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Fermented Sweet Red Cabbage Recipe

Watch the How to Make Sweet Fermented Red Cabbage Video

Learn How to Make Fermented Sweet Red Cabbage to create a tasty side dish that’s rich in probiotics and natural sweeteners. This easy recipe is perfect if you’re new to making fermented vegetables.

Affiliates note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. My content may contain affiliate links to products and services. If you click through and make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission. It does not affect the price you pay.

Why Ferment Red Cabbage?

As I shared with you in my How to Make Sauerkraut video, fermented foods like homemade sauerkraut are rich in good bacteria—probiotics—that contribute to our good gut health. And scientists tell us that good gut health contributes to our overall good health.

A drawback about fermented foods is that they can taste quite tangy to folks who are new to eating them. So when you are making the transition from a processed foods kitchen to a traditional foods kitchen, being able to make a ferment that has a touch of sweetness can help train our palates to enjoy fermented foods.

And that’s where red cabbage comes in handy. It’s already a bit sweeter than its cousin green cabbage. Once we ferment it and add a bit of natural sweetener, our red cabbage develops into a delightful treat at the dinner table when you serve it as a condiment or a side dish.

But Can I Warm It?

Great question! And the good news is that, yes, you can warm your fermented red cabbage when serving it as a side dish. Just be sure to warm it and not boil it. You do not want your red cabbage to be any warmer to the touch than a warm bath, approximately 110°F. This will keep your fermented red cabbage a “living food” by maintaining the integrity of all those good bacteria that will be nourishing our gut health.

More Fermented Videos

Now that you’ve learned How to Make Fermented Sweet Red Cabbage be sure to try your hand at these other tasty ferments. I even share my secret to crisp pickles…not to be missed!

Masontops Mason Jar Fermentation Kit Discount Coupon

Although you don’t need any special equipment to start making ferments, the Masontops kit can help you simplify the process and enable you to create your ferment successfully. In my Masontops unboxing video, I show you my Masontops Complete Mason Jar Fermentation Kit and go over everything the kit includes.

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For an extensive list of the traditional foods you can make and purchase to stock your pantry, be sure to download my free 36-page Traditional Foods Pantry List. This comprehensive eBook is full of links to recipe videos, helpful articles, and more!

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In the following members-only video series, I talk about the Art of Fermentation.

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Fermented Sweet Red Cabbage

5 from 4 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 0 minutes
Fermentation Time: 14 days
Total: 14 days 15 minutes
Yield: 8 servings
Enjoy this tasty side dish that's perfect if you're new to making and eating fermented vegetables.


  • 1 half gallon sized jar or 2 quart sized jars
  • Small 4 ounce jars to be used as weights or glass fermentation weights
  • Jar lid or "pickle pipes" (if using pickle pipes, you will also need canning rings)


  • 1 3 pound Red cabbage
  • 1 Apple, optional but highly recommended Any variety.
  • 2 tablespoons Coarse ground sea salt Can substitute with 1 tablespoon fine ground sea salt. You can also use Himalayan Pink Salt or Redmond's Real Salt as substitutes.
  • 1/4 cup Maple syrup, honey, or other natural sweetener Additional sweetener can be added.


  • Remove outer cabbage leaves and set them aside.
  • Core cabbage and set cores aside.
  • Slice or shred cabbage as fine as possible and it place into a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and set the cabbage aside. The salt will begin to soften the cabbage and extract liquid from the cabbage.
  • Grate cabbage core and add to bowl.
  • If using, grate apple and add to bowl.
  • Pound cabbage mixture with a "kraut pounder" or "pickle packer" (see video) or use clean hands to squeeze the cabbage until it softens and releases a considerable amount of liquid.
  • Pack cabbage mixture into one half gallon-sized jar or two quart-sized jars.
  • Fold outer cabbage leaves into quarters and place them on top of the cabbage mixture in the jar.
  • Place 4-ounce jelly jar or glass fermentation weights on top of the cabbage leaves in the jar. Gently press down until all the cabbage is submerged under the liquid. If the cabbage is dry, add a bit of filtered water (chlorine-free) to ensure all the cabbage is submerged under the liquid.
  • Place a cap on the jar and tighten.
  • Place the jar in a bowl (to catch any overflow) and place the bowl in a warm undisturbed area that is approximately 68°F to 70°F.
  • As bubbles begin to appear in the jar, loosen the lid daily to release some of the gases that have built up, and then retighten the lid. (This step is not necessary if you are using the pickle pipes.)
  • After a few days of fermentation, use a clean fork to taste the red cabbage. If the taste is to your liking, refrigerate your red cabbage. Generally, it will take approximately 7-14 days for the red cabbage to reach its proper level of fermentation. Keep in mind that initially, it will taste salty, but the saltiness will mellow over the coming weeks.
  • If you want, you can sweeten your red cabbage after the fermentation process is complete. Transfer the red cabbage to a bowl and add in maple syrup, honey, Sucanat date sugar, or another natural sweetener, starting with a 1/4 cup and working up to the amount that pleases your palate.
  • Once sweetened to your liking, return the red cabbage to the jar, put the lid on the jar, and refrigerate it.



You can find this recipe and accompanying video at
Copyright © 2020 Mary’s Nest, LLC, All Rights Reserved
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: German
Keyword: Fermented Red Cabbage, Fermented Sweet Red Cabbage, Red Cabbage, Red Cabbage Sauerkraut, Sweet Red Cabbage
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Disclaimer:I am not a medical doctor, a medical professional, a dietician, or a nutritionist. All content found on the website, including text, images, videos, eBooks or eGuides, social media, or other formats, were created solely for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or proper nutritional advice. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have watched in a video or read on this website. Use caution when following the recipe in this video. The creator and publisher of this video and website will not be held responsible for any adverse effects that may arise from the use of this recipe and method or any other recipe and method on this website or corresponding video channel.

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  1. Lisa Farley says:

    5 stars
    This is an easy recipe. I followed it pretty much but doubled the apple and added an inch or so of ground ginger root. It’s got a bite and I will probably add more ginger next time. I did as you suggested, Mary, and put it in the fridge after two days on the counter. The fermentation didn’t start bubbling until then. It tasted salty so I left it in the fridge for 5 days and it’s chunky, sweet, and mildly spicy, no sweetener needed. I’ve only had canned Sauerkraut and this is way better. Thank you for your recipes.

    1. Mary's Nest says:

      Hi Lisa,

      Thanks so much for sharing how you made the recipe. I’m sure that other folks who are reading these comments will be heartened to know that their ferment can become bubbly and delicious in the refrigerator.

      Thanks again for your kind comment!

      Love and God bless,

  2. kayleigh @ earthkindsanctuary says:

    5 stars
    Thank you so much for simplifying this recipe for us!!! Watching the salt draw out water from the cabbage was a cool sciencey activity in itself 😀

    1. Mary's Nest says:

      Hi Kayleigh,

      Thanks for your comment. Yes. In many ways cooking and preparing foods is like a science activity that kids of all ages can enjoy!

      Love and God bless,

  3. Lisa McCall says:

    5 stars
    Hi Mary,
    Was so excited to try my FIRST recipe with you. Fermented red cabbage for my health. 🙂
    But after 14 days I don’t think it fermented. I keep my house at 66 degrees during winter.
    I bought thE PICKLE PACKER SET you recommended.

    It has been in the fridge now for 2 more weeks. Is it too late to put it out again and maybe turn up the heat? THANKS MARY!

    1. Mary's Nest says:

      Hi Lisa,

      Thanks for your comment, and sorry for the delayed response. If the fermentation hasn’t happened for two weeks, then it’s probably best to start over. Ferments do their best between 68°F-72°F (20°Ç – 22°C).

      If you were able to retry the recipe, please let me and future comment readers know how your recipe turned out.

      Love and God bless,

  4. Cheryl White says:

    5 stars
    Thank you for all your wonderful videos!!!
    Do you have a video on how to make SWEET fermented pickles? I used to love the sweet cauliflower pickles from the store too.

    Thank you,
    Cheryl White
    Richmond, TX

    1. Mary's Nest says:

      Hi Cheryl, I don’t have a video on that yet, but I’ll add it to the list.:-). I do have a video on fermented pickles though. You can watch it here: You could make these and then sweeten them in the same way I sweetened the fermented red cabbage.

      Do you enjoy making other traditional foods? If so, I have a playlist of some of my videos titled “Mastering the Basics of Traditional Nutrient Dense Foods Cooking”. It’s a series of 15 detailed videos that covers How to Make Bone Broth, Cultured Dairy, Ferments, Sourdough Starter (my foolproof stater), Sourdough Bread, Soaked and Sprouted Nuts and Beans, and How to Soak and Sprout Grains to Make your own Sprouted Flour at Home. You can watch it here: And please share the playlist with any other folks you think might be interested in learning about these types of things. I’m passionate about the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon (of the Weston A Price Foundation) and want to help as many people as I can learn how to make Traditional “Nutrient Dense” Foods.

      Please let me know if you have any questions. I’m so happy to help! And I’m SO glad you’re here!! Love and God Bless, Mary❤️😘❤️

      PS – Do you know about our FB group? It’s called Mary’s Nest Modern Pioneers. Come join us! We have a lot of fun chatting about Traditional Foods:

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