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
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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
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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.
4.97 from 866 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
ingredients to make Easy Cabbage Rolls with plated dish and writing
plated Easy Cabbage Rolls with a title
cooked Easy Cabbage Rolls in the pan with a title
Easy Cabbage Rolls on a plate with a bite taken out with writing

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Holly Nilsson is the creator of Spend With Pennies, where she creates easy, comforting recipes made for real life. With a passion for nostalgic flavors and simplified techniques, Holly helps busy home cooks create delicious meals that always work. She is also the author of “Everyday Comfort,” which promises to inspire even more hearty, home-cooked meals.
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Comments

  1. I’ve made cabbage rolls with and without cooking the meat first. In my opinion, cooking the cabbage rolls with the raw meat adds much more flavor overall.

  2. These can also be made Whole 30, Keto, Paleo friendly with cauliflower rice and are just as delicious as the original recipe!5 stars

  3. never made cabbage roll before. my friend requested them for our weekly card night. loved the suggestion to use the leftover filling for stuffed peppers. I don’t like peppers but I hate waste more so I made them for the same friend. she was so excited! how long can the rolls be frozen?5 stars

  4. should you freeze before baking or can I make them and freeze the leftover? and does anyone know how long they will last in the freezer?

    1. This recipe freezes well before and after baking! They will last in the freezer for up to 3 months.

  5. Looking forward to eating it. I froze the rolls to enjoy tonight but did I miss
    a defrost time or instructions to cook from frozen?

    1. Hi Ashley, I would recommend thawing overnight and baking if possible. If you do cook right from frozen, I would suggest cooking at 350°F for about 90 minutes or so covered with foil.

  6. Very good. We didn’t take the time to roll them, we layered it like a casserole. It was awesome. my wife and I are going to make the same filling for bell peppers next week.5 stars

    1. you just okaced a layer of cooked (csodteed) cabbage leaves then a layer of filling, then a 2nd layer of cabbage leaves, covered it all with the tomato soup mix and baked? For how long? TIA