Visiting The Dutch Countryside

Travelblog about The Netherlands | Exploring The Netherlands beyond the crowds

Dutch Red Cabbage With Apples Recipe: Enjoy Rode Kool Met Appeltjes

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Spicy dutch red cabbage stewed with apples and cinnamon

Dutch red cabbage is a staple in the Dutch kitchen, but especially red cabbages and apples. I don’t know the origin of that combination, but this has been eaten in The Netherlands for centuries and is especially really good with a stew and some potatoes. It’s one of those Dutch autumn and winter meals that you will love. Dutch red cabbage and apple is easy to make and delicious. 

History Dutch red cabbage in The Netherlands

Dutch red cabbage is one of the Dutch winter kitchen staples and is one of the oldest species of cabbage. In The Netherlands, the cultivation of red cabbage is mainly in the Noord- Holland province close to the town of Langedijk (in the surroundings of where I was born and still live actually). Around 60 per cent of the acreage of red cabbage in The Netherlands is found in this part of the province.

Sweet red cabbage is a rather tough vegetable but is eaten both raw and baked, boiled or steamed. In The Netherlands, cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon, sugar, butter, apple and sometimes raisins and red wine are added to the red cabbage. To prevent the cabbage from turning blueish, you can add a bit of lemon juice. Enjoy this red cabbage and apples recipe.

Dutch red cabbage Recipe


  • 1 Red cabbage
  • 3 Sweet (or sour) apples (depends on what taste you prefer) or if you don’t have any apples, but like a bit of a sour taste, you can use +- 50 ml of vinegar
  • +- 300 ml boiling water
  • 3 Bay leaves
  • 6 Cloves
  • Optional: a nice cube of butter
  • Optional: 20 gr sugar (I prefer not to use sugar, as I put sweet apples in the cabbage)
  • Optional: a stick of cinnamon

Good for around 6 people – 10 minutes preparation – +- 1 hour to cook


1. There are a few ways to prepare Dutch red cabbage, but first, you need to clean the cabbage. Take a couple of the outer leaves from the cabbage and throw those in the compost. Then cut the cabbage through the middle and remove the white stalk.

2. Cut the cabbage into long, thin slices. Remember: the thicker you cut the cabbage, the longer it takes to be done. So, always taste your Dutch-style red cabbage in the meantime to see whether this Dutch cabbage recipe is done faster or takes longer with you. Every cabbage and stove is different.

3. Add the cabbage to a pot, together with the bay leaves, salt and the cloves (and optional: the cinnamon stick) with around 300 ml of boiling water.

4. Let it very slightly simmer for around 40 minutes, but be sure to check in between whether there is still water in the pot and stir it around now and then.

5. Clean the apples and chop the apples into small bite-sized pieces. There’s no need to remove the skin, but you can if you want to.

6. When there is no water left in the pot, you can add the butter and sugar if you want to. And then you will let it braise for another 20 minutes. If you don’t add any of the butter, then you can add a little splash of extra water so it can still braise for a bit. 

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7. After the Dutch red cabbage has slowly been simmering for roughly an hour, you add the apple chunks for around 10 minutes (add a splash of water or some extra butter if there’s nothing in the pot anymore). And this is when the cabbage is supposed to be done. 

You can also cook the cabbage in a pot, wholly covered with water. Add the cloves, salt and bay leaves (and cinnamon stick). Then leave it boiling until it’s almost done. That’s when you will add the chopped apples for around 10 minutes. Pour off the water, mix through some butter and sugar. Then you will set it aside for a bit, mix it, and you’re done.

Some also add red wine, so don’t be afraid to try that with your red cabbage either.

I can highly recommend you to eat this braised red cabbage with some mashed potato and a Dutch beef onion stew (called siepelhachee); you can thank me later. I hope you enjoyed this Dutch red cabbage and apple recipe and that it brings back some memories or creates new ones.

Sliced red cabbage as background texture

Handy tools to use for this recipe

I hope you liked this boiled red cabbage recipe and that you will enjoy Dutch red cabbage with apples. 

Don’t forget to share your photos of the dishes you’ve created with me on Instagram @visitingthedutchcountryside and Facebook @visitingthedutchcountryside so that I can share your works of art.

Share this Dutch red cabbage with your friends or family members who you think will love this Dutch red cabbage recipe.




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