Easy Chinese Pickled Red Cabbage with Ginger

Easy Chinese Pickled Red Cabbage with Ginger
Easy Chinese Pickled Red Cabbage with Ginger served in a blue and white bowl with a steaming basket in the background

Prep: 20 minutes | Resting Time: 1 -2 hours | Ingredients: 7 | Serving: 20

Chinese Pickled Red Cabbage with Ginger is fantastic, quick to make and lasts for months. It’s really crunchy, with a zingy sweet and sour flavour, strewn with flecks of red chilli and matchsticks of fresh ginger. It’s a winner! We love to serve this with Chinese Crispy Pork Belly slices on bao buns smeared with hoisin sauce.

Chinese Pickled Red Cabbage With Ginger is also a fabulous accompaniment to our Soy Star Anise Braised Chicken. The pickled cabbage cuts through the richness of pork and is perfect served with duck or salmon.

At a Glance This Is What You Need To Make Easy Chinese Pickled Red Cabbage with Ginger

Ingredients to make Easy Chinese Pickled Red Cabbage with Ginger


White Sugar
Table Salt

Shopping List

Ginger Root
Long Red Chilli
Red Cabbage
Rice Wine Vinegar
Sesame Seeds (optional)

How To Cut Red Cabbage

Slicing the cabbage super thin is a job quickly done with a mandolin. Halve or quarter your cabbage first, and remove the thick white core. Set your mandolin to the smallest blade and slice away. If you don’t have a mandolin use a sharp knife, and slice as thinly as possible.

What Does Putting Salt On Cabbage Do?

Salting layers of the cabbage, then weighting using a heavy object, helps to make the cabbage tender and extracts excess water from the cabbage. Salting vegetables in this way also helps to accelerate the absorption of the other ingredients in the recipe.

Peeling ginger to make Chinese Pickled Red Cabbage with Ginger

Hot Tip – How To Peel Ginger With A Spoon

Fresh ginger can be knobbly and the quickest way to peel ginger is to use a spoon. The skin glides away with very little waste and the job is done in seconds.

Hold the ginger root in one hand and using the other hand take a teaspoon and scrape the skin away. Too easy!

What Is Rice Wine Vinegar?

Rice wine vinegar is made from fermented rice. It’s far less acidic and is milder than pure distilled white vinegar or vinegar made from grape-based wine or malt. The taste is slightly sweet, clean tasting with an unobtrusive tang.

Rice wine vinegar is widely available in supermarkets, generally in the Asian section.

Step By Step How To Make Chinese Pickled Red Cabbage with Ginger

  1. Using a mandolin or sharp knife finely slice the cabbage – discard the hard white core
  2. Place some of the cabbage into a colander then sprinkle with some of the salt then using your fingers mix briefly until the salt is evenly distributed, then repeat these steps 3 – 4 times until all of the cabbage and salt have been incorporated
  3. Use a bowl with weights eg. cans of food or a heavy object that fits into the colander to press the cabbage – be sure to place the colander in the sink or rest on a plate to catch the juices as they are released (1 – 2 hours)
  4. Heat the vinegar and sugar until the sugar has dissolved, then set to one side and allow to cool
  5. Julienne the ginger and finely chop the chilli
  6. When the cabbage has stopped releasing juices, turn the cabbage out into a large bowl
  7. Add the prepared ginger, chilli and the vinegar solution. Mix until evenly distributed
  8. Pack the cabbage into clean glass jars and ensure the cabbage is submerged in the vinegar solution
Easy Chinese Pickled Red Cabbage with Ginger served on pork boa buns

Mixing In The Ginger And Chilli

Once your cabbage and salt have sat for 2 hours and drained, add in the ginger and chilli and toss well to distribute evenly. Do not rinse the cabbage after it has been salted and drained. Simply add the ginger and chilli to the salted and drained cabbage and toss through.

Don’t worry about the cabbage being too salty as most of the salt drains away with the pressed cabbage juice.

Watch How To Make  Easy Chinese Pickled Red Cabbage with Ginger

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 How Do You Store Pickled Cabbage?

The cabbage needs to be stored in a large glass jar with a none corrosive lid due to the salt and vinegar. Pack the cabbage into the jar and pour the sugar and vinegar solution over the cabbage so that the cabbage is submerged. Place a piece of clingwrap on top of the cabbage and press down to keep it submerged in the vinegar and sugar solution.

How Long Can I Keep Pickled Cabbage?

The cabbage will last for months in the refrigerator. After a few months, the cabbage does tend to leach in colour and the cabbage does start to soften but is still delicious.


 Don’t forget to rate this recipe and let us know what you thought when you make this fabulous Easy Chinese Pickled Red Cabbage with Ginger in the reviews below. 

Chinese Pickled Red Cabbage with Ginger
Yield: 20 serves

Chinese Pickled Red Cabbage with Ginger

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Inactive Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes

Chinese pickled red cabbage with ginger is really crunchy, with a zingy sweet and sour flavour, strewn with flecks of red chilli and super thin matchsticks of fresh ginger. It's a winner!

We love to serve this with crispy, sweet pork belly slices on bao buns smeared with hoisin sauce. Delish!

Originally posted December 2019

Recipe from Belinda Jeffery.


  • 1 tablespoon fine table salt
  • 750 g red cabbage - (1 whole small or half a medium cabbage) (1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 4 - 6 tablespoons finely sliced fresh ginger, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 - 2 small red chilli, finely chopped (we used cayenne chillies)
  • toasted sesame seeds to garnish - optional


  1. halve or quarter cabbage, remove the hard white core and discard
  2. shred the cabbage as thinly as you can using a mandolin or very sharp knife
  3. sprinkle the salt over the cabbage and toss to distribute the salt
  4. place the salted cabbage into a colander (do not rinse)
  5. place a plate with a heavy weight on top of the cabbage
  6. place colander in the kitchen sink or rest it on a large plate (it releases a lot of liquid)
  7. leave to drain at room temperature for 2 hours
  8. in a small saucepan over gentle heat combine the vinegar and sugar, heat and stir occasionally until the sugar has dissolved (2 - 3 minutes)
  9. leave to one side to cool
  10. place drained cabbage in a large bowl and toss through the ginger and chilli until evenly distributed
  11. pour in the cooled vinegar and sugar mixture, give it all a good toss 
  12. transfer the cabbage to a large glass jar and top with any excess vinegar mixture that is remaining in the bowl
  13. place a piece of clingwrap on top of the cabbage and press down to keep it submerged - see notes
  14.  to allow the flavours to marry wait 24hrs before using
  15. to serve place the cabbage in a mound, and scatter with toasted sesame seeds - (optional)
  16. serve and enjoy!


  • you may have to make up a little more sugar and vinegar solution to cover the volume of cabbage
  • pickled cabbage keeps well in a glass container, covered in the refrigerator for months

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 0Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 0mgCarbohydrates 0gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 0g


Coops loves to get a little ‘in between meals’  treat. It never ceases to amaze us as to just how obedient he is when food is offered, note the little tongue hanging out.  Just look at that face, even the king parrot is taking a sideways look in wonderment!

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    1. Recipe Winners says:

      Hi Sarah, thanks for the great compliment.The cabbage recipe is a winner! Regards, Jen and Jo

  2. We love this recipe and can’t be without some in our fridge now ?

    1. Recipe Winners says:

      Hi Kylie, yes it’s an oldie, but a goodie. Thanks for commenting. Kind regards Jo and Jen

  3. Love your recipes and explanations. I’ve recommended your website to my friends. Thanks for making easy and delicious!

    1. Recipe Winners says:

      Hi Marg, thanks very much for your kind comment and recommendation to your friends. We appreciate it as we are working hard to make the blog successful. Kind regards, Jo and Jen

  4. This recipe sounds incredible! I’ve been wanting to explore the different options when it comes to pickling. I can’t wait to try. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Recipe Winners says:

      Hi Ashley, this recipe is fantastic. We both have a large jar in our fridges most of the year. We’d love to hear from you when you make this. Kind regards, Jo and Jen

  5. your pickled red cabbage with ginger is fabulous – sooooooo refreshing..I Love it. Thank you. So glad I stumbled on it, I guess it can be made with “white” cabbage also? The last 2 years I’ve been growing red cabbage (in Vancouver, Canada) & was looking what to do with them.

    1. Recipe Winners says:

      Hi Maureen, yes it is a fabulous recipe and one that goes so well with many dishes. We’ve not tried it using white cabbage but can only guess that it works equally as well. Thanks for commenting. Kind regards, Jo and Jen

  6. Melissa Prom says:

    Curious if this is still good with less sugar? It sounds wonderful as is, but I prefer sour to sweet.

    1. Recipe Winners says:

      Hi Melissa, we’ve not made it with less sugar, but you could certainly cut back the sugar and try it. Perhaps cut it in half and see how it tastes. Regards, Jo and Jen

  7. Maureen Ling says:

    Maureen from Vancouver Canada again… grew my red cabbage & made your salad again – been giving it away & EVERYONE LOVES IT. My niece from South Africa also wants the recipe. Will have to grow more red cabbage next year!!! Merry Christmas & a Happy New year from freezing & snowy Vancouver

    1. Recipe Winners says:

      Hi Maureen, so pleased you’re loving this great cabbage recipe. Well done you for growing your own cabbages and this is a great way to use them, and it lasts for months! Winner, Winner. Have a happy Christmas and stay warm. Regards Jo and Jen (from sunny Queensland)

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