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:

Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (VIDEO)

4.88 from 141 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 Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

Read more posts by Natasha

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Recipe Rating




Comments

  • Lydia L.
    November 9, 2022

    Mmm…Love cabbage rolls and yours look fantastic Nat! I grew up on them , only difference really was we used tomato soup to cover then a few spoons of Sauerkraute?? on the top then a few strips of bacon across the top. Then into the oven for a few hours and we had them with mashed potato salad and cucumber salad …So good !!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      November 9, 2022

      Thanks for sharing, Lydia. That sounds delicious!

      Reply

  • Tatyana
    November 6, 2022

    It’s been a while since I made golubzi so I needed a refresher. No better place to turn to then your recipes. Followed all steps completely and came out perfect!! (Like every other recipes I try here). Thank you Natasha 🙂

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      November 6, 2022

      You’re so welcome! I hope you’ll love all the recipes that you will try.

      Reply

  • Kathy
    November 3, 2022

    Recipe looks and sounds good. I haven’t made Golabki (Polish) in a long time. Are you in a different kitchen in this video? I love most all of your videos but with all due respect, the music was a bit annoying.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      November 3, 2022

      Hi Kahty, this is an older video in our prior home. I hope you get to try this recipe.

      Reply

  • Dana
    November 2, 2022

    It says this cuisine is American, Russian, Ukrainian. Someone else said Armenian. I say it’s POLISH. My immigrant Polish grandmother called it gołąbki. (Phonetically it sounded like “gwump-key” to me.) Maybe these delicious cabbage rolls are best described as “Eastern European” cuisine.

    Reply

    • Christine
      November 3, 2022

      My family is Polish and we call it “gwump-key,” too! Whatever you call it, it is delicious! I can’t wait to try this recipe. 🙂

      Reply

      • NatashasKitchen.com
        November 3, 2022

        I hope you love this recipe! 🙂

        Reply

  • Roslyn mercer
    November 1, 2022

    I would love a really good Borsht soup. I’m not sure if this is how you spell it. Beet soup. My aunt use to make an awesome one. Please ty

    Reply

  • Dana
    November 1, 2022

    Stuffed cabbage rolls are one of my mother in law’s favorite dishes, and she loved this recipe! I had never made it before and your directions were so easy to follow. Delicious meal!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      November 1, 2022

      Hello Dana, nice to know that she loved this too!

      Reply

      • Rita J McGuire
        November 5, 2022

        I would love to make stuffed bell peppers. Do you have a recipe for them?

        Reply

        • NatashasKitchen.com
          November 5, 2022

          Hi Rita! Yes, I do. Use the search bar at the top of this page to search for “stuffed peppers”. 🙂

          Reply

  • Carol Ellingson
    November 1, 2022

    Do you have a cookbook? I love following you on Facebook. It would be great to have a lot of your recipes handy in one location

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      November 1, 2022

      Hello Carol, I am working on a cookbook now. It will be ready by the fall of next year. Thanks for asking and hope you can wait for it.

      Reply

      • Lisa
        November 5, 2022

        I would love to buy one of your cookbooks, especially if you do have a lot of Ukrainian recipes. Will try your cabbage roll recipe one day. A little different then my Ukrainian grandmothers.

        Reply

  • Jessica
    November 1, 2022

    This was absolutely amazing. Can’t wait to make again, thank you!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      November 1, 2022

      You’re welcome, Jessica! Thank you for this review.

      Reply

  • Missy
    November 1, 2022

    These cabbage rolls were such a hearty and delicious meal. The whole family loved them and they will definitely be on our fall and winter menu often.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      November 1, 2022

      That’s great, Missy! So happy to hear that! Thank you for sharing.

      Reply

  • Juliya Jazo
    October 18, 2022

    Where and when do you add the remaining 1/2 TBSP of salt – for the sauce on top? It doesn’t specify.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      October 18, 2022

      Hi Juliya! 1/2 TBSP of salt is used in the pot of water to prep the cabbage leaves and 1 TBSP is used to prepare the stuffing. In the sauce, I used 1 tsp of salt-free seasoning such as Mrs. Dash. I hope that clarifies any confusion.

      Reply

      • Lynne
        October 30, 2022

        I don’t want to use ‘MrsDash’ in the recipe. Can you suggest what herbs/spices would be a good substitute?

        Reply

        • Natasha's Kitchen
          October 30, 2022

          Hi Lynne, you can substitute for your favorite salt-free seasoning.

          Reply

  • Liz
    September 23, 2022

    Hi I was wondering if I half the recipe do I still bake it for the same amount of time?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 23, 2022

      Hi Liz, it may take slightly less time, but it should still take close to the same time.

      Reply

  • Mila
    July 6, 2022

    It was really good. I know it’s not traditional golubci, but I added half a cup of white wine into the meat and sauce. I also added thyme while baking and garnish with garlic, dill, and parsley. Best golubci I cooked in my life.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      July 6, 2022

      That sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing, Mila.

      Reply

  • Marina
    June 27, 2022

    Natasha,
    I’ve never these before. Can I use Savoy cabbage ? Does recipe change at all?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      June 27, 2022

      Hi Marina, to be honest, I haven’t tried making stuffed cabbage with savoy cabbage so I can’t really speak to that. You might search online to see if it’s been done successfully.

      Reply

  • Tatiana
    May 15, 2022

    Hi! I have a question about “Fill 2/3 of large soup pot with water and bring to boil” I was wondering how much would that be? My large pot could be different than yours and based on that I want to reduce or increase the amount of salt in water.
    Also thank you for your recipes!
    I hope you can make more Slavic recipes 🥺
    Much Love, Tatiana

    Reply

    • Natasha
      May 16, 2022

      HI Tatiana, I re-watched the video and it looks like the pot I used was about 6 qts

      Reply

  • Miranda
    April 6, 2022

    I used tomato soup in place of tomato sauce and ground turkey only due to a pork allergy. Everything turned out wonderful! This will be my new go-to recipe. I served them with homemade pierogies.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 6, 2022

      Thank you so much for sharing that with me, Miranda!

      Reply

  • David Z
    April 3, 2022

    Natasha (my daughter’s name by the way),
    I begin my Pascha cook soon and you know what that involves. Interested that you freeze Golubki, which my family adores, thanks to you. I guess you prepare before and than freeze: what containers do you use to freeze in; how long can you freeze; and most importantly, how do you reheat. Would take a big crunch out of the effort, and spread over a longer period of time. Thanks for all you do!!!
    David

    Reply

  • Jeanette
    March 8, 2022

    My dad always put sauerkraut sprinkled with brown sugar in between the layers of cabbage rolls.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 8, 2022

      Thank you so much for sharing that with us, Jeanette!

      Reply

    • Amanda
      November 1, 2022

      Yes my family recipe makes the sauce with sauerkraut, Marinara, and V8 juice!

      Reply

  • Gabriela
    March 6, 2022

    Just something I do: I buy the cabbage about 2 weeks before I want to make the cabbage rolls, and I freeze it.
    I take it out the night before I want to cook it and leave it out to defrost. Much easier then playing with the boiling water. Try it, it’s easy!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 7, 2022

      Thanks for sharing that with us, Gabriela!

      Reply

    • marcia luloff
      November 5, 2022

      That is exactly how I make it. Freezing the cabbage works really well! The leaves just fall right off and easy to roll!

      Reply

  • Shirley Pye
    February 12, 2022

    Hi Natasha I made your cabbage rolls tonight they are Delicious thank you so much I’m wondering if you have a recipe for cheese and ham tea biscuits I would really appreciate if you do, keep the great work up I just love you you are so down to earth like me thank you again I don’t miss a day everything you put on here I make the night before or the night off thank you so much all your recipes are delicious happy Valentine’s Day to you and your hubby

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      February 13, 2022

      Hi Shirley, thank you for your good comments and feedback. I don’t have a recipe for that yet but I will try that to add that to our list and hopefully we can find an awesome recipe to share later on.

      Reply

  • Larry Horricks
    December 25, 2021

    The area in (Alberta)where many of my relatives lived, was populated by a large Ukrainian Community. Many of the dishes from that community made there way into non Ukrainian families all over the province. Just like with Borscht, 100 different homes 100 different recipes for Holubči, Golubki etc. I’ve making these for years. I use my favourite version of my friend’s Baba. She didn’t use ground pork or beef in the fillings, but rather chopped bacon, onion, carrots, dried wild mushrooms, ground pepper, marjoram and a dash of paprika. Most Polish, Ukrainian, Czech families traditionally don’t eat mea other than fish on Christmas Eve, so I have also had many meatleaa Holubči/Golubki. Noe of interest the work Holub means Pigeon…thus Holubči mean little Pigeon. Vesele Vanoce.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      December 26, 2021

      Mushrooms and chopped bacon sound amazing in stuffed cabbage rolls. Thank you for sharing that delicious idea.

      Reply

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