Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (Video Recipe)

Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 25 minutes
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.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls made with simple and inexpensive ingredients, but they have so much flavor! Serve with sour cream. P.S. They are freezer friendly!

Author: Natasha of
Skill Level: Medium
Cost to Make: $16-$20
Calories: 273 kcal
Servings: 18 people (makes 40-50 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 mushroom marinara
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 7 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:

  1. Rinse 2 cups uncooked rice and cook in 3 1/2 cups water with 2 Tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp salt. Cover and simmer 20 min, or until all water is absorbed (or use rice maker)

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

  3. Peal and discard outer two leaves from each cabbage. Use a knife to cut out the cabbage cores. Place first cabbage in water, cork side down, for 5 minutes, then flip cabbage over and continue cooking 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 3-4 cups water from the pot.

Preparing the Stuffing:

  1. In a large bowl, combine meats and rice. 

  2. 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:

  1. Large leaves: cut the leaves in half down the center along the stem and remove 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 thiner leaves into the top. Arrange stuffed cabbage in a dutch oven or pot. 

  2. 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.

How to make Podliva (Sauce)

  1. Heat approx. 2 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet. Saute remanding 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.

  2. 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:

  1. A: If using the pot, bring to light boil, then cover and simmer 40 min over medium heat.

    B: 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 1 hour.

Recipe Notes

To Freeze: Once cabbage rolls are at room temperature, divide them into freezer safe ziploc bags in single layers, adding a little sauce to each bag. Push out any excess air from ziploc bags then seal and freeze.

To re-heat: Thaw completely in ziploc bags in the refrigerator. 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.