Quick Curtido (Salvadoran Cabbage Slaw) Recipe

This vinegary slaw brings crunch and a hit of acid to a host of rich, long-cooked dishes that call out for brightness and texture.

Overhead view of quick curtido in a white bowl.

Serious Eats / Lauren Rothman

Why It Works

  • A hot vinegar brine lends acidity to cabbage, onions, and carrots, but quickly cooling it in the refrigerator with the vegetables retains their crisp texture and bright, fresh color.
  • Lightning-quick to prepare, the curtido will only get better with age in the fridge.

What sauerkraut is to a hotdog and kimchi is to a Korean pancake, curtido is to a variety of Latin American dishes. This funky, vinegary cabbage, onion, and carrot slaw brings crunch and a hit of acid to a host of rich, long-cooked dishes that call out for brightness and texture. Traditional curtido is prepared days in advance, allowing it to develop a fermented tang, but this shortcut version—ready in only an hour—is a nice fallback when you don't have time to think ahead. Spoon it atop papusas, layer it into gorditas, or serve it with rich braises such as beef barbacoa or pork adovada.

May 2014

Recipe Facts



Prep: 5 mins
Active: 10 mins
Marination Time: 60 mins
Total: 65 mins
Serves: 10 servings
Makes: 5 cups

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  • 1/2 small (2-pound) green cabbage, cored and very thinly sliced (about 4 cups)

  • 1/2 medium white onion, peeled and very thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)

  • 2 carrots, peeled and shredded (about 1/2 cup)

  • 1 small jalapeño, ribs and seeds removed, minced (optional)

  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. In a large bowl, toss together cabbage, onion, carrot, and jalapeño, if using. In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, salt, and sugar and cook over medium heat, stirring, until salt and sugar are just dissolved. Pour brine over vegetables and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for one hour before serving (see note).


Curtido is ready within one hour, but improves with time. It can be stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to one month.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
33 Calories
0g Fat
8g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10
Amount per serving
Calories 33
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 142mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 36mg 182%
Calcium 50mg 4%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 228mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)