Stuffed Cabbage Rolls


Making stuffed cabbages is a big deal for me. In fact, EATING stuffed cabbages is even a bigger deal.

When I was growing up, it seemed like we had stuffed cabbages ALL the time!

This was a typical Sunday in our house…

We would all go to church in the morning…

After church, we’d go into the living room while my Dad put on Polka Varieties (oh, I can’t even believe I’m telling you this!)…

Suddenly the living room was filled with polkas and my sisters and I would dance around the living room with my Dad.

Mom was in the kitchen mashing potatoes to go with the stuffed cabbages – otherwise known as gołąbki (gaw-WOHMP-kee).

Every Christening, every Confirmation and every holiday had stuffed cabbages as part of the celebration.

Sometimes my Aunts would bring stuffed cabbages…sometimes several of my Aunts would bring stuffed cabbages to the same party.

Then it would be a stuffed cabbage smack down.

Needless to say, when I left home – I left stuffed cabbages behind and haven’t had one in 30 years.

Last week, I found myself craving them and wanted to recreate the cabbage rolls of my youth.

I don’t have Mom’s recipe and spent a few days researching different recipes online and was really surprised what I found.

It seems like every nationality claims cabbage rolls as their own – Slovak, Polish, Russian and Jewish.

Since Mom is Slovak and Dad is Polish, I came up with the recipe close to what she would make (with the exception of sauerkraut – I like sauerkraut!)

Here we go…the recipe is a bit time-consuming but certainly worth the effort!

Start with a whole head of cabbage and peel off the outer leaves.

Immerse cabbage head in boiling water for 3-4 minutes until outer leaves are soft and not mushy.

Pull the whole head from the hot water and let cool. (Keep the water on a low boil for you will use it again.)

Mix the meat filling with 1 1/2 lbs. of ground beef, 1/2 lb. ground pork, 1 egg, 1 cup (cooked) brown rice, 1/2 cup tomato sauce, 1 tbs. chopped parsley, 1 tsp. sweet Paprika, 1 tsp. allspice and salt and pepper to taste.

Mix well and prepare the cabbage leaves for rolling.

Remove the outer leaf from the head and trim away the thick stem at the base of the leaf.

Turn leave over with the bottom stem facing you.

Fill with about 1 cup of meat filling forming into a little loaf.

Tuck the left side of the leave in and roll.

Once rolled, tuck in the right side of the cabbage roll to secure.

Continue forming rolls with cabbage leaves.

You want need to re-immerse the cabbage head into the boiling water half way throw to soften the inner leaves.

This recipe should make 10 – 12 cabbage rolls depending on the size of the leaves.

Take the remaining cabbage head and chop in to small pieces.

Place chopped cabbage and 1 1/2 cups of rinsed and drained sauerkraut in the bottom on a big pot.

Mix up the tomato sauce using the remaining tomato sauce, 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes, 2 tbsp. tomato paste, 1 tbs. brown sugar, 1 clove minced garlic, 1/2 cup chicken stock and salt and pepper to taste.

Cover the sauerkraut with a layer of stuffed cabbages followed by half the sauce.

Layer another 1/2 cup of sauerkraut over the cabbage rolls and top with the remaining rolls.

Pour the remaining sauce over the rolls and cover with a tight fitting lid.

Bring sauce to a boil over medium heat and once boiling, reduce to a low simmer.

Cook on low for 2 1/2 hours until cabbage leaves are soft.

Note: you don’t want to cook the cabbage rolls at too high of a heat for it may break up the delicate leaves.


We like ours with mashed potatoes and some people top with sour cream.

I’m off to surprise my Dad with a bowlful of yesterday!

5.0 from 4 reviews
Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
A delicious Slovak/Polish recipe from my past.
  • For Filling:
  • 1½ lb. ground meat
  • ½ lb. ground pork
  • 1 cup cooked rice (white or brown)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbs. chopped parsley
  • 1 finely minced onion
  • 1 tsp. sweet Paprika
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 medium-large head of green cabbage
  • 1 lb. package sauerkraut
  • For Sauce:
  • Remaining sauce of 15 oz. can of tomato sauce (1/2 cup used in filling)
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Rinse and drain sauerkraut
  2. Remove outer edges from cabbage head and rinse.
  3. Prepare a large pot of boiling water to submerge cabbage head.
  4. Prepare meat filling by combing ground beef, ground pork, cooked rice, egg, chopped parsley, chopped onion, Paprika, allspice, ½ cup tomato sauce and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Immerse head of cabbage into boiling water for 3 - 4 minutes until leaves are partially soft.
  6. Remove head from water and let cool.
  7. Once cooled, remove leaf from cabbage head.
  8. With a paring knife, trim down stem on the leaf.
  9. Fill bottom part of leaf with about 1 cup of meat filling.
  10. Tucking in the left side, roll up the meat filling into the cabbage leaf.
  11. Tuck in the right side of the leaf into the roll.
  12. Continue rolling leaves until meat filling is gone.
  13. Chop remaining cabbage head into small piece and place into the bottom of a large pot followed by 1½ cups of sauerkraut.
  14. Mix tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, 1 clove minced garlic, 1 tbsp. brown sugar and salt and pepper to taste.
  15. Place a layer of rolls over the sauerkraut followed by ½ of the tomato mixture.
  16. Make another layer of remaining rolls followed by remaining sauerkraut.
  17. Top off with the other ½ of the tomato sauce.
  18. Cover pot and bring sauce to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer and cook for 2 - 2½ hours until leaves are soft.

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60 comments on “Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

  1. Cucina49 on said:

    Those are fabulous–I remember cabbage rolls from my childhood, but have never tried to make them.

  2. Melanie on said:

    YUM!!! Those look delicious. Good pictures mama.

  3. jeremy on said:

    i am making them tonight!!needed a good recipe,thanks so much!!

  4. Madonna on said:

    Please share with us what your dad had to say.

    I love stuffed cabbage, but I am always at a loss to know what to serve with them. Thank you.

    • A Kitchen Muse on said:

      Hi Madonna! It was so much what he said but what he did. He took the bowl from my hands and set the table! We always have our cabbages with a heaping spoonful of mashed potatoes and rye bread.

  5. These were so good! Well worth the effort.

  6. margaret on said:

    Hi! thank u so much for this recipe! My dad was Polish and I was looking for a good ‘stuffed cabbage’ recipe to make as I didn’t get to learn to cook it growing up. I would love to serve them to him now but I know he is watching me make them from that kitchen in the sky!! Love u dad! x

  7. I made this dish tonight for dinner, didn’t have all the fixin for tomato sauce so I topped it with Ragu Alfredo sauce. Holy cow, was it ever good. I followed the filling part but I did add 2 kinds of pappers and lot of garlic and also boiled the cabbage for 8 mins. I baked my dish at 350 for an hour and a half. Wonderful flavors, will make it again, thanks for sharing :-)

  8. Delicious! I took the suggestion of another commenter and baked at 350 for about an hour and a half instead of simmering (it’s just easier for me than babysitting it on my temperamental stovetop). Turned out beautifully. Thanks for the great recipe; we will definitely make this again.

  9. Christy on said:

    I have made this twice already, still had cabbage in our garden, and my husband made homeade sauerkraut this year. This recipe is amazing, just wish I would’ve had this while my polish Grandfather was still around, he would have loved this.

    • A Kitchen Muse on said:

      That’s why I wrote about this recipe – it’s my Mother’s. She has dementia and doesn’t remember much these days. I’m trying to preserve her recipes for my daughters. God bless.

  10. Pat Masson on said:

    I used to make it with similar ingredients but lost my recipe. I am going to make it this weekend using your recipe. Thank you!!

  11. Chelsa on said:

    Hi! Can you make this in the crockpot?

  12. Melenie Clardy on said:

    I looked at several stuffed cabbage recipes before choosing yours. It is just excellent! Today I made it for the second time. The first time we didn’t have any sauerkraut so this time we are looking forward to trying it exactly as you posted it.

  13. shelley on said:

    It’s been a long time since I’v had these. I belive I’ll make these this sunday. I luv them. Thank’s for th recipe.

  14. This is, by far, the best recipe for cabbage rolls I have ever tasted. My husband is Polish descent and I made them as a treat for his birthday. He absolutely loved them. Thank you for sharing your family recipe with us.

  15. This recipe looks great, but you may want to make a few corrections: In the list of Ingredients, you mention 1/2 cup of chicken broth and 2 Tbsp. of tomato paste, but these are not included anywhere in the Instructions. Also, is it chicken broth or chicken stock? You list “broth” in the ingredients but refer to “stock” up above (in between the pictures). They’re similar but not identical.

  16. alice on said:

    Never had until went to work in KC now one i
    one of my very favorites except I make a ton of them in the crockpot. Use tomato soup instead of sauce paste doctor them up

  17. Shesin on said:

    Unfortunately this article has an error. It states: “It seems like every nationality claims cabbage rolls as their own – Slovak, Polish, Russian and Jewish.” This is an incorrect statement. Jewish is a religion, NOT a nationality.

    • A Kitchen Muse on said:

      I beg to differ. Judaism is a religion. The word “Jewish” covers the culture. According to Wikipedia –

      Jewish ethnicity, nationality and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation.

      In any case, this recipe is Eastern European where many Jewish people originated from.

  18. beverley siwak on said:

    I am thrilled to have come across your recipe
    we are a Jewish family living in Melbourne Australia
    my dear Mum and Great Aunts always made these unfortunately not leaving a recipe before they passed away, will try yours this week.

  19. I’m always looking for a good cabbage roll, cabbage, sauerkraut recipe….this looks wonderful! What about the 1 cup filling per roll? That’s a lot of filling per leaf….! Is that true? I’ll do it if you say so.

    • A Kitchen Muse on said:

      This is a good recipe. I grew up on it! As far as the amount of filling per roll, it all depends on the size of the cabbage leaf. Fill it enough to fold up and if it’s too much, you’ll know. Enjoy!

  20. broketaxpayer on said:

    You can soften the cabbage leaves by cutting the core out, wrapping the cabbage head in plastic wrap, and microwave. When the cabbage turns bright green, it’s ready to roll but let it cool first or you’ll get burned.

    Also, cook it in a crock pot. It saves a lot of time and tastes wonderful!

  21. I grew up eating my grandmother’s (who is Polish)cabbage rolls. Never had them with sauerkraut. Cant wait to try this recipe. Thank you for posting it.

  22. Can you freeze these and then reheat them? Or will that damage the leaves? I’d like to try this but 12 seems like a lot for one person. I could cut the ingredients in half, but if I can freeze them, then I can enjoy them later.

  23. This is a fabulous recipe. I’ve made it the past several New Years Days. I double the recipe and make several freezer meals out of it. Thanks!

  24. Eileen Ross on said:

    I can smell them now! Well…that’s because they are cooking merrily away in the oven. I have tried several ways to make cabbage rolls, and these appear as a “cut above” the rest. Thank you soooo much!

  25. Savoir on said:

    I realize this is an old post but, as another commenter mentioned, you list chicken stock in the instructions but, never say where it goes!
    Fix this omission and I might try the recipe. Frankly, I’m rather surprised you haven’t made the correction already.
    Either you don’t care that your recipes are inaccurate or you’re just slovenly!

    • A Kitchen Muse on said:

      Typically I don’t approve rude comments like yours. But for some reason this morning, I feel the need to respond. If you were to take the time to read the blog, you would see that it clearly states: “Mix up the tomato sauce using the remaining tomato sauce, 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes, 2 tbsp. tomato paste, 1 tbs. brown sugar, 1 clove minced garlic, 1/2 cup chicken stock and salt and pepper to taste.”

      I resent your comments about me not caring and even more about being slovenly. I stopped blogging years ago when my Mom passed away and since then, my husband has been plagued with a disabling disease so addressing comments is not always my first priority in the day.

      Maybe next time before you so crassly make your judgmental comments – you’ll think twice. Have a blessed day.

  26. Kathleen on said:

    Thank you for this delicious recipe! My mom was of Polish and Ukrainian descent and made this dish when we were growing up. I found the instructions crystal clear. Thank you again for sharing your Mom’s recipe!

  27. Jean | on said:

    I enjoyed reading your stuffed cabbage roll story, and your recipe sounds delicious! This is a dish not a part of my heritage, but that of a dear friend. We get together a couple times a year to make a huge batch of her mother’s golumpkis and reminisce about that woman who was so dear to both of us. I posted “my” story in January 2015. We have a meal together and then divide the remaining to go into each of our freezers for future meals. I put my half in five 3-cup rectangular glass storage containers. Like yours, their family enjoyed golumpkis and polkas on many occasions!

  28. Chucky P on said:

    I make cabbage rolls, but these have pork and egg in them and 1 tbs. of allspice? Never heard of that in cabbage rolls. Doesn’t the allspice take over the flavor of everything? Can’t wait to try your recipe.

  29. Love this recipe. Not sure why some people make time to give negative comments, hmmm. I also added dill, because we love love love it. Thanks Kitchen Muse. :)

  30. Carol Kiermaier on said:

    This was the best cabbage roll recipe I’ve ever tasted! Your directions were clear and concise. I’ll never make these any other way! My non-cabbage loving husband liked it too!

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