Rødkål: Braised Danish Red Cabbage


The Danish menu boasts a varied repertoire of main meat dishes as well as accompanying vegetables, and one of the most popular Danish vegetable dishes is rødkål. 

This article will cover the rødkål dish in detail, so if you are interested in Danish cuisine, please read on.

What is rødkål?

Rødkål is a dish of steamed red cabbage commonly eaten in Denmark. 

It is similar to coleslaw in Japan or sauerkraut in Germany. 

The name “rødkål” is Danish, with “rød” meaning “red” and “kål” meaning “cabbage.” 

Rødkål can be eaten alone as a salad and is also a popular vegetable to accompany meat dishes in Denmark. 

Due to Denmark’s location in a high latitude, cold region, high-calorie meat dishes that efficiently produce energy have been popular since ancient times. 

Flæskesteg, the Danish version of roast pork, is a typical example.

Flæskesteg: Danish roast pork with a delicious crispy texture"Flæskesteg" is one of the most commonly eaten meat dishes in Danish households, where pork consumption is high. It is a Danish roast pork dish made by roasting chunks of pork belly in the oven.In this article, I will introduce the characteristics of "Flæskesteg," its recipe, and how it is typically enjoyed in local Danish cuisine....

The light and refreshing flavor of rødkål pairs well with meat dishes, and its sweet and sour taste helps to balance out the richness of high-fat meats. 

In addition to Denmark, rødkål is also a popular accompaniment to sausages and other pork dishes in Germany.

Popular as a Christmas dish in Denmark

Rødkål is a dish that is commonly eaten throughout the year in Denmark, but it is considered an essential part of the Danish Christmas meal. 

On Christmas night in Denmark, it is customary to serve Flæskesteg, the Danish version of roast pork, with rødkål as a traditional accompaniment. Danish families often purchase rødkål from supermarkets for their Christmas dinner, and it is also commonly found in jars on supermarket shelves year-round. 

Due to its long shelf life, many households keep jars of rødkål on hand.

Recipe for rødkål

Rødkål gets its name from the process of slowly steaming chopped red cabbage in a pot. 

To prepare the dish, the core of the red cabbage is removed and the leaves are chopped. 

Onions are often added to the dish as well. 

The red cabbage and onion are then fried in oil (or butter) until softened. 

Once the ingredients have softened, the heat is lowered and water, wine vinegar, salt, and pepper are added. 

The dish is then steamed for approximately an hour until the red cabbage is tender. 

Rødkål can be made in large quantities with just one head of red cabbage. 

If there are leftovers, they can be stored in the refrigerator and enjoyed as a side dish with other meals.


Denmark consumes more pork per capita than any other country in the world and has a wide variety of meat dishes. 

Rødkål is an essential side dish for Danish meat dishes, as its refreshing acidity helps to cut through the richness of the meat. 

If you don’t have red cabbage, regular cabbage can be used as a substitute. 

Rødkål can also be made in large quantities and stored as a reserve vegetable to enjoy with other meals.