Stuffed Cabbage Rolls – Like Grandma Used To Make

Even if you’re not a fan of cabbage, these stuffed cabbage rolls just might make you one! It’s turned many a cabbage hater into a cabbage lover!

One of my fondest recollections from childhood is the Saturday visits from my maternal grandparents. They would arrive bearing bags loaded with gifts and food, eyes twinkling as we grabbed the bags from their hands and started rifling through them, staking claim on anything we could get our hands on.

The ‘usuals’, as far as food went, were: homemade stuffed green peppers (my mother’s favorite), these fabulous, fluffy, yeasty rolls from a bakery near them, assorted cold-cuts, homemade noodle kugel, and homemade chocolate chip cookies. But, there was one dish that trumped all of the above for me, one that my grandmother must have fed me from birth because I loved it more than anything at an age when all things leafy or green was gross.

Stuffed cabbage rolls (aka Holishkes, Golumpki (Golabki, Golubsti) Sarma, or Prakas).

Amazing Stuffed Cabbage Rolls. Tender leaves of cabbage stuffed and rolled with beef, garlic, onion and rice, simmered in a rich tomato sauce.We always served the stuffed cabbage with mashed potatoes.  No explanation why, it was just tradition.  It was the perfect sauce soaking vessel.  I love them with egg noodles too.

I still remember digging deep in each bag feeling for that familiar, large plastic Chinese soup container, the tender green cabbage rolls flush against the sides, crammed within a bright orangey red, sweet and sour tomato sauce with raisins and more bits of cabbage.  The moment I hit it, I would yank it out with impassioned glee, and the understanding that it was MINE, MINE, ALL MINE.

Amazing Stuffed Cabbage Rolls. Tender leaves of cabbage stuffed and rolled with beef, garlic, onion and rice, simmered in a rich tomato sauce.I used the whole cabbage, even the darker outer leaves because it was grown in a friend’s garden and I didn’t want to waste a bit of it! But, it’s the inner lighter leaves (below) that are sweeter, tender and just well, better, when cooked.

Amazing Stuffed Cabbage Rolls. Tender leaves of cabbage stuffed and rolled with beef, garlic, onion and rice, simmered in a rich tomato sauce.

When my grandmother passed, her stuffed cabbage rolls recipe went with her.  I never asked for it because I thought she would live forever.  You have these moments in youth where everyone seems immortal, and death is just an eventual speck on the horizon that you don’t acknowledge.  No one was gonna die on you, no matter what older people said.

Amazing Stuffed Cabbage Rolls. Tender leaves of cabbage stuffed and rolled with beef, garlic, onion and rice, simmered in a rich tomato sauce.

I had attempted ‘my version’ of her stuffed cabbage rolls only once before, but was completely unsuccessful.  It turned out okay, but it just wasn’t HERS, and I think you all know what I mean by that. It was missing that something something, but I couldn’t quite place what that something something was. I finally decided that I wasn’t going to even attempt it for a while and just occasionally bask in the memory of her magic whenever I encountered it elsewhere.  A few Jewish delis came close, but no dice; her stuffed cabbage rolls were much, much better.  There was always something missing.

Amazing Stuffed Cabbage Rolls. Tender leaves of cabbage stuffed and rolled with beef, garlic, onion and rice, simmered in a rich tomato sauce.

When this month’s Daring Cooks challenge was announced, the first thing I saw was stuffed grape leaves.  I’ve never been a huge fan of them, although I try to like them because they’re such a huge presence in some of best Greek salads I’ve ever had.  I always end up taking one bite, chewing with a sour face, then eventually spitting it out into a napkin like a 5-year-old.  I suppose we were just not meant to be, but that doesn’t mean I won’t keep trying.  I have this thing about waste, and it seems such a waste to let those amazing little rolls hit the trash with tiny bits of Greek salad residue clinging to them. (Yes, I know dolmades are not only an occasional part of Greek salads, but it’s the only time I encounter them).

Amazing Stuffed Cabbage Rolls. Tender leaves of cabbage stuffed and rolled with beef, garlic, onion and rice, simmered in a rich tomato sauce.

Our October 2010 hostess, Lori of Lori’s Lipsmacking Goodness, has challenged The Daring Cooks to stuff grape leaves. Lori chose a recipe from Aromas of Aleppo and a recipe from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food.

Scrolling further down, I noticed there were a few people stuffing cabbage leaves.  Alright, so it’s not exactly what the blog checking lines state, but this recipe is of Jewish origin (little factoid – Jewish stuffed cabbage rolls are usually sweet and sour), and Israel is in the Middle East.  Yep, trying to crawl through loopholes here. Regardless, this was a sign; it was now time to take on my grandmother’s stuffed cabbage rolls again.  It couldn’t have come at a better time since 1) the weather is getting cooler, and 2) I was really starting to miss and crave it immensely.

Amazing Stuffed Cabbage Rolls. Tender leaves of cabbage stuffed and rolled with beef, garlic, onion and rice, simmered in a rich tomato sauce.

No fancy pants plating for a dish like this – just load up your plate with comforting goodness.  OK, so I piped the potatoes with a pastry bag; it was just a brief whim thing aka I’m a food blogger, and I take photos of almost everything I make.

So, here’s what I did.  I took a traditional Jewish stuffed cabbage recipe from Joan Nathan, and another stuffed cabbage recipe from CHOW.com, then combined them and adjusted it according to what I remember my grandmother’s stuffed cabbage tasting like, which seemed to take forever! A little of this, a little of that, wait, no, subtract that and add more of this instead!. It probably took me about two weeks and four pans of stuffed cabbage to get to what I felt was close to hers!

That being said, the only thing I did differently from my grandmother was oven simmering the stuffed cabbage in lieu of simmering it stove top in a dutch oven, a method Joan Nathan recommends in her recipe.  Just the thought of having to keep running to the stove to stir so the cabbage rolls didn’t stick to the bottom and burn, like my grandmother did, wasn’t something I relished.  In fact, I don’t think she ever left the stove when she was simmering her lovely cabbage rolls!

Update:  Sue left a comment saying that if you want to cook this stove top, line the bottom of the pot with cabbage leaves and  it will prevent the rolls from scorching.  Thank you, Sue!

Final verdict? Closest to her stuffed cabbage that I’m ever going to get.  My mother was the true test, and she said they tasted exactly like hers.  Stuffed cabbage success!

Amazing Old-Fashioned Stuffed Cabbage Rolls. Tender leaves of cabbage stuffed and rolled with beef, garlic, onion and rice, simmered in a rich tomato sauce.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe

Amazing Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
 
Tender leaves of cabbage stuffed and rolled with beef, garlic, onion and rice, simmered in a rich tomato sauce.
The preparation time entirely depends on which method you use to soften your cabbage leaves. It can be anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to 24 hours plus if you freeze it.
ingredients:
Cabbage Rolls
  • 1 large head green cabbage, about 2 to 2¼ pounds
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 eggs (not necessary, you can leave them out, but they bind and make the meat fluffier)
  • 1 medium onion, grated or minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup uncooked white rice (I like using long-grain) *
Tomato Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (medium dice)
  • 2 15-ounce cans tomato sauce or one 32-ounce can whole tomatoes, pulsed in a food processor with juice until pureed.
  • juice of one lemon or 2 tablespoons (or more to taste) apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ to ¾ cup light brown sugar (Depending on amount of sweetness you prefer. Start with ¼ cup and taste sauce, adding if you like it sweeter. If you prefer it completely savory, add only 1 tablespoon brown sugar and the juice from half a lemon)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup golden raisins (optional)
  • Chopped parsley, for garnish
directions:
  1. Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a rolling boil. When the water comes to a boil, fill a large bowl with ice water. Cut out as much of the core as you can from the bottom of the cabbage, then drop the whole, cored head into the boiling water for 3 to 4 minutes. Once the leaves separate and are pliable, immediately remove and drop the blanched leaves that separated (keep the pot of water boiling) in the ice water. Once cooled down, remove and pat the leaves dry. Repeat with any leaves still attached to the head and not pliable, until you've gotten all the leaves off the head, and they are all soft and pliable.
    Alternatively, If you've got time on your hands, you can freeze the wrapped head of cabbage for two days then defrost. Cut out as much of the core as you can, then wrap tightly and freeze. When defrosted, the leaves will peel off easily and be soft enough to roll.
    Here's some other ideas from readers, although I have yet to try them so I cannot confirm that they work. 1. Place the cabbage in the microwave for 6 minutes. The core will slip right out and the leaves will be perfect for rolling. 2. Cut out the core, fill the hole with water, then tie it up tightly in a microwave safe plastic bag. Microwave it for 6 minutes, then remove it from the microwave and let it steam in the bag for about a half hour.
  2. Set aside about 16 of the largest leaves (these will be your cabbage rolls. If you can only get 14 leaves, it's fine) and slice off any thick parts of the vein on each of them, or just cut out the thick vein since that part will be covered once the cabbage leaf is rolled. Chop some of the remaining cabbage leaves to make 1 cup of chopped cabbage, and reserve.
  3. Mix the ground beef with the eggs, grated onion, chopped garlic, salt, pepper, and rice. (If you use cooked rice, you can test the seasoning of the meat mixture to your liking by frying up or microwaving a piece of it and tasting, if desired). Divide the meat mixture into sixteen equal pieces, or 14 equal pieces, about 2 to 3 oz each, depending on whether you have 16 or 14 cabbage leaves. Using slightly moistened hands (or not, since it rarely sticks to my hands), form the pieces into thick cylinders. Place a cylinder of filling near the bottom of a cabbage leaf (if the vein in the leaf is really thick, shave it down with a knife before placing the beef on it, being careful not to cut a big hole through the leaf itself OR, cut the thick vein out completely in a narrow V. When you roll the cabbage, that V will be covered sufficiently, as mentioned above).
  4. Roll the meat filled cabbage leaf up, folding both sides over the filling, (like you see in the above photos) and finish rolling to enclose the filling, like an egg roll. Continue, filling and rolling all the cabbage leaves. Place them seam side down on a tray or baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  5. Over medium heat, melt the butter in a heavy, non-reactive saucepan. Sauté the second onion until soft and golden. Add the garlic and saute for 2 more minutes, then add the reserved 1 cup chopped cabbage and sauté for about 30 seconds to 1 minute more.
  6. Add the tomato sauce, lemon juice, brown sugar, salt and pepper to taste, and stir to combine. Increase the heat until it comes to a boil, then lower it and simmer for 5 minutes. Add raisins now, if using.
  7. Line of the bottom of a 13 x 9 roasting pan or glass dish with a layer of sauce. Place cabbage rolls, seam side down, on top of sauce. Top cabbage rolls with remaining sauce then cover the whole pan with tin foil. Bake for 2 hours in a preheated 350 F oven.
notes:
* You can cook the rice before adding it to the meat mixture, if desired (just follow the rice manufacturer's directions for cooking ½ cup of rice, which should give you about 1½ cups cooked rice), but my grandmother used uncooked rice, and I've never ended up with even one uncooked grain when my cabbage rolls are done. The rice always cooks to perfection. Either way, it's up to you!

Amazing Stuffed Cabbage Rolls. Tender leaves of cabbage stuffed and rolled with beef, garlic, onion and rice, simmered in a rich tomato sauce.Be sure to check out the links in Daring Cooks blogroll for all kinds of stuffed leafy rolls, HERE.  For the recipes for stuffed grape leaves provided by our sexy lips hostess, click HERE.  Thanks for a great challenge, Lori!

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  1. Beautiful cabbage rolls! These are very much like my childhood cabbage rolls, minus the raisins. So glad you found something to come close to your grandmother’s recipe. Stunning photos!

  2. It appears I won’t be attempting this challenge, but I also planned on deviating a bit with stuffed cabbage – just couldn’t get motivated for grape leaves and John kept turning his nose up as well…Like the raisins in your sauce and you did a beautiful plating, as always, with those mashed potatoes!

  3. We also eat them over here in Belgium!! Our parents & even our grand parents made them the best way!!

    I will savour these lovely & appetizing stuffed cabbage rolls!! This brings back manu memories!!

  4. You must have been so happy when these turned out just like your grandmother’s! Now you can pass it down for generations to come:) I LOVE when a recipe becomes an heirloom! So sweet.
    I was a very picky eater as a child so did not even TRY dolma (stuffed grape leaves)which was always served when my mom’s (Armenian) family got together. I do love cabbage though, so I could really get into this dish!

  5. You are too early in posting…again lol. Wassup hehe? I found a loophole too in a different way for my challenge, you’ll see. I am sorry your grandma did not pass along the recipe but I think yours look amazing and the pictures are so vivid!

  6. You and your piped mashed potatoes are ridiculous – but also awesome! I am so glad you were able to adapt this month’s challenge so well! And to get your grandma’s recipe as close as you can…that has to be great! I have been slowly gathering my grandma’s over the last few years! Anyway, wonderful job!

  7. Yours are EXACTLY like my mom’s and they are as delicious as you have made them look with your wonderful photography. Beautiful step-by-step, too!
    I am sending this link to my daughter.
    Double YUM!
    Valerie

  8. Your cabbage rolls look and sound delicious, and I am sure that your grandmother would be very proud! I made the grape leaves for the challenge, but, like you, somehow am just not a fan of the grape leaves themselves… but these… I think I may just try this recipe!

  9. Piping potatoes. You just cant help your artistic self, can you? And thank goodness for that because I love all the eye candy on your blog.

    I love stuffed cabbage and having a Polish mother I grew up with ones similar to this. I think I need to try your recipe and Audax’s.

    That sauce just looks so rich and delicious!

    • What were these called in Poland? I grew up w/ them too, and Momma grew up in Hadley, MA – a strongly German and Polish community. They weren’t fancy, Mother wouldn’t EAT “fancy” if it was the last food to be had, but I’m going to try them! Still, no names given have rung any bells w/ me.

      • Hi, Betty. There are so many names for them by country and region, that I’ve pretty much given up trying to sort them out, and just stick with calling them stuffed cabbage rolls lol. Thanks for popping in to let me know that!

    • We called them gowumpke. Probably spelled wrong, but they were deeeliciuous! Thanks for the great recipe! More of a winter food as I remember it, but am going to try your recipe this weekend! Thanks for the memories!

      • I like the pronunciation as ‘gowumpke”, Julie – it’s very cute! I’m so glad my stuffed cabbage brought back good memories for you! I really hope you love them as much as the stuffed cabbage you grew up with! xo

  10. Lisa WOW those cabbage rolls are so beautiful and your photos are always so professional and I’m so glad that you got the recipe down pat well done. I never had cabbage rolls with tomato sauce and it sounds delicious I think that I will have to do this version soon. When I do I will link it back to your posting if that is OK with you. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  11. O, o… I made the recipe for this month for a change and now I still have to post… Kind of forgot about it.. Stupid, stupid…
    I love your filled cabbage and I sort of agree with you on the grapes. I never really liked them, but I figured I give it one more try! Looks delicious!!

  12. Mmmm! Love stuffed cabbage – one of my favorite comfort foods. Love your story too – it’s such a great feeling when we can keep our loved ones with us through their food (even when we have to approximate it a bit afterwards..)

  13. Beautiful! Your cabbage parcels look so elegant. I love the photo of the single roll – translucent leaf and filling within. Just wonderful. And the sauce and the mash! I’m going to be craving this so badly until I actually make it myself.

  14. Your cabbage rolld look beautiful. I used grape leaves for the challenge, but I would really like to try my hand with the cabbage. Your hard work paid off, and while your grandmother’s recipe isn’t with you, her spirit absolutely is!

  15. Yes I have been MIA for about 3 months. Work is a little crazy. I stopped in to see what you have been up to and was not disappointed. This is acutally an old family recipe for me too. Yours are a little different and sound amazing. I especially like the idea of the golden raisins. It does make the dish much more Mediterranean.

    My family does a version using vinegar and white sugar as the acid/sweet elements in the tomato sauce. Almost the exact same sauce we use for stuffed green peppers.

    I hope you are well. Your cooking looks incredble as always.

    • Robert, Joel’s pommes puree are the best mashed potatoes in the world, but unfortunately, mine are not his recipe..they only contain 4 oz of butter and no food mill and tamis turning, pushing, scraping and rubbing until my wrists burn LOL
      ———————
      That said, I would love to try your version of the sweet and sour stuffed cabbage. I’m sure it’s very close flavor wise 🙂

  16. Awww maaaaan. I’ve had photos and a recipe waiting to be posted for Greek stuffed cabbage rolls (stuffed with lamb mince and served with a generous smothering of afgolemono sauce), and now that I’ve been reminded that it’s all lurking somewhere in the recesses of my laptop by your post, I really need to a) Make them again (Andrew LOOOOOOOVES them) and b) Finally friggin’ post it!

    Which dolmades don’t you enjoy? The ones stuffed with mince or the ones stuffed with rice? I enjoy both but my favourite is the rice variety. I can’t find vine leaves here so I buy ready made ones in a jar and I can easily eat them all in 1 sitting if allowed to, lol!

    I also think, for the sake of research and trying new things (before reading your post I didn’t know about this type of cabbage roll), that I must give these ones a try as well. There’s just something so good about stuffed cabbage and I love sweet and sour. Yum!

    • Mandy, I definitely don’t like the rice. I’m not sure I’ve tried the meat filled, but I think I would prefer it since the rice has such an oily, kind of mushy consistency to me.

  17. What a lovely post! Unfortunately, I’ve never been served a cabbage roll that really blew me away, but I’m sure there are fantastic recipes for them out there, including your grandmother’s. I’m sure she’s proud of you!

  18. lol, so much for playing around with the photos. What a loser I am….sorry! Good news is I love your photos. Do you like ’em? Happy? You should be!

    I’m sure you’re watching the Yankees and eating the last little bit of Grandma’s stuffed cabbage. GO YANKEES!

    Happy Friday!
    ~ingrid

  19. Ingrid, I cannot thank you enough for all of your help! Even though I’m still not thrilled with them (only natural light will take care of that at this point), you motivated me with your photographic genius 🙂 I’ll call you tomorrow!

  20. Your stuffed cabbage rolls look fabulous, and that sauce sounds divine! It’s been awhile since I’ve made cabbage rolls, so I will have to put them on the menu soon. This time I experimented with stuffed chard.

  21. Amazing looking stuffed cabbage!

    I am going to have to make this for my husband. He loves stuffed cabbage and orders it from the kosher take-out place near us all the time. He has been begging me to make it and now that I have a great recipe to use, I have no excuse to say no!

    I also had a grandma who would come laden with packages of food. One of her specialties was pickled salmon, and the recipe more or less went with her even though I asked for the recipe because she didn’t really use a recipe. She told me she followed Jennie Grossinger’s recipe, more or less, but adjusted the seasoning to taste.

    And stuffed cabbage and stuffed grape leaves are related, so it is hardly cheating. Ashkenazi instead of Sephardi Aleppo Syrian.

  22. Family recipes and great times in the kitchen always brings things back into perspective for me.

    Great recipe for stuffing cabbage. I think I’ll get myself at least one more cabbage head before the season is over ;o)

    Flavourful wishes,
    Claudia

  23. Lisa, you have a great site here. I had no idea it was this awesome — the food all looks great and your photos are fantastic! Not a cabbage fan, but I’d eat those!

  24. A sweet post of remembering your grandmother, Lisa …. It is so true how we always choose to think that people that surround us would always be immortal..

    Anyway, I am sure your grandmother would be so proud that you have made such an effort to relive her cooking and present it in such an exquisite plating… Bravo!

    Sawadee from Bangkok,
    Kris

  25. Lisa, have not made stuffed cabbage in forever. I think my Mom’s version is less sweet, but I love golden raisins so I’ll need to try yours. Isn’t it wonderful when people we love make a dish especially for us? Thank you for sharing your grandmother’s lovely recipe as recreated by you! I completely understand about some people just seeming more colorful than possible and seemingly indestructable and timeless. With this recipe your grandmother is now as good as immortal as it gets. XO Elle

  26. I love your family story and I too grew up eating my mom’s Jewish stuffed cabbage undoubtedly a recipe of her mom’s. But boy my mom was no great cook and I hated her stuffed cabbage. I am betting that your is a gazillion times better. Hearty, homey comfort food it is, nothing fancy needed! I like your version of stuffed grape leaves (I am so glad to find someone else who does not like stuffed grape leaves!) Lisa, your food brings back my own memories and comforts me. xo

  27. They sound delicious Lisa. I love cabbage but don’t think I’ve ever tried to make cabbage rolls before. Lovely story about your grandparents, there are so many things I wished I’d asked my grandmother but I was only a kid when she passed. I’d like to think the blogging we do now will keep memories alive for the future generations eh? (No straightjackets needed either ;P)

  28. It was extremely interesting for me to read this post because my grandmother made stuffed cabbage like that also. Brought back a lot of memories!. I love your blog, great photos and excellent write ups!

  29. If you’ll ever have a chance to stop by,
    You are more than invited to join our Shabbat dinner 🙂
    Stuffed peppers and Stuffed cabbages often can be found of the table-
    It’s a very popular dish here, and one of my favorites, yummm!
    (Personally I’m on the peppers team, but I’m willing to settle for the cabbage for you :P)

    Btw- surprisingly, in our family we also always serve it with mash potatoes on the side,
    Although it’s not a common thing here… Maybe we are lost relatives? 😛

  30. I have fond memories of my late grandmother’s cabbage rolls, as well. I also miss her version desperately. Your recipie is almost identical to hers. She used one-half cup of apple cider instead of the lemon juice. Best wishes

    • Wendy, I love that you have such fond memories of your grandma’s stuffed cabbage too. Even though these are really good, they’re missing my grandma’s special touch – love, which is something we can never replicate, but we can pass on our love through our recipes. That said, I added apple cider vinegar as another option to the lemon juice 🙂

  31. Your stuffed cabbage look great. My Dad made the best stuffed cabbage. A tip for making it easier to roll….Take a knife and shave down the vein on the cabbage..it becomes more flexible.

    • Thanks so much, Sandy! I love the tip and will add to the recipe with credit to you 🙂 That said, how did your Dad make his stuffed cabbage?

  32. I found your post/recipe on Pinterest. I made it tonight and it was wonderful. I actually had to modify a bit…I was out of onions (who runs out of onions??) and I had to use regular sugar instead of brown. But, man, we all flipped out. These are awesome and I can see why they hold such a fond place in your memory. Thank you so much for sharing! I’d love it if you’d check out my blog.

    • Thank you, Elizabeth, and I just checked out your blog..love it!

      By the way; I run out of onions all.the.time. !!

  33. I just made cabbage rolls, for the cabbage, I boil it whole in a pot and cut under the big veins and remove the leaves on at a time as they become a little tender. That way I stuff them as they others soften.

  34. Very similar to my recipe, except I add white not brown sugar,and I also add diced apple to the meat. I do simmer mine stove top. I line the bottom of the pot with cabbage leaves to prevent rolls from scorching.

    • I love the idea of diced apples in the meat mixture..I’m going to have to try it that way! I also love your tip on lining the bottom of the pot with cabbage to prevent sticking. I’m going to add that to the post with credit to you – thank you, Sue!

  35. I brown hamburger in my sauce with green pepper and onion and use tomato sauce, tomato soup and tomato bits, the hamburger adds a lot of flower and I actually bake them in the oven covered with this sauce. My mom used bacon in her sauce and line the baking dish with slices of bacon…best bacon ever! And we called it gumkie!

    • That sounds amazing, Cindy. Is it sweet and sour or 100% savory? I’m guessing the tomato soup would provide some sweetness. Love the idea of more ground beef in the sauce, and lining the dish with bacon..HOLY MOLY. I’d really love to try your version with your Mom’s bacon lining!

  36. Thank you for the great pictures. Mine has now gone into the oven I cant wait until it’s done!! Looks amazing yummmmm

  37. My story is much like yours. My great grandmother made us glombkis whoever she came to visit,along with her home made bread…. I too have been looking for a recipe that taste close. I can’t wait to give this one a try.

    • Hi, Shannon! Those are memories that just can’t be beat. I would love just one more weekend back. Let me know if it comes close to your great grandmother’s! 🙂

  38. This was Golumpki at my Grandmothers home and for me it too brings back such fond memories.
    Thank you for sharing your recipe, you may want to replace the tomatoe sauce with original V-8 Juice my Polish Gramma made hers that way and so do I it is delicious!
    Marci Anne

    • Marci – I love hearing that you and others have such fond memories, as I did, of this dish, most usually made for us by our grandma(s). I’m definitely going to try it with the V-8 juice, which is another part I love about sharing this recipe..all the suggestions of ingredient swaps, additions or tweaks that made these rolls so special for others. That said, you’re so welcome and I’m so glad my version of my grandma’s (she was Russian) ‘Golumpki’ conjured up those memories for you! 🙂

    • Hi, Billy. Nope, no one left that suggestion, but I’m glad you did for all to see 🙂 Sounds delicious! Thank you!

  39. My mother made the Prakash the same way, except she used Sour Salt instead of apple cider. You just have to be careful and not use to much sour salt a little at time according to your taste buds. Enjoy. Will absolutely try this recipe, love, love Prakash ( stuffed Cabbage).

    • Hi, Ann! Thank you so much for sharing that with us! Now I’m completely intrigued, so I’m going to look up and buy Sour Salt (unless you can make it with lemon maybe?) because I love trying other ‘made with love’ handed-down versions of it 🙂

  40. Pingback: Stuffed Cabbage Rolls | Lemon Tree Cleaning Service

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  42. I was wondering if there would be another sauce that could pair well. The cabbage rolls sound like something my mother would really enjoy but because if kidney problems she cannot have tomatoes sauce

      • I make sarmas they are Crotian version. Make the same but put bacon in meat, then instead of tomatoe sauce you use sauerkraut put little on bottom of pan top with layer of stuffed cabbage, put more sauerkraut with juice sprinkle with a little brown sugar, bake same way I do a 350 oven. You can also layer with some kielbasa. All of my children and grandchildren love them.

      • OMG, Barbara, bacon, sauerkraut and brown sugar sounds heavenly, and adding kielbasa most certainly takes it to the next level! I’m REALLY enjoying everyone sharing their own takes and passed down recipes of cabbage rolls, so much so that I’m starting to get giddy every time there’s a new comment here! Is there any technique or secret ingredient to your recipe you could share with us here? I think I get most of the gist from your comment to try and recreate it 🙂

  43. I have been making cabbage rolls for 40 years. It was hit and miss for years…every time I made them I wrote down what I did until I finally got it right. My grandmother was Austrian and called them Galushski (not sure how it is spelled). I use half ground beef and half ground pork, raw rice, finely chopped onion, and salt and pepper. Mixture is rolled in cabbage leaves that are made pliable by freezing the heads. They are layered with sauerkraut between each layer. My grandma and my mom cooked them slowly on top of stove. I have been using a slow cooker instead for many years. I also add a light tomato sauce now. Grandma is rolling over in her grave for that change! My daughter and granddaughters follow this recipe.

    • Myrna, I love that you shared this with me and my readers. There are so many variations of cabbage rolls that we all grew up with and love and cherish to this day, and I’m dying to try every one of them, including yours. Although I’m used to and a stickler for the sweet version from my grandmother, I love the idea of the cabbage rolls being layered with sauerkraut and even better, cooked in a slow cooker! I’m betting your grandmother is more likely thinking “Why didn’t I think of that?”. In fact, I’m going to try my version in a slow cooker and see how it turns out. Having said all that, would you be willing to share your recipe with me via email, or here? I get the gist of it from your comment, but sometimes there’s that secret ingredient or method..right? lol

      • Happy to share. I always make a big batch as it freezes well. I use 2-1/2 lbs each ground beef (lean) and ground pork (not sausage), 1-1/4 cups long grain rice, 1 cup minced onion, about 3 tsps. salt and pepper to taste. I use 2 cans of Bavarian style sauerkraut. Mix all together except kraut. Use about 4 small heads of cabbage (previously frozen and thawed) and roll. I use my thumbs to push the cabbage into meat mixture. Works better than folding like a burrito. Alternate rolls and sauerkraut. Fill slow cooker to within a couple inches of top. Add a little water. Cover and start on high and reduce to low after cooking begins. I make a tomato sauce with a can of tomato soup mixed with 1/2 cup water and a little butter. Add to top of rolls after about 3 hours. I cook these all day. You might need to use 2 slow cookers.

      • Thank you so much for sharing your recipe, Myrna! I’m so intrigued now, especially with your method of rolling the cabbage! I’m going to give it a try when I’m feeling a little better, but if anyone tries this recipe before I do, please let us know here! My mouth is now watering, Myrna lol

  44. I can’t thank you enough for this recipe!!! My husband almost shed a few tears when he first tasted it because it turned out exactly as his mother made it many, many years ago. He never thought he’d taste it again! Thank you, thank you, thank you for this exceptionally delicious take on stuffed cabbage! This will be passed down in our family forever!

    • Thank you and so glad it brought happy memories for your husband. It has become traditional in my family to serve them Christmas Eve. Now that I no longer live close enough to always be the cabbage roll maker, my daughter and one of my granddaughters have taken up the task. Was your husband’s mother of German descent?

      • Oh Myrna, I’m sorry, I was referring to Lisa’s sweet and sour cabbage recipe. But, your recipe sounds wonderful so I just printed it out and will make it this week. I will report back and let you know! We love sauerkraut around here!!

  45. My recipe is very similar to this. I also had to reconstruct my mother’s recipe and I’m past my 79th birthday. The last time I made these I used the freezer method for the cabbage, only I only did it 24 hours. It worked! I also cooked it in my slow cooker for 8 hours on low. I spray my cooker anytime I have something that may stick. Did not stick. They were delish! and I served them with mashed potatoes and Challah! The gravy is wonderful, too good to waste. Mop it up with the Challah.

    • I think we’re going to have to add to tradition and serve this stuffed cabbage with challah now! Using it to mop the delicious gravy (liquid gold, I call it) is a brilliant idea, Marlene! The mashed potatoes only catch so much, plus the gravy left over in the pan needs to be sopped up too. Also, I use slow cooker bags designed to fit my crockpot, so there’s barely any cleanup and no stick, although I have yet to try these cabbage rolls in one.
      ————
      That said, Marlene, is there any secret or anything you do differently than mine that you’re willing to share? It was so gratifying and amazing to finally come super close to my grandmother’s recipe, but I’ll never recreate her special touch..or any little secret she may have added, which I’m positive I’m missing.

  46. I love cabbage rolls & have been making them for many years. Your recipe is a little different than mine but still great I’m sure.
    I just wanted to pass along a tip about the cabbage, if you put the head of cabbage in the freezer for a few days, then let it defrost when you want o make cabbage rolls, the leaves are limp & ready to go, no messing about blanching them.

    • Hi, Bonnie! Thank you for the tip! Freezing the whole head of cabbage is mentioned in the post, but some say it only needs 24 hours, some say a few days. The conundrum is..which works better? 🙂

  47. I have never made cabbage rolls before, but these were a huge hit in my house tonight! My husband asked me to make these many times this Fall and Winter! Thanks for sharing your recipe and allowing me to add a new item to our rotation 🙂

    • I’m so happy you and your husband liked it so much that it’s now a part of your cool weather rotation, Samantha, and you’re so welcome! We just had it again last night for dinner, and I’m not sure we’ll ever go a month without making it at least once, ALL 4 seasons! lol

  48. I am just a hair this side of 80 years young and I always made my stuffed cabbage like my mama’s on top of the stove. A few years ago, I received a huge crockpot and started making them in there. Great results, less pot sitting. But now. my sweet DH gave me an electric pressure cooker. He thinks I can use this to make stuffed cabbage. Oy! It sits on a shelf looking at me, still unused, mocking me!

  49. Luckily, these tasted delicious … even though they didn’t entirely work for me. Is it a particular kind of cabbage you used? The cabbage I used was much lighter in colour than what you have in the pictures. It’s leaves are quite thick and it kind of has a rubbery texture to it when raw, very crunchy; it’s the kind that’s in coleslaw. Anyway, it was still quite crunchy after being cooked for two hours. I’d love to make this again but am thinking I need to change to type of cabbage I used.

    • Hi, Leslie! I’m sorry the cabbage part didn’t work out for you. The cabbage used in this recipe is a basic, round green cabbage. I was thinking you may have mistakenly used a Napa cabbage, but green cabbage is commonly used in cole slaw, so now I’m not so sure! Here’s a list of green cabbages http://www.foodsubs.com/Cabbage.html#green cabbage The one used in the recipe is the green cabbage. Let me know! 🙂

      • Shoot, I was hoping it was a cabbage problem and not something I’d done! 😉 It looks like I used the right cabbage; it was a massive head of it though, so maybe it was just too big and tough. I’ll have to try again!

      • Try freezing it for a couple of days. When it defrosts, it’s like it was boiled. Hope it works for you. It does for me!

      • I agree with Marlene, Leslie. Freeze it for two days then defrost and roll. I definitely prefer this method since it’s much easier than blanching..kind of like ‘Set it and forget it ‘ lol I’m hoping that solves your problem. If not, we’ll figure it out 🙂

  50. This is very close to the way I do it!
    I omit the ice water bath after scalding the leaves—-yes they do keep cooking but they also get softer and easier to roll.
    I also use 2 leaves per roll–I like the extra cabbage.
    When you are blanching the cabbage separate into 2 bunches the LARGE and SMALLER leaves—wrap the meat in the smaller one first then grab and large one and use it for the outer wrap.
    I also like a touch of Oregano—-it give them an Italian flair.

    • Thank you for that tip, Sandman! It’s also a great way to use the whole head of cabbage at once! Do you chop the smaller leaves near the core that can’t be rolled, into the sauce? That’s one of my favorite parts about the sauce 🙂

  51. My husband has been going on and on about his Mother’s cabbage rolls for over 30 years. Unfortunately she died, so no recipe. I have had cabbage rolls before and was not impressed. It just did this recipe and it is fabulous. I can hardly wait until my husband tries it. I think he will love it too!

  52. This is like our family recipe we have made for more than60 or 70 some years except no raisins we add alittle poultry seasoning to meat and adding ground pork to the beef is yummy. Years ago my mother would get ground beef, ground veal, and ground pork mix to use but not any butchers left. So glad u got your grandmas recipe again . We have fried potatoes with them. Dont know why either. Good eating

    • Hi, ruth ann! Thanks so much for sharing your family’s version of this recipe! I like the idea of a ‘meatloaf’ mix inside the rolls…certainly different and certainly a myriad of flavors! Love me some fried potatoes too! Funny you mentioned the disappearance of neighborhood butchers. My father was just talking about how my grandmother got all her meat from a butcher around the corner from their apartment in NYC, and those were the “good ‘ole days” 🙂

    • Hi, Rachel! Yes, the rice goes in uncooked. That said, I’m not super familiar with quinoa, but I looked it up and every article says that yes, quinoa is a perfect substitute for rice, so go for it! 🙂

  53. One more question – I have never worked with cabbage before. I googled how to core a cabbage and it looks like it needs to be quartered first. Is this correct or will that make the leaves too small? Perhaps I peel the 16 leaves first, then core for the copped portion??

    • Oh, absolutely do not quarter the cabbage as the leaves will be too small. You need to use a whole leaf per roll. That said, in the directions, there are three methods in which you can easily core and separate the leaves from the head, plus soften them for rolling 🙂 If you have any issues with any of them, let me know ASAP! Also, looking forward to hearing how the quinoa in the meat turns out!

      • Well the verdict is in – FABULOUS!! What a delicious recipe, thanks so much for sharing. The quinoa worked out beautifully too 🙂

      • I could have sworn I replied to your last comment regarding the success of the quinoa, Rachel. So weird that it disappeared! In any event, thank you so much for updating me on the quinoa result..so glad it worked!

  54. Thank you for sharing your grandmother’s recipe. I connected with what you said about your grandmother, because I too believed my grandmother to be immortal.

    • You’re so welcome, Dee! Although it isn’t technically hers, it’s the closest I’ve ever gotten. Lesson learned about immortality, but when you’re a kid, it just seems so unfathomable that the people you love will be gone one day.

  55. Thank you for this delicious recipe. I made it last night from your recipe without any changes and they we excellent. I used the microwave method to remove the leaves and was pleasantly surprised how well it worked. This recipe will be a keeper for my family.

    • You’re welcome, Carol, and I’m so thrilled that you like it enough to make it a keeper! As for the microwave method of coring the cabbage and softening the leaves, would you believe I have yet to try it? No idea why I’m still blanching the leaves when there are much easier methods! Habit, I suppose 🙂

  56. I know the secret in my family’s recipe is using sour salt in the sauce. It’s hard to find, but you can order it online. It gives it the sweet-sour taste!

    • Thanks for that, Jody! Sweet and Sour Salt is definitely worth a try, although I’d love to order it to sprinkle on everything! 🙂

    • Hi, Joy! In number 5. of the directions it says; 5. Over medium heat, melt the butter in a heavy, nonreactive saucepan. Sauté the second onion until soft and golden. Add the garlic and saute for 2 more minutes, then add the reserved chopped cabbage and sauté briefly.

      Hope that helps! 🙂

  57. I like your recipe. It is similar to ky mom’s,but I never saw her use raisins in the sauce before. My mom was Ukrainian. I was wondering what ethnicity your grandma was?

    • Hi, Kathleen! My grandmother was of Russian descent. Obviously this version, and versions close to this version of stuffed cabbage, was predominantly Eastern European 🙂

  58. I am a newbie to this recipe. My husband’s aunt brought it to a family party a few years ago and I’ve been looking for a good recipe ever since she said you add ‘just a little of this and that’. I don’t usually do this, but I read through all 16 pages– yup, it’s a popular one– of comments. I really love hearing how one standard dish can be presented so many ways! I made this tonight for my family of 6 and it made my house smell soooo good. I used ground pork too. I thought it was nice and tender but I may use that meatloaf mix in my next attempt. I got an enormous head of cabbage at a local veggie stand for .50 cents and I was afraid it wouldn’t even fit in my microwave but it did. I microwaved it 6 minutes and then pealed off the first few layers till I got to the lighter layers. Then I boiled them for 1 minute and that was perfect. The leaves were still so large I cut them in half and cut out the thicker veins completely. I only used 8 leaves for the 16 rolls. I froze some of the cabbage for another meal and gave the rest to my chickens for a treat! Thank you so much for the detailed directions. This was a great meal for my family served with broccoli and a baked potato.

    • Even the chickens benefited – I love it! I’m so glad you and your family enjoyed the stuffed cabbage, Liz! Being that your head of cabbage was enormous, I can see why you had to nuke and blanch the leaves! That’s dedication! That being said, I think the smell of it cooking is a pretty close second to actually eating it! There is nothing better than walking into the house on cool day or night , to a pan of this stuffed cabbage in the oven! I wish it could be bottled!

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it so much, Kathy! You’re so welcome! That said, thank you for showing me the link you pinned the recipe from. I just contacted them to tell them to remove the directions to the recipe so people come here to get it. I’m glad they at least sourced me, though! xo

  59. This may have been addressed above and I simply missed it, but do you think this can be done in a slow cooker? I think adding some extra leaves in the bottom of the cooker to prevent scorching would work but it would be ideal for me to have this ready when I got home in the evening. Beautiful photography! Thanks!

    • Hiya, Joy! Yes, it most certainly can be cooked in a slow cooker! A reader emailed me to say it was perfect cooking it on low for 8 to 9 hours 🙂 I don’t even think you need to cover the bottom with leaves ; just sauce would be fine, but whatever you feel comfortable with! That said, thank you for your sweet compliment regarding my photos, but dang, have you seen what’s out there now? I couldn’t hold a candle lol

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    • Yes, Janine! I’ve heard that quite a bit on my cabbage pins on Pinterest. Sarmas is the Turkish version of them, right? 🙂

    • Hi, Divya! I don’t see why it wouldn’t work, but then again I’ve never worked with vegetarian imitation beef, so I can’t guarantee it 100%. If it works out, could you let me know? 🙂

    • Chili sauce sounds like a great addition, Joan! Now, I’m assuming you meant it was a a ‘winner’ instead of ‘winter’, although this is the perfect winter comfort food! ;D

  63. Made these for Christmas Eve dinner and they were incredible! I found some grass fed 90% lean bison so I used it…worked beautifully. Pulling the leaves off the cabbage was hard so next time I’ll try the microwave method. But the rest was work the work. The family was very impressed…thanks for this!

    • Hi, Chrystal! I’m so glad you and your family loved it as much as we do! In regards to the cabbage leaves, I just blanch the whole head, but many swear by the freezing method as being the easiest, even though it takes two days. That said, thank you so much for stopping by to tell me that! It makes me so happy to know that a recipe of mine made others happy! 🙂

    • Hi, Lauren. I’m assuming there’s leftover meat because you had a smaller head of cabbage? Regardless, depending on how much you have left..meatballs, seared (browned in a little oil or butter), then simmered in a gravy or sauce for about an hour 🙂

    • Depending how much you have, I would crumble it up and put it in the bottom with the left over cabbage. Then serve it over the rolls.

      • Great idea, Patty! I would probably brown it first to get some meaty caramelized flavor into the sauce 🙂

  64. They worked beautifully and the microwave trick for the cabbage worked like a charm! The leaves were perfect! I used some brown rice and farro. They were delicious!

    • I’m so happy everything worked out and you enjoyed them, Julie! The brown rice and farro sound awesome! I’m going to have to try it! I need a veg version of these! 🙂

  65. Hi just wanted to share another tip on getting the cabbage leafs off hole. If you put the hole head of cabbage in boiling water for about 45 sec to a minute they will peel of wonderfully.

  66. I need to try these. Recipe sounds closer to my mom’s than any other that I’ve seen. We called them halupsi. German/Russian decent. My mom used home canned tomatoes for her sauce….just not the same as store bought, so if yours aren’t quite the same as your grandma’s that may be the problem☺️
    I finally figured out that my fried chicken isn’t the same as my moms because I buy my chickens at the store; she raised hers, butchered, cleaned them and put them in the cast iron fry pan. Some foods just can’t be replicated these days

    • I totally agree, Bobbi! My grandmother would get her meat at the butcher all the time..never the supermarket. When I was a kid, local butcher shops had already dwindled to the point of obsolete, but I remember hers was there for a long time and didn’t close until I was in college. So, like you mentioned, there just might be some parts that can’t be replicated (unless you drive hours to find a good butcher, (or butcher your own meat!) or, maybe, in a way, with the choices we have today organically, we can actually make certain recipes better. However, nothing replaces a personal touch on a dish, and sometimes one person can make the same recipe better than another. The LOVE poured into it is a huge factor 🙂

  67. Not sure where mine went wrong. After 2 hours in oven…rice was not cooked. Have back in oven now and hoping for better

    • I’m so sorry to hear that, Corinne! Did you use long grain white rice? Also, how old was the rice you used? Sometimes older rice does not cook very well. Just throwing ideas out there 🙂

      • My mom always told me to cook the rice half way first, let it cool and then add it to the meat, before stuffing the rolls. Though I know your recipe said just add dry rice.

      • Thanks for that cabbage tip, Patty! It seems to get easier and easier with each new tip! That said, the rice cooks for at least an hour (by the time the meat gets steamy enough to cook it) and I’ve never had a problem with it not being cooked perfectly when the rolls are done, nor has anyone who has tried it up until Corrine. But of course there’s nothing wrong with cooking it prior, cooling it, then adding it to the meat mixture 🙂

  68. I haven’t made this yet but I have found basmati rice to cook a bit faster than regular rice. That may be an option if your rice isn’t getting done. Just sayin’

    • I LOVE basmati rice! It would definitely go nicely with it! I think I’m going to use it next time 🙂 Thank you, Bobbi!

  69. Made these for Christmas Day, just omitted the raisins. They were the bomb. Thanks for the tip of using the microwave to soften the cabbage leaves worked like a charm. Next time may cut back on brown sugar a little bit. Thank you so much

    • So glad you liked them, Elvia! Regarding the sweetness, this is why I put a sliding scale from 1/3 cup to 3/4 cup or just one tablespoon if you prefer it completely savory, in the ingredient list. Personally, I love it at 3/4 cup ‘sweet’. How much did you use? 🙂

  70. Putting these puppies in oven in a few minutes. Had a boyfriend in high school and his mother made the best cabbage rolls. I have not had them sence. Hoping they are delicious as I remimber. Thanks

    • I hope so too, Stacy, since we all have our own memories of how delicious it was via whomever made it for us back in the day 🙂 Let me know how they turn out!

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  72. A great recipe lives on forever! I saw these hearty cabbage rolls and they led me here! A friend’s mom always makes these when she visits (they’re Polish from Pittsburgh and she calls them haloupkis). Happy NewYear, Lisa! Hope all is well :)) xo Priscilla

    • So good to see you here again, Priscilla!! Yes..there many versions of cabbage rolls, whether it be personal or cultural, most rife with mouth-watering memories, no matter what we call ’em lol. Happy New Year to you and yours, Priscilla! xoxo

  73. I buy a cabbage from the deli as it is already drowned in vinegar 🙂
    The leaves are soft and easy to handle. Cooked on the stovetop with chopped cabbage at the bottom of the pot. Oh, and don’t forget the speck. And mashed potatoes.
    Eating this reminds me of my childhood and my mother’s cooking. Happy days!

    • Hi, Rose 🙂 I don’t think any deli near me sells whole cabbages soaked in vinegar, but that does sound yummy. I’m assuming it’s a sweet and sour cabbage? As for covering the bottom of the pot with chopped cabbage if you make it stovetop, great idea! Another reader lines the bottom with whole cabbage leaves to do the same. Either way is genius! Finally, we always eat it with mashed potatoes…the perfect sauce soakong vessel, although I like to mash some of my cabbage rolls right into the mash. SO GOOD!

      • That sounds amazing and so convenient, Rose! You wouldn’t have to add the lemon or vinegar if you were using it for this recipe!

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  75. This looks soooooooo good! can you substitute spaghetti sauce in replace of the tomato sauce? Either way we will be trying this next week!:)

    • Thank you, Eliza! Yes, you can certainly substitute spaghetti sauce, although I wouldn’t recommend it since jarred spaghetti sauces impart their own flavors which would change the dish. But, by all means, there are no rules in cooking, so go for it 🙂

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  77. These cabbage rolls are the BEST ever! I have never eaten any as delicious as this recipe, a big thank you for sharing your awesome recipe! xx

  78. I used ground venison as I have several hunters in my family . I also substituted brown rice for white rice . Will the rice make a difference ? In the oven now . Can’t wait

    • Hi, Jodi! I’ve never tried it with brown rice, so I can’t guarantee how it will turn out or if it will cook properly, but I’m hoping it does! As for the venison..wow! That’s really taking it to another level I’m betting your hunters are excited for this one! I’m sure it will be amazing! 🙂

      • The brown rice cooked perfectly inside . Used 1/3 cup brown sugar . I thought it was sweet but others loved it !

      • Awesome, Jodi! Next time, take it down to 1/4 cup or 3 tablespoons brown sugar, so you can really, really enjoy it too – OR, if you want it completely savory, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, as stated in the recipe. I grew up eating it sweet, so I use 3/4 cup brown sugar when I make it. It’s all a matter of taste 🙂 Thank you so much for updating me on how it turned out!

  79. It sounds similar to my Ukrainian born wife’s golobtsy. Hers is more on the savoury side with a tomato and sour cream based sauce. Your sauce sounds good, we may try it next time we feel like a bit of a change.

    • Hi, Chris! I’ve had a version similar to your wife’s, and it was extraordinary. I couldn’t get enough of the sour cream sauce and asked for more to pour all over the egg noodles that the cabbage rolls were served with. As a matter of fact, I’ve been looking for a really good recipe for it. If you know of one, could you please link it here? 🙂

  80. Just sent this pin to my friend, made this for Christmas Day along with my ham with mashed potatoes and they were a BIG hit. I just omitted the raisins. Sorry it took so long to let you know. I used the microwave method to soften the cabbage and it worked like a charm only thing I had to used two instead of one? Thank you and your gramma for this great recipe

    • Thank you so much for reporting back, Elvia, and I’m ecstatic that it was a big hit with your family on Christmas! The microwave method for softening the leaves and removing the core is proving to be the easiest and most popular thus far, so I’m looking forward to trying it. That said, did you mean you had to use two heads of cabbage to get 14 to 16 rolls?

      • Yes Had to go to store for another head of cabbage, but that’s ok as the final dish was sooooo good. I always read reviews to recipes but no one ever posts how they come out just that it looks good. I can say this was good!

      • So happy you enjoyed it, Elvia! I have yet to try the microwave method to soften the cabbage leaves, but you’re #3 out of 4 who had success :).

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  84. I so can relate to the thinking that your indestructible grandmother will live forever. Thanks for the recipe. Looks amazing and I cannot wait to try. We love cabbage!! I might blog about it on my blog (giving you full credit of course!!). My readers would love it!!

    • Thank you, Aimee! I hope you enjoy it! I’m thinking she’s loving all the love my take on her stuffed cabbage is getting, but probably shaking her head because I left out the ‘something’ that makes it really special lol

  85. My daughter and I made these last night. We followed the recipe to a tee except we didn’t add the raisins – not a judgement but a personal preference – and we did only add 1/4 cup of brown sugar. I just want to say that it was truly one of the most delicious dinners we have had in a very long time and we do a lot of cooking and love being in the kitchen. We have been going through recipes and only keeping those that have 4 or 5 stars when the people around our table vote. 5 STARS from the 8 people we served last night – and they don’t pull their punches! We served it with fresh green beans and garlic mashed potatoes. It was a good menu all around – but at the end of the dinner, we all knew who the real STAR was. Thank you so much for your willingness to share this recipe.

    • Wow, Kathie Lynn, I can’t tell you how much I loved reading that! I am so flattered and blown away to know it’s one of the most delicious dinners you’ve ever had (I tend to skip the raisins too every so often..not a raisin person)! I know my grandmother has to be smiling down every time I receive a comment like yours (although as I mentioned in reply to a comment below, she’s probably shaking her fist because I haven’t figured out her secret ingredients. Yes, hers actually tasted even better!) 🙂 Thank you so much for coming back to let me know that you and your guests loved it!! It totally made my day!

    • Awesome, Katie! Thanks so much for sharing that! It makes me happy to know so many love this dish as much as I do. Enjoy! xo

  86. We had these a few weeks ago and they were sooooo good!! I want to make them again except I’d like to try it in the crockpot. Do you think that would work and how long should I cook them if I do?

    • Hi, Eliza! I’m so glad you loved them! That said, I’ve personally never made these in a crockpot, so I can’t guarantee anything, but some of my readers have. Here’s excerpt from a comment above;

      I also cooked it in my slow cooker for 8 hours on low. I spray my cooker anytime I have something that may stick. Did not stick.

      So, spray the crockpot first, then add rolls and sauce..low for 8 hours 🙂

    • Hi, Caren. I’ve never made it in a crockpot so I can’t personally guarantee anything, but some of my readers have with good results. One reader said she sprayed the inside of her crockpot with non-stick oil spray, then put in the cabbage rolls and sauce and cooked it on low for 8 hours, with great results 🙂

  87. My mom used to make 2 batches of these. 1 with tomato sauce and 1 with cream of mushroom sauce. Love both!

    • Thanks for sharing that, Shara! The cream of mushroom sauce sounds delicious! I was thinking of playing around with a creamy cheese sauce of a sort soon 🙂

  88. Did you use lean ground beef to keep the dish from being too greasy since the fat isn’t cooked off first?

    • HI, Kathie, I pretty much use 80/20 for all of my ground beef recipes, so that’s what I use when I make the cabbage. However, I have used higher fat percentages occasionally when making the cabbage, and never had a grease problem, and I know my grandmother definitely didn’t think about the fat content back in the day lol. That said, you can always use 90/10, or try ground turkey or chicken, if you’re concerned about the possibility of grease. 🙂

      • Got some Laura’s Lean 90/10 on quick sale, so gonna try that when I put these together tonight, slow cook them tomorrow while I’m at work. Thanks for the input, and I’m with you on 80/20–no fat, no flavor! Can’t wait to try these for dinner tomorrow evening!

      • Exactly, Kathie! It’s sort of like when you make a homemade tomato sauce. You start by sauteing garlic in olive oil, but you never feel the oil on your palate when the sauce is done, it just enhances the flavor. I think I can confidently say that any beef fat flavors the sauce for the cabbage rolls rather than ‘greasing’ the sauce. Please let me know how it turns out with the 90/10, as I’ve never gone that lean, but it would be nice to once in a while! 🙂

  89. So I ended up here because some pin testing blogger completely (and deliberately?) screwed up your recipe and childishly declared it “ew” and “gross” all over social media. Well, my sister and I put it together this morning (we boiled the whole head and it worked perfectly) and popped it in the oven around 4:30. We just finished eating and oh my gahh…it was unfreakin’ believable! In fact, my normally cabbage hating son had seconds! This is going to be a regular dish in our family from now on. Thank you so much for sharing it!!

    • Hi, Diane. Yeah, I saw it. I was told she did it for some blogger friends who don’t like me (or know me lol). She even bashed my late grandmother. Regardless, I’m really glad you tried it despite what she said, and so happy you and your family liked it! Thank you for stopping by to tell me! xo

    • I saw it too and knew it had to be personal because it was too scathing not to be. I’m sure others picked up on it too. This recipe speaks for itself and grownups with middle school mentalities isn’t going to change that. By the way, I love your blog!

      • Thank you, Rachel! Personal is the key word here because I don’t know her from Adam. It’s more or less robot syndrome..doing what one is told to do to please the ones who requested it. You know..follow the leader type of crap..no mind of their own etc. Anyway, it’s her blog, she can do whatever she wants.

  90. Made this Saturday night for a small get together and it was unanimous. AWESOME! There was not a speck left! Before blanching, I cut one half inch off the bottom of the cabbage instead of coring it and the leaves came off easily. Just thought I’d throw in another idea. Thanks so much for the recipe!

    • Thanks so much for letting me know that, Mike! It always makes my day to hear it was a success! Love your idea about trimming the bottom half of the cabbage off, but I can’t help wondering if 1) Less rolling area because the leaves were cut short, and 2) It separates the inner leaves too? I’m supposing it depends on the size of your cabbage? To kill two comments with one comment…really love the drill idea! Totally worth it if you eat a lot of cabbage! lol

  91. Hope it’s still great cause I kind of goofed up. That extra cabbage for the sauce I accidentally put in the beef mix lol. I had an extra head of cabbage so I still was able to have some for the sauce. I should have known better then to make a new recipe while sick with bronchitis but I was bored. Any how it turned out great! It was the first time my kids ever had cabbage rolls and my girl is a picky eater and they loved it! I will say that the sauce boiled over while cooking and there was not a lot of sauce left when it was all done. Wished it was more wet/saucy. Next time I will check it after 1 hr and then at an 1 1/2 hrs if needed. I’m betting it doesn’t need the whole 2hrs. Thanks!

    • Hi, Sherry! So glad you and your kids liked it! That said, nothing at all wrong with adding cabbage to the meat mixture, and in fact, I’d call that a happy accident! I might do that next time, but refrain from adding it to the sauce if I do, although if you really love cabbage..nothing wrong with both. You essentially made it your own, and that’s the best part about cooking. As for the sauce bubbling over..hmmm, that’s never happened to me, nor have I heard of it happening to those who have also made it. Maybe your oven runs a little hot? Do you have an oven thermometer? Just throwing ideas out there to figure why. It’s definitely in conjunction with your rolls needing less time to cook, so that could be it (???).

      • Good idea and yes I have one. I forgot, duh. Thanks you. We ate the last of the rolls for dinner tonight! 16 rolls gone! Definitely will double and freeze next time. Thanks for a really awesome recipe.

      • You are so welcome, Sherry..and nothing wrong with making extra sauce for extra saucy cabbage rolls (in hopes that it doesn’t boil over again!!) So happy you enjoyed it so much!!

  92. [email protected] on

    I hope this is going to be good,!

    • I hope so too, meaning I hope you love it as much as we do. Please let me know how it turns out for you 🙂

  93. As we sit here with full bellies after finishing a whole pan of your delicious stuffed cabbage (3 adults, two teenagers), we’re already discussing when I will make it again. It is THAT GOOD. Thank you for posting this keeper!

    • Connie, my pleasure! I’m so glad it was a hit with your family and you’ll be making it again! Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know! xo

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  95. Your recipe for the filling is almost identical to mine. I fiddled with getting it when I was first married and my husband whose family was German decent begged me to try making them. Some recipes call for cooked rice but I used uncooked also. It saves a step and is easier to hold together. My recipe evolved as 1 lb ground beef to one egg and one onion with a cup of rice plus seasonings. That way you can make large quantities and freeze them which I did regularly. I froze in plastic bags and took them out before I went to work. My adult children absolutely hate them to this day while most people ask for more! My sauce used to be more complex but my husband likes just tomatoe juice and I baked them in that for 11/2 to 2 hours. I will see if anyone prefers the one you worked out from your grandmothers recipe.

    • Hi, Sue..thank you for stopping by! I think the filling with the uncooked rice is traditional, but I only took that route because I remember my grandmother mixing in uncooked rice (I also remember chopped onion, but that’s where it ended, hence my search). I added the garlic because it tasted more like my grandmother’s with it than without it, so I’m guessing she used garlic too. That said, I love your idea of freezing the beef mixture ahead of time in separate bags for each pan of cabbage! Definitely a time saver, so thank you for that!
      —-
      Finally, maybe your kids might like them using my sauce? Then again, if it’s a ‘cabbage’ thing, nothing will help! If you try my version, please let me know what you think! 🙂

  96. My grandma used to make these and they were one of my favorite meals. I like your sauce recipe very much and even though it is nearly April, I’m going to make these for one of my Easter dishes. I love your recipes and your blog.

    • Serena..I bet your grandma’s was the best you ever had, like mine 🙂 That said, I make this whenever the mood hits, whether it be Winter comfort food or the steamy dog days of August. Then again, I’ve made a pumpkin pie in July lol Thank you so much for your sweet compliments about my blog and recipes, and I hope my stuffed cabbage comes close to your grandmother’s!

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  98. I Bet the missing ingredient that your grandmother used is ground cloves. Add a tbsp. to your rice when it’s cooking 😉

    • Thank you for that tip, Melissa! I will most certainly try the cloves next time, although I was thinking maybe even nutmeg?? I guess I’ll have to see 🙂

    • I’m thrilled that you loved them and ultimately humbled that you thought they were better than your grandma’s. That is the highest compliment one could receive! Thank you!

    • Hi, Eva! Thank you! I’ve never tried it with brown rice, but some of my readers have with great results, so why not? That said, I do know that brown rice takes twice the time to cook as white rice, so maybe parboil it first, then cool before adding it to the meat mixture. 🙂

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  101. We have a freezer FULL of venison. Making this tonight with ground deer meat in place of the ground beef. Smells amazing I can’t wait till it’s done! 🙂

    • How did it turn out, Tara? A reader made these with venison a few months ago and loved it! I hope you all did too! 🙂

  102. I really love this recipe! it’s fairly easy, it was challenging to get off the cabbage leaves but I’m sure I could have done it another way to make them fuller. the sauce was amazing! However, they were fairly hard to eat so I was thing there could be another way to make them? like meatballs and cabbage or maybe make them bite sized. I’ll definitely be experimenting with these! My family loved them!

    • Hi, Leah! So glad you liked it! However, do you mean you had a hard time eating it because the cabbage leaves were whole and rolled? Usually, the 2 hour baking time takes care of that, as the cabbage should be extra tender and they should kind of fall apart nicely when cut into. In regards to the cabbage leaves being hard to remove, did you cut out the core of the cabbage head and boil/blanch it before rolling? The leaves come right off the head and are super easy to roll, that way. Finally, below are some links to deconstructed stuffed cabbage casseroles, since I think that’s what you’re looking for and would prefer it to rolling. Just use my sauce and/or filling, if desired, but still cover and bake for two hours, as that’s essential to the flavor and tender texture of the cabbage 🙂
      ———
      http://www.giverecipe.com/unstuffed-cabbage-casserole.html

      http://www.afamilyfeast.com/deconstructed-stuffed-cabbage/

  103. Do not have to cook cabbage first. Put whole head in freezer 12-24 hours before using thaw and leaves peel off

    • Hi, Michele! That method is also in the directions, although I have yet to try it. Thank you for bringing it back to attention, though 🙂

  104. Very flavorful….however I would suggest pre-cooking the rice. I followed directions exactly and rice was still crunchy after two hours cooking. Returned to oven for another 45 mins. Still crunchy. Next time I will pre-cook rice and maybe boil the cabbage for a little longer as well. At this point I can’t see trying to cook further…I threw all remaining rolls away. Lesson learned…

    • Hi, Steve. I’m sorry your rice didn’t cook through and remained crunchy, but that’s never happened to me and this is the way my grandmother, her grandmother, etc, has made it for generations, never resulting in crunchy rice. However, nothing wrong with pre-cooking the rice beforehand, although I’m thinking it may get mushy with the long cooking time. Just out of curiosity..how old was the rice you used? Older rice (rice you’ve had for a year or more) sometimes requires a longer cooking time.
      ——-
      That said, I’m glad you’re going to make it again! Please let me know how it turned out with the pre-cooked rice!

  105. Hi Lisa,
    I bought the rice fresh yesterday. Was I supposed to get one minute rice? The directions didn’t say anything except white long grain rice..mmmm
    My Daughter said she pre-cooked on a hunch, and hers turned out perfect…
    My bad I guess…
    Question: why two hours to cook? Is it only to give rice time to cook because if I cook my meatloaves that long I would be eating a presto log…lol
    Just curious
    Thanks
    Steve

    • Glad you replied, Steve! Hmm, I cannot figure out why your rice didn’t cook while mine always cooks perfectly. In the 5 years since I posted this recipe, only one other person had that problem, but then on the second try, it did work, so we figured it might have been older rice. But, like I said, nothing wrong with using cooked rice, and I will add that as an option to the recipe, although I still remain staunch about it not being cooked when added to the meat. As for the long cooking time, that’s how long my grandmother cooked it, and what it does is cook down the cabbage until it’s melt-in-your-mouth tender, while braising the meat along with the sauce (which is why you don’t end up with hard logs lol). To sum all of the above up, sometimes a recipe just works even though it doesn’t seem like it will, or does not adhere to classic cooking rules. I think it’s just old-fashioned magic 😉

  106. I tried this because I had a cabbage I bought for a roast that I never made. It sounded good. Apparently it wasn’t a big enough cabbage as it was nearly impossible to make a roll out of them. So after making about 12 of them all tenuously held together with lots of toothpicks, I still had more meat than would go in the last two leaves. Plus it had to cook 2 hours and I spent so much time fooling with making the rolls, I decided to take all the meat mixture out and make meat balls. The meatballs with the sauce recipe were really good, very good. One of the better things I have made.

    I used 28 ounces crushed tomatoes and 8 oz tomato sauce instead of what’s called for because that’s what I had on hand. I put 2 cloves worth garlic in both the meatballs and sauce. I only used 1/4 c brown sugar and that was plenty. I didn’t have lemon juice or Apple cider vinegar, but I had rice wine vinegar which tastes like apple cider vinegar. Other than that I followed the directions.

    I put sauce on the bottom, then the meatballs, then more sauce. Since it was plain 73% lean hamburger, I used slices of bread to absorb the grease and spooned some off the top.

    I cooked covered with aluminum foil for 45 minutes at 375° after preheating to 400° first.

    I served it over homemade “beat the hell out of ’em ” potatoes. (What Mom called mashed potatoes when she was trying to tell me what she wanted to eat after her stroke, accompanied by a motion like she was beating something with a tennis racket. We laughed so hard, for so long one of the CNA’s came to check on us. The one adorable thing Mom has ever said in her life.)

    But this is definitely a keeper. It was really quite yummy. Now for some homemade chocolate chip cookies and milk. #AstridMusicCat just tried to help herself to my cup of milk.

    • Hi, Donna! Thank you so much for popping in to let me know how the stuffed cabbage went for you I love that you turned this into a meatball and cabbage casserole, and I love that you loved it! There are many who don’t want to spend the time making the leaves pliable then rolling, so you came up with a brilliant idea when your leaves weren’t big enough. The sign of a true cook is someone who can create something with what they have on hand if they don’t have all the ingredients, and you did just that! That being said, the homemade “beat the hell out of ’em” potatoes sound awesome and is the perfect sauce soaker for this. I love mashing the meat, cabbage and potatoes all together on my plate. Yes, I’m a child lol.
      ——
      Finally, I’m sorry to hear your Mom had a stroke, but I’m glad she’s recovered and getting her potatoes the way she likes ’em. Hope #AstridMusicCat is enjoying her milk! Oh, and you can send any leftover cookies to me, IF there are any ;D.

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  108. Wow real different recipe from the Coal Region, (Polish) Stuffed Cabbage recipe we enjoyed as kids. And yes into adults and grand kids. No way did/do we use golden raisins or all that sugar, or vinegar.

    • Hi, Cg. There are so many versions of stuffed cabbage rolls according to region, and it would take up quite a lot of space listing them all! However, my version is the sweet and sour version that’s very popular in Jewish cooking. That said, what you’re used to or grew up with, is usually a favorite, but I’d love for you to try it this way! 🙂

  109. I am jewish, and I know this dish, in Spanish, as “niño envuelto”, in English it coul be “wrapped baby/child”. The european (russian and polish) version uses cabbage instead of the sefarad version (also arabian, turkish, armenian, greek) that uses grapes leaves (as you mentioned). I like this dish a lot.

    • Hi, Silvia. Thanks for all the interesting info about stuffed cabbage rolls! Do you prefer them with grape leaves or cabbage? As you read in my post, I still need to develop a taste for grape leaves lol

  110. Made these tonight, following your directions but used less brown sugar and ground turkey. It. Was. Amazing. Kudos!!!

    • Hi, Kate 🙂 So glad you enjoyed them! As mentioned in my post, you use as much brown sugar as you’d like – anywhere from 1 tablespoon to 3/4 cup. I use 1/2 to 3/4 cup as we like it very sweet and sour here – plus, that’s how my grandmother made it, so that’s what I’m used to. I’m glad you found your perfect sweet factor, and glad to hear that ground turkey worked out well, since I always worry it might be too dry.

  111. Just tried your recipe for the first time and these cabbage rolls were SO good! My whole family (3 yr old included!) thought they were wonderful! Of course I made mashed potatoes to go along because your picture was so pretty- and I’m glad I did! I stuffed myself!

    • Thank you so much for stopping by to tell me this, JoDee! I’m so thrilled you all loved it, and ecstatic that your three year old did too! The ‘under-five’ generation liking any dish with cabbage is compliment in the highest form!! lol

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  113. I made your amazing cabbage rolls yesterday but I missed the part about baking for 2 hours, so it was too late to eat them, and we had to wait until today. The waiting was worth it! These cabbage rolls are the BEST thing I have ever made! Thank you so much!

    • I’m so glad you loved them, Amanda! I love when the leftovers sit overnight because the flavors intensify, but I don’t think I could ever wait it out overnight the first time around lol. Thank you so much for taking the time to stop in and let me know! It really makes my day to know others love this dish as much as we do!

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  115. In Romania is a national dish. We stuffed them with a mix of approx equal quantity of: onion carrots (fried very slight toghether in some oil )minced meat of pork mixt with beef , round rice and some parsley salt and black pepper ( never eggs or garlic ) rolled in cabbage or vine leaves (grapes) . A dish very delicious served with sour cream (smietana , smantana) and polenta . Sorry for my English.

    • Thank you for sharing that, Mia! The Romanian version sounds delicious and I will most certainly try it. There are so many different and delicious sounding takes on stuffed cabbage, according to country and/or culture, and it’s my goal to try them all! That said, your English is great, Mia!

  116. My grandmother also made these, but a slightly different variation using Cloves and a bay leaf. We call them Golumpkis and also eat them with mashed potatoes!!

    • Hi, Amy! Although I’m not a fan of cloves, I can see how it would fit perfectly with the cabbage and filling. However, I just might add a bay leaf to the sauce while it’s simmering to see if that’s the missing secret from my Grandmother’s recipe! I actually just had a “Why didn’t I think of that?” moment! lol Thanks so much for letting me know how your grandmother made it! Oh, and, yes..mashed potatoes with it are the best!

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  118. Cabbage rolls (we called them holupchi) were my favourite food growing up. I told my mother she could serve them every day.
    In the stuffing mixture I use one third chopped raw bacon and two thirds lean ground beef, long grain or basmati rice, partially cooked, tomato or v-8 juice, and sauted onions. Season the mixture with some salt and pepper. Not too much salt cause the bacon is salty.
    As a time saver I core and freeze the cabbage heads for at least three days then thaw and peel the leaves, paring some of the hard centre vein before stuffing and making up the rolls.
    With some of the leftover leaves, line the roaster bottom, layer the rolls on top of the leaves (two or three layers of rolls), pour a cup or more of tomato or v-8 juice over and cover with some of the remaining cabbage leaves. This protects the cabbage rolls from scorching. Cover the roaster with a lid or foil.
    Serve with additional tomato juice and sour cream. Baked or roasted potatoes are a nice accompaniment.

    Left over cooked rolls freeze well individually wrapped in saran. Enjoy

    • Thank you so much for recipe and your tips, Linda! I especially love the bacon in the filling and the topping of sour cream to serve! I also love how you encase the rolls, top and bottom, with whole cabbage leaves, like a protective cushion and blanket. Very clever! I have no doubt it’s insanely delicious, and will add it to my “must try” list!

  119. I can’t wit to try this version of cabbage roles.. This pictures make my mouth water. My mother made them, so good. My stepmother makes them different but very good. This should be fun to try all 3. Thank you!

    • Hi, Laura! You’re so welcome! I’m so glad you’re going to make them, and I hope they’re just as good as your Mom’s and Stepmom’s versions! 🙂

    • Isn’t it great to grow up on, Suzanne? Making it in a crockpot is a great idea, especially now that it’s summer and no one wants to light the oven in this heat! I’m guessing 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low? Let me know how it turns out for you! 🙂

  120. I have had such a taste for Stuffed Cabbage, as it was called in my home growing up..
    Then I saw your recipe after I got home from the market..Thank you.
    Although while at the market I bought a large cabbage.

    I’m making mine in 6 1/2 qt. crockpot ,Sunday, cause its TOO Hot in California or anywhere this time of the year to use the oven or stove for such a long time.
    I usually make mine on the stove in a large pot..My mother and Grandmother did it that way.
    I cut the core out of the cabbage, and put the cut side down in a double boiler to steam for about 45 mins..Next time I’ll try the freezer method.

    I also add Raison. only have dark raisons..I think if you do use raisons, then you do not need as much sugar!! Although we like the sweetness & texture of the raisons.
    I have never used Apple cider vinegar, But thinking if you do not have lemons that is a good sub..
    I don’t usually measure when I cook, I go by smell!! lol. But I’m going to try your recipe as it looks about like mine. Although I have bad luck using rice. It doesn’t cook through!! My family never used rice in there meat. I think I read to use the fast cooking rice now!
    I’m also not eating so much carbs.

    But If I remember right ,my Grandma, and my Mother didn’t measure much, they just added what they knew, then tasted as it cooked. And everything was Wonderful.
    I cut up the left over Cabbage, and put it in the pot. Love the extra cabbage. It also gives this more flavor, and I think its healthy.

    Great idea to mop up with Challah..I think I have one from Trader Joe’s in the freezer. I’m not eating it, but my husband will, and if my Grandkids stop over they will eat it for sure.

    Thanks again..

    • Loved reading about how you prepare your stuffed cabbage, April! I don’t think any of our grandmother’s measured back in the day, and they didn’t need to because they knew exactly how it was going to taste from making it numerous times over the years – all second nature to them. I think it’s awesome that you don’t measure either! I’ve made this so many times now, that I don’t measure, and sometimes it’s even better than when I do! Having said all that; the addition of raisins is traditional in Jewish stuffed cabbage, but not necessary. Some are grossed out by the raisins, but once they taste it, they love it. If I add raisins, it’s always the goldens, like my grandmother’s. Thanks so much for stopping by to tell me about your stuffed cabbage, April :).

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  122. I made these last weekend and my husband and two boys loved them so much I just made them again today! I completed all steps today except baking them. The pan is now in fridge and I plan on baking them tomorrow for company. I used 1/2 cup of brown sugar and it’s perfectly sweet and savory. I didn’t have raisins either time but will use them next time.

    • Melissa, I’m so glad you liked it enough to make it twice in seven days! I’m also glad you found your perfect sauce balance with the 1/2 cup of brown sugar! I usually make it with 3/4 cup because it tastes most like my grandmother’s that way, but it tastes great anywhere on the sugar spectrum in the recipe – but it’s truly a matter of personal preference. I hope your guests enjoys it as much as you and your family did (knock wood), and thank you so much for letting me know how much you all enjoyed it!!

  123. I have used Savoy cabbage for years. Cut leaves off from core and stack up stem on top of stem. Take about 12 of them and lay them on there side and drop in boiling water for about 3 minutes. My mother liked the idea also and starting doing it. When put together in sauce bring to a boil and put in 375 degree oven covered for about 1 1/2 hours.

    • Hi, Marsha! It looks like I accidentally missed your comment! So sorry! Thank you so much for the tip about Savoy cabbage. I use Savoy when I make a sort of Asian roll with veggies and soy beef. So delicious! For this recipe – always green cabbage, unless I can’t find any 🙂

  124. I used grated cauliflower instead of rice, two stevia packages instead of brown sugar and no raisins to keep the carbs down. It turned out amazing! Thanks!

    • Grated cauliflower? I wish I’d thought of that because sometimes rice gives me indigestion, so I don’t eat it often, just mostly in these stuffed cabbage rolls! Thank you so much for that tip, Sarah, and I’m so glad you liked it! By the way, I had no idea raisins had carbs! Learn something new every day 🙂

  125. Lisa, the cabbage in the garden is ready…I am thinking of doubling the recipe & freezing 1/2 to cook later. have you done this? & how did it turn out?

  126. Cooking the rice prior to mixing it in the meat, keeps the meat moister. The uncooked rice will absorb the moisture and leave them drier.

    • Hi, Cheryl. Thanks for that tip as it certainly makes sense, but – this is how my grandmother did it, and the meat filling is always moist, so it’s the way I’ll always do it. However, I give the option of pre-cooking the rice in the recipe 🙂

  127. I did 1 lb beef and 1 lb of pork. Just because it was My husbands nonna secret ingredient to her meat balls. For years we tried to make them like hers and never could get it quite right. And the pork was the missing link. Can’t wait to try these!

    • Sounds delicious, Lyndsay, although my grandmother would have scoffed at pork lol. I hope they turned out great!

  128. Hi Lisa,

    I’m doing an article on 10 Easy, Healthy, Tasty Batch Cooking Dishes For Your Low Carb Diet and I’d like to feature this recipe as one of the 10 if that’s okay with you? It was delicious! I also pinned this on one of my boards on Pinterest. Thank you for sharing it. 🙂
    Of course I will credit back to you with a link which will drive more traffic to your site. Please let me know if that doesn’t work for you.
    Thanks,

    Heather

    Here’s my Pinterest board: https://www.pinterest.com/4HourBody/main-dish-recipes-low-carb/
    Here’s my website to check out the article: http://www.4hourbodygirl.com/

  129. Pingback: 10 Easy, Healthy, Tasty Batch Cooking Dishes For Your Low Carb Diet - 4- HOUR BODY GIRL

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  131. Your recipe is perfect, just like the taste of the Russian great grandmother of my two eldest sons, except she didn’t use sultanas in the finished product.
    Just wanted to say though that one is unable to compare the pictures of the other daring chefs. Excess is blocked because the one checking it out isn’t a member.

  132. This is very much like I make my cabbage rolls! I cook on the stove top in a large pot with a lid! But I take leftover cabbage leaves and cover the rolls with them! This helps steam them and gives more flavor!

    • Thank you so much for that tip, Kay! What a great idea to make a cabbage leave ‘cover’ to steam them! Definitely worth a try, although I’m not too keen on stovetop because I’ll probably forget about stirring them! lol

  133. This recipe is very much like my Polish Bobci made and we all loved and grew up with. She (we) did not add raisins and she always added tomatoe soup with the tomatoes. I enjoyed seeing this and now I’m going to go make them!

    • I love the name ‘Bobci’ for the cabbage rolls, Ruth! With stuffed cabbage, tomato soup seems to be a common sauce/topping since I ran into many recipes using it when I was researching. That said, I’m so glad you’re going to try my recipe! I hope you love it as much we do! 🙂

      • Hi there! Came across this recipe and excited to try it. My mom was born in Poland and she made the best stuffed cabbage ever. We lost her to Alzheimer’s just a month ago and hadn’t had any of her cooking for the past year. I never asked her for her recipes either, for the same reason you cited above in the recipe….My kids called her “Babcia” which is Polish for Grandma. Her nickname was “Bobci” like Ruth mentions above. I am smiling just thinking about her and the way she looked to cook for all of us. Thank you for this recipe!!!!

      • Hi Linda I’m so sorry to hear you lost your Mom to Alzheimer’s. I lost my paternal grandmother to it, and it was just horrible seeing her mind and memories slipping away. Such an awful and devastating disease. 🙁 That said, I’m so happy that my stuffed cabbage recipe reminds you of hers, and I hope it comes even a little close to the deliciousness and memories of hers (Bobci! So cute!). Please let me know how it turns out for you! xoxo

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    • Hi, Melissa 🙂 In #4 of the direcions, it reads – Over medium heat, melt the butter in a heavy, nonreactive saucepan. Sauté the second onion until soft and golden. Add the garlic and saute for 2 more minutes, then add the reserved 1 cup chopped cabbage and sauté for about 30 seconds to 1 minute more.
      —–
      Hope that helps!

    • I’m so happy these compare to your late MIL’s stuffed cabbage, Michelle! That kind of compliment is always the best because how can my stuffed cabbage compare to those who were making it years and years longer than I’ve been making it? It still blows my mind when I get comments like yours! I’m so glad I hit the nail on the head for some, including myself!

  135. I have been making these for years and my family begs for them at every occasion when I visit! I use ground pork because I don’t eat beef! The kids and grandkids like it either way! I don’t remember where I got this recipe from, but it was titled, Hungarian Cabbage Rolls. The only difference I see in yours is this recipe has oregano to taste, and it does make a difference in the taste! You also layer the cabbage rolls with chopped cabbage, onions, and raisins in a deep stock pot. I place larger cabbage leaves in bottom of pot. I mix tomato sauce, brown sugar, and lemon juice together and slightly heat until sugar dissolves and pour this mixture over the rolls. Then pour reserved water (just a little..maybe a cup or so as you don’t want to make the rolls watery and reduce taste of sauce) from steaming the cabbage over the rolls until just covered. Bring to a light boil, then simmer for 2 hours. Enjoy!

    • Thank you for cluing me in to your recipe for cabbage rolls, Sherry! Like I mentioned to another rewder, my grandmother never would have made it with pork, but the oregano sounds like a nice add-in! Sometimes I add shredded carrots to the beef mixture if I have some on hand. Although I love my recipe as is, it’s always fun to try different things. I love hearing about everyone’s traditions when it comes to this dish!

    • Hi, Zusska! I’ve noticed that some in Poland call it Golumpki, and some Golabki, so I added Golabki to my post 🙂 Thanks for that!

  136. Those are almost identical to my family recipe (and I am from Poland), save for the raisins. I tried your version, with some caraway seeds in the sauce as we usually do. The raisins were a great addition to the sauce, thank you!

    • So glad you loved it with the raisins, RainDrop! I used to pick them out as a kid, but now I love them with each bite of beef and cabbage – sort of like a picadillo!

  137. I”m of Polish decent, and have always made these similar to your recipe except for cooking the rice ahead of time, and always cooking them in tomato soup, not making a seperate sauce.
    My mother said I HAD to cook them in tomato soup to get them to taste like my grandmothers’!

    I usually make enough to fill my turkey roaster, and just cut up and cook all the cabbage that is left with them. It takes 6-7 cans of soup to cover them in my roaster. I then freeze them in a single layer with some of the cooked cabbage, in plastic containers the size of one of my corning ware casseroles. I can then “pop” them out of the container, let them thaw in the casserole and then heat in the microwave. If they’re not all thawed by the time I want to cook them, I just reheat on low temperature to thaw them.

    This works well for me, and I usually get 6 or 7 meals out of one roaster batch.

    • Hi, Marilyn! Thank you so much for sharing how you make your cabbage rolls! Tomato soup seems to be a favorite as a sauce for these, but oddly enough, I’ve never tried it with tomato soup. With all that said, thank you so much for sharing your freezing tips! I can’t tell you how many times I’m in the mood for these but don’t feel like making them. Freezing enough to fill a turkey roaster would definitely remedy that!

  138. This recipe is delicious. The only changes I made was using a blend of beef, pork and veal (meatloaf mix) and I also added some small diced celery along with the onion just for a little more flavor. I thought the brown sugar might make it too sweet, but it really didn’t. Gave some to friends and they loved it too. Will make this again soon.

    • I’m so glad you liked it, Cathy! The meatloaf mix as a filling sounds amazing, although I don’t eat veal because of the way they treat the calves. My Grandmother would have never used pork, but I do in my meatballs, so it’s something I’ll certainly try! That said, sometimes I add shredded carrots to to the filling if I have some lying around (I always seem to have carrots lying around lol).

  139. These were so delicious! I have never made or eaten stuffed cabbage rolls before. My 4 year old and I thoroughly enjoyed them. I used apple cider vinegar in place of the lemon. Thank you for the great new recipe.

    • So glad to hear that you and your little girl loved them as much as we do, Brandi! Thank you for stopping in to let me know! xo

  140. Being a Greek, If you permit me I will give you the recipe of the Greek recipe of Stuffed Cabbage leaves which is much easier the procedure of blanching the Cabbage is the same without having to put them in gold water, but firstly we have to cut the middle hard stalk from the leaves and lay some of then at the bottom of the saucepan, and put the stuffed cabbage leaves on top.
    The stuffing is in half a kilo mince meat preferably port but we also use beef or a mixture of both, a small coffee cup (have a tea cup) of uncooked rice and 1 large onion finely cut or grated, salt, pepper a pinch of cinnamon and thinly cut dill (if you like grate a fresh tomato, some olive oil and mix them all together. After you stuff the cabbage leaves and put them in the saucepan fill up with water and according to preference some olive oil or small pieces of butter ( I use half half). After the stuffed cabbage leaves are cooked we make the sauce is white, with two tablespoons of flour and some water beat it to a very thin sauce also two eggs and the juice of a lemon juice. Slowly take the pan of the stove and let it cool a little and use the juice of the stuffed cabbage leaves in the mixture and then pour it over to the cooked food. Its delicious.

    If you are interested I can give you the recipe for the stuffed Wine leaves.

    • Wow, Mary, your version sounds amazing! Thank you so much for sharing that recipe, which I’m sure is near and dear to your heart! I love the adddition of cinnamon and dill, and the white sauce sounds incredible! That said, I would LOVE your recipe for stuffed wine leaves!

      • If you try them let me know if you like them. I will be glad to give you more recipes, also with the stuffed vine leaves.
        Enjoy

      • Well, when I try them, it will most definitely be after the holidays, but I will let you when I do; although I can already tell it will be delicious! Thank you, Mary!

  141. I’ve never had stuffed cabbage rolls before. So I was a little skeptical about this recipe. But OMG were they amazing. I will definitely be making these again. Thank you for posting the recipe. It was truly amazing.

    • Comments like yours totally make my day, Rana. I’m thrilled that you liked them so much that you’ll be making them again! I love it when cabbage skeptics are turned into cabbage lovers via this recipe. 🙂

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  143. I just made these. I love the taste, but I find them a bit hot. I’m thinking it’s the teaspoon of pepper. Are they supposed to be kind of spicy (hot)?

    • Hi, Yvonne. No, they aren’t supposed to be hot or spicy, although you can make it that way by adding hot sauce, chili flakes, chopped hot peppers like jalapenos. or cayenne (basically whatever edible heat source you prefer). But, in your case, you don’t want that, so it must be the pepper. 1 teaspoon of pepper is not that much in two pounds of ground beef. However, some people are more sensitive to certain heat and/or spices, so what’s perfectly fine to some, might be too hot or spicy for others. My mother can detect even the tiniest amount of heat in a dish, so I usually have to lower the amount even more or omit it entirely if she’s going to be eating it. With all that being said, next time just reduce the pepper to 1/2 or 1/4 teaspoon and see if that’s better for you :).

      • You’re so welcome, Yvonne! I hope you continue to enjoy it (with less pepper) for years to come! 🙂 Edited to add – If you still taste the heat after decreasing the pepper, it could also be the garlic since it’s mixed raw into the meat, and although it cooks down to mild, it is sharp when raw. Just another theory just in case.

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    • Hi, Cara. I’m not really a fan of grape leaves, but I’m sure some of my readers are and might prefer it to cabbage. Thanks for the tip!

    • I’m so glad to hear that, Jessica! Nothing makes me happier than knowing a recipe of mine was enjoyed! Thank you so much for stopping in to let me know!

  145. Hi Lisa! I’m planning on making these tonight for dinner and was wondering if I can use crushed tomatoes instead of tomato sauce to make the sauce a bit chunkier. Please let me know, I’m super excited to make these! Thank you!

    • Hi, Oliviah, I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t, although I’d make sure to mix it in with some pureed or sauced tomatoes just to make sure the sauce covers and cooks all the rolls evenly. I hope you enjoy them!

  146. I want to thank you for making me a superstar in my eastern european neighborhood. I brought your stuffed cabbage to a church potluck last Sunda and even the old school cooks raved about it, and they are just about as picky as picky gets! These cabbage rolls really are amazing, even better than my mothers, dare I say it!

    • Wow, Anka, thank you so much for stopping in to let me know that. I’m incredibly flattered that these were positively reviewed by cooks from the old country since they are tough nuts to crack when it comes to even slightly veering from tradition! My grandmother was one, and I still wonder what her “unbiased” thoughts would be. 🙂

  147. wow. these were the best cabbage rolls recipe I’ve made. Even better than the Deli ones that specialize in them. I think the sauce makes it so special. I froze the head of cabbage which was a great suggestion from a previous comment. I did however have double the amount of beef leftover-which we sautéed and made burritos! I like smaller cabbage rolls, so I think that is my adjustment
    and not a problem with the recipe.
    however, wonderful recipe. thank you.

    • Hi, Nina, I’m so glad you liked it! The sauce is so good that I was thinking about adding about 1/4 cup of it to the filling. In fact, I will probably try that the next time I make it. That said, I love the idea of smaller cabbage rolls, sort of like little cigars. If you prefer them that way, definitely cut the filling in half next time, although the burritos were a great idea to use the rest of it up! 🙂

  148. 5 stars! This tastes just like my late grandma’s stuffed cabbage and I’ve been looking for a stuffed cabbage recipe like hers for so long! It is mouth watering delicious! Thank you so much for this amazing recipe!!!

    • You’re so welcome, Tanya! It makes me so happy that I was able to bring back your Grandma’s stuffed cabbage for you (or at least something close to it); and I’m so glad you enjoyed it! xo

  149. Great recipe-just a tip-my mother always added a dash of Worcestershire sauce. We are of German heritage.

    • Thank you , Virginia! Adding Worcestershire to the filling is a delicious idea! You can definitely do that with this recipe. In fact, I was thinking of adding some of the sauce to the filling next time I make it. This recipe is totally adaptable to a variety of filling add-ins, adaptions and substitutions! My friend adds chopped roasted red pepper and panko bread crumbs along with the eggs for a more meat loaf like filling. I’m definitely passing on the Worcestershire idea to her! 🙂

  150. I did 1lb of turkey in 8 cabbage rolls. I kept every other ingredient size the same. These are in the oven. Can’t wait to try them.

    • Hi, Caitlyn! Turkey is a great (and healthy) substitute for the beef! However, since you kept all the ingredient amounts the same even though you cut the meat to 1 pound, I’m hoping the onion and garlic in the filling isn’t too strong! If you get a chance, let me know how it turned out for you! 🙂

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  152. This is the holy grail of stuffed cabbage! It is delicious and perfect and I need to look no further ever again! My family devoured it, including my picky 8 yr old son. Thank you so much for this recipe!!

  153. I … Tried it.!!
    unfortunately I didn’t have the reason to add to the recipe the only thing missing my favorite .
    my mother in law is a picky eater I hope she likes these .not really she just knows what she wants and knows what she wants hard to find in a lady

    • Hi, Kerri. Did you mean you didn’t have the seasoning(s) for the cabbage roll filling? Plus, what was the favorite that was missing? 🙂

      On another note, I hope your mother-in-law liked it!

  154. ok My first time is baking. I only had a pan to hold 10. I added one carrot to the meat mix. I have cooked before . but never stuffed Cabbage rolls . I have alot of cabbage left. I guess I can think of something to do with these.

  155. Just made and devoured this tonight! Was worried hubby would complain but I got the thumbs up to do it again!!! I’m so glad I tried this recipe… Never made anything like this before and was surprised at the ease of it. Thanks for wowser recipe!!

    • You’re so welcome, and I’m so glad you and your hubby loved it, Petra! I also love that this is the first time you’ve made stuffed cabbage and it worked out so well! Thank you for popping in to tell me that! 🙂

  156. I did soften the cabbage leaves in the microwave for 6 to 7 minutes and it worked perfectly. Depending on size you may have to reheat another minute. The recipe is delicious!!
    It’s a keeper in my kitchen.. Thank you for sharing..

    • Hi, Sherry! I’m so glad to hear that the microwave method of softening the cabbage leaves worked perfectly for you! I still have yet to try it, but boy would it save some time! That said, I’m so happy you loved it and will be making it again, and again. Thank you so much for coming by to let me know! 🙂

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Vanessa! I just checked out your blog and it is beautiful, not to mention loaded with amazing looking recipes! I’ve got to try your Cod and Zucchini Lasagna!!

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  159. My husband has been requesting cabbage rolls for awhile now and since I’ve never had them myself nor have I ever made them – he wanted me to have my mother in law come over and show me how to make her recipe. She’s a great cook and I’ve learned a lot from her – but for some reason I was determined to concoct this one on my own. I browsed through tons of recipes and decided on this one because I was intrigued by the sweet and sour sauce.
    My husband went nuts over them – he absolutely loved them and even said they were better than his mom’s!!! He ate 2 helpings at dinner and asked me to pack them for his lunch the next day.
    **I used uncooked rice for the meat and I used just 1/4 cup of brown sugar for the sauce – it turned out superb – Excellent recipe 🙂

    • Hi, Diane! Your husband thinking my stuffed cabbage rolls are better than his mother’s? Well, you just made my day! It makes me so happy when I make others happy through my recipes! I can’t thank you enough for coming by to tell me that, so quadruple this –> THANK YOU! 🙂

  160. Best stuffed cabbage leaf recipe so far, it was lip smackingly good and even though we are in mid summer it tasted delicious with a bit of mash and a salad, yummy!!

    • I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed it! Mashed potatoes is the what I serve it with 95% of the time. It’s the best! Thanks so much for letting me know it turned out for you! 🙂

  161. I made these last night for my family and everyone loved it! In fact, I’ve never seen them react like this to any dish I’ve made! My aunt used to make cabbage rolls for family gatherings and they were so delicious, everyone looked forward to them. These are better!! Thank you for this recipe, Lisa!

    • Hi, Kathy! So glad you and your family enjoyed it! I’m also flattered that you think it’s better than your aunt’s! Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know how much you liked it! 🙂

    • Hi, Ralph 🙂 In the ingredients section of the recipe, I give the option of just 1 tablespoon of brown sugar (for those who want it completely savory, but of course you can leave it out completely), plus a sliding scale on the amount of brown sugar depending on personal taste (anywhere from 1 tablespoon to 3/4 cup), for those who do use it, since this is a sweet and sour version of stuffed cabbage. That said, I’m so glad you liked it!

  162. I made two pans of this stuffed cabbage for my husband, our two sons… my brother in law and two nephews who are staying with us this week for a side job. I am the only female! Not only did they all love love love it. but I was lucky to get a cabbage roll for myself!! They emptied those pans in a jiffy and can’t stop talking about how “awesome” it was and I have to make it again! I couldn’t agree more! Thank you for this recipe Lisa!

    • Wow, Tanya! That’s A LOT of men to cook for! I’m so happy to hear they were a hit and that you were able to get one for yourself! lol Thank you so much for taking the time to come by and let me know! 🙂

      • I never had cabbage rolls until I worked at a hospital that served them in the cafeteria. I loved them. I quit that hospital in 2007, and I had been craving them for a long time. I looked and looked for a recipe that sounded good to me. When I found yours I knew it was the one! These are INCREDIBLE!!!! My husband and I love them so much I’ve been making them just about every week since I first tried the recipe a couple months ago. I do substitute ground turkey for beef because I gave up beef several years ago. As a result I add a little Worcester and A1 to give it a more beef like flavor. I’m sure they’re delicious with beef, but the turkey is also delicious. I microwave the cabbage and it works great, but sometimes it needs to go longer than 6 minutes. I can’t thank you enough for this wonderful recipe. Definitely my favorite of any recipe I’ve ever tried! 🙂

      • Tricia, I’m so glad you loved them! Ground turkey is definitely a great filling option if you don’t like or eat beef, and adding the Worcestershire sauce to give the turkey a beefier flavor is a fantastic idea!! I was thinking that chopped portobello mushrooms would make it even beefier! I need to try it that way! A friend of mine makes these with ground turkey, cauliflower rice and shredded carrots and it’s phenomenal! That said, thank you so much for taking the time to stop by to let me know how they turned out, and again, I’m thrilled that you loved them too! 🙂