Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup

Our updated take on sweet and sour cabbage soup will win you over! Sweet, tart, and absolutely delicious, it cooks up in 30 minutes and freezes beautifully.

The Backstory: For as long as I can remember, sweet and sour cabbage soup was one of those things I deliberately ignored on any deli menu  I ever encountered, as if it were something to avoid, like the plague or a swarm of locust. I’m not sure why. Just the sound of it–cabbage soup–conjured up (an admittedly strange) image of a gathering of travel-weary Jewish-Poles hunched over a long, communal table, gulping down steaming bowls of boiling (why, why, why boiling?) broth before continuing on their march to flee the onslaught of the Cossacks. This has got to be one of the most ridiculously botched versions of history on record (geo-political, religious, and culinary) and yet, my twisted mind would take me there at the mention of cabbage soup. More of the Backstory after the recipe

Sweet & Sour Cabbage Soup

This sweet and savory soup gets its tang from just a touch of cider vinegar and its sweetness from brown sugar. It's a perfect light meal when paired with a hearty bread and a refreshing salad and makes a wonderful first course.
Course Brunch, Lunch, Soup
Cuisine Jewish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 cups


  • 2 tomatoes medium, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 green cabbage medium, shredded (6-7 cups)
  • 1 onion medium, sliced
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes 14.5 ounces
  • 2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 5 cups beef broth
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar plus 1 tbsp.
  • 3 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • pinch nutmeg very tiny pinch
  • Kosher salt & pepper to taste
  • parsley for garnish


  1. In a 6 quart pot, combine tomatoes, onion, cabbage, canned tomatoes and salt. Cover and cook over medium heat (stirring often) for about 8 minutes or until cabbage is very tender.
  2. Add beef broth, vinegar, lemon juice, sugar and raisins, and stir well.
  3. Add tiny pinch of nutmeg and adjust sweetness or tartness to taste by adding a little more lemon juice or brown sugar if needed (add in small increments of about 1/2 tsp. at a time).
  4. Cover and simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste; garnish with parsley before serving.

…The Backstory continues: Or maybe that was the cabbage soup diet and too many weeks of starvation (as a result of said soup?) Nonetheless, up until this very recipe, let’s just say, I was not a fan of ye olde cabbage soup. And then along came this recipe and I’m embarrassed to tell you–but I don’t even know the source of it. If anyone out there is the author of this gem, please write to me and let me know. Clearly, I owe you a world of gratitude (you may have single handedly spared me from a one-way ticket to the place you sign in to but don’t get to sign out of on your own, if you get my drift) and you’ve certainly opened up my eyes (and my taste buds) to the experience of this delicious, savory, sweet, and perfectly ying-yang balanced soup. It’s just perfect.


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Jodi Luber

Jodi Luber

Here goes: Born in Brooklyn. Daughter of a bagel baker with a Henny Youngman soul and a mom who makes Joan Rivers seem tame. Late bloomer. Married the love of my life at 45 and love being a mom to our three kids. I'm a professor at Boston U. Happiest in the kitchen baking and remembering how my dad would melt from a single bite of my cheesecake.
Jodi Luber
Jodi Luber

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