Golubtsi Recipe; A classic Ukrainian food

Our family loves these stuffed cabbage rolls. This step-by-step recipe makes it so easy! Absolutely delicious recipe for these cabbage rolls (golubtsi)

Its pronounced “golubtsy”or “goloobsti.” It’s also known as stuffed cabbage, but not like any stuffed cabbage you’ve ever had. This is something every Russian and Ukrainian family makes. This is my Mama-in-law’s recipe. It tastes just like my moms; PERFECT!!

Golubtsi take a lot of time if you are making the full recipe (2 hours to prep and stuff the cabbage, then 1 to 2 hours to cook). By “family size,” I mean; Mom, Dad and 12 kids (That many kids is not uncommon in the land of Ukraine – in fact, I can name off several families that have 10 or more kids). My point is, it makes a full pot.

I will say this: Golubtsi are worth the trouble! You can make the whole batch and then freeze it in portions using freezer safe tupperware. That’s what I did and you honestly can’t tell the difference in taste whether you saute up the fresh or thawed golubtsi.

Ingredients for Golubtsi:

6 cups medium grain cooked white rice (from 2 cups uncooked rice – instructions below)
2 Medium Cabbages
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground turkey
2 large eggs
6 medium carrots, grated (4 for meat mix, 2 for “Podliva” sauce)
2 cups of your favorite mushroom marinara sauce
1/4 cup white vinegar
Olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp sour cream
1 tsp Mrs. Dash, or your favorite salt-free seasoning
Salt

Our family loves these stuffed cabbage rolls. This step-by-step recipe makes it so easy! Absolutely delicious recipe for these cabbage rolls (golubtsi)

Watch How to make Golubtsy:

Cooking Rice and Cabbage

1. Rinse 2 cups white rice and cook in 3 1/2 cups water with 2 Tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp salt. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. Or do the same thing in a rice maker.

2. Fill 2/3 of  large soup pot with water. Bring to a boil. Add 1/2 Tbsp salt and 4 Tbsp vinegar.

Our family loves these stuffed cabbage rolls. This step-by-step recipe makes it so easy! Absolutely delicious recipe for these cabbage rolls (golubtsi)

3. Peal and discard the top two leaves from each cabbage. Use a knife to cut out the core of each cabbage (see picture). Put first cabbage in water, cork down, for about 5 minutes, then rotate and continue cooking another 5-6 min. You will pull off leaves as they begin to soften.

The leaves will cook faster if they are pulled apart. Remove the leaves to a platter to cool when they are done. You know they are done when they are soft and yellowish and larger leaves will turn a dull green. Repeat with the second cabbage, adding more water if needed.

Our family loves these stuffed cabbage rolls. This step-by-step recipe makes it so easy! Absolutely delicious recipe for these cabbage rolls (golubtsi)Our family loves these stuffed cabbage rolls. This step-by-step recipe makes it so easy! Absolutely delicious recipe for these cabbage rolls (golubtsi)Our family loves these stuffed cabbage rolls. This step-by-step recipe makes it so easy! Absolutely delicious recipe for these cabbage rolls (golubtsi)Reserve about 3-4 cups of water from the pot!

Stuffing/ Meat Mixture Prep

1. Mix ground meats and rice together in a large bowl.

Our family loves these stuffed cabbage rolls. This step-by-step recipe makes it so easy! Absolutely delicious recipe for these cabbage rolls (golubtsi)

2. Grate and saute 4 carrots in approximately 3 Tbsp oil and 1 Tbsp butter over med/high heat. Once they are soft, add 1 cup of mushroom marinara sauce and saute another minute.

Our family loves these stuffed cabbage rolls. This step-by-step recipe makes it so easy! Absolutely delicious recipe for these cabbage rolls (golubtsi)Our family loves these stuffed cabbage rolls. This step-by-step recipe makes it so easy! Absolutely delicious recipe for these cabbage rolls (golubtsi)

3. Add carrot mixture to rice and meat. Add 2 eggs and 1 Tbsp salt. Mix well (it’s easy to mix with a KitchenAid with a paddle attachment.

Our family loves these stuffed cabbage rolls. This step-by-step recipe makes it so easy! Absolutely delicious recipe for these cabbage rolls (golubtsi)

Cutting & Stuffing Cooked Leaves:

1. Small Leaves: slice off the raised surface of the tough center stem just to flatten the leaf and make it easier to roll. Fill each cabbage leaf with about 2 Tbsp meat mixture. Place the filling over the stem/ bottom portion. Roll like a burrito and stuff both ends in with fingers.

2. Large leaves: cut the leaves in half down the center removing the tough stem portion- you will end up with 2 leaves. Place 2 Tbsp meat mixture at the top of each leaf (or as much as you can fit – leaf sizes vary). Roll the leaf into a cone shape with the thicker part of the leaf at the base and stuff the wide part into the top. As you stuff your cabbage, arrange them either in the same pot you used to cook the cabbage or in a cast iron dutch oven.

Our family loves these stuffed cabbage rolls. This step-by-step recipe makes it so easy! Absolutely delicious recipe for these cabbage rolls (golubtsi)Our family loves these stuffed cabbage rolls. This step-by-step recipe makes it so easy! Absolutely delicious recipe for these cabbage rolls (golubtsi)

How to make Podliva (Sauce)

1. Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Saute remaining 2 grated carrots with 1 tsp of Mrs. Dash. Stir until soft. Add 1 Tbsp sour cream and 1 cup of mushroom marinara sauce. Saute another minute and remove from heat.

Our family loves these stuffed cabbage rolls. This step-by-step recipe makes it so easy! Absolutely delicious recipe for these cabbage rolls (golubtsi)

2. Pour Podliva over the Golubtsy and add enough reserved water to almost cover goloobtsi (2 1/2 to 3 cups).

Our family loves these stuffed cabbage rolls. This step-by-step recipe makes it so easy! Absolutely delicious recipe for these cabbage rolls (golubtsi)Our family loves these stuffed cabbage rolls. This step-by-step recipe makes it so easy! Absolutely delicious recipe for these cabbage rolls (golubtsi)

There are 2 ways to Cook these:

1. If using the pot, bring to a light boil, then cover and simmer 40 minutes over medium heat.

2. If using a dutch oven (recommended method), pre-heat the oven to 450˚ F, cover and bake for 20-25 minutes on the bottom third (one step below the center rack). When it bubbles, reduce heat to 350°F and bake 1 hour.

(Click Here to watch our video tutorial)

Golubtsi Recipe; A classic Ukrainian food - Голубцы

5.0 from 34 reviews
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
These stuffed cabbage rolls are the best I've tried! Cabbage rolls (golubtsi) are made with simple, inexpensive ingredients but are super delicious (and a freezer friendly meal!) My family loves these with sour cream and soft French bread.
Author:
Skill Level: Medium
Cost To Make: $16-$20
Serving: 12-16

Ingredients

  • 6 cups medium grain cooked white rice (from 2 cups uncooked rice - instructions below)
  • 2 Medium Cabbages
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 medium carrots, grated (4 for meat mix, 2 for "Podliva" sauce)
  • 2 cups of your favorite mushroom marinara sauce
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp sour cream
  • 1 tsp Mrs. Dash, or your favorite salt-free seasoning
  • Salt

Instructions

How to prep the Rice and Cabbage

  1. Rinse 2 cups white rice and cook in 3½ cups water with 2 Tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp salt. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. Or do the same thing in a rice maker.
  2. Fill ⅔ of large soup pot with water. Bring to a boil. Add ½ Tbsp salt and 4 Tbsp vinegar.
  3. Peal and discard the top two leaves from each cabbage. Use a knife to cut out the core of each cabbage (see picture). Put first cabbage in water, cork down, for about 5 minutes, then rotate and continue cooking another 5-6 min. You will pull off leaves as they begin to soften. The leaves will cook faster if they are pulled apart. Remove the leaves to a platter to cool when they are done. You know they are done when they are soft and yellowish and larger leaves will turn a dull green. Repeat with the second cabbage, adding more water if needed. Reserve about 3-4 cups of water from the pot!

Stuffing/ Meat Mixture Prep

  1. Mix ground meats and rice together in a large bowl.
  2. Grate and saute 4 carrots in approximately 3 Tbsp oil and 1 Tbsp butter over med/high heat. Once they are soft, add 1 cup of mushroom marinara sauce and saute another minute.
  3. Add carrot mixture to rice and meat. Add 2 eggs and 1 Tbsp salt. Mix well.

Cutting & Stuffing Cooked Leaves:

  1. Large leaves: cut the leaves in half down the center removing the tough stem portion- you will end up with 2 leaves. Place 2 Tbsp meat mixture at the top of each leaf (or as much as you can fit - leaf sizes vary). Roll the leaf into a cone shape with the thicker part of the leaf at the base and stuff the wide part into the top. As you stuff your cabbage, arrange them either in the same pot you used to cook the cabbage or in a cast iron dutch oven.
  2. Small Leaves: slice off the raised surface of the tough center stem just to flatten the leaf and make it easier to roll. Fill each cabbage leaf with about 2 Tbsp meat mixture. Place the filling over the stem/ bottom portion. Roll like a burrito and stuff both ends in with fingers.

How to make Podliva (Sauce)

  1. Heat approx. 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Saute remanding 2 grated carrots with 1 tsp of Mrs. Dash. Stir until soft. Add 1 Tbsp sour cream and 1 cup of mushroom marinara sauce. Saute another minute and remove from heat.
  2. Pour Podliva over the Golubtsy and add enough reserved water to almost cover goloobtsi (2½ to 3 cups).

There are 2 ways to Cook these:

  1. If using the pot, bring to a light boil, then cover and simmer 40 minutes over medium heat.
  2. If using a dutch oven (recommended method), cover and bake at 450 ° F for 20-25 minutes on the bottom third (one step below the center rack). When it bubbles, reduce heat to 350°F and bake 1 hour.

 

Our family loves these stuffed cabbage rolls. This step-by-step recipe makes it so easy! Absolutely delicious recipe for these cabbage rolls (golubtsi)

Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review

  • Marisa d'Escoto
    September 12, 2017

    I’m planning on making this recipe next week! And was wondering, how many quarts is your Dutch oven you used? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      September 12, 2017

      Hi Marisa, it is a 5 1/2 Qt Dutch oven. Reply

  • vince
    September 11, 2017

    Love the site! I was wondering what the difference was between Goubsti and Halupki? (if any!) Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      September 11, 2017

      Hi Vince, I think it is just a difference in how they are named – some Slavic people call them golubtsi and others call them halupki. Reply

  • Linka
    August 7, 2017

    In Poland we also make these 🙂 They are called ‘gołąbki” – it means ‘little pigeons’. Does the Ukrainian name mean the same? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      August 7, 2017

      Hi Linka, you know, I’ve never thought of it that way but golub means pigeon! What a funny name for food – I just love how creative and strange it is 😉 Reply

  • Madera Roja de la Secoya
    July 27, 2017

    It is so disappointing to try to watch your videos on Youtube because of the adverts that you cannot see the process very well. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      July 27, 2017

      Hi Madera, we don’t really control the specific types of ads that YouTube puts up – we definitely have more control of what shows on our site though. I hope your experience was better here 🙂 Reply

  • Ari
    July 18, 2017

    I’ve been dying to try to making these and researching recipes. I’m a Puerto rican American and my husband is from Lviv, Ukraine. Obviously I have like zero experience with making Ukrainian or Russian foods. You made my biggest fear of separating the leaves and the “fancy” folding part so simple! GREAT VIDEO! I did make some small changes to the filling [ I added fresh parsley and sautéed onions]. But it’s a tasty recipe either way, my husband devoured them, and I froze a bunch for later. Sorry this is so long …I just wanted to say …really appreciate your Ukrainian and Russian recipes [ as does my husband 🙂 ]. THANKS!! [dia-koo-you!!!] Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      July 18, 2017

      You’re welcome Ari! I’m happy to hear you both are enjoying the recipes! Thanks for sharing your wonderful review! 🙂 Reply

  • Marina
    July 16, 2017

    Hi Natash,
    Just made these and they turned out delicious, just like grandma and mom make. Love the flavor and simplicity of this récipe and how it captures the authentic flavor! Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      July 17, 2017

      Hello Marina! I’m so glad to hear you love the recipe! Thanks for sharing your excellent review! Reply

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