Juicy Stuffed Cabbage Rolls are made with simple and inexpensive ingredients, but they have so much flavor! Tender cabbage leaves stuffed with meat, veggies, and rice and simmered in a marinara sauce, make the perfect dinner.

You’ll love that you can cook Cabbage Rolls on the stovetop or bake them in the oven. Watch the video tutorial and see how easy it is to make this satisfying, freezer-friendly meal.

Stuffed cabbage rolls inside a red Dutch oven, covered in sauce.

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We grew up eating traditional family recipes, from Pierogi to Beef Stroganoff, and these are foods we will never get tired of. They are so warm and comforting, especially in the colder months. If you are a fan of wholesome dinner ideas, this cabbage roll recipe is a must-try!

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Video

If you’ve never given cabbage rolls a go, I hope you feel empowered to try them after watching our video. And be sure to watch until the end to hear the important “disclaimer.” 😉

Easy Cabbage Rolls Recipe

This simple cabbage rolls recipe uses budget-friendly ingredients to turn out a delicious, feel-good meal. It’s precisely what I love about Ukrainian food!

Ukrainian golubtsi, or stuffed cabbage rolls, are juicy and filling, with a light sauce that even kids love. My son will happily wolf down four whole rolls topped with sour cream as an afternoon snack. And you won’t find me complaining – stuffed cabbage is a nourishing meal for feeding a hungry crew.

Ingredients

What’s in this homemade cabbage rolls recipe? Below is what you’ll need, and don’t forget to scroll to the recipe card for the full ingredient amounts.

  • Rice – The best rice for cabbage rolls is regular white rice.
  • Cabbages – You’ll need two medium-sized heads of green cabbage.
  • Ground meat – We love the combination of ground pork and ground turkey to keep it juicy and flavorful.
  • Eggs – To bind the ingredients in the cabbage roll stuffing.
  • Carrots – You’ll need four medium-sized carrots for the stuffing and two for the sauce.
  • Marinara – I use my easy Homemade Marinara Sauce, or storebought sauce.
  • White Vinegar – to add to the water when boiling the cabbage. Vinegar helps alleviate some of that “boiled cabbage” smell.
  • Olive Oil and Butter – for cooking.
  • Sour Cream – Sour cream adds creaminess to the sauce. It’s also my favorite for topping and serving cabbage rolls.
The ingredients for stuffed cabbage rolls.

Pro Tip: Aim for medium to large-sized heads of cabbage so that the leaves are big enough. You can always cut the leaves in half, and it’s always good to have extra leaves just in case.

How to Make Cabbage Rolls

Cabbage rolls aren’t difficult to make. They take some time, but it’s a simple process that I’ve outlined below with step-by-step photos. Also, make sure to watch the video above and you’ll be a pro in no time. Here’s how to do it:

Prepare the Rice and Cabbage

  1. Cook the rice – Cook the rice on the stovetop or in a rice maker if you have one. 
  2. Boil the cabbage – Remove the outer leaves, then cut out the cores (see photo). Boil the cabbages one at a time in a large pot of water with salt and vinegar. Pull off the leaves as they begin to soften, and lay them on a platter to cool. Reserve 4 cups of the cooking water.
Photo collage showing how to prepare cabbage for cabbage rolls.

Prepare the Stuffing

  1. Combine the rice and meat – In a large bowl, combine the meats with the cooked rice. 
  2. Saute the carrots – In a pan, saute grated carrots with oil and butter, then stir in your marinara sauce. 
  3. Mix everything together – Pour the carrot mixture into the bowl with the rice mixture and, finally, mix in the eggs and salt.
Photo collage showing how to make the stuffing for cabbage rolls.

Pro Tip: The easiest way to mix the filling is in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.

Filling the Cabbage Rolls

  1. Prepare the leaves – Depending on the size of your cabbage leaves, cut larger leaves in half or flatten smaller leaves by shaving off the thick stems with a pairing knife for easier rolling (see photo). 
  2. Fill and roll – Fill each leaf with a couple of spoonfuls of stuffing mixture, then tightly roll up the cabbage and tuck in the ends. Larger half-leaves are easier to shape into a cone while smaller leaves are rolled into a little log.
  3. Arrange inside the pot – Place the stuffed cabbage into a large pot or Dutch oven, then prepare the sauce.
Photo collage showing how to fill and roll stuffed cabbage.

Making the Sauce

  1. Saute the carrots (again) – To make the Podliva sauce, begin by sautéing the remaining grated carrots in a skillet with olive oil and a dash of seasoning.
  2. Add sour cream and marinara – Once softened, stir in a bit of sour cream and additional marinara sauce. 
  3. Pour over the cabbage rolls – Pour the Podliva over the cabbage rolls, then top with the cabbage water that was reserved earlier on. Your cabbage rolls are now ready for cooking!
Photo collage showing how to make the sauce for stuffed cabbage rolls.

How to Cook Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

There are two ways to cook cabbage rolls:

  • Oven Method – My preferred way of cooking stuffed cabbage is in a Dutch oven with the lid on. Bake at 450ºF for the first 20 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350ºF and bake 1 hour.
  • Stovetop Method – Bring the stuffed cabbage and sauce to a boil in a large pot with a lid. Reduce heat, cover and leave the rolls to simmer for about 40 minutes.

Pro Tip: There’s no need to cook the ground turkey and pork ahead of time, as it will cook inside the rolls. Cooking ahead will dry out the meat.

Common Questions

What are cabbage rolls?

Cabbage rolls consist of cooked, softened cabbage leaves filled with ground meat, rice, and other fillings.

What is the best type of cabbage for cabbage rolls?

These rolls turn out great with inexpensive, regular green cabbage. Another good option would be savoy cabbage.

How do you get cabbage leaves off without breaking them? 

Boiling the cabbage makes the leaves soft and pliable. Cutting out the cores beforehand also makes it easier to remove the leaves as the cabbage softens.

Can I cut the recipe in half?

Yes! This recipe can easily be cut in half. The pot will come to a boil faster, but the final cook time in the oven or on the stovetop will be the same.

Three cabbage rolls served on a white plate next to a fork.

To Serve

Serve your cabbage rolls with a dollop of sour cream and a thick slice of soft French bread. We love ours as a meal with the following easy sides:

Make-Ahead

This recipe makes a lot of cabbage rolls. Luckily, stuffed cabbage is easy to store and freeze:

  • To Refrigerate – Cabbage rolls can be stored airtight in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
  • Freezing – Transfer cooled cabbage rolls in a single layer into freezer-safe Ziploc bags. Add some of the sauce to each bag, remove excess air then seal and freeze for up to 3 months or longer in a deep freezer.
  • To Reheat – Thaw frozen cabbage rolls in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat on an oiled skillet over medium heat until fully heated through, turning a few times while cooking.
Overhead view of stuffed cabbage rolls inside a red Dutch oven, covered in Podliva sauce.

Enjoy these homemade cabbage rolls! I’d love to know how you serve your stuffed cabbage in the comments below.

More Cabbage Recipes

If you love these cabbage rolls and are a fan of cabbage, then you won’t want to miss these cabbage recipes:

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (VIDEO)

4.88 from 142 votes
Author: Natasha Kravchuk
Stuffed cabbage rolls inside a red Dutch oven, covered in Podliva sauce.
Stuffed cabbage rolls are a classic feel-good meal made with simple and inexpensive ingredients. This easy recipe is full of flavor and freezer-friendly!
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 25 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 18 people, makes 40 to 50 rolls
  • 2 cups white rice (uncooked), to make 6 cups cooked rice
  • 2 cabbages (medium)
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 carrots (medium), divided
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 6 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp sour cream
  • 1 tsp salt-free seasoning such as Mrs. Dash
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp sea salt, divided

Instructions

Preparing Rice and Cabbage:

  • Rinse 2 cups of rice and transfer to a large saucepan. Add 3 1/2 cups of water with 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 min, or until all water is absorbed.
  • Fill 2/3 of a large soup pot with water and bring to boil. Add 1/2 Tbsp salt and 4 Tbsp vinegar.
  • Peel and discard the two outer leaves from each cabbage. Use a knife to cut out the cabbage cores. Place first cabbage in water, cork side down, for 5 minutes, flip cabbage over and continue cooking for 5-6 min. Pull off leaves as they begin to soften. Leaves cook faster if pulled apart. Remove the leaves to a platter to cool when they are done. Leaves are done when soft and yellowish and larger leaves will turn a dull green. Repeat with the second cabbage, adding more water if needed. Reserve 4 cups of water from the pot.

Prepare the Stuffing:

  • In a large bowl, or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine meats and rice. 
  • Grate 4 carrots and saute in a large pan in 3 Tbsp oil and 1 Tbsp butter over med/high heat until softened then add 1 cup marinara sauce and saute another minute. Add mixture to rice and meats then add 2 eggs and 1 Tbsp salt and mix well. 

Cutting Leaves and Making Stuffed Cabbage:

  • Large leaves: cut the leaves in half down the center along the stem and remove the tough stem portion. Place 2 Tbsp meat mixture at top of each leaf (or what you can fit since leaf sizes vary). Roll the leaf into a cone shape with the thicker part of the leaf at the base and stuff the wide, thinner leaves into the top. Arrange stuffed cabbage in layers in a dutch oven or heavy-bottomed soup pot. 
  • Small Leaves: slice off the raised surface of the tough center stem to flatten leaves for easier rolling. 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 at the end.

Make the Sauce:

  • Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet. Saute the remaining 2 grated carrots with 1 tsp of Mrs. Dash, cooking until soft. Add 1 Tbsp sour cream and 1 cup marinara sauce. Saute another minute and remove from heat.
  • Pour Podliva sauce over stuffed cabbage and add enough reserved water to almost cover rolls (2 1/2 to 3 cups).

2 Ways to Cook Stuffed Cabbage:

  • Oven Method: If using a dutch oven (recommended method), cover and bake at 450° F for 20-25 min in the bottom third of the oven then reduce heat to 350°F and bake for 1 hour.
  • Stovetop Method: If using a heavy-bottomed pot, bring to a light boil over medium heat, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 40 min.

Notes

To Freeze: Once cabbage rolls have cooled, transfer to freezer-safe Ziploc bags in single layers, adding a little sauce to each bag. Push out any excess air then seal and freeze.
To Reheat: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Add 1 Tbsp oil to a non-stick skillet, then add thawed cabbage rolls, cover, and cook over medium heat, turning a few times until heated through.

Nutrition Per Serving

266kcal Calories26g Carbs14g Protein12g Fat3g Saturated Fat1g Polyunsaturated Fat6g Monounsaturated Fat0.03g Trans Fat52mg Cholesterol778mg Sodium500mg Potassium4g Fiber5g Sugar3674IU Vitamin A40mg Vitamin C70mg Calcium2mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (VIDEO)
Amount per Serving
Calories
266
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
12
g
18
%
Saturated Fat
 
3
g
19
%
Trans Fat
 
0.03
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
6
g
Cholesterol
 
52
mg
17
%
Sodium
 
778
mg
34
%
Potassium
 
500
mg
14
%
Carbohydrates
 
26
g
9
%
Fiber
 
4
g
17
%
Sugar
 
5
g
6
%
Protein
 
14
g
28
%
Vitamin A
 
3674
IU
73
%
Vitamin C
 
40
mg
48
%
Calcium
 
70
mg
7
%
Iron
 
2
mg
11
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Russian, Ukrainian
Keyword: cabbage rolls, how to make cabbage rolls, stuffed cabbage
Skill Level: Medium
Cost to Make: $$
Calories: 266
Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the creator behind Natasha's Kitchen (established in 2009), and I share family-friendly, authentic recipes. I am a New York Times Best-Selling cookbook author and a trusted video personality in the culinary world. My husband, Vadim, and I run this blog together, ensuring every recipe we share is thoroughly tested and approved. Our mission is to provide you with delicious, reliable recipes you can count on. Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy you are here.

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Comments

  • Isabella
    May 20, 2024

    Hi Natasha, I plan to make these this week but we don’t eat pork. Do you think a ground turkey and ground beef combination would be good?

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      May 21, 2024

      Hi Isabela, I haven’t tried that but one of readers shared that they used beef and liked it!

      Reply

  • Grammy B
    April 18, 2024

    Great recipe! Are there any traditional side dishes that go well with these? Maybe all it needs is a nice crusty bread to finish.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      April 18, 2024

      Thank you! Bread- Soft dinner rolls go well with cabbage rolls, you can also serve it with flavored rice dishes.

      Reply

  • Darrell
    March 20, 2024

    I love cabbage rolls and your recipe looks great.

    Do you have a recipe for pork hock soup? (or something similar?) I looked all over your website but found nothing?!

    Reply

  • Lindsay
    March 19, 2024

    I read the make ahead instructions. It says you can leave the cabbage rolls in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Is this cooked or uncooked? If cooked then how do I re heat? Can I put the whole pot in the oven again to reheat or will this over cook them?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      March 19, 2024

      Hi Lindsay! The make-ahead and storing instructions are for cooked cabbage rolls. I reheat them by sautéing on a skillet. You can also microwave smaller batches. I’m sure you could reheat them in the oven as well, I just don’t have the timing/instructions for that. If you do, I would reheat them covered so they don’t dry out. You can add a splash of water to help if they seem dry.

      Reply

  • Dan
    January 9, 2024

    I made these for Orthodox Christmas Sunday and they were amazing! I used ground lamb though instead like my Baba used to and the family tore right through them! Hvala puno!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      January 9, 2024

      I’m so glad they were enjoyed! Thank you for sharing, Dan!

      Reply

  • soph
    December 2, 2023

    Do you have any recommendations for an egg substitute? I recently developed an egg intolerance and can’t eat eggs, but would love to eat this again.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      December 3, 2023

      Hi Soph! I haven’t tested an alternatives. The eggs help bind the meat mixture but it would be ok to just omit the eggs and the cabbage leaves will help hold the meat together while it cooks. Other alternatives would likely be something like bread crumbs.

      Reply

  • Sjt079
    November 28, 2023

    I made these exactly as the recipe is written with the exception of using Mrs. Dash as I didn’t have any. We subbed onion and garlic powder, and some dried thyme. They were so good! Thank you Natasha for another great recipe! Anytime we have a craving for something, we look first to see if Natasha has a recipe because her recipes are always the best!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      November 28, 2023

      Aw, I’m so glad to hear that! Thank you for sharing.

      Reply

  • Madeline
    October 20, 2023

    Hi Natacha,

    If I want to make these vegetarian, is there a good veggie to sub for the meat or would you just leave out the meat all together?

    Thanks!

    Congratulations on your new cookbook by the way! I loved watching you on good morning America!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      October 20, 2023

      Hi Madeline! Thank you. To be honest, I’ve never made these meatless so I am not sure how to advise. I’m sure it could work with some experimentation, maybe use more rice and a veggie mix of your choice. Let us know if you try.

      Reply

    • sara
      October 31, 2023

      Im ukrainian american and make holupchi with vegetarian crumbles. I like the gardein brand “ground be’f”.

      Reply

  • Linda
    August 5, 2023

    Hi Natasha,
    Love all your recipes I even ordered your cookbook. I’m excited . On your cabbage rolls I added some chopped up onion

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      August 5, 2023

      I’m so excited for you to get my book, Linda!

      Reply

  • Mike Murphy
    August 5, 2023

    Second time making them. Nothing is better than cabbage rolls except leftover cabbage rolls.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      August 5, 2023

      Isn’t that the truth! Thank you for your comment, Mike!

      Reply

  • Melissa McClenahan
    May 18, 2023

    I forgot the salt in the met mixture and didn’t realize it until I was wrapping the last roll. So, I added the Tablespoon of salt to the cabbage water. Since I was making them a day ahead, I thought they’d soak in some of the salt and they did! Crisis averted! The cabbage rolls were delicious and a big hit!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 18, 2023

      I’m so glad it worked out, Melissa! Thank you so much for sharing that with me.

      Reply

  • Mike Murphy
    May 5, 2023

    Cabbage Rolls and coffee….. mmmm, mmmm, good.

    It took a while to make them but well worth the effort. The only thing better is leftover cabbage rolls and I have about 40 left over.

    This truly rivals Mrs. Vilve Yachke.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      May 6, 2023

      Hi Mike! I’m so glad you loved the recipe.

      Reply

  • Jeanne
    March 7, 2023

    Oh my gosh, this recipe is SO GOOD!!! I perused many recipes online to find a good one for stuffed cabbage and this one from Natasha’s kitchen seemed the most promising on a late winter day (today!). I followed it exactly except for using only organic grass fed ground beef instead of the other meat and using brown rice instead of white (was already in my pantry). IT WAS SO GOOD!!! We all loved it and I might dream about it tonight… thank you so much for this recipe Natasha!!! Will look for more of your recipes!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 7, 2023

      I’m so happy you enjoyed that. Thank you for sharing that with us, Jeanne!

      Reply

  • CFucci
    March 5, 2023

    This recipe was delicious! The sauce was light and tastey! The combination of ground turkey and ground pork was satisfying and not heavy at all! We loved it!!!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      March 5, 2023

      That’s wonderful to hear. Thank you for sharing!

      Reply

  • Anna, in California
    January 7, 2023

    Natasha, I always enjoy watching your videos. Your recipes are wonderful and your personality is vibrant.
    I would love to make this recipe however I cannot have any tomato products since it is one of the night shade foods that make Rheumatoid Arthritis/joint pain worse. Can you think of another sauce that can be used on the cabbage rolls? (There are other foods in this category as well) As far as I know there is no substitute for tomatoes! I cannot eat white potatoes either, I can have sweet potatoes, they are in a different family.
    I am so glad to know that you belong to the Lord as well. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and joy with us.
    Blessings, ~Anna ~age 79 in a few days. 😉

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      January 7, 2023

      Hi Anna! Thank you for your kind words. I’m so glad you enjoy my recipes.
      I have not tested any substitutions for tomatoes. The one thing I can think of is possibly making a puree of assorted vegetables and using that in place of sauce. You could add spices to it as you find in marinara sauce to add additional flavor. Let us know how you enjoy the recipe if you try an alternative.
      Be blessed!

      Reply

  • Cathi
    December 9, 2022

    My dad always made cabbage rolls with added sauerkraut. They called it holupki (sp?). The sauerkraut is layered in with the cabbage rolls as you put them in the pot. One of my favorite comfort foods. Usually served on top of mashed potatoes.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      December 9, 2022

      Sounds delicious!

      Reply

  • Bill Mawson
    December 4, 2022

    My mom adds finely chopped onions for a little more flavor. She uses Campbell tomatoe soup as a cooking fluid. 3 cans. She also covers the cabbage with some leaves to prevent burning the rolls.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      December 4, 2022

      Sounds good, thanks for sharing!

      Reply

  • Olga
    November 20, 2022

    Hi Natasha,
    Could I assemble these in the morning and put em in the fridge and cook em later in the evening?
    Or even assemble the day before and let it sit in fridge and then cook next day? What ya think?

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      November 21, 2022

      Hi Olga, I recommend reading the “Make-Ahead” portion of the recipe as I have provided some make-ahead tips.

      Reply

  • Olga
    November 20, 2022

    I’m Polish raised in Latvia. I also know good stuffed cabbage .. I thought. These are amazing! Pork and turkey worked so well! Such a good recipe! Thank you! Your recipes rock!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      November 20, 2022

      Thank you for your great comments and feedback, Olga!

      Reply

  • Jottie Geldenhuys
    November 11, 2022

    Thank you so much for the recipe – I love watching documentaries on Ukrainian cuisine but there are no recipes alas! It is very similar to our South African way of cooking. I couldn’t help to notice that they use some kind of pale, grayish cabbage when making these rolls? It almost looks fermented or cured in a way?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      November 11, 2022

      Hi Jottie! Yes, there are many versions of cabbage rolls. They are made differently in each culture that has this dish. Some cultures use pickled cabbage leaves, and they do look “grey-ish”.

      Reply

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