Why you’ll love it
If you’ve been looking to add a burst of colour and tangy flavour to your meals, pickled red cabbage is just what you need. It’s more than a condiment — it’s a versatile ingredient that can take ordinary meals to extraordinary.
- Tangy and a little sweet — so delicious.
- This quick pickle transforms the flavour and texture of the cabbage, making it bright and zingy.
- It’s a great way to make use of leftover cabbage, and you can use red or green.
- Super simple recipe that takes 10 minutes total — just slice the cabbage, mix the pickling liquid, and combine them.
- Enjoy after just 1 hour of pickling, or keep it for up to 2-3 weeks.
Pickled red cabbage is ideal with rich meat dishes like sausages, oven baked pork chops, short ribs, and tacos — similar to pickled red onions. It’s also great in salads, sandwiches, and even as part of a grazing board. I most recently served it with my lamb kofta wraps… I’ll have that recipe ready to share with you soon!
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Ingredients you’ll need
With just a handful of ingredients, you’ll have perfectly pickled red cabbage before you know it.
Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.
- Red Cabbage: Remember that you can use red or green cabbage in this pickled cabbage recipe. Pickled cabbage is softer than raw cabbage, but it still retains some crunch, so fresh cabbage will remain crunchier. You can use this recipe to use up that cabbage that’s been sitting in the crisper all week too, it’ll just turn out slightly softer.
- Rice Wine Vinegar: The base of the pickling liquid, also called a brine. Vinegar is an acid, and it causes the cabbage to soften a bit as it absorbs the brine. You could also use red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar instead; the latter will give a sweeter flavor.
- Caster Sugar: You’ll need superfine sugar / caster sugar. It balances out the acidity of the vinegar so that your pickled cabbage recipe isn’t too tart and being so fine, it dissolves into the pickling liquid without heating.
- Salt: Not only does salt add a touch of savoury flavour, but it also helps stave off harmful bacteria.
- Wholegrain Mustard: To add even more zing and flavour to this recipe for pickled red cabbage.
Pickles are great for experimenting with different flavours and adding spices can add subtle differences so have fun with it. Try some black peppercorns, coriander seeds, bay leaves or caraway seed. You can also add in a couple of fresh cloves garlic. See more ideas in the tips and tricks section below.
How to pickle red cabbage (step-by-step)
- Create the pickling liquid: Place the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and mustard (and any other spices you want) in a clean 500ml preserve jar (photo 2) and screw the lid on tightly.
- Shake: Vigorously shake the jar (photo 3) until the sugar and salt have dissolved.
- Add the cabbage: Remove the lid and push the cabbage into the jar (photo 4). Make sure that it is completely submerged.
- Chill: Place the lid back on the jar and turn it a few times. Place it in the fridge to chill for at least an hour before using. Enjoy!
What to do with pickled red cabbage
While pickled cabbage goes particularly well with rich or fatty proteins — think pork or beef or very gamey meats — it’s actually great with just about anything from sandwiches to chicken too.
You can also make a dressing using some oil, a little of the pickled cabbage liquid, and some sugar or salt to taste.
Tips and tricks
- Shake shake shake: Make sure to shake the pickling liquid well so that the sugar and salt dissolve. You can also heat it on the stove, stirring until the sugar and salt have dissolved. There’s no need to boil if you use this option.
- Add other flavours: Some peppercorns, dried mustard seeds (in place of the wholegrain), dried chili flakes (red pepper flakes), or whole cloves of garlic add great flavour to quick pickled red cabbage. You can also swap the sugar for honey or maple syrup. You could add some herbs, too, like fresh dill.
- Sterilise the jar: While not absolutely necessary, it will ensure your jar is perfectly clean. Sterilising can also help your pickled red cabbage recipe keep just a little longer as it works to keep mould at bay. To do this, wash the jar and lid in hot, soapy water. Place it upside down on a baking tray in a preheated oven (120 degrees C/250 degrees F) for 10 minutes or until dry.
Store your quick pickled cabbage in the fridge and aim to use it within 2-3 weeks. Now, it can be used after just 1 hour. That said, the flavour will develop more and the cabbage will soften more over time.
Pickling cabbage not only preserves its vibrant colour but also enhances its flavour by adding a delightful tanginess. It’s a great way to enjoy cabbage as a condiment, side dish, or ingredient in various recipes. Aside from being a different flavour, it’s a great way to preserve cabbage that you won’t get to for an extra few weeks.
No, but you do need a clean jar. Remember that sterilising the jar before you get started is the best way to guarantee that it’s as clean as can be. A mandolin can also be helpful for slicing the cabbage, but again, it’s not truly necessary for pickled cabbage.
While using wilted cabbage isn’t dangerous (as long as it isn’t mouldy), the crisper, the better for pickling. Avoid using cabbage that is withered, has signs of rot, or appears significantly discoloured. Fresh cabbage will yield the best results.
Did you try this pickled red cabbage recipe?
Leaving a rating and comment below the recipe is so helpful!
- ¼ red cabbage
- ¾ cup rice wine vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
- ½ cup water
- 2 tablespoon caster sugar (superfine sugar) (note 1)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons wholegrain mustard
For best results, always weigh ingredients where a weight is provided
- Remove the core and finely slice the cabbage.
- Add the vinegar, water, sugar, salt and mustard to a clean preserve jar, screw on the lid and shake really well to dissolve the sugar and salt.
- Add the sliced cabbage, pushing it in until you can’t submerge any more under the liquid. Makes sure it’s all submerged.
- Screw the lid on and give a few good turns to get that pickling liquid and mustard seeds evenly throughout.
- Chill for at least an hour before using. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 weeks.
- Please take a moment to leave a comment & rating. It's appreciated and so helpful.
- Tablespoons: I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (equal to 4 teaspoons). Check yours before measuring.
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