Cabbage Rolls Recipe (VIDEO)
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.
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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.
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.
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
- Cook the rice – Cook the rice on the stovetop or in a rice maker if you have one.
- 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.
Prepare the Stuffing
- Combine the rice and meat – In a large bowl, combine the meats with the cooked rice.
- Saute the carrots – In a pan, saute grated carrots with oil and butter, then stir in your marinara sauce.
- Mix everything together – Pour the carrot mixture into the bowl with the rice mixture and, finally, mix in the eggs and salt.
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
- 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).
- 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.
- Arrange inside the pot – Place the stuffed cabbage into a large pot or Dutch oven, then prepare the sauce.
Making the Sauce
- 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.
- Add sour cream and marinara – Once softened, stir in a bit of sour cream and additional marinara sauce.
- 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!
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.
Cabbage rolls consist of cooked, softened cabbage leaves filled with ground meat, rice, and other fillings.
These rolls turn out great with inexpensive, regular green cabbage. Another good option would be savoy cabbage.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
- Cabbage Soup
- Lazy Cabbage Rolls
- Homemade Sauerkraut
- Cabbage Casserole Recipe
- Red Cabbage Salad with Apple
- Coleslaw Recipe
Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (VIDEO)
- 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
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.