Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year! Yes, we agree, but there are moments in the kitchen, just before Christmas Dinner is due to be served that may not feel that magical! If you are stressed about your Christmas side dishes, short on oven space, or just don’t have time to cook another dish, entrust your slow cooker to do the job for you! Our Slow Cooker Braised Red Cabbage recipe is an easy, yet extremely flavoursome traditional Christmas side dish that only requires minutes of your time!
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Why You Will Love This Delicious Recipe
If you’re looking for a special occasion dish that is easy to make and full of flavor, then this slow cooker red cabbage recipe is perfect for you. With just a few ingredients that can be easily found at your local grocery store, you can create a dish that your whole family will enjoy.
Not only is this recipe a perfect festive side dish, but it is also a great way to add some much-needed Vitamin C to your diet. The long cooking time of the slow cooker allows the flavors to meld together and intensify, creating a depth of flavor that is sure to impress.
This recipe is also a perfect vegetable side dish for those who are short on time but still want to serve something delicious and nutritious. With the slow cooker doing most of the work, you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying your special occasion with your loved ones.
All you need is a sharp knife and a slow cooker, also known as a crock pot. To cook a small head of red cabbage (up to 1kg) you will need a slow cooker that is at least a 3.5 L capacity. We used Morphy Richards 3.5 L slow cooker. And also a mixture of Global and Victorinox knives to slice, cut and shred!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- red cabbage: also known as purple cabbage. A small to medium cabbage will serve approx 8 people. We used a small cabbage weighing approximately 800g after we took the core out and took off the tough outer leaves.
- red onions: 1 large or 2 small ones. You may substitute with yellow onion, white onions or even shallots.
- ginger: if you don’t like ginger, skip it. Otherwise, it adds a wonderful warmth to the braised red cabbage.
- apples: we prefer a tart variety of apples here, like cooking apples, Braeburn or Granny Smith. The sour flavor of tart apple is brilliant with spiced red cabbage.
- dried cranberries: use unsweetened cranberries for best results.
- light brown sugar: can be substituted with other types of sugar, but brown sugar works best, adding molasses flavours to the finished braised cabbage dish.
- allspice: a wonderful warming spice. If you don’t have any in your spice cupboard, substitute with a pinch of nutmeg, ground cloves and a pinch of ground coriander.
- cinnamon: We use ground cinnamon. But you may use a cinnamon stick instead (the flavour of cinnamon in will be more subtle though).
- balsamic vinegar.
- butter: salted or unsalted. Substitute with vegan butter for an all-plant-based option.
Arrange a quarter of the shredded cabbage at the bottom of your slow cooker. Place a quarter of sliced apples and red onion on top. Scatter some cranberries and chopped ginger root. Sprinkle with allspice, cinnamon and brown sugar. Then add another layer of cabbage and continue in the same sequence until you completed four repetitions.
Pour the balsamic vinegar over the cabbage and add a few knobs of butter on top. Cover with the lid and cook on medium for 4-5 hours, or low heat for 3.5-4 hours (the cooking time will highly depend on the slow cooker you’re using, as temperatures seem to vary quite a bit). Long cooking time ensures the cabbage softens and infuses with the flavours of spices and vinegar.
Once the cabbage is soft, taste and season. Serve immediately, and store leftovers in the fridge or freezer (more on that, in the text below).
Absolutely! That’s the beauty of slow cooker cabbage! You can make this easy recipe a couple of days in advance and then store it in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat the red cabbage with cranberries in a large pan with a little splash of water or even in a microwave.
Red Cabbage will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 days. However, if you aren’t planning to eat it quickly, freeze the leftover red cabbage in zip lock bags, or containers – this way, it will keep up for up to 3 months. Simply defrost, reheat and serve as a delicious side dish.
What To Serve Slow Cooker Red Cabbage With?
Roast dinner simply wouldn’t be the same without some braised red cabbage on the side. Especially, on Christmas day. We absolutely love it with lamb roast or vegetarian nut roast. But it also goes well with roast poultry and all the trimmings, including Sourdough Stuffing, Brussels Sprouts and Red Wine Gravy over the holiday season.
However, don’t think this slow cooker red cabbage recipe is for the winter months only. Red cabbage also makes a perfect side dish for pork chops and lamb cutlets that you can enjoy any time of year!
Other Delicious Christmas Dinner Side Dishes
Are you that person who is more excited about side dishes than the centrepiece at the Christmas table? Welcome to the club! Have a peek at our Best Christmas Potato Side Dishes. And make sure to try some of our favourite side dishes below:
- Garlicky Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Reduction
- Honey Roasted Carrots And Parsnips (Easy & Delicious Recipe)
- Hasselback Potatoes | Alternative to Traditional Roast Potatoes
- Orange Glazed Carrots in a Pan
- Balsamic-Glazed Red Cabbage Steaks | A Perfect Christmas Dinner Side
Braised Red Cabbage (Slow Cooker Method)
- Slow Cooker at least 3.5L capacity
- 1 small red cabbage approx 800g, shredded
- 2 small red onions finely sliced
- 20 g ginger peeled and finely chopped
- 1 apple cored, peeled and sliced
- 70 g dried cranberries
- 50 g light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 100 ml balsamic vinegar
- 25 g butter
- Arrange a quarter of the shredded cabbage at the bottom of your slow cooker. Place a quarter of your apples and red onion on top. Scatter some cranerries and ginger. Sprinkle with allspice, cinnamon and brown sugar. Add another layer of cabbage and continue in the same sequence until you completed four repetitions.
- Pour the balsamic vinegar over the cabbage and add a few knobs of butter on top. Cover with the lid and cook on medium for 4-5 hours, or low for 3.5-4 hours (the cooking time will highly depend on the slow cooker you're using, as temperatures seem to vary quite a bit).
- Once the cabbage is soft, taste and season. Serve immediately, store in the fridge or freezer (more on that, in the text above).