Quick Pickled Cabbage

5 from 13 votes
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Let your fridge do the hard work with my quick pickled cabbage recipe. With a few minutes of effort, you’ll have your very own pickled red cabbage.

Homemade pickled red cabbage in a jar

Big flavor, small effort – isn’t that the dream combination when it comes to cooking? And for me, the icing on the cake (or the vinegar in the cabbage?) are easy recipes with red cabbage that I can make quickly but deliver great results on taste.

This purple pickled cabbage recipe is quick to make (no canning cabbage involved) and can be enjoyed after 24 hours of pickling. Plus its vibrant colors are perfect for adding flavor and aesthetic appeal to all of your dishes.

Pickled red cabbage is also surprisingly good for you. Make pickled cabbage and you’ll get an influx of Vitamin C, B, and A and antioxidants. Pickled cabbage also has high levels of fiber and has been shown to support healthy bones, heart health, and gut health.

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Pickled Cabbage Vs Sauerkraut

Though both use a base of cabbage, quick pickled cabbage and sauerkraut have a few key differences. Sauerkraut is made using fermentation and therefore has a higher level of natural probiotics. It’s also usually served warm and has a softer, more tender texture and a slightly sour flavor.

A pickled red cabbage recipe uses the pickling process. It is usually served cold and has a crisp texture and a vinegary flavor. Plus, it has a shorter time spent preserving. My red pickles take just 24 hours, whereas sauerkraut might take up to a month.

Pickled Cabbage Ingredients

With these simple ingredients and with under 30 minutes of hands-on time you can the best pickled cabbage.

  • Red cabbage: aka purple cabbage. You can use green or savoy cabbage if there’s no red at the grocery store. But for color and nutritional benefit, I’d always go with red.
  • Pickling salt: Pickling salt is best. Alternatively, any iodine-free salt will work – like kosher salt or sea salt, though the quantities might need adjusting. 
  • Sugar: I use golden or white, though you can use brown or cane.
  • White vinegar: You can also use apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar (this will add even more color to your red cabbage jar).
  • Water: Use fresh filtered or drinking water.
  • Spices: I like peppercorns (I love pink but you can use black peppercorns), allspice, mustard seeds, cloves, and cinnamon sticks. But you can use any spices you like (garlic, bay leaves, etc).

You’ll also need one large glass jar (of 1 quart).

Ingredients for pickled red cabbage

How to Cut Red Cabbage for Pickling

To start your quick pickled cabbage, you’ll want to prep your vegetable – it needs to be thinly sliced.

Remove the outer leaves and core. Slice the cabbage into four and remove the center. Then shred using a mandolin or a sharp knife. You can see the pictures below for a visual guide on cutting cabbage. 

Steps for coring and shredding red cabbage

How to Pickle Red Cabbage

Layer the cabbage and pickling salt in a large glass or stainless-steel bowl. Cover them and place them in the fridge for up to 24 hours. The salt allows the cabbage to release water which will keep the cabbage crispy.

Once done salting, rinse the cabbage well, then drain thoroughly. You can lay it over a kitchen towel (careful, it will stain pink) or paper towels for some time to absorb all the moisture.

Steps for salting and rinsing red cabbage

As your cabbage is drying, the pickling process begins by sterilizing your jar and utensils. Wash them well with soapy water, then sterilize them in boiling water for 10 minutes. You can also let them dry in the oven (with no rubber/plastic or other non-heat-proof elements) for about 10-12 minutes at 325ºF/160ºC or until dry.

In a large, stainless-steel saucepan, add the vinegar, sugar, water, and spices. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and occasionally stir to help dissolve the sugar. Reduce heat and let it boil gently for 5 minutes. This will allow the spices to infuse the liquid.

Steps for preparing brine for pickling cabbage

Sieve the liquid to remove the spices.

Pack the shredded cabbage tightly in your mason jar – but leave room for the pickling liquid. Pour over the hot liquid. Make sure to leave ½ inch (1cm) headspace.

Tap the jar to remove any air bubbles. Add a bit more liquid if needed – the cabbage needs to be covered. Wipe the rim then close the jar tightly.

Preparing cabbage for pickling

Leave on the countertop for 2-6 hours to cool down to room temperature. Shake occasionally. After that, place it in the fridge. Let it pickle for 24 hours before enjoying it.

How Long Does Pickled Red Cabbage Last

Once pickled, this pickled cabbage recipe will last in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

What to Do with Pickled Red Cabbage

You can enjoy this easy pickled cabbage as a side dish or as a condiment for your favorite dishes. This cabbage adds so much flavor.

A forkful of pickled red cabbage

FAQs

Can I use green cabbage instead?

Yes, but the color will be different. The spices used may also need adjusting to better complement it. 

Why is my pickled red cabbage soft?

Not enough salt. Too little salt causes soft pickled cabbage.

Is sauerkraut pickled cabbage?

No, sauerkraut is finely cut raw cabbage that has been fermented by various lactic acid bacteria.

More Easy Pickles

If you try this how to pickle cabbage recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

Quick Pickled Cabbage

5 from 13 votes
By: Samira
Let your fridge do the hard work with my quick pickled cabbage recipe. With a few minutes of effort, you'll have your very own pickled red cabbage.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 2 days 25 minutes
Servings: 6

Equipment

  • 1 Large jar of about 1 quart
  • Mandoline optional

Ingredients 
 

  • 26 oz red cabbage 1 small head
  • 0.7 oz pickling salt 2 Tbsp
  • 0.98 oz sugar 2 Tbsp
  • 1 cup white vinegar or apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp peppercorn black or red/pink
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 0.14 oz cinnamon stick 1 medium stick
  • 1/2 tsp cloves 7-8

Instructions 

  • Remove the outer leaves and core. Slice the cabbage into four and remove the center. Then shred using a mandolin or a sharp knife. (Refer to the photos on the blog.)
  • Layer the cabbage and pickling salt in a large glass or stainless-steel bowl. Cover them and place them in the fridge for up to 24 hours. 
  • Once done salting, rinse the cabbage well, then drain thoroughly. You can lay it over a kitchen towel (careful, it will stain pink) or paper towels for some time to absorb all the moisture.
  • While the cabbage is drying, sterilize your jar and utensils. Wash them well with soapy water, then sterilize them in boiling water for 10 minutes. You can also let them dry in the oven (with no rubber/plastic or other non-heat-proof elements) for about 10-12 minutes at 325ºF/160ºC or until dry.
  • Prepare the pickling liquid. In a large, stainless-steel saucepan, add the vinegar, sugar, water, and spices. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and occasionally stir to help dissolve the sugar. Reduce heat and let it boil gently for 5 minutes.
    Then sieve the liquid to remove the spices.
  • Pack the shredded cabbage tightly in your jar – but leave room for the pickling liquid. Pour over the hot liquid. Make sure to leave ½ inch (1cm) headspace. 
    Tap the jar to remove any air bubbles. Add a bit more liquid if needed – the cabbage needs to be covered. Wipe the rim then close the jar tightly.
  • Leave on the countertop for 2-6 hours to cool down to room temperature. Shake occasionally. After that, place it in the fridge. Let it pickle for 24 hours before enjoying it.

Storage Instructions

  • Keep in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

Video

Notes

  • You can use green or savoy cabbage if there’s no red at the grocery store.
  • If you don’t have pickling salt, any iodine-free salt will work – like kosher salt or sea salt, though the quantities might need adjusting. 
  • You can enjoy this easy pickled cabbage as a side dish or as a condiment for your favorite dishes.
  • Spices: you can also use garlic, bay leaves, etc. 
Check the blog post for more tips and answers to top FAQs!
Course: Condiment, DIYs, Side
Cuisine: European, German
Freezer friendly: No
Shelf life: 3 Weeks

Nutrition

Calories: 71kcal, Carbohydrates: 15g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 0.5g, Saturated Fat: 0.1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g, Sodium: 1319mg, Potassium: 321mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 1379IU, Vitamin C: 70mg, Calcium: 74mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

5 from 13 votes (13 ratings without comment)

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