This Pickled Cabbage recipe makes the best pickled red cabbage in only about 10 minutes hands-on time! It completely transforms this veggie and adds an incredible pop of flavor. Use it in sandwiches, on avocado toast, in tacos, on burgers, with pulled pork and more! 

Why you’ll love this recipe

Pickled cabbage adds vibrant color, a great crunch, and a powerful punch of tangy, subtly sweet flavor to everything it’s added to. Cabbage is filled with vitamins and nutrients making it a fabulous addition to any healthy diet. 

  • Quick + easy. Make this recipe in just 10 minutes from start to finish. Let it sit for a couple of hours and it’s ready for you to enjoy!
  • Simple ingredients + methods. You need minimal ingredients you probably already have on hand and there’s no fancy canning equipment required. 
  • So tasty! It’s a great way to add flavor, texture and a fun pop of color to meals!

What is pickling?

Before we jump into the details, you may be wondering – what even is pickling? Pickling is a method of preserving a food. There are a few different ways to pickle foods, but with this recipe we’re using a quick pickling method, which is super easy. The red cabbage will be pickled in a mixture of vinegar, water, sugar and salt and stored in the refrigerator. 

If you are new to pickling vegetables, this pickled cabbage will be a great recipe to start with. All you need is two large mason jars, red cabbage, and a few common ingredients to get get going. It takes about 2 hours for this salad to pickle, but it’s even better after 24 hours and it keeps in the fridge for up to about 2 weeks.

Bright cabbage in a bowl.

Ingredients needed

This pickled cabbage is quick, flavorful and adds a pop of color to whatever you pair it with. Beyond the cabbage itself, the ingredients are pantry staples, which makes it easy to whip this up at a moment’s notice. Here’s everything you’ll need to make it:

  • Red cabbage. For this recipe, you’ll need about 1 1/2 pounds cabbage or about 1/2 small-medium head of cabbage. This particular amount fits nicely into 2 (4-cup) mason jars.
  • Brine. The liquid marinade (or brine) is made with apple cider vinegar, water, sugar, salt, pepper, and garlic. The apple cider vinegar can be subbed with red wine vinegar or rice wine vinegar as desired.

How to make this recipe

Don’t worry, you don’t have to use an old fashioned canner and boiling water bath to make this pickled cabbage. This recipe is seriously easy!

The full, printable recipe can be found at the bottom of the post.

  1. Shred the cabbage. Using a sharp knife or a mandolin, thinly slice the cabbage and pack it into 2 (32-oz, 4 cup) mason jars. You might have to really pack it in there to get it all to fit but it shrinks up quite a bit as it pickles.
  2. Make the brine. In a large measuring cup, mix together the boiling water with apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, and garlic. Stir to combine until all of the sugar and salt is dissolved.
  3. Fill jars. Divide the vinegar mixture evenly between the 2 mason jars. The jar should be filled up to the neck but if it’s not, you can add in a little extra water. Seal tightly and give it a little shake to make sure everything is combined.
  4. Soak cabbage. Let the cabbage sit and marinate in the brine for at least 2 hours to pickle, but you get best results after 24 hours. ENJOY!

Frequently asked questions

Can I cut this recipe in half?

Yes! If you only want one jar of pickled cabbage, you can easily half the recipe.

Is this recipe the same as sauerkraut?

Pickled cabbage involves pickling the cabbage, while sauerkraut is cabbage that is fermented, which is a much longer process. Fermenting involves a chemical reaction between the natural sugar in foods and naturally present bacteria. Fermented foods will last longer than those that are pickled.

What if I don’t have a large mason jar?

No worries! I like using a mason jar, but you can use any container with a lid that can be sealed airtight and that will fit the ingredients. 

Recipe variations

There are lots of ways to customize this recipe and make it your own. Here’s some options:

  • Add a bit of heat by mixing in ½ jalapeño, sliced into rounds.
  • Change it up by swapping out some of the cabbage for thinly sliced red onion and/or sliced or julienned carrots.
  • Add different flavors with your favorite spices or herbs. Try adding in a pinch of red pepper flakes or a few pieces of sliced ginger.
  • Both red and green cabbage work in this recipe really well. Feel free to swap out some or all of the purple cabbage for green cabbage.
Pickled red cabbage mixed with brine in a mason jar.

Serving suggestions

We love this healthy pickled cabbage as a salad, or as a side dish to our favorite meals. But it’s great as a zingy condiment too! Pair it with:

  • tacos
  • avocado toast
  • sandwiches, wraps
  • burgers
  • hot dogs
  • grain (Buddha) bowls
  • leafy green salads

How to store

Quick-pickled cabbage is not processed or shelf-stable and must be stored in the refrigerator. Simply store it in the sealed mason jar that you soaked it in. The cabbage will keep fresh in the fridge for about 2 weeks.

Pickled cabbage in a bowl.

More delicious side dish recipes

Looking for more easy sides? Give these recipes a try:

As usual, please let me know if you end up making this recipe and how you like it. You can come back here to leave a comment or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram @foodwithfeeling! I always love to see what y’all are making from the blog!

Print
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Pickled cabbage in a glass mason jar.

Pickled Cabbage


  • Author: Brita Britnell
  • Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 20 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This Pickled Cabbage recipe makes the best pickled red cabbage in only about 10 minutes hands-on time! It completely transforms this veggie and adds an incredible pop of flavor. Use it in sandwiches, on avocado toast, in tacos, on burgers, with pulled pork and more!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/2 of a small-medium red cabbage (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 2/3 cup of apple cider vinegar*
  • 3 cups of boiling water
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced or minced
  • See the notes for ways to change the recipe up a little with more veggies etc.

Instructions

  1. Using a sharp knife or a mandolin, thinly slice the cabbage and pack it into 2 32-oz (4 cup) mason jars. You might have to really pack it in there to get it all to fit but it shrinks up quite a bit as it pickles.
  2. In a large measuring cup, mix together the boiling water with apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, and garlic. Mix to combine until all of the sugar and salt is dissolved.
  3. Divide the vinegar mixture evenly between the 2 mason jars. The jar should be filled up to the neck but if it’s not, you can add in a little extra water. Seal tightly and give it a little shake to make sure everything is combined.
  4. Let sit for at least 2 hours to pickle, but you get best results after 24 hours. This lasts great in the fridge for about 2 weeks! ENJOY!

Notes

  • Cabbage weight: this weight fits nicely into 2 (4-cup) mason jars.
  • You can also use red wine vinegar or rice wine vinegar as desired.

Recipe variations:

  • Can add in ½ jalapeño sliced into rounds
  • Can swap out some of the cabbage for thinly sliced red onion and/or sliced/julienned carrots
  • Can add in a pinch of red pepper flakes or a few pieces of sliced ginger
  • You could also swap out some or all of the purple cabbage for regular cabbage
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Rest time: 2 hours
  • Category: side, salad
  • Method: pickle
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 12
  • Sugar: 2 g
  • Sodium: 293.2 mg
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 2.2 g
  • Protein: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: pickled cabbage, pickled red cabbage