German Cabbage Soup Recipe

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This German cabbage soup is sure to put a smile on your face, and your tummy!!!

I’ve been eating this cabbage soup my entire life. From the time I could eat solids, my Grandmother and Mom have made this soup for me. It’s a World War II recipe my grandmother brought with her when she and my mom immigrated here in 1951. It’s a good, tummy warming soup for a cold winter night.

This wonderful German Cabbage Soup Recipe is sure to become a family favorite!

While I’ve made a change or two to make it a bit healthier (the original version used beef, whole eggs and many potatoes), it’s still basically the same soup my grandma made all those years ago.

If you’ve never had cabbage soup “German style”, I highly recommend it. It’s nothing like the American or Asian versions. German cabbage soup has prolific amounts of caraway seed. The more you add, the better the soup tastes. The best part about this tasty meal is the nutrition data listed below. This is a very low-cal / low-fat soup, it really fills you up and keeps you satisfied!


Cabbage soup can be made any number of ways, depending on what country a recipe comes from. Cabbage is very versatile stuff! The German version uses a lot of caraway seed. It’s a main part of the flavor and is very tasty mixed in with the meatballs. Give it a try!

Absolutely! Simply sub the same amount of beef for the ground turkey. You can also use beef broth if you prefer. That was the original way of making this recipe when my grandma made it. I much prefer it with chicken broth and ground turkey, but those are just my personal preference. It’s just as tasty with beef!


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German Cabbage Soup Recipe

German Cabbage Soup Recipe

A hearty German soup recipe that is sure to become comfort food for you, just as it has for me.
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Course: Soup
Cuisine: German
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 140kcal
Author: The Gracious Pantry


  • 1 medium head cabbage (Napa or green cabbage. Either will work)
  • 1 lb. ground turkey (you can use ground beef too)
  • 6 tbsp. caraway seed (4 tbsp. for soup, 2 tbsp. for the meat balls.)
  • 8 cups chicken broth (veggie broth works too - no sugar added)
  • 2 large eggs (or 4 egg whites - reduces fat but increases sodium)
  • 1 ½ cups chopped red onion
  • 4 cups drinking water (plus more if needed)
  • 4 cups chopped russet potatoes (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste after cooking


  • In a large pot, set your broth and water to boil.
  • Chop your cabbage and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix your turkey meat, onion, eggs and 2 tbsp. of your caraway seed.
  • Roll small (walnut size) amounts of turkey into balls and drop into boiling water.
  • If using potatoes, add to pot.
  • Add your remaining caraway seed to the boiling water as well.
  • Top off with cabbage, and cover. Return pot to a full boil, and reduce heat just enough to keep it from boiling over.
  • When the meatballs are cooked through and the cabbage is soft, it's done.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.


Please note that the nutrition data given here is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 140kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 628mg | Potassium: 657mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 146IU | Vitamin C: 44mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 2mg

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  1. THANK YOU!! I had all these ingrediants on hand, and we all loved it! I have 4 kids (2, 7 11, 12), and all ate it just fine, exept the 12 year old who added more salt. I was ok with that since he has chosen, on his own, to have no sugar for 2 weeks, and is doing a marvelous job. Maybe next encouragements come in the sodium department. Anyhoo, thank you! I love your blog, and have tried many new things because of you!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Hi Lori!

      I’m so glad you all loved the recipe! It’s pretty good stuff. I had a hard time passing it up as a kid too.
      Congrats on the 12 year old passing up sugar for 2 weeks. That’s fantastic!
      I’m so flattered that you read my blog. Thank you so much! I’ll try to keep the “new things” coming! lol

      Have a great day,

  2. trude wofford says:

    I love soup, this one is wonderful! thanks for sharing

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Trude – So glad you enjoyed it! I love this soup. I grew up with it. It’s my all time favorite. So many memories wrapped up on one bowl of soup….

  3. Yvonne White says:

    Your cabbage soup recipe looks delicious! I would prefer to use organic lean ground beef (can’t stand ground turkey and there are nutrients in beef not found in turkey). And there’s nothing wrong with whole eggs – I would use two. The yolks are very nutritious and got a bad rap due to ancient faulty studies done with powdered eggs instead of fresh.
    I make my own broth using healthful Himalayan Salt, so the sodium is not a problem unless you overdo it.
    It would also be helpful to know how many Tablespoons to use of caraway seed since it can come in different size jars! I can’t wait to try your recipe. Thanks!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Yvonne – Gracious! This post was in desperate need of an update, which has now been done. Thanks for the heads up!

      You are right that lean beef and whole eggs are clean. But I have found that in putting them together, this recipe was just way too high in cholesterol. So that’s why I made the changes. Feel free to adapt it any way you like to suit your needs.

  4. As I understand it, there is no scientific link that eating cholesterol causes high cholesterol or heart issues. I’m with Yvonne, I think I’ll try it with the 2 eggs. Also, I was wondering about using ground lamb. It struck me that it would be mighty tasty with that!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Becca – I’m not sure how the lamb and caraway would go together. If that’s a combination that appeals to you, by all means. Give it a try. I just don’t care for lamb, so I never cook with it. And yes, 2 whole eggs will work fine. I just try to use egg whites wherever possible because I tend to get my whole eggs elsewhere in my meal plan. I do eat them, but I limit them. Let me know how the lamb turns out!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Tammy – Glad you enjoyed it!

  6. Have you ever tied this in a pressurer cooker?

    1. graciouspantry says:

      No. I don’t own one.

  7. Vintagetink says:

    I made this tonight with ground beef and two whole eggs. It’s very good!

    1. graciouspantry says:

      Awesome! So glad you enjoyed it!

  8. graciouspantry says:

    My pleasure! Glad it worked out!

  9. Buffy Riphagen says:

    Just started eating clean this year and was instantly drawn to this recipe. Tried it today and oh. My. God! Ah-mazing!! Definitely a keeper, thank you so much!

  10. This makes a ton of soup! How would this freeze? I am considering halving the recipe if it can’t be frozen,

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      It freezes great! But the cabbage does get a little softer. Not a bad thing though!

  11. That is a lot of caraway! Is it really supposed to be that much it’s a very strong caraway flavor and u didn’t even add the full amount! I’m not sure my kids will eat it and the recipe made so much…

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Julie – Yes, it’s supposed to have that much. But if you don’t care for it, you can always strain some out. Most of it will sink to the bottom.

  12. I made this last night to have for dinner tonight! It smells SO amazing! I admit, I was a little reluctant with the amount of caraway seeds… but after having a taste – holy smokes – its worth it. It really adds to the soup!
    Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Megan – My pleasure! One of my all time favs!

  13. Have you ever tried this without the meat? I’m not a vegetarian but I prefer most of my food without meat. It sounds delicious and I wonder if it would be just as good if I skip the meatballs.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Lori – The meatballs really make this dish. You could certainly try it, but I’m not sure it would be all that great.

  14. Thank you so much for this recipe! It is nearly the only thing I can eat when I have a gastritis flare up! Easy on my stomach while it is healing and I actually crave it even when im not sick. Yummmyyy!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Erica – My pleasure!

  15. Lee Ann Kaplan says:

    Made this for dinner tonight! My 5 year old says its amazing! My husband thinks I’m trying to kill him with green food (avid veggie hater lol), I’ll update his thoughts after he eats his bowl. I think its delicious and will be making it whenever I feel like it, especially when sickies are in the house or the forecast is wind and rain!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Lee Ann – Haha!! Oh dear. Yes, please tell me what he thinks when he’s done! Glad you enjoyed it! 😀

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