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Old-Fashioned Stuffed Cabbage Recipe

(55 Votes)
1 Hr 45 Min

If you're looking to spend a cozy night indoors with a meal that'll fill your belly with old world comfort, then you'll love our Old-Fashioned Stuffed Cabbage. Hearty ground beef, tomato sauce, and rice make this a dinner recipe you'll love coming to the table for.

What You'll Need:
  • 1 large cabbage, cored
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, not drained
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup cooked rice, cooled
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
What To Do:


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9- x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a large saucepan, bring 1 inch of water to a boil over high heat. Place cabbage in water, cored-side down; cover pan, and reduce heat to low. Steam 20 minutes, or until cabbage leaves pull apart easily. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes and their juice, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice; mix well and set aside. In a large bowl, combine ground beef, rice, onion, egg, salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons tomato mixture; mix well.
  4. Place 1 cup tomato mixture in bottom of prepared baking dish. Peel a cabbage leaf off the head and cut off thick stem. Place 1/4 cup meat mixture in center of leaf. Starting at core end, make a roll, folding over sides and rolling loosely. Place seam-side down in baking dish; repeat with remaining cabbage leaves and meat mixture. Spoon remaining tomato mixture evenly over top of cabbage rolls and cover.
  5. Bake 1-1/4 hours. Uncover and cook 10 additional minutes, or until beef is no longer pink.
Test Kitchen Tip

12 Traditional German Recipes You Can't Miss

If you enjoyed this old-fashioned stuffed cabbage recipe, be sure to check out our collection of 12 Traditional German Recipes You Can't Miss.


Ratings & Comments

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I have not made this yet so I cannot rate it.

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The method for this dish is in my opinion faulty. When steaming the cabbage prior to cooling and stuffing the separate leaves you will ruin the cabbage by steaming it for 20 minutes in fact this long in the boiling water it would turn bitter. The cabbage needs to be blanched for no more than 5 minutes to deal with the oxalic acid in the leaves and then they can be filled and slow-roasted in the oven in the tomato sauce. Also the method for stuffing the leaves is best if you cut a V-slot where the stalk was as it makes wrapping them up easier. The end result is likely to be very similar to making beef meat-balls in tomato sauce and serving the cabbage separately. One wonders why go to the fiddle of stuffing leaves when all the dish ends up with is beef cabbage rice and tomato?

thank you for the heads up i also thought 20 mins was too much

Hey there, thanks for you comments :) The Test Kitchen has tested this recipe many times and when cooking a large head of cabbage, it usually talks 20 minutes to soften the leaves to where they pull apart nicely. We cored the cabbage before cooking, which leaves the "v-cut" for when you pull it apart.

made this for my family of heavy meat eaters even though the meat was covered in cabbage the LOVED it and it was easy and tasty

Absolutely one of the best stuffed cabbage recipes I have ever used! They were delicious. Absolutely delicious. I followed the recipe to the T. They turned out great! Thank you! Try this recipe. Easy, tasty and loved how everything turned out and real good directions to follow.

Followed recipe but used ground turkey rather than ground beef. Better than any Turkey Stuffed Cabbage Rolls recipe on the web. Keeper!

can you put in a crock-pot

Love the idea to core and freeze the cabbage.... I hate having to steam them or microwave the cabbage to get the leaves. Will try this next week... thanks for a great tip!

There are way too many ingredients in this recipe that aren't needed. We always made ours with ground beef, uncooked rice, onion, 2 eggs, S & P to taste and 3 15 oz. cans of tomato sauce. It was the BEST!

I have made it using Manwitch sauce. All the goodies, none of the hassel.

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love stuffed cabbage many times I add a roll of breakfast sausage or a lb. of ground pork and 2 cloves of minced garlic or just some garlic powder brings it over the top

My husband absolutely loved this stuffed cabbage. I made it exactly as recipe stated. I wouldn't change a thing. Thank you Howard the this great recipe.

I used steam in the bag brown rice for convenience, but everything else by the recipe. Turned out great. Will definitely be in my "keeper" box.!!

I am 75 years old and my Swedish Grand- mother taught me an inexpensive way to make this! 1 pound ground beef, small onion chopped medium fine, 1 egg, salt pepper and garlic. Combine all ingredients and roll up in the cabbage leaf, that was done as you did, then tie them with clean white thread. Layer in pot, add 2 cans tomato sauce and 2 cans of water, bring to boil, turn down heat to low and cook for 1-2 hours, until meat cooked

I stick the head of cabbage in the microwave for 2-3 minutes and leaves usually peel off fairly easy. Then lay the leaf on a jar like the size pickles or instant coffee comes in and take a veggie peeler, I have a wishbone or slingshot looking one, and run that over that fibrous spine in the middle of the leaf a few times, I even parboil the leaf to make it a little more pliable to roll up when filled with your stuffing. I put mine in a crock pot and cover with chicken broth and simmer on high for 2-3 hours. Yummmmmmy! Bon Appetit Adios n' Hasta La Bye Bye! L.D.

Instead of boiling the cabbage, I leave it in the plastic grocery bag and freeze it. about 6 hours before stuffing leave it in the sink to defrost and the leaves will be very plyable to roll.

Very easy to make. Everything tasted great, especially the sauce. Thank you for a great recipe.

Can this be done in a Dutch oven?

It sure can! Enjoy!

I have been making this in a "lasagna" style for years. It is simple, EASY and delicious, with the same flavors!! Just shred the cabbage and layer layer meat, and repeat a couple times!! Add tomato sauce or any kind of tomatoes, along with a good cup of water.....and enjoy, oven or slo-cooker! I make this at least once or twice a month.

even better when you put a handful of sauerkraut into the mix. yum

Finally made this ooooh so easy stuffed cabbage..delicious and will definitely make again.

I've made this recipe for years. I sprinkle sauerkraut on top of the rolls when baking. Also freezing the cabbage makes the leaves tougher and stringy, best to steam them. My Mom was old country Ukraine, and boy could she cook.

I use a combination of ground beef and corned beef cabbage. I also add garlic, dill and marjoram. Add a small amount of kraut to the rolls. I place the rolls on a bed of kraut and then dump a can of kraut and a can of diced tomatoes to the top. Everyone loves these. Serve with fat free sour cream.

I have made cabbage rolls for 40 years. I use a mixture of ground beef and corned beef. I add dill, marjoram and garlic. I place the rolls on a bed of kraut and then add another can over as well as a can of diced tomatoes. I serve them with non-fat sour cream.

When layering the cabbage leaves on the bottom of pan I sneak a sprig of dill in with the leaves. Learned this "secret" at a Russian Orthodox church cabbage dinner here in Wisconsin. This small church outside of Clayton serves about 600 dinners on the 3rd Sunday in Sept. every year. Absolutely wonderful! I know there are other "secrets" I haven't figured out.

old family recipe, you can use plain old V-8 juice for sauce. Adds nice flavor, too.

I no longer steam my cabbage. I pull off the number of leaves I'm going to use and put them in the microwave a few at a time 'til they are limp. This saves lots of time, and I usually make cole slaw with the rest of the cabbage.

My "2nd Mom", Margie, made this for her family when I was growing up. After leaving Munhall, PA and moving to LA, I would visit as much as I could. Margie always made her stuffed cabbage for me and this recipe comes very close! She added sauerkraut . . .

My grandma always added sauerkraut and she was born Hungarian!

My daughter's grandmother made the sauce with one jar of chili sauce, 3 T of grape jelly, and one chili sauce jar full of water (shake it to loosen chili sauce that was still left in the jar). Delicious and has a little sweet and sour flavor.

I don't Like just caned tomatoes over my stuffed cabbage ,I always use stewed tomatoes Everyone has always Loved them

My step father once made this dish for my family, and I never forgot about it. I loved it then and always wanted to try and make it. My friend told me to put a little vinegar in the water when steaming cabbage to make it less bitter. from, 03marjorie

sooo good,used bell pepper instead of cabbage leaf,very tastey

Cooked as directed freezing the cabbage first and my cabbage did not get tender enough. I put it back in the oven for an extra 45 minutes and it did not make a difference. Taste was excellent though. I read another comment that said to just add more liquid to the dish and that will soften it. i will try this when I cook it again. Worth the effort!!!

I had the same problem...I made this for dinner last night....I was so tasted good except the cabbage was very tough...we just discarded the cabbage and pretended it was!!

ok you freeze the cabbage, what if you don't use the whole head? Is the rest of the head ruined or do you just have to use it up.

I've been freezing cabbage before stuffing it for years. Never has=d a problem with the cabbage not being cooked once it simmered in the tomato sauce If yours isn't getting tender, try adding a bit more liquid to the dish. This has worked whether I cook the stuffed cabbage in the oven, on the stove top or in a slow cooker.

Meat mixture was Very Good & Tastie! Freezing the Head of Cabbage Instead of Steaming the Cabbage to remove the Cabbage Leaves AWESOME HINT! The Down Side w/ Not Steaming the Cabbage was Still RAW, Yuk! So FYI After removing the Cabbage Leaves Par Cook 3/4 way. Then onto Rolling Leaves w/ Raw Meat What we had done the Next Day, we removed the Cabbage from the Meat Used a Little of the Sauce and then added enough water to cover the cabbage and boiled it till it was Cooked! Removed the Cabbage from the water into New 6 Qt Pot, added the Beef along w/ 4 cans of tomato' Soup. Then we heated everything till it was Warmed to Temp of 165. The Sauce was way too sweet! But that may have been Since we were used to Stuffed Cabbage being made with Tomato Soup. Finished off Dinner with Home Made Mashed Potatoes & Corn! Now that was "Ohhhhh So Good"!

Alette61: So, you mean to say that it takes your family 2 days in order to make Stuffed Cabbage?! That's ridiculous, and you're making it much harder than it actually is! Your 'recipe' is confusing and difficult to understand, and it actually makes no sense! My family has been making "Golambki" ever since I can remember, and it's NOT as confusing as your recipe is. 'Real' Stuffed Cabbage may be a little time-consuming, but it isn't very difficuilt to make.

Love the freezing hint. Will try it next time for sure. Flora

what can be substituted for worcestershire sauce? it usually has achovies in it and I can't have fish products due to allergies.

I'm sorry to tell you this, but Worcestershire sauce has anchovies in it for flavor... Many other international cuisines also have their own version of Fish Sauce. However I can think of no substitute for this item. Frankly, I'd just leave it out, it's not so much it has a great bearing on the overall taste, it's just a nuance flavor. Good luck.

If you freeze the cabbage ahead of time and take out a day ahead you don't have to boil the cabbage and it is ready to work with and softer than when you boil it.

I really want to try this, only one question, HOW DO I CORE THE CABBBAGE

Coring the Cabbage is done on the Bottom of the Cabbage where the Leave are attached at the Bottom. FYI what I learned of Realised if you are using the Wonderful Hint about Freezing the Cabbage overnight. Which is a Awesome Hint! Make sure you par Cook the Cabbage as I followed the directions and the Cabbage was still raw!

Coring is done by Cutting out the Center bottom Core. You could also ask the Produce person where the Core of the Cabbage is! They would be happy to be of help.

Only one way that I know of to core a cabbage... Take a 8-10" pointed sharp knife, think of the core inside as a tapering pointed stem and run your knife as deep as you can and roll the whole cabbage around so you get the 'core' cut all the way around. Try to angle your knife so it is tapered inside the cabbage - then I pull my knife out and use a small knife to chunk out the core wedge by wedge. Perhaps a big, tall Chef could bang the cabbage down on the counter to make the core come out, but I doubt it. This only sounds hard, just go slow, run your knife totally around the core you see on the bottom of your cabbage and image that it tapers off inside the ball (cabbage). Always watch your knife and fingers/hand you should concentrate on doing the job while also always being aware of where your knife is going to end up... so you don't have an accident. I roll the cabbage around on the counter to get my knife to go all around the core on the inside. I also use a cutting technique of pushing my knife inside the cabbage, taking it out a little and jabbing it in again - this helps with the strength needed to core a large head of cabbage. It's a careful somewhat slow process. But it really isn't hard, just a matter of practice. Think about how you would core a head of iceberg lettuce - those leaves aren't as tightly packed as a cabbage, but it's the same idea. You could also just steam the cabbage - let it cool, take off the leaves one by one and cut out the big central (hard/tough) core on each leaf then I fill it and roll it all up. Might be easier that way.

I do one thing differently, and it makes a difference for us. I brown the onion in butter, and then add the tomato sauce. I also add a bit of brown to the meat mixture. Comes out great, with a little bit more taste!

Oops, and I use an electric pan....

You add a little bit of brown _ _ _ what to the meat mixture?

When my mother made these she would use a combination of tomato soup and tomato sauce. By the way, you forgot to include the lemon juice in your instructions but I would assume it is added to the tomatoes.

RDG My wife prepared the stuffed cabbage recepie as listed. It was great.

Is "crushed tomatoes, drained" an error because crushed are not drained anyway.

For the sauce, I use 1 can of stewed tomatoes and 1 can of tomato soup. No w sauce, lemon juice or sugar. All else the same. old Polish recipe that has been around for ages. Has been a staple on Christmas Eve at my house for about 40 yrs with friends stopping over all evening long for their treat.

This is how I make it except I use sour salt (citric acid) instead of the lemon juice, brown sugar & worstershire sauce. A REALLY helpful hint is to freeze the cabbage & when it's defrosted the leaves come apart & are soft. Saves a tremendous amount of time.


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