Pennsylvania Dutch Pepper Cabbage

A sweet and sour side dish, this features a German, Pa. Dutch, and Coal Region favorite — cabbage — but this time it is not in a creamy dressing as in Cole slaw, but a sweet/sour clear syrup dotted with colorful specs of sweet bell peppers. Some purists use only green pepper, I use a mix of red and green…I like the look!  Some people add some onion, celery, or even carrot, I do not.  I’m “sorta” purist!

This lasts a long time in the refrigerator thanks to the vinegar content.  I love to serve it with many dishes including my Pa. Dutch Chicken Pot Pie.   It’s great to take to a potluck or picnic because it contains no mayonnaise. You want your cabbage and veggies finely chopped like in the photo. You can use a box grater to prep by hand or a food processor, but if using the processor, do in small batches to avoid ending up with a mushy mess of watery veggies.

Pennsylvania Dutch Pepper Cabbage

Recipe by A Coalcracker in the KitchenCourse: Sides, SaladsCuisine: Pa. Dutch, Coal RegionDifficulty: Easy

A traditional sweet and sour cabbage salad dish of the Pennsylvania Dutch.


  • 1 – 2 pound head cabbage, quartered and core removed

  • 1 large sweet red bell pepper, quartered and seeded

  • 1 large green bell pepper, quartered and seeded (OR use all green bell pepper)

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 teaspoon celery seed

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon coarsely-ground black pepper or to taste


  • Cut the cabbage into 4 quarters, remove the core from each quarter, then coarsely chop each quarter into smaller pieces to aid in grinding nicely in the processor . Working in batches, place one quarter of the coarsely-chopped cabbage in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Using a series of 25 -30 rapid on-off pulses, process to a fine chop. Transfer cabbage to a large baking pan that has been lined with parchment paper and a few layers of paper towels and refrigerate for about an hour to drain.
  • Prep the bell peppers as directed, and, in two batches, using a series of 15 rapid on-off pulses, process them to a fine chop. Place chopped peppers on a paper towel lined plate and refrigerate for about an hour to drain.
  • Place the cabbage and peppers in a large bowl.
  • In a bowl, stir all of the remaining ingredients together to make the dressing.
  • Pour the dressing over the cabbage and peppers and stir thoroughly.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate, several hours or preferably overnight. Stir occasionally.


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