Pickled Red Cabbage Recipe

Rating 5.0
| 1
This zesty pickled red cabbage gets a spicy kick from jalapeño peppers and chipotle chili powder. Customize this condiment to your liking and use it to top anything from tacos to grain bowls.
Utensils Lunch
Globe New American
After discovering his passion for cooking as an Italian language instructor at UC Berkeley, Chef Chris went on to be the co-founder of a culinary event business, specializing in regional Italian cooking, and then worked as a chef teaching cooking classes for corporate groups, cultivating a 5-star rating. Chef Chris now works with a company providing walking food tours of Little Italy as well as teaching his lauded cooking classes.


head red cabbage
2 tblsp
1 cup(s)
red wine vinegar
3 tblsp
light brown sugar
limes, juiced
1 tblsp
cracked black pepper
1 tblsp
ancho or chipotle chili powder
whole bay leaves
1 tblsp
whole cumin seeds
garlic cloves
jalapeños, thinly sliced
3 tblsp
chopped cilantro leaves and stems

Directions 5 steps | 45 Minutes

Step 1

Remove the outer layer of leaves from your head of cabbage. Cut the cabbage in half, removing the tough inner core. Then, cut your halves in half one more time. Using a mandolin or food processor, shred the cabbage into thin slivers. Place the shredded cabbage in a mixing bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of salt.

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Step 2

After salting, transfer the shredded cabbage to a colander or pasta strainer (positioned over an empty mixing bowl). Place a bowl half-filled with water on top of the cabbage. This will help to press out the excess water. Allow the cabbage to rest, with the weight on top, for 30 minutes.

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Step 3

Heat over medium the following ingredients in a saucepan: red wine vinegar, light brown sugar, lime juice, black pepper, chili powder, bay leaves, cumin seeds and whole garlic cloves. Bring the liquid to a low boil, allowing it to cook for 4-5 minutes. The sugar will dissolve into the vinegar and the garlic cloves will soften up slightly. The mixture will reduce down by one-third. Once reduced, turn off the heat and let it cool for another 3 minutes.

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Step 4

Squeeze out the cabbage with your hands to remove any excess water still on the leaves. Then, pack the cabbage slices into a 16-ounce mason jar. Pour the vinegar mixture over the cabbage (including the bay leaves and whole garlic). Add in the sliced jalapeño and cilantro at this point. Put the lid on the jar and close it tightly. Shake the mixture together to ensure the cilantro and jalapeño evenly distribute. Remove the lid and use a wooden spoon to press the garlic under the liquid. It should be fully submerged.

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Step 5

Put the lid back on the jar and close tightly. Allow the cabbage-filled mason jar to rest on your counter, at room temperature, for 24 hours. This allows the cabbage to start fermenting. You may notice some bubbles beginning to form, this is great! After 24 hours, refrigerate your jarred cabbage for another 24 hours before eating. Enjoy!

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  • For a less spicy version, skip the chili powder and jalapeño — or just remove the seeds from the jalapeño before slicing.
  • If you buy pre-shredded cabbage from the grocer, use just 8 ounces of it. 

Nutrition Per Serving
View All
0.6 g
2.1 g
15 g


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Jolee S.


03 Oct 2022

This might just be the absolute best taco / sandwich topping I've ever tried. Can't get enough of it!

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