This stuffed cabbage rolls recipe is one I enjoyed from my grandma’s kitchen for years and years.

Tender cabbage leaves are filled with a beef and rice mixture and baked in with a simple tomato sauce.

This dish can be made ahead of time and reheats and freezes well.

cooked Cabbage Rolls in a casserole dish

Types of Cabbage Rolls

This cabbage rolls’ recipe comes from my grandma and my mom. My grandma immigrated from Poland so we have enjoyed many cabbage dishes or even just simple fried cabbage.  Between pierogi and rouladen, Grandma’s kitchen always smelled incredible and there was always something amazing to eat!

There are many many different ways to make cabbage rolls based on family tradition and location. Polish cabbage rolls usually contain meat and rice while the Ukrainian version my friend Penny makes generally contain only rice.

While some add raw meat and rice and cook them with the cabbage, our family has always pre-cooked the rice and meat.

Cabbage Rolls ingredients with labels

Ingredients in Cabbage Rolls

Cabbage

We use a head of regular green cabbage and boil it in a large pot of water to make it tender. Many people freeze the whole head of cabbage and thaw it to eliminate the boiling step but I find the cabbage isn’t as tender this way.

Meat Mixture

My grandmother always used pork in her cabbage rolls so I use a mixture of beef and pork. You can use just one or the other (or any ground meat). Cooked long-grain white rice is added to the meat along with an egg to help it hold together.

Sauce

Most Polish cabbage roll recipes are covered in tomato sauce or tomato juice. We love the addition of a can of tomato soup to tomato sauce. It may not be typical but it softens & sweetens the sauce slightly and tastes delicious!

ingredients in a pot with bowl of cabbage to make Cabbage Rolls

How to Make Cabbage Rolls

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Boil cabbage until tender.
  2. Cook rice slightly undercooked per the recipe below. Brown the ground beef and pork while the rice is cooking. Combine remaining filling ingredients
  3. Add the filling to cabbage leaves and roll. Place seam side down in a casserole dish.
  4. Top with the sauce and bake.

process of rolling Cabbage Rolls and putting in dish

Tips for Great Cabbage Rolls

  • For the most tender cabbage leaves, boil them in salted water.
  • Cut 1/2 inch off the head of cabbage, the leaves will fall off as they cook.
  • Once boiled, use a small knife to cut the thick stem of the leaf (image above).
  • Overlap smaller leaves and fill, even if they’re not pretty, they’ll cook perfectly.
  • You may have leftover filling depending on the size of your cabbage. Extra filling can be added to tomato soup, or stuffed in zucchini or bell peppers.
  • Cabbage rolls can be frozen before or after baking.

plated Easy Cabbage Rolls

More From Grandma’s Kitchen

Did you make these cabbage rolls? Leave a comment and rating below! 

cooked Easy Cabbage Rolls in the dish
4.95 from 496 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Easy Cabbage Rolls

Homemade Cabbage Rolls are so flavorful & filling. With meat, rice, sauce, and cabbage, they're just like Grandma used to make!
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients  

  • 1 head green cabbage
  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 1 pound ground pork (or ground turkey)
  • ½ pound ground beef
  • 2 small onions diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ teaspoon dill weed
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (14 ounces) with juices
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ cups + ⅓ cup tomato sauce divided
  • 1 can tomato soup 10.5 ounces

Instructions 

  • Boil cabbage leaves for about 2 minutes or until soft. (See note below for removing leaves). Set aside to cool.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Cook rice according to package directions but reduce cooking time by 5 minutes so the rice is slightly underdone. Set aside.
  • Cook pork (or turkey), beef, onions, garlic, & seasonings in a pan until no pink remains. Drain any fat. Add in rice, diced tomatoes, & ⅓ cup of tomato sauce. Stir in egg.
  • Mix remaining tomato sauce and tomato soup in a bowl. Spread a very thin layer of the tomato sauce mixture in a 9x13 pan.
  • Remove or thin any thick stem on cabbage leaves. Lay the cabbage leaf flat and add ¼ to ⅓ cup filling to the center of the leaf. Fold in the sides and roll the cabbage up. Place seam side down in the pan. (See note for small leaves). Repeat with remaining cabbage.
  • Pour sauce over the cabbage and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 75-90 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Notes

To remove leaves from head of cabbage, cut approx ¼" off the bottom of the head and place the whole head of cabbage in boiling water. Boil about 2 minutes. Peel off the softened leaves. Place remaining head back in the boiling water and repeat until all of the leaves are removed. Remove any tough stems from cooked leaves.
  • Once boiled, use a small knife to cut the thick stem off the leaf (image above).
  • Overlap smaller leaves and fill, even if they're not pretty, they'll cook perfectly.
  • You may have leftover filling depending on the size of your cabbage. Extra filling can be added to tomato soup, or stuffed in zucchini or bell peppers.
  • Cabbage rolls can be frozen before or after baking.
4.95 from 496 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 488 | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 108mg | Sodium: 431mg | Potassium: 895mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 620IU | Vitamin C: 66.1mg | Calcium: 113mg | Iron: 3.3mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Beef, Casserole, Dinner
Cuisine Polish

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Comments

  1. I make cabbage rolls all the time. My husband loves them in a juicy broth, so I add them to a large pan on stove to cook like soup. I just add extra broth or water with the tomatoes. If I have left over filling, I roll them into meatballs and place on top of the cabbage rolls and put a lid on them to steam and cook. I do not add egg to my filling, and do not cook the meat first, the cooked rice is sticky enough to hold everything together and by simmering with the top on the pan for a few hours everything cooks. I remove the top to cook down the broth a little, so not so watery. I do add garlic powder to the meat and rice mixture and a little more dried spices for flavor.5 stars

  2. I grew up loving these. My mother called them galumpkis. I made this with just beef for the first time. This was amazing! I can’t wait to try it using half pork. Reminds me of home. I wouldn’t change a thing. Absolutely delicious!5 stars

  3. I forgot to mention in my previous post just moments ago that I am not a particularly fast cook but I see no way this meal can be prepped in 45 minutes. It took me twice that before even getting to the rolling stage. Still worth the effort. I would definitely do the cabbage freezer trick because it is time consuming5 stars

  4. They’re made and ready to bake but I can already tell from the recipe and care with all of the ingredients they will be the best. Thanks for your contribution, Can’t wait to serve them up
    I am used to making Lebanese grape leaves with similar ingredients and love those flavors as well.

  5. My mom makes amazing cabbage rolls and I’ve been wanting some so decided to give it a try.Omg I was SO nervous for the filling and rolling part of this but it was actually quick and easy! I used rice that I had cooked the day previously so the whole recipe came together really quickly. I also used full ground beef, as it’s all I had on hand. It turned out great and I’m actually looking forward to making this again. Thank you 5 stars

  6. The flavours of the fillings and spices is very satisfying, the texture is pleasing. I didn’t have enough ground pork so also used a tube of pork sausage. Slicing the bottom off the cabbage worked much better for me then just hacking the core out with paring knife. 4th time I’ve made cabbage rolls in the past year and I thought I was going to give into the idea I was never going to master it (like trying to fold a fitted sheet) but I think this batch was the one that turned it around.5 stars

    1. I have only tried the recipe as written Manuel, so I can’t say for sure but other readers have done that swap with great success. If you try it I would love to hear how it turns out!

  7. boil cabbage whole, let cool for then peel, not peel cabbage before cooking, or you will waste a cabbage. you weren’t clear on instructions. just to point out

    1. Hi Renee, you can find more details on exactly how I boil and peel the cabbage in the notes of the recipe. I hope this helps!

  8. Great recipe. After years making cabbage rolls, a few years ago I switched to Chinese cabbage – it’s less stringy, does not require boiling; just the stem cut and folded over the other side of the leafy. Easier to wrap, and very tender.4 stars

    1. The lower glass jar labeled “tomatoes” are canned diced tomatoes with juices. Crushed tomatoes have the texture of tomato sauce (without chunks of tomato). Hope that helps.

      1. Holly
        Yes I am ukrainian and we only use rice as it is meant to be a meatless side for Xmas Eve. (1 of the 12 meatless dishes)
        Your recipe is wonderful with the combination of two meats. I made these as a main dish, very filling no sides necessary. Just curious, What kind of rice do you use in your filling?
        thankyou5 stars

  9. Thank you for the recipe! I am going to try this for the first time today. Have you ever made these, complete with the sauce and then frozen?

      1. I plan to freeze the leftovers after baking, as it is just my husband and I. How do you recommend reheating after freezing?

      2. I would top them with a little more sauce, cover with foil, and put them in the oven at 350°F. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until heated through.

  10. This recipe looks great, very similar to my grandmothers. I’ll give you a game changing tip though….if you are planning to make these for the holidays buy your cabbage in advance and throw the head in the freezer. If you keep it in there for at least 5 days there’s no need to boil the cabbage. Once it defrosts it comes out nice and soft and easy to roll once you core it. Saves so much time and burnt fingers.

  11. first recipe I’ve come across that precooks the rice AND the ground meat!
    You had a winner at that point!

    Just a couple suggestions.
    The first is to use a hole saw to ‘core’ the cabbage. It will make removing the leaves much easier.
    The second is to pour some milk into the cored cabbage when steaming. Again, the leaves will be more tender and separate much more easily.

    Great recipe!5 stars

  12. Takes me back to my Polish Grandma’s kitchen! Beautiful memories of a younger me standing on that old cow milking stool while she taught me how to master the art of down home cooking that didn’t require expensive equipment. I have spent hours on your site just looking through the recipes and it allows me the luxury of moving away from Monday-meatloaf, Tuesday-tacos and so forth which allows us to have a different meal every night of the month! Now when they ask “what’s for dinner” I know its because they can’t wait to eat, and I get full bellies & empty plates at the end of it all. No more predictable meals for this family!
    Thank you so much for solving that age old question and saving my sanity in the process…5 stars

    1. Those are the best kinds of memories Barbie. I’m so glad you and your family have enjoyed the recipes and found some new favorites!