Quick Braised Red Cabbage

4.5 from 4 votes


By Ollie Cartwright

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Braising is my “go-to” way to cook red cabbage, especially if you want to serve it alongside your favourite roast dinner. The problem is…it takes FOREVER (and who has forever). Fortunately, I’ve come up with my Quick Braised Red Cabbage, so you can enjoy it whenever you want.

Quick Braised Red Cabbage

I know the die-hard chefs out there will tell me this isn’t a true braise – and they’re not wrong. This is more of a long saute. But it has the flavours of braised red cabbage, which often takes hours to prepare.

And for busy families, that’s exactly what we want. Simple. Delicious. Easy.

How to Make Quick Braised Red Cabbage

A detailed recipe with full quantities can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this page.

Step 1: Because you’ll be cooking the red cabbage reasonably quickly here, peel the tough outer leaves and then slice it up pretty finely so that it doesn’t take too long to soften.

Prepare Red Cabbage for Braising

Step 2: Next, cook the base of the braised cabbage by frying a red onion. I like to use a red onion here simply because its colour blends in with the red cabbage – a standard white onion will work just fine.

Cook Red Cabbage Base

Step 3: Add the cabbage to the onion and mix to combine before adding in brown sugar, vinegar and some water. Season and stir before sealing with a heavy lid.

Turn things down low and let it simmer for 25 minutes or so. Keep checking on the cabbage, as it must remain moist. If it’s looking a little dry, add a splash of water.

Add Cabbage and Cook

Step 4: The cabbage should be completely softened after 20 to 25 minutes. You can now serve it up as you would any braised cabbage.

Finish Braised Red Cabbage

Why Is My Braised Red Cabbage Watery?

This can occur if the cabbage releases more moisture than anticipated. Cooking uncovered for the last few minutes can help evaporate excess liquid.


I’ve kept this recipe fairly stripped back. The result will be plain, braised red cabbage. That does mean it’s perfect for tweaking and customising for your tastes:

  • Add Apple: Add thinly sliced apples (a tart variety works well) to the mix for a sweet touch. Their natural sweetness pairs wonderfully with red cabbage.
  • Make It Christmassy: Red cabbage is a must at Christmas for me. Make this a little more Christmassy by adding a pinch of cinnamon and a grating of nutmeg.
  • Include Bacon: Begin your saute with some chopped bacon or pancetta. The smokiness of bacon complements the red cabbage’s sweetness and the vinegar’s acidity.
  • Go Mediterranean: Add a pinch of fennel seeds and a splash of red wine to turn this classic British dish into something more Med-inspired. You could also include a pinch of chilli and some dried oregano.
Serve Red Cabbage Braised on a Bowl

Make Braised Red Cabbage in a Slow Cooker

Layer cabbage, apples, onions, and seasonings in a slow cooker. Drizzle with vinegar and cook on low for 5-6 hours or high for 2-3 hours. Stir occasionally, adjust seasoning, and serve once tender.


If you’re looking to batch-prepare this quick braised red cabbage or have made a little too much of the stuff, here’s what you need to do:

Refrigerate: After allowing the braised cabbage to cool to room temperature, transfer it to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days, ensuring the lid is tightly sealed to retain freshness.

Freeze: Once the cabbage has completely cooled, portion it into freezer-safe bags or containers. Expel as much air as possible before sealing. Label with the date and contents, then store flat in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Reheat: Once the cabbage has completely cooled, portion it into freezer-safe bags or containers. Expel as much air as possible before sealing. Label with the date and contents, then store flat in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Quick Braised Red Cabbage Recipe

4.5 from 4 votes
Course: SidesCuisine: BritishDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time


Total time



This is my freezer-friendly recipe for quick braised red cabbage

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  • 1 1 – Medium Red Cabbage

  • 2 tbsp 2 tbsp – Olive Oil or Butter

  • 1 1 – Red Onion, Thinly Sliced

  • 3 tbsp 3 tbsp – Balsamic or Red Wine Vinegar

  • 2 tbsp 2 tbsp – Sugar

  • – Salt

  • – Black Pepper


  • Preparation
    Begin by removing the outer leaves of the cabbage, cutting it into quarters, and then finely slicing or shredding.
  • Saute Onion
    Heat the olive oil or butter over medium heat in a large skillet or casserole. Add the sliced red onion and sauté until it’s translucent.
  • Add Cabbage
    Stir in the shredded red cabbage, ensuring it mixes well with the onion.
  • Season
    Sprinkle the brown sugar over the cabbage and pour in the vinegar and 50ml of water. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper, and stir.
  • Braise
    Cover the skillet or pot and reduce the heat to low. Let the cabbage simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Ensure the cabbage remains moist and add a splash of water if necessary.
  • Taste and Adjust
    After 15-20 minutes, the cabbage should be tender yet retain some bite. If needed, adjust the seasoning. Serve immediately.

Recipe Video

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