Christmas red cabbage recipe

(424 ratings)

Christmas red cabbage is a delicious way to cook cabbage with a festive twist. We've added port and cranberries for a simple but delicious sweet and sour edge.

Christmas red cabbage
  • Vegetarian
Preparation Time10 mins
Cooking Time1 hours 45 mins
Five A DayOne
Cost RangeCheap

Made with port, and cranberry sauce, this Christmas red cabbage is a wonderfully balanced dish. It cuts through the richness of your meat and potatoes on the big day.

Christmas red cabbage is the perfect side to add colour and flavour to your traditional festive dinner. As well as being a good additional side dish for turkey, it goes amazingly well with a festive baked gammon or roast beed. This recipe is perfect for making in advance. The flavours actually develop beautifully when made a few days in advance. This means it's also a good standby to have in the fridge, when you want something tasty and healthy to go with other leftovers. You can even make and freeze it a month in advance. Just make sure the cabbage is piping hot before serving. This has to be one of our favourite red cabbage recipes.


  • 75g (3oz) butter (or dairy-free spread)
  • 2 red onions, finely sliced
  • 1.5kg (3lb 5oz) red cabbage, very finely sliced
  • 300ml (½pt) port
  • 4 tbsp cranberry sauce
  • 75g pack dried cranberries
  • 2tbsp light muscovado sugar




  1. Melt the butter in a large heavy-based pan, add the onions and gently cook for 15 mins until very soft. Stir in the remaining ingredients, plus 150ml (¼pt) water and salt and black pepper.
  2. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 1 hour. Remove lid and cook for a further 15 mins until all the liquid has gone. Check seasoning and serve.

Top tips for making this Christmas red cabbage

For extra flavour, add a cinnamon stick and grated orange zest before cooking.

What does red cabbage go with?

Red cabbage is a bold flavour and usually (as in this recipe) is enhanced with other punchy additions like port and cranberry. This means it's a great side dish to serve with other strong flavours like salty baked gammon, game meats like pheasant, partridge or duck, or fat British sausages.

Which is healthier, red or green cabbage?

Both red and green cabbage are very low calories, high in fibre and other nutrients - so they're both very healthy. But red cabbage is even more healthy, with ten times more vitamin A - vital for immunity, skin and eye health. It's also packed with cancer-fighting antioxidants and has more iron than green cabbage.

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Rosie Hopegood
Freelance Contributor (US)

Rosie Hopegood is a journalist, editor, and writer with many years of experience writing about lifestyle, including parenting, for a broad range of magazines and newspapers. Now based in Brooklyn, New York, Rosie has written for Daily Telegraph, Al Jazeera, The Observer, The Guardian, The Independent, Vice, Telegraph Magazine, Fabulous Magazine, Stella Magazine, Notebook Magazine, Saga Magazine, Reader’s Digest, Sunday Telegraph, Sunday Mirror, S Magazine, and Stella Magazine. She spent five years on staff at the Mirror, where she was Deputy Features Editor on the magazines team.