage. The residual heat from the dish will toast the pine nuts slightly, enhancing their flavor.

This baked red cabbage with apple is not only a delightful blend of sweet and savory flavors but also a versatile dish that can be adapted to various taste preferences with simple ingredient swaps. Serve it hot or warm, as a standalone side dish or paired with a light main like baked potatoes. Its ability to be frozen also makes it a convenient option for meal planning, ensuring you have a delicious and healthy side dish ready whenever you need it.

Total Prep Time15 minutes
Cooking Time1½ hours
Oven SettingsPreheat to 170°C (338°F) or 150°C (302°F) with a fan, or gas mark 3.
Combining IngredientsPlace sliced red cabbage, apples, and shallots in a casserole dish. Whisk apple juice, vinegar, and honey, pour over the vegetables, and sprinkle with black pepper.
Adding SpicesTuck a cinnamon stick and star anise into the center of the cabbage mixture for flavor infusion during baking.
BakingCover and bake in the preheated oven for 1½ hours, stirring occasionally to ensure even cooking and flavor distribution.
Finishing TouchesRemove from oven, discard cinnamon stick and star anise, and sprinkle toasted pine nuts if using.

Serving Suggestions

Baked red cabbage with apple is a delightful dish that can be served in a variety of ways to complement different meals. Whether you’re looking for a light meal or a flavorful side dish, this versatile recipe caters to all occasions.

As a Light Meal: For a simple yet satisfying light meal, serve the baked red cabbage and apple alongside baked potatoes. The soft, fluffy texture of baked potatoes pairs excellently with the rich, tangy flavors of the cabbage and apple. To make this pairing even more substantial, consider topping the baked potatoes with a sprinkle of cheese or a dollop of sour cream. This combination is perfect for a comforting winter dinner or a hearty lunch.

As a Side Dish: The dish also serves wonderfully as a side dish. It can accompany main courses such as roasted meats, especially pork or chicken, where the fruity and slightly acidic nature of the dish cuts through the richness of the meat. It’s equally at home next to a vegetarian entrée, such as grilled tofu or a savory tart, providing a colorful and appetizing contrast.

Temperature Recommendations: Baked red cabbage with apple is best served hot or warm. Serving it hot right out of the oven is perfect during colder months, as it provides a comforting warmth. Alternatively, serving it warm can enhance the flavors, allowing the spices and sweetness to meld together perfectly. If you choose to serve it as a cold dish, perhaps in a buffet setting, let it cool down in the refrigerator, then bring it to room temperature before serving to best enjoy its flavors.

Serving OptionDetails
As a Light MealServe alongside baked potatoes for a comforting meal. Enhance by topping potatoes with cheese or sour cream. Ideal for a winter dinner or a hearty lunch.
As a Side DishComplements roasted meats like pork or chicken, cutting through the richness with its fruity acidity. Also pairs well with vegetarian options like grilled tofu or savory tarts.
Temperature RecommendationsBest served hot or warm. Serving hot is comforting in colder months, while serving warm enhances the melding of spices and sweetness. Can be served cold, especially in a buffet setting, but should be brought to room temperature to maximize flavor enjoyment.

Cook’s Tips

Ingredient Substitutions: This recipe is quite flexible, allowing for various substitutions to cater to different tastes or dietary needs:

  • Shallots to Red Onion: If shallots are not available, a small red onion makes a great substitute. Red onions are sharper in taste but become sweet and mellow as they cook, which can add a different dimension to the dish.
  • Apple Juice to Cider: For a deeper, more autumnal flavor, replace the apple juice with the same amount of medium or dry cider. Cider will introduce a slight alcoholic note and a more complex flavor profile, enhancing the overall richness of the dish.

Freezing Tips: This dish is suitable for freezing, which makes it excellent for meal planning and preparation ahead of time. To freeze, allow the dish to cool completely after cooking. Transfer it to an airtight container or a heavy-duty freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to use, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat it in the oven covered at 170°C until heated through, which usually takes about 30 minutes. This ensures that the dish maintains its texture and flavors when served again.

Freezing not only extends the shelf life of the dish but also enhances its convenience, making it a ready-to-go side dish or light meal that can be prepared with minimal effort on busy days. Remember, when reheating, you may want to add a splash of water or apple juice to refresh the flavors and ensure it doesn’t dry out.

Incorporating these serving suggestions and cook’s tips will help you make the most out of this delicious baked red cabbage with apple recipe, whether you’re serving it fresh out of the oven or utilizing your freezer to extend its enjoyment. This dish is sure to become a beloved addition to your culinary repertoire, offering both versatility and delightful flavors.

Ingredient Substitutions
  • Shallots to Red Onion: Use a small red onion for a sharper taste that mellows upon cooking, adding a different dimension to the dish.
  • Apple Juice to Cider: Replace apple juice with an equal amount of medium or dry cider for a deeper, autumnal flavor and a slight alcoholic note.
Freezing TipsSuitable for freezing up to 3 months in an airtight container or freezer bag. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat in the oven at 170°C for about 30 minutes. Add a splash of water or apple juice when reheating to refresh flavors.
Serving SuggestionsVersatile enough to be served as a side or light meal. Enhance usability by preparing ahead and utilizing freezing, making it convenient for busy days.

The recipe for baked red cabbage with apple is not only a testament to the beauty of simple, wholesome ingredients coming together but also to the ease with which anyone can create a delicious, comforting dish. This dish stands out for its straightforward preparation and cooking process, which belies the complex flavors it delivers. From the earthy base of the red cabbage to the tart sweetness of the apples, enhanced by the aromatic blend of cinnamon and star anise, each ingredient plays a crucial role in crafting a harmonious final product.

One of the most appealing aspects of this recipe is its accessibility. With a preparation time of just 15 minutes and a total cooking time of about 1½ hours, it is an ideal choice for both beginners and experienced cooks looking for a dish that doesn’t require constant attention. Instead, it allows the oven to do most of the work, infusing the cabbage and apples with a rich blend of flavors, making it a practical option for a busy weeknight or a leisurely weekend meal.

Moreover, the versatility of this dish is one of its strongest points. It can be served in multiple ways—whether as a hearty accompaniment to a main course, as a light standalone meal with baked potatoes, or even as a unique addition to a holiday menu. The ability to tweak the recipe according to personal taste or based on what’s available in your pantry adds to its appeal. Whether swapping shallots for red onions for a sharper flavor, using cider in place of apple juice for a deeper autumnal vibe, or adding pine nuts for an extra crunch, each variation allows the cook to make the dish uniquely their own while maintaining its integrity and flavor profile.

The suitability of this dish for freezing further enhances its value, offering a way to prepare meals ahead of time and ensuring a quick, delicious side dish is always on hand. This practicality, coupled with the dish’s warming qualities and nutritional benefits, makes it an excellent choice for health-conscious individuals and families.

This baked red cabbage with apple recipe is more than just food; it’s a foray into the art of cooking with simplicity and seasonality. It encourages home cooks to experiment with flavors and ingredients, adapting the dish to fit any occasion or dietary preference. For those looking to expand their culinary horizons, this recipe provides a perfect starting point. It’s an invitation to play with spices, to learn the subtleties of slow cooking, and to appreciate the transformation of basic ingredients into a dish that is truly greater than the sum of its parts.

I encourage you to try making this baked red cabbage with apple at home. Enjoy the process of preparing it, savor the aromas as it cooks, and delight in the flavors upon tasting it. Share it with family and friends, or enjoy it as a personal treat. Don’t hesitate to make it your own by incorporating variations and personal touches. This recipe is not just a meal; it’s a culinary experience that beckons you to explore and enjoy the world of cooking. So, preheat your oven, gather your ingredients, and prepare for a delightful culinary adventure that promises ease, enjoyment, and absolute deliciousness.