Cabbage rolls, also known as stuffed cabbage, are a comforting and hearty dish that combines tender cabbage leaves filled with a savory meat mixture, all smothered in a rich tomato sauce. This classic recipe is a favorite in many cultures and is perfect for a cozy family dinner or special occasion. With layers of flavor and a satisfying texture, cabbage rolls are sure to become a staple in your recipe collection.

Why Make Cabbage Rolls

Cabbage rolls are a delicious and satisfying meal that brings together simple ingredients to create a dish that is greater than the sum of its parts. With a combination of tender cabbage, flavorful meat filling, and tangy tomato sauce, cabbage rolls offer a comforting and nourishing dining experience that is perfect for sharing with loved ones. Plus, they can be made ahead of time and are easily customizable to suit your taste preferences.

How to Make Cabbage Rolls

  1. Prepare the Cabbage: Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil. Submerge the whole head of cabbage and boil for 5 minutes. Remove the cabbage from the pot, drain it in a colander, and let it cool. Trim 1/2 inch off the stem end of the cabbage, then carefully peel off 12 leaves, cutting away the tough rib from the stem end to form a V shape.
  2. Make the Sauce: In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low and add the minced garlic. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Then add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, cider vinegar, and brown sugar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let the sauce simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Prepare the Meat Mixture: In a large bowl, combine the ground pork sausage, ground beef, chopped onion, minced garlic, egg, rice, dried parsley, and paprika.
  4. Assemble the Cabbage Rolls: Place about 1/3 cup of the meat mixture in the center of each cabbage leaf. Fold in the sides and roll tightly. Arrange the cabbage rolls seam side down in a single layer in a 9×13-inch casserole dish. Spread a thin layer of the tomato sauce over the bottom of the dish, then pour the remaining sauce over the cabbage rolls.
  5. Bake: Cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil and bake in a preheated 350°F (175°C) oven for 80-90 minutes, or until the cabbage is tender and the filling is cooked through.

Serving Suggestions

Serve cabbage rolls hot, straight from the oven, garnished with fresh parsley or a dollop of sour cream, if desired. They pair well with mashed potatoes, crusty bread, or a simple green salad for a complete and satisfying meal.

Storage Info

Leftover cabbage rolls can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. They can also be frozen for longer storage. To freeze, place cooled cabbage rolls in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until firm. Once frozen, transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container and store for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.

Some Techniques or Tips

  • Be careful not to overcook the cabbage leaves during the boiling process, as they should be pliable enough to roll but still hold their shape.
  • Make sure to tightly roll the cabbage leaves around the filling to prevent them from unraveling during baking.
  • For a vegetarian version, substitute the ground meat with cooked lentils or a mixture of cooked grains and vegetables.


Feel free to customize the filling with your favorite ingredients, such as different types of ground meat, grains, or spices. You can also add chopped vegetables like carrots, celery, or bell peppers for extra flavor and nutrition. Additionally, experiment with different sauces or toppings to suit your taste preferences.

FAQs about Cabbage Rolls

  1. Can I use a different type of cabbage? While green cabbage is traditional for cabbage rolls, you can also use other varieties such as Savoy cabbage or Napa cabbage if preferred. Just adjust the boiling time as needed based on the cabbage’s thickness and tenderness.
  2. Can I make cabbage rolls ahead of time? Yes, you can assemble the cabbage rolls up to a day in advance and refrigerate them until ready to bake. Simply cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store in the refrigerator until ready to bake. You may need to increase the baking time slightly if baking from cold.
  3. Can I omit the rice from the filling? Yes, you can omit the rice if desired or substitute it with cooked quinoa, couscous, or bulgur for a different texture. Adjust the filling ingredients as needed to maintain the proper consistency and flavor.

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