Christmas Spiced Red Cabbage

The wonderful smell of cinnamon, oranges, cranberries, star anise and ginger always reminds me of Christmas. Instead of lighting a candle to make your house smell festive, just buy a red cabbage and cook this! My Christmas Spiced red Cabbage Recipe is so easy to make ahead and freeze ready for Christmas Day. Once cooked, you can give yourself a pat on the back for being super organised while you smugly stash it in your freezer.

You can also cook it one to two days before you want to eat it and keep in a sealed container in the fridge.


Talking of cabbage, that reminds me of another recipe I tried making once called Kimchi, which is an interesting pickled Korean dish. It is supposed to be a nice tasting concoction of fermented vegetables, mostly white cabbage. Anyway, I spent ages making a jar of  “Kimchi”. It sat in my fridge fermenting for days and I couldn’t wait to try it. My husband even volunteered to be the first to taste some but it really was absolutely horrible! So that was the end of the Kimchi experiment. Hubby even made me promise never to make it again, ever! For the record, I won’t be posting the recipe for the Kimchi.


My Christmas Spiced Red Cabbage recipe is nothing at all like Kimchi, I promise you. It is really delicious. I  have tried various braised or spiced red cabbage recipes over the years and many contain quite a bit of alcohol such as port or red wine and lots of sugar, making them pretty sweet.

I got the inspiration for this lovely recipe from my Weight Watcher friend, Lorna who makes a lighter Spiced Red Cabbage recipe, with minimal sugar. I have added extra apples, star anise, much more cinnamon, ginger and some cranberry sauce to my final Christmas recipe, which I am happy with. This version is slightly sweeter than Lorna’s Red Cabbage, as it is a special dish for Christmas, but is still not too sweet compared to other recipes. As Goldilocks once said, ” It’s just right”!

The amazing taste of the spices, orange and cranberries just create the most perfectly flavoured side dish to compliment all the other yummy things you will be serving for your Christmas dinner. What more could you want?

I cook my cabbage in my slow cooker for 1.5 to 2 hours on High, then cool and freeze for Christmas Day. By the time it’s cooked, the whole house will smell amazing. You can also cook this in a covered skillet on the hob. Just stir regularly and add more water if needed, as it might dry out faster than the slow cooker method. An hour on a low heat will probably be fine for hob cooking. The beauty of the slow cooker, however, is that you can go and write your Christmas cards while it is cooking.



It is really easy to just reheat the red cabbage in your microwave when you need it for your Christmas Dinner.

My recipe makes enough for around 5 to 6 people as a side dish. However, don’t worry about making too much or increasing the recipe amounts, as leftovers taste amazing with cold cuts of ham or turkey on Boxing Day…..that’s if there is any left! The volume of cabbage in the pot will also decrease during cooking, concentrating all the lovely flavours.




Here is my recipe for you to “Prep like a Pro” for Christmas!


1 small red cabbage, sliced
2 apples, cored and chopped
1 medium onion, sliced
4 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons of concentrated orange cordial (the double strength variety)
4 tablespoons of water
1 piece of star anise
1 stick of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
2 teaspoons of ground ginger
1 tablespoon of cranberry sauce


Put all the ingredients into the slow cooker pot and stir well to combine. Then cook on High for 1.5 to 2 hours.

Alternatively cook in a covered skillet on the hob on a very low heat for around an hour, stirring occasionally. For hob cooking you may need to add more water during cooking.

Once cooked, taste and adjust with a little more vinegar or concentrated orange cordial to get the flavour just right for your taste buds.

Cool and then freeze in batches, saving some to try straight away! Enjoy xx




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