Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls are made with seasoned meat and rice, then wrapped in cabbage leaves. They’re fun and easy to make, filling your kitchen with amazing aromas of tomato sauce and spices. They’re a classic, well-loved dish that’s stood the test of time for a delicious reason.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

When you feel like cooking, this is a great recipe.

In other words, there is some assembly required, which takes a little time.

The aromas, however, of cooking onion, ground meat, and garlic will fill the kitchen making it totally worth it.

Stay warm by the stove softening the cabbage leaves, then with the oven on, bake the meal. Cozy.

Smells of tomato sauce smothering the cabbage rolls will make your mouth water.

Let’s get started.

Cabbage-wrapped filling of ground meat, rice, and tomato sauce.

Making Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

In a large pot, heat enough water to cover a full head of cabbage when submerged.

Cut the end off the cabbage head, about 1/2 – 1″. You want the cut deep enough that each leaf will no longer be connected to the stem.

By doing this, the leaves will peel away easily.

Submerge the whole head of cabbage into the boiling water for about 2 – 3 minutes.

You’ll see the cabbage leaves slightly turn color.

Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove the head and place it on something that will catch the water so it doesn’t go everywhere.

One at a time, peel off the most outer leaves and set it aside to cool.

Repeat this process a few times until you have at least 12 cabbage leaves.

Also, don’t discard torn or small leaves, they work just as good even if you have to use 2 per roll.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Between batches of cabbage leaves, make the rice per package directions, then set aside.

Then, in a large skillet, cook the onion and ground meat.

Let’s talk “ground meat”

This recipe is flexible with what ground meat you can use.

Ultimately, it calls for a total of 1 1/2 lbs, but that can be all one type, or mix and match.

For a more complex flavor, I like to use 2 different ground meats.

In today’s recipe I used a mild ground pork sausage and ground beef. Delicious!

You could, however, use ground turkey or ground chicken, or any mix therein.

Ok, back to the skillet. Once the meat is no longer pink, drain the fat.

Next, add the fresh parsley, salt, pepper, and dill weed. Stir and cook for 1 minute.

Two rolls filled with seasoned meat and rice, baked with a tomato sauce.

Add the cooked rice, diced tomatoes with its juice, and 1/2 can (or approx. 1/2 cup) of tomato sauce.

Stir in the egg and continue cooking for another 3 – 5 minutes, then remove from heat.

Meanwhile, mix the remaining tomato sauce and all of the tomato soup in a bowl.

Spoon a small amount in the bottom of a 13 x 9″ baking dish.

Ok, all that’s left is assembly work, so preheat the oven to 350°.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Each cabbage leaf has a thick stem, which is unwanted. It makes it hard to roll and it’s tough to chew, so cut it out.

Either cut a “V” around the thickest part of the stem, or shave it down with a sharp knife.

Next, lay out a leaf and place about 1/3 cup of meat filling in the bottom half.

Fold the bottom of the leaf over the filling, then fold the sides in. Continue rolling away from you, then place it seam-side down in the baking dish.

Repeat until all the filling is gone.

What if I have leftover filling, or they don’t all fit in the dish?

No problem. Once you’ve made 1 or 2, you’ll get a feel for how much filling to put in.

Having said that, you might like them bigger or smaller, in which case the leaf-count may be off. What?

I like less filling, so it makes more than a dozen rolls, so I need more leaves. Dang.

This way I have some for dinner, some for leftovers, and some for freezing. Yes!

If they don’t all fit, grab another dish. Duh.

If there’s just a little filling left in the bowl, stir it in with the sauce before you spoon it over the tops. Yummy!

Or, have a quick little snack while you wait for the rest of it to bake, you know, just to hold you over. (wink, wink)

A baking dish loaded with filled cabbage leaves, smothered in a seasoned tomato sauce.

Baking Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

NOTE: cover the dish tightly with foil.

That tomato sauce will bubble and boil when it’s in your oven, and after you take it out.

Give it about 10 – 15 minutes before removing the foil.

Just enough time to make a side salad and pour drinks. Dinner time!

Now, if that was more work than you have time for, but want the same flavors, I have a plan for that.

Check out this recipe for Stuffed Cabbage Stew. It’s just as tasty and hearty, only it comes together quickly and you don’t have to peel and roll cabbage leaves.

Also, if you love the idea of rolled foods, (and who doesn’t?) check out this recipe for Spicy Turkey Spinach Roll Ups.

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5 from 2 votes

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Ground meat, rice, and a delicious tomato sauce fill cabbage leaves in this classic dish.
Prep Time1 hour
Cook Time1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time2 hours 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, German
Keyword: classic, from scratch, hearty
Servings: 6
Calories: 562kcal
Author: Sweet Ordeal


  • 1 head green cabbage
  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 lb. ground pork sausage*
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef*
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dill weed
  • 14 oz. diced tomatoes with juices (1 can)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 16 oz. tomato sauce (2 - 8 oz. cans). divided
  • 10.5 oz. tomato soup (1 can)


  • Boil cabbage leaves until soft, about 2 minutes. (See Notes below for method.) Set aside to cool.
  • Cook rice per directions on package. Set aside.
  • In large skillet, cook onion and ground meat until thoroughly cooked and no pink remains. Drain any fat.
  • Add garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, and dill weed. Stir and cook for 1 minutes.
  • Add rice, diced tomatoes, and 1/2 can of tomato sauce. Add egg and stir to thoroughly combine ingredients. Cook for 3 - 5 minutes, then remove from heat.
  • Meanwhile, in medium bowl, add remaining tomato sauce and tomato soup. Spoon a thin layer in a 13 x 9" baking dish.
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Remove any thick cabbage leaf stems by cutting a "V" around them, or shave them down with a sharp knife. Lay each leaf flat and add 1/3 - 1/2 cup filling towards the bottom half. Roll from the bottom of the leaf and tuck in the sides, then continue rolling. Place seam-side down in baking dish until all the leaves and filling are used.
  • Pour sauce over tops of rolls and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 75 - 90 minutes. Allow to cool 10 - 15 minutes before removing the foil as hot tomato sauce splatters. Enjoy!


*The ground meat can be substituted with ground beef, ground turkey, ground chicken, or ground sausage depending on preference (or what's on sale that week).
TO REMOVE LEAVES FROM CABBAGE HEAD: cut off 1/2" from bottom of head, then submerge entire head in boiling water for 2 - 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove head to a baking dish or bowl (so water doesn't go everywhere), and carefully peel off softened leaves. Repeat until you have enough leaves, at least 12. I peel off 16 just in case I have filling left over, then I'll have some to freeze.
You can also stir in any leftover filling into the sauce before pouring over the tops of the rolls.
Stuffed Cabbage Rolls can be frozen in a sealed container before or after baking.


Calories: 562kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 1341mg | Potassium: 1300mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 1477IU | Vitamin C: 86mg | Calcium: 144mg | Iron: 5mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @sweetordeal or tag #sweetordeal!

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Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

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Stuffed Cabbage RollsThe inside cut of a wrapped and filled cabbage roll.Copyright © Sweet Ordeal. All content and images are copyright protected. Do not use any images without prior permission. If, however, you want to republish this recipe, re-write the recipe in your own words, then link back to this post for the original recipe and directions.

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