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Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe

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Stuffed cabbage rolls are a classic comfort dish that can bring warmth and nostalgia to your table. This recipe combines tender cabbage leaves with a delicious filling of ground beef, rice, and rich tomato sauce. It’s a perfect meal for family dinners, gatherings, or to simply enjoy on a cozy night at home.

You’ll find the steps easy to follow, making it an accessible recipe even if you’re not a seasoned cook. With clear instructions and helpful tips, you’ll master making flavorful and tender cabbage rolls in no time. Dive into this hearty recipe and discover why it’s a favorite in many households.

Exact Ingredients (+ Possible Substitutes)

For making delicious stuffed cabbage rolls, you’ll need the following ingredients:


  • 1 large head of cabbage


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper


  • 2 cups tomato sauce or tomato juice
  • 1 can condensed tomato soup (optional)

Possible Substitutes


  • Napa cabbage or savoy cabbage can work too.

Ground Beef:

  • Ground turkey, pork, or chicken for a lighter option.

Cooked Rice:

  • Quinoa, bulgur, or cauliflower rice if you want a different texture.


  • Scallions or shallots can be used, or even onion powder.


  • Garlic powder if fresh isn’t available.


  • Fresh cilantro or dill can add a different flavor.

Tomato Sauce:

  • Marinara sauce or even crushed tomatoes with a bit of seasoning.

Mix and match these ingredients to suit your taste or dietary needs. Enjoy cooking!


  1. Prepare the Cabbage:

    • Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
    • Carefully drop in the whole cabbage head.
    • Cook until the outer leaves pull away easily, about 2-4 minutes.
    • Set aside 12 large leaves for the rolls.
  2. Cook the Rice:

    • Bring water and rice to a boil in a saucepan.
    • Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until tender—about 20 minutes.
  3. Make the Filling:

    • In a mixing bowl, combine ground beef, cooked onions, rice, raisins, salt, pepper, and 1/4 cup of tomato sauce.
    • Mix well.
  4. Assemble the Rolls:

    • Place 1/3 cup of filling in the center of each cabbage leaf.
    • Fold the bottom edge over the filling.
    • Fold the sides over and roll into a tidy packet.
  5. Prepare the Baking Dish:

    • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
    • Lightly spray a baking dish.
    • Spread a little tomato soup on the bottom.
  6. Bake:

    • Place cabbage rolls in the dish and top with more tomato soup.
    • Cover tightly with foil.
    • Bake for 1 hour, until thoroughly cooked.
  7. Instant Pot Option:

    • Spray the instant pot with cooking spray.
    • Layer cabbage rolls and sauce, repeating until done.
    • Pour remaining broth around the edge.
    • Cook on high pressure for 15 minutes.

Enjoy your delicious stuffed cabbage rolls!

Tips, Tricks & Storing

Pick the Right Cabbage: Look for a large cabbage with loose leaves. This makes it easier to peel the leaves off without tearing them.

Pre-Cook the Leaves: Boil the cabbage head for a few minutes until leaves are tender. This helps in rolling and folding.

Use Even Portions: Measure the filling to keep the rolls consistent in size. It ensures even cooking.

Secure the Rolls: Use toothpicks to hold the rolls together if they keep unfolding.

Sauce Tips: Use tomato-based sauces for a classic flavor. Add some herbs like basil or thyme for more taste.

Cooking Utensils: Use a Dutch oven or an oven-safe dish with a tight lid. It helps in even cooking and keeps rolls moist.

Check Doneness: Rolls are done when they are firm and the internal temperature of the meat reaches 160°F (71°C).

Freezing: Cool the cabbage rolls completely. Wrap them in plastic wrap or foil, then place them in a sealed container or a zip-lock bag. They can last up to 3 months in the freezer.

Storage MethodDuration
RefrigeratorUp to 3 days
FreezerUp to 3 months

Reheating: For best results, thaw overnight in the fridge. Reheat in the oven at 350°F (175°C) until warm, about 20-30 minutes.

Recipe Variations & Serving Suggestions

Recipe Variations

  1. Meat Options: Try pork or lamb instead of beef for a different flavor.
  2. Vegetarian: Replace meat with a mixture of lentils, mushrooms, and rice.
  3. Spices: Experiment with spices like cumin, paprika, or allspice to add different tastes.
  4. Sauce: Use marinara, spicy tomato sauce, or even a creamy dill sauce instead of plain tomato soup.

Serving Suggestions

  • Mashed Potatoes: A classic side that pairs well with the rich flavors of stuffed cabbage rolls.
  • Sour Cream: A dollop of sour cream on top adds a nice tangy contrast.
  • Salad: A fresh green salad with a light vinaigrette helps balance the heaviness of the rolls.
  • Bread: Serve with crusty bread to soak up the delicious sauce.
Benjamin Happy Muncher

Hi, I'm Benjamin. I love cooking, long walks, and my girlfriend! Here you’ll find simple and delicious recipes that you can make in 30 minutes or less.