This instant pot red cabbage and apples recipe is a fast vegetable side dish that will bring color and flavor to your meals all winter long.
It's easy this time of year to forget to eat enough vegetables. I know it's not just me. Things get busy during the holidays and before you know it you're eating leftover desserts for breakfast, whatever you can grab for lunch, and takeout or something frozen for dinner.
Eventually, I stop and ask myself what the heck I'm doing. I toss out the junk, clean up the fridge and pantry, and get back on track to eating foods I feel good about.
When I reached this point a few days ago, I was happy to see a red cabbage in the back of the produce drawer. Luckily, it didn't matter that I bought it a couple of weeks ago, as a good cabbage will last several weeks in the fridge. You might have to peel off a couple of sad looking outer leaves, but it's just fine, otherwise.
I usually like to do a braised cabbage with apples in a pan on the stove. I will often use some hard cider for the braising liquid and throw in a few juniper berries or other seasonings. It's simple enough, but I wanted to make it even easier by using my Instant Pot. I also wanted to cook the apples separately, as they often become mushy and turn purple when cooked with the cabbage in the pan.
The cabbage cooks up so quickly in the pressure cooker, and it's easy to then saute the apples in the same pot. It's my new, preferred way, to make this easy side dish throughout the winter.
This easy Instant Pot red cabbage and apples recipe is made mostly with ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen pantry.
- red cabbage
- juniper berries (optional, see variations note below)
- apple cider vinegar
- brown sugar
See recipe card below for quantities.
There are only a handful of steps to making Instant Pot red cabbage and apples.
Start by prepping the ingredients. Cut the cabbage, slice the onions and slice the apples. The cabbage, onion, juniper, broth, vinegar and salt all go in the Instant Pot to cook on manual pressure for 8 minutes.
When the cabbage and onions are cooked, they're removed from the pot and the liquid is strained off. Then the apple slices cook on the saute setting with butter and brown sugar for about 5 minutes.
The cabbage is topped with the apples and then the chopped nuts. That's it. Then it's ready to eat!
🥜 Substitutions & Variations
- Cabbage - Instead of red cabbage, you can use green, it just won't be as colorful.
- Juniper Berries - Juniper and cabbage is a classic pairing, but if you don't have this spice handy, try subbing it with a cinnamon stick that you remove after cooking. A few gratings of fresh nutmeg also works or even a small pinch of allspice.
- Nuts - Try cashews, almonds, peanuts or sunflower seeds instead.
🍲 Do I need an Instant Pot to make this recipe?
The short answer is no. You can follow the same basic directions using any brand of modern electric pressure cooker. Just use the equivalent settings.
If you're asking if you can make this another way, like on top of the stove, I'd say, sure. It's certainly doable and how I used to make it myself. But it will take longer and I can't vouch for the results, as I specifically wrote this recipe with a pressure cooker in mind. Feel free to adapt it however you like, of course.
Store leftover red cabbage and apples in a sealed container in the fridge for no more than 3-4 days.