Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe


Stuffed cabbage rolls, a beloved dish with roots in Eastern European cuisine, offer a perfect blend of flavors and textures. This comforting meal features tender cabbage leaves filled with a savory mixture of ground beef, pork, rice, and spices, all simmered in a rich tomato sauce. Whether you’re looking to explore traditional recipes or searching for a hearty, homemade meal, these stuffed cabbage rolls are sure to impress.

History of Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Stuffed cabbage rolls, known as “golabki” in Poland, “sarma” in the Balkans, and “holubtsi” in Ukraine, have a rich history. This dish dates back centuries and has been passed down through generations, each region adding its unique twist. Traditionally served during festive occasions and family gatherings, stuffed cabbage rolls symbolize warmth, comfort, and a sense of togetherness.


For the Cabbage Rolls:

  • 1 medium head cabbage (3 pounds)
  • 1/2 pound uncooked ground beef
  • 1/2 pound uncooked ground pork
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce, divided
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup uncooked long-grain rice
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon snipped fresh dill or dill weed
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the Sauce:

  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Remaining tomato sauce from the cabbage rolls ingredients
Calories220 per serving

Step-by-Step Instructions

Preparing the Cabbage:

  1. Boil the Cabbage: Start by boiling a large pot of water. Core the cabbage and carefully place it in the boiling water. Cook until the outer leaves pull away easily from the head, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the cabbage from the water and set aside 12 large leaves for the rolls.
  2. Prepare the Leaves: Cut out the thick vein from the bottom of each leaf, creating a V-shaped cut. This makes the leaves easier to roll.

Making the Filling:

  1. Combine Ingredients: In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, ground pork, 1/2 cup of tomato sauce, chopped onion, uncooked rice, parsley flakes, salt, dill, and cayenne pepper. Ensure the ingredients are thoroughly combined for even flavor distribution.

Assembling the Rolls:

  1. Fill the Leaves: Place about 1/4 cup of the meat mixture on each cabbage leaf. Overlap the cut ends of the leaf, fold in the sides, and roll up from the cut end. Ensure the rolls are tight and secure to prevent them from unrolling during cooking.

Cooking the Rolls:

  1. Prepare the Dutch Oven: Slice the remaining cabbage and place it in the bottom of a Dutch oven. Arrange the cabbage rolls seam side down over the sliced cabbage.
  2. Make the Sauce: In a separate bowl, combine the diced tomatoes, sugar, and remaining tomato sauce. Pour this mixture over the cabbage rolls, ensuring they are well-covered.
  3. Bake: Cover the Dutch oven and bake at 350°F (175°C) for about 1-1/2 hours, or until the cabbage rolls are tender and the filling is cooked through.

Serving Suggestions

Stuffed cabbage rolls are best served hot, straight from the oven. Pair them with a side of mashed potatoes, a dollop of sour cream, or a slice of crusty bread to soak up the delicious tomato sauce. For an authentic touch, sprinkle some freshly chopped dill or parsley over the top before serving.

Tips for the Best Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

  • Choose Fresh Cabbage: Fresh, firm cabbage heads are easier to work with and provide better flavor.
  • Season Generously: Don’t skimp on the seasonings in the meat mixture. Proper seasoning ensures the filling is flavorful and complements the cabbage and tomato sauce.
  • Cook the Cabbage Properly: Boiling the cabbage just enough to make the leaves pliable without overcooking them is key to easy rolling and perfect texture.
  • Use a Dutch Oven: A Dutch oven provides even heat distribution, ensuring the cabbage rolls cook uniformly and stay moist.


Stuffed cabbage rolls are a testament to the beauty of traditional cooking, bringing together simple ingredients to create a dish that’s both hearty and comforting. Whether you’re making them for a special occasion or a weeknight dinner, these rolls are sure to become a favorite in your home. Enjoy the rich flavors and satisfying textures of this timeless recipe.

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