Christmas Red Cabbage

(Last Updated On: 2 December 2020)

What can I say about this Christmas Red Cabbage other than it’s literally the taste of the festive season in an ovenproof dish. Braised Red Cabbage is a hassle-free addition to your Christmas menu too – slice, dice and pop it in the oven. Dreamy.

I’m pretty sure this recipe started as this Delia Smith one, back when I was learning the ropes in the kitchen and left to “get on with the cabbage for Sunday, please chef”. Over the years it’s become more and more festive, and now – here it is in its final form ready to be shared as my own recipe with the world.

Deep purple red cabbage in oval oven proof dish, set against a dark worn wooden background. The image is dimly lit.

Extraordinary Christmas period

Christmas is looming, but it doesn’t really feel that way around here, at least not yet. Ordinarily, this is the busiest time of the year for me. I am the General Manager of a pub in the heart of London. We’re normally flat out from mid-November through until shutting the doors on Christmas Eve. Not this year, this year we’re keeping the doors closed.

The Christmas tree isn’t even up yet. That’s because, as has been a tradition my whole life, the Christmas tree doesn’t appear until after my birthday. That’s on the 6th of December. 32 this year, a year to forget. Having said that, it is the year I started the food blog I’ve wanted to create for a while, so we’ll take the little victories where we can, huh?

Pub Sunday Lunch

It might seem like a weird thing to say, but I’ve always found braised red cabbage to be somewhat divisive. It’s funny the things you learn working in hospitality. Every Sunday hundreds of people would descend to eat our awesome Sunday lunch, and literally, half the tickets in the kitchen would say “no red cabbage” and the other half would say “extra red cabbage”. I still, to this day, don’t know if the waiting staff were asking people specifically about the cabbage.

Working a Sunday lunch service as a chef is probably the most rewarding of all the shifts, it’s when you take anywhere from a 33 to 50 percent of your food sales for the entire week when you’re working in a pub. The Great British public love a roast down the pub, and who can blame them. I loved preparing Sunday in the kitchen, every element made with such love and care. Different people would pass comment on different elements of the plate. “What did you do to those carrots, they were incredible” through to “WOW, that gravy”, everything brings something different to the plate.

Ingredients for Christmas Red Cabbage
I really liked the moody lighting on this shot, not sure it’s particularly helpful for making out what each of the ingredients are though. Thankfully I’ve listed them out for you below.

Easy Christmas Red Cabbage Ingredients

For this Festive Red Cabbage you will need:

  • 1 medium red cabbage – approximately 700 grams, but a little bigger or smaller is fine.
  • 1 red onion – diced into medium-sized chunks. You can use a brown onion in its place if that’s all you have to hand.
  • Half a tablespoon of nutmeg – freshly grated in preferred, but you can use ground nutmeg
  • Half a tablespoon of ground cinnamon – you can’t make a Christmas recipe without cinnamon
  • A quarter of a teaspoon of ground cloves
  • A quarter of a teaspoon of ground allspice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar
  • 1 orange – you need the zest and juice
  • 100ml of red wine vinegar
  • Salt + Pepper – you need to be super generous with the seasoning to avoid this cabbage being not savoury enough
  • 100 grams of seedless raisins – these are optional, but I highly recommend using them

Cooking red cabbage

There’s really not much to tell you about this tasty red cabbage recipe to be honest.

Start by preheating your oven to 180 Celsius

Prepare the cabbage by carefully chopping in half, and then in half again. Quarters, chop the cabbage into quarters. Next, carefully remove the tough core from the bottom of the cabbage, do this by cutting into it on the diagonal. Once the tough core has gone, finely slice the cabbage and pop into an ovenproof dish.

Ingreidents for recipe in an oval dish ready for the oven
Pile it in, and stir it up.

That’s the hard part – done. In fact, we’re 50% there, to be honest. Next up you want you to peel and dice red onion, and toss that in, and then add the remaining ingredients. Finally, cover with tin foil, pop in the oven for 20 minutes. Once 20 minutes has passed, remove it from the oven, give a thorough stir, rewrap in tinfoil and bake for another 40 minutes. Easy.

What do you mean it “tastes like Christmas”?

I’ll give fair warning here, this red cabbage recipe is quite sweet, but that’s ok – it works, trust me. It especially works with gravy, oh my. DELISH.

During testing for this recipe, our whole apartment was filled with the festive fragrance of nutmeg, cinnamon and a hint a zesty orange, and well that’s how it tastes too. You get those warming spices upfront, followed by a tang from the red wine vinegar and then the sweetness. Next, a little burst of juiciness from the orange and it all mellows out into a savouriness, on the assumption you’ve been super liberal with your salt and pepper.

Bright white bowl full of deep purple cabbage, a large silver spoon is rested just inside the bowl

More Christmas Trimmings

We’re ramping up the preparations for Christmas now, be sure to check out these festive side dishes:

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That’s all for today – I hope you enjoyed giving your Christmas Day side dishes some thought today. There’s going to be plenty more where that came from over the coming days.

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Catch you soon!

Christmas Red Cabbage

What can I say about this cabbage? It tastes like Christmas and that's all there is to it.
Servings 6 people
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins


  • 700 g red cabbage
  • 1 medium red onion grated or finely diced
  • 1/2 tbsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tbsp ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground all spice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 orange juice & zest
  • 100 ml red wine vinegar
  • salt & pepper be really generous here
  • 100 g seedless raisins optional but HIGHLY recommended


  • Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees
  • Carefully shred the red cabbage, by chopping into quarters, and removing the tough stalk at the bottom. Add to an oven proof dish. Add all remaining ingredients and toss to combine. Season super generously with salt and pepper.
  • Cover tightly with tin foil and cook for 20 minutes.
  • Stir and return to oven for a further 40 minutes.
  • Serve immediately.
Calories: 127kcal
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Christmas Recipes, Roast
Keyword: Christmas, gluten free, One-pot Cooking, Sunday Lunch, vegan, Winter Warmer
In Season: August, December, November, October, September


Calories: 127kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 234mg | Potassium: 494mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 1351IU | Vitamin C: 80mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 2mg

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