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Cabbage Rolls Recipe For A Hearty Family Dinner

Polish stuffed cabbage rolls aka golabki are the ultimate comfort food. Tender cabbage leaves are stuffed with a mix of meat and rice, then simmered in a tasty tomato sauce or pan fried until golden. The result is a culinary delight that will have your family and friends asking for seconds! Interestingly, the name golabki translates to “little pigeons” in English – though there is no actual pigeon meat used in traditional recipes. These stuffed cabbage rolls were likely given this name because of their small, round shape. There are many versions of this dish that are influenced by different Central and Eastern European countries. The difference usually lies in the type of grain used (rice, barley, buckwheat) as well as the type of meat (pork, beef, lamb). Many recipes use tomato sauce, but some are based on a buttery sauerkraut, mushroom gravy or sour cream. No matter what ingredients you use, making golabki is a bit of a labor of love. But trust us, it’s worth it! This dish is the perfect comfort food as it’s truly delicious! And leftovers freeze beautifully, so you can enjoy them again and again.


Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe With Tomato Sauce (2)

Flavorful and filling, these stuffed cabbage rolls are simmered in a delicious tomato sauce. The result is a hearty meal that the whole family will love!


  • 1 head green cabbage
  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 1 pound ground pork (or ground turkey)
  • ½ pound ground beef
  • 2 small onions diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ teaspoon dill weed
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (14 ounces) with juices
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ cups + ⅓ cup tomato sauce divided
  • 1 can tomato soup 10.5 ounces
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Prepare the cabbage:

  1. Peel 12 large cabbage leaves, being careful not to tear them. (You may need to trim the thickest part of the spine with a sharp knife.)
  2. Boil the leaves in a large pot of salty water for 3-4 minutes, or until they are slightly softened and pliable.
  3. Drain well.

Cook the rice:

  1. Par boil 1 cup of rice in 2 cups of water for 5 minutes.
  2. Drain and set aside.

Make the filling:

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, cook the onion and garlic until softened. Add the ground pork, beef, rice, dill weed, parsley, salt and pepper.
  2. Cook until the meat is browned. Drain any excess fat.
  3. Add parboiled rice, diced tomatoes with 1/3 cup tomato sauce and 1 egg. Mix well to combine.
  4. Mix remaining 1 1/2 cups of tomato sauce with the can of tomato soup. Spread on a 9×13 inch baking dish.

Assemble the cabbage rolls:

  1. Lay out each cabbage leaf.
  2. Place 1/4 cup of filling in the center of each leaf.
  3. Roll up, tucking in the sides as you go. (You may need to trim the thickest part of the spine with a sharp knife.)
  4. Place the cabbage rolls, seam side down, in the prepared baking dish.
  5. Pour the tomato soup mixture over top.
  6. Cover with foil.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour, or until the cabbage is tender and cooked through.

This recipe makes 12 stuffed cabbage rolls.

Nutrition information: Calories: 488, Carbohydrates: 40g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 24g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 108mg, Sodium: 431mg, Potassium: 895mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 620IU, Vitamin C: 66.1mg, Calcium: 113mg, Iron: 3.3mg

This recipe is courtesy of

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cabbage rolls

Browned Cabbage Rolls Recipe (1)

Not a fan of tomato sauce? Skip it and brown your cabbage rolls in a little olive oil. This creates a crispy exterior without sacrificing any flavor!


  • 1 large head of cabbage (about 3 lbs.) – or use 2 smaller heads
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large mushrooms, finely diced – 1 1/2 cups (optional)
  • 1 pound ground sirloin
  • 3/4 cup uncooked long grain rice (brown or white)
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 cup Pomi strained tomatoes or canned tomato puree
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup liquid (beef stock, cabbage water, or combine with some leftover tomato for 3/4 cup)


  1. Core cabbage and place in a large pot of boiling water.
  2. Cook until the leaves are just soft enough to roll without tearing, 3-5 minutes.
  3. Drain and place cabbage in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.
  4. Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet.
  5. Add onion, garlic and mushrooms (if using) and cook until softened, stirring often.
  6. Add ground beef and cook until browned. Drain fat if necessary.
  7. Stir in rice, parsley, tomato puree, salt and pepper.
  8. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  9. Remove 16 of the largest cabbage leaves from the head (cut off the thickest part of the stem if necessary so the leaf will roll without tearing).
  10. Reserve remaining cabbage for another use.
  11. Place 1/4 cup beef mixture in the center of each cabbage leaf and roll up, tucking in the sides as you go.
  12. Place seam side down in a 13×9 inch pan.
  13. Pour 3/4 cup liquid over rolls and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 1 hour, or until cabbage is tender. 
  14. Remove foil and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
  15. The next day, brown the rolls in a little olive oil to crisp up the exterior. Serve with a side of sour cream. 
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This recipe is courtesy of

What Is The Best Type Of Cabbage For Cabbage Rolls?

For cabbage rolls, you’ll want to use a large head of cabbage that is at least 2-3 pounds. I like to use green cabbage, but you could also use savoy cabbage. The leaves should be large enough to comfortably hold 1/4 cup of filling without tearing.

cabbage rolls

Why Do You Put Egg In Cabbage Rolls?

Some recipes call for adding an egg to the filling mixture. This adds richness and binds the filling together so it’s less likely to fall apart when you’re rolling them up. If you don’t want to use egg, you can leave it out. The filling will be a little looser, but it will still work.

Can I Make Cabbage Rolls Ahead Of Time?

Yes, cabbage rolls can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to 24 hours before baking. Just assemble the rolls as directed and place them in an oven-safe dish. Cover tightly and refrigerate.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven and remove the dish from the refrigerator. Bake as directed.

You can also freeze cabbage rolls after they’ve been baked. Let them cool completely and then place in a freezer-safe dish. Cover tightly and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat in the oven before serving.

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Troubleshooting Your Cabbage Rolls

If after using the best recipe for cabbage rolls, you’re still having trouble getting them to turn out perfectly, here are a few troubleshooting tips:

If your cabbage leaves are tearing:

  • Place the cabbage in a large pot of boiling water and cook for just 3-5 minutes, until the leaves are soft enough to roll without tearing.
  • Using a paring knife, trim off the thickest part of the spine from each leaf.
  • Place the cooked leaves in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.

If your cabbage rolls are falling apart:

  • Make sure you’re not overstuffing each leaf. 1/4 cup of filling should be plenty.
  • Tuck the sides of each leaf in as you’re rolling it up.
  • Place the cabbage rolls seam side down in the dish to help them hold together while baking.

If your cabbage rolls are too dry:

  • Add a little more liquid to the pan before baking, about 1/2 cup should be enough.
  • Bake the cabbage rolls covered with foil to help keep them moist.

cabbage rolls

If the meat in your cabbage rolls is too hard:

  • Avoid overmixing the filling ingredients, which can make the meat tough.
  • Cook the filling over medium heat until the beef is just browned. Don’t overcook it.
  • Make sure you’re using ground beef with a high fat content, at least 80/20. This will help keep the cabbage rolls moist and flavorful.
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If the rice in your cabbage rolls is too hard:

  • Rinse the uncooked rice in a fine mesh strainer before adding it to the filling ingredients. This will remove any excess starch.
  • Soak the rice in water for 30 minutes before cooking. Drain the water and par boil the rice for just 5 minutes before adding it to the filling.
  • Use quick cooking or instant rice in your cabbage rolls. These types of rice are precooked and only need to be rehydrated, which makes them less likely to become hard. 
  • Cook the cabbage rolls covered with foil to help steam the rice and make it more tender. 

If your cabbage rolls are overcooked:

  • Check the cabbage leaves after boiling them. They should be just soft enough to roll without tearing. If they’re too soft, they’ll fall apart when you bake them.
  • Don’t overcook the filling ingredients. Everything should be just cooked through, not overcooked or raw.
  • After 50 minutes of baking, check the cabbage rolls. If they’re already tender, remove them from the oven to prevent them from becoming mushy.

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The Bottom Line

Polish cabbage rolls are a hearty, delicious, and easy-to-make meal the whole family will love.

With just a few simple ingredients, you can have a comforting dish on the table in no time. And while they may take a little bit of time to assemble, cabbage rolls can be made ahead of time and frozen for an easy weeknight meal.



This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. Cabbage Rolls (n.d., 
  2. Easy Cabbage Rolls (2022,