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Cabbage Rolls

A close up of food, with Cabbage roll
Simple and delicious these classic, homemade cabbage rolls are filled with a seasoned meat mixture with rice and baked in a rich tomato sauce.
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Table of Contents
  1. CABBAGE ROLL INGREDIENTS
  2. HOW TO MAKE THIS CABBAGE ROLLS RECIPE
  3. Can You Make Cabbage Rolls Ahead of Time?
  4. MORE DINNER RECIPES YOU'LL LOVE
  5. JUMP TO RECIPE

Easy to make ahead of time, this cabbage rolls recipe is a comfort food favorite in our family. The meat and rice cooks to perfection inside of the cabbage leaves, and the tomato sauce adds a delicious hint of sweetness.

For more old-fashioned dinner ideas, try our Hamburger CasseroleMeatloaf and Poor Man’s Steaks. For another take on the classic cabbage rolls, try our Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls.

.A close up of food, with Cabbage roll


More Comfort Food Recipes:
Shepherd’s Pie | Easy Chicken and Dumplings


CABBAGE ROLL INGREDIENTS

Cabbage roll and Ground beef

You Will Need:

For the Sauce:

  • 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • ¼ cup water

For the Filling:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ cup onion chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dill
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 cup cooked rice (cook rice in your Instant Pot)
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup of the sauce that has been mixed together
  • 1 head green cabbage

INGREDIENT SUBSTITUTIONS: 

MEAT: Instead of using 1 pound of ground beef, you can also use a pound of ground chicken or turkey. Beef is the traditional meat used in cabbage rolls, but the alternatives are also tasty.

VEGETARIAN: It’s easy to make these cabbage rolls vegetarian by swapping out the ground beef for an extra cup of rice (us 2 cups of rice total).

HOW TO MAKE THIS CABBAGE ROLLS RECIPE

STEP ONE: Preparing the Cabbage Leaves

Cut off ¼ inch from the bottom of the cabbage head. Place the whole cabbage head into a big pot of boiling water and boil for two minutes.

Using long tongs gently peel off the outer cabbage leaves from the cabbage head inside the pot. You can also use the tongs to gently roll the cabbage head around in the hot water and gently lift the leaves.

After several layers have been removed you may have to use a knife to disconnect the leaf next to the core. Set aside the removed leaves to cool while you prepare the sauce and filling.

STEP TWO: In a medium bowl mix all of the sauce ingredients together. Remove ¼ cup of sauce to be added to the meat filling. In addition, spread a thin layer of the sauce in the bottom of 9×13 baking dish.

A plate of food on a table, with Cabbage roll and Sauce
.
STEP THREE: In a skillet, over medium heat, brown the ground beef. Then add the onion, parsley, oregano, salt, pepper and dill. Cook until no pink remains in the meat and onions are tender. Stir in the garlic and cook another minute.

STEP FOUR: Remove from heat and add the cooked rice, ¼ cup mixed tomato sauce and egg. Mix well. Set aside.

A bowl of food on a table, with Cabbage

STEP FIVE: Remove the thick stem of the cabbage leaves. Cutting a V at the bottom of each leaf to notch out the thick part helps it lay flatter.

Food on a table, with Cabbage roll and Rice

STEP SIX: Lay the leaf flat and place ⅓ cup of filling toward the middle bottom of the leaf. Fold burrito style by folding in the sides onto the filling and rolling the leaf up.

If your leaves have torn that’s okay, just fold the torn side in first and cover it up with the other side before rolling.

A tray of food, with Cabbage roll and Casserole

STEP SEVEN: Place the roll seam side down in the prepared baking dish. Repeat the process until all the leaves are filled and dish is filled.

STEP EIGHT: Pour the remaining sauce over the rolls and cover tightly with foil.

A box filled with different types of food, with Cabbage roll and Sauce

STEP NINE: Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Let cabbage rolls sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Can You Make Cabbage Rolls Ahead of Time?

Because these cabbage rolls take time to assemble and cook (about 90 minutes total), planning ahead is helpful. Our evenings are usually pretty busy, so when I cook these I prepare them in the morning and throw them in the oven when it’s dinner time. 

MAKING AHEAD: Cabbage rolls can be prepared ahead of time and kept in the fridge for up to 8 hours. Be sure to cover the rolls with airtight plastic wrap or foil. 

FREEZING: Yes, you can freeze cabbage rolls for up to a month. To prepare the rolls for freezing, allow them to cool completely and refrigerate them overnight first. Add the rolls to airtight freezer bags, along with sauce in each bag. 

REHEATING: To reheat the cabbage rolls, place the rolls and sauce into a saucepan. Cover and simmer until heated through, about 30 minutes.

A close up of a plate of food, with Cabbage roll and Casserole

These cabbage rolls are a hearty main dish that pair well with sauteed vegetables or our beer bread. Mashed potatoes are also perfect to soak up any extra sauce!

MORE DINNER RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE

BEEF: Chili | Goulash
MEATBALLS: Swedish| Sweet & Sour 
EASY: Dirty Rice |  Beer Grilled Chicken

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A close up of food, with Cabbage roll

Cabbage Rolls

5 from 4 votes
Simple and delicious these classic, homemade cabbage rolls are filled with a seasoned meat mixture with rice and baked in a rich tomato sauce.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

For the sauce:

  • 1 can diced tomatoes 14.5 ounce, undrained
  • One 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • ¼ cup water

For the Filling:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ cup onion chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dill
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup of the sauce that has been mixed together
  • 1 head green cabbage

Instructions
 

  • Prepare the cabbage leaves by cutting off ¼ inch from the bottom of the cabbage head. Place the whole cabbage head into a big pot of boiling water and boil for two minutes. Using long tongs gently peel off the outer cabbage leaves from the cabbage head inside the pot. Using the tongs you can roll the cabbage head around in the hot water and gently lift the leaves. After several layers have been removed you may have to use a knife to disconnect the leaf next to the core. Set aside the removed leaves to cool while you prepare the sauce and filling.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a medium bowl mix all of the sauce ingredients together.
  • Spread a thin layer of the sauce in the bottom of 9×13 baking dish.
  • Remove ¼ cup of sauce to be added to the meat filling.
  • In a skillet brown the ground beef cooking along with the onions, parsley, oregano, salt, pepper and dill over medium heat until no pink remains and onions are tender.
  • Stir in the garlic and cook another minute.
  • Remove from heat and add the cooked rice, ¼ cup mixed tomato sauce and egg. Mix well. Set aside.
  • Remove the thick stem of the cabbage leaves (cutting a V at the bottom of each leaf to notch out the thick part and this also helps it lay flatter)
  • Lay the leaf flat and place ⅓ cup of filling toward the middle bottom of the leaf. Fold burrito style by folding in the sides onto the filling and rolling the leaf up. If your leaves have torn that’s okay, just fold the torn side in first and cover it up with the other side before rolling.
  • Place the roll seam side down in the prepared baking dish. Repeat the process until all the leaves are filled and dish is filled.
  • Pour the remaining sauce over the rolls and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
  • Let cabbage rolls sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 273kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 551mg | Potassium: 381mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 120IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 3mg
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Proudly Prepared by the Spaceships Kitchen

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  1. Don says

    This harkens back to my childhood. The smell, the taste, my grandmother and family feast. Can’t wait to try this recipe.

  2. Tammi Haggard says

    Could you possibly replace the rice with riced cauliflower? I had gastric bypass surgery and am not allowed rice and pasta. Was just wondering how the cauliflower would hold up.

  3. Dwight says

    I haven’t tried these yet but I will soon! Mom used to freeze her cabbage instead of boiling it. Just leave it outdoors overnight in the winter. The leaves wilt just the same as if you boiled them.

  4. Mitch says

    Put the rice cauliflower in the mixture
    at the very end as it will disappear when cooked for a long time. It works
    quite well

  5. Theresa VanderVere says

    I also make cabbage rolls as my mother did. Very similar to this recipe. My spices may be a bit different according to taste. The biggest difference my mom did was use canned tomato soup as the sauce. Very easy and we love it. I.use a large can of soup (or 2 mall cans) with a little water to thin it down..it also makes a great sauce for meatloaf.

  6. Shari says

    I make these but no vinegar , dill or oregano. I add bacon to the meat and onions mixture. Put a layer of sauerkraut down with a bit of tomato sauce place the cabbage rolls on top then add kielbasa pieces more sauerkraut and the rest of the tomato juice. They turn out great!!!

  7. Tina says

    This recipe looks awesome but I have always seen and made them from raw hamburger meat. My Grandmother made the same as I, I learned from her. Not sure if the flavor would be different or the texture of the meat the same.

  8. Mindy says

    5 stars
    My 13 yr old daughter made these and they were delicious! Your recipe was very detailed and easy for her to follow! Everyone loved them!

    • Judy says

      I’m going to try this recipe. But wanted to pass on a tip when I make stuffed cabbage. I freeze the head of cabbage. When indefrost it, the leaves come right off.

  9. Belinda says

    5 stars
    I also cut stem out of cabbage, wrap well in plastic wrap and freeze overnight or till ready to use. Leaves peel off so easily.

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