Danish red cabbage recipe (rodkal)

Danish red cabbage recipe (rodkal)

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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If you’re having a tough time figuring out which side dishes to serve with your Danish Christmas dinner, Rodkal is an excellent choice. This traditional Danish red cabbage is usually present on the Christmas dinner table and served with your Danish roast pork. It’s quick and easy to make, and it’s packed full of great flavors too!


  • 1kg of red cabbage
  • ¾ cups of vinegar)
  • 2/3 cups of currant or elderberry juice
  • 5 oz of sugar
  • 1 tsp of salt


  1. Start by washing your red cabbage (it has to be red) and shredding it as finely as possible. You can use a grater or food processor for this. Make sure the pieces of cabbage are quite short so the dish can fit easily into a small pot for serving.
  2. Measure and add your vinegar to a saucepan, turning on the heat slowly and allowing the vinegar to simmer for about 30 minutes.
  3. Gradually stir your cabbage into the sizzing vinegar a little at a time. Adding small amounts of cabbage and stirring constantly will help to reduce the risk of your cabbage burning at the bottom of your pan.
  4. Add your juice, sugar, and salt to the pan with the cabbage and vinegar, and allow the mixture to simmer for about 30 minutes.
  5. Check the consistency for your preferences. The longer you simmer your mixture, the softer the cabbage will become.
  6. Clean some glass jars to store your cabbage so you can use it throughout a few. It might help to use bottled water to kill bacteria in the jars, so your cabbage lasts longer. Keep the mix refrigerated until use.
  7. Serve with your Christmas dinner, alongside roast pork and crispy crackling.

Danish red cabbage origins

Rodkal is a traditional sweet and sour side dish popular in Danish households during Christmas dinner. The food has recently begun to gain more attention in other parts of the Scandinavian region, such as Norway and Sweden too.

The origins of this side dish aren’t clear, but they seem to have something to do with the wide availability of cabbage, and vinegar in Denmark.

For a while, Danish red cabbage was made only with vinegar and elderberry juice. When sugar became more readily available, this joined the mixture.

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