Classic Stuffed Cabbage Rolls make a delicious and healthy dinner for a cozy night in! Tender ground beef and rice are wrapped up in a boiled cabbage leaf, then baked in the oven with a flavor-packed tomato sauce. This easy traditional Polish-style cabbage roll recipe is a healthy, gluten-free, and lower-carb comfort food dish your family is sure to love!

One cabbage roll is lifted out by a metal spoon.

Is anyone else absolutely OBSESSED with cabbage lately?

The love first started with this Egg Roll in a Bowl and soon evolved once Sautéed Cabbage and Cabbage Steaks were discovered.

And now I can’t seem to get enough of it with these Polish-style cabbage rolls!

With their fresh herb and rice-loaded beef filling…

Homemade sweet and tangy tomato sauce…

Soft and tender cabbage leaves.

Not to mention, they’re actually super fun to make!  That is, if you know a few tips and tricks to make sure your cabbage leaves don’t tear and you’ve properly seasoned your filling.

(No need to worry, I’ll cover all of those tips and tricks below!)

One word of caution, though.  While this is an EASY recipe, it does take a bit of time.  So make sure you have a little over an hour to prep and bake your dish.

Boiled cabbage is stuffed with ground beef in this Polish classic.

Polish Gołąbki

This particular cabbage roll recipe is more Polish in origin with it’s tomato-based sauce and beef-rice filling.  If you’re from Europe you may also know these as Gołąbki.

These rolls are different from the Jewish version, holishkls, which are also filled with beef and rice but have raisins and are cooked in a brown sugar, lemon, and tomato sauce instead.

Cabbage, ground meat, rice, egg, tomatoes, spices, sugar, and Worcestershire Sauce are the ingredients.

Ingredients

The simple ingredients you need to make this stuffed cabbage recipe include:

  • Cabbage. A medium-large head of green cabbage is recommended. Larger leaves are easier to fill up and roll without them tearing.
  • Ground meat. Ground beef was tested in this recipe but ground turkey, pork, or chicken can be substituted.
  • Rice. Cooked white rice is mixed in with the filling ingredients. You can either cook your rice on the stovetop or make Instant Pot White Rice. Brown rice is another choice, or even uncooked cauliflower rice if you are on a low-carb diet.
  • Tomatoes. A combination of tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes creates the base of the sauce.
  • Garlic. Fresh cloves are called for, but garlic powder may also be used.
  • Worcestershire Sauce. This may seem like an optional ingredient, but this is the secret sauce that make it taste so good!
  • Sugar. This is optional but it gives the tomato sauce just enough sweetness to balance out the acidity of the tomatoes. You can also try honey or any other type of non-nutritive sweetener.
  • Egg. An important ingredient that helps to hold the filling ingredients together. If you’re allergic to eggs, you can swap it out for a flax or chia egg instead.
  • Parsley. The fresh herb tastes wonderful, but dried may be used if that’s all you have.
  • Seasonings. Paprika adds a hint of a smoky flavor while cayenne pepper gives a nice kick.
5 Secrets to Healthier Family Dinners
Tips & recipes for getting yummy — and healthy — meals on the table.

How to Make Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

The basic steps for making stuffed cabbage are simple to follow. Please see the recipe card below for more detailed ingredient amounts.

Remove Cabbage Leaves

Cut and remove about 1 inch from the bottom of the head of cabbage.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, place the entire head of cabbage into the pot of boiling water and boil for 4-5 minutes or until the leaves peel easily and are pliable.

Remove the boiled head of cabbage from the pot and place on a dish towel to let drain. Once cool to the touch, peel 12 cabbage leaves from the head, being careful not to tear them.

Note: If you opt to peel the leaves straight off without par-boiling the head, you’ll still need to boil them for 1-2 minutes before filling and rolling.

Make the Meat Mixture

Add all filling ingredients to a large bowl. Mash the ingredients together using a potato masher until well combined.

Roll Them Up

Place one cabbage leaf on a cutting board. Cut a V-shaped incision at the base of each leaf to remove the bottom 1-2 inches of the tough rib. This makes it MUCH easier to roll up!

Add in about 3-4 tablespoons of the filling mixture into each leaf.

Fold the right side of the leaf over the filling.

Do the same with the left side.

Starting at the base, begin rolling the cabbage leaf up.

Repeat the above steps with the remaining filling and cabbage leafs until all of them are used.

Bake in Oven

Pour the tomato sauce into the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and spread it out in a single layer.

Place cabbage rolls, seam-side-down, in two rows of six rolls. Cover the casserole dish with a piece of aluminum foil.

Bake cabbage rolls in a preheated 350°F oven for 60 to 75 minutes.

You can either cut through one of the rolls to check for doneness or you can insert a meat thermometer. If the ground beef has reached an internal temperature of 160°F it is cooked through and ready to eat.

Meal Prep and Storage

  • To Prep-Ahead: Assemble the rolls up to 24 hours in advance, make the sauce, and fill the baking dish. Store in the refrigerator until ready to cook and serve.
  • To Store: Seal leftover stuffed cabbage rolls in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3-5 days.
  • To Freeze: Place the cabbage rolls in a freezer-safe airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. However, do note that the texture will change drastically once defrosted.
  • To Reheat: Place in a dish with some extra sauce, cover with foil, and bake in a 350°F oven until heated through. Or you can simply pop them in the microwave.
A pan of cabbage rolls are served for a low-carb dinner.

Expert Tips

  • Soften it. Boiling an entire head of cabbage ensures you get the most number of leaves that are fully intact with no tears.
  • Get the right size. Make sure you choose a medium to large head of cabbage. This makes stuffing them with the filling MUCH easier.
  • Cut it out. Removing the rib from the base of each leaf helps the cabbage to become even more pliable and easier to roll.
  • Use the right tools. Mix the filling ingredients together first with a potato masher to ensure all of the meat is thoroughly mixed with the other ingredients.
  • Check for doneness. Use a meat thermometer to make sure the ground beef is cooked all of the way.
  • Shhhhhh! Worcestershire sauce is a secret ingredient that replaces the traditional vinegar found in other recipes. 

More Irish Dinner Recipes

If you don’t feel like spending the time to make this classic dish, try out these Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls or this Cabbage Roll Soup instead.

Have some extra cabbage? Try out this Sauteed Cabbage or these Cabbage Steaks!

Want something a bit more cozy then this Irish Beef Stew, Instant Pot Corned Beef, or this Corned Beef Hash will hit the spot!

Cabbage Rolls are served in a 9x13 casserole dish.

Other Easy Cabbage Recipes

If you have a little extra cabbage leftover, you should try this Egg Roll in a Bowl next!

Or use it up making this Fish Taco Slaw or Southern Coleslaw.

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 76 votes

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe

Classic Stuffed Cabbage Rolls make a delicious and healthy dinner for a cozy night in. This easy traditional Polish-style cabbage roll recipe is a healthy, gluten-free, and lower-carb comfort food dish your family is sure to love!
One cabbage roll is lifted out by a metal spoon.
Yield 6 servings
Prep 30 minutes
Cook 1 hour
Total 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 1 large head of cabbage green*

Tomato Sauce:

  • 2 Tbsp. oil olive or avocado
  • 1 cup sweet onion finely chopped, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 15 oz. tomato sauce canned
  • 15 oz. crushed tomatoes canned
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar optional
  • 1 tsp. salt to taste
  • ½ tsp. black pepper to taste

Filling:

  • 1 lb. ground beef or turkey, uncooked*
  • 1 cup rice cooked, white or brown*
  • ½ cup sweet onion finely chopped, divided
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh parsley finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp. paprika
  • tsp. cayenne pepper

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Prepare Cabbage Leaves: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cut and remove about 1 inch from the bottom of the head of cabbage. Place the entire head of cabbage into the pot of boiling water and boil for 4-5 minutes or until the leaves peel easily and are pliable. Remove the boiled head of cabbage from the pot and place on a dish towel to let drain. Once cool to the touch, peel 12 cabbage leaves from the head, being careful not to tear them.
  • Make Tomato Sauce: Add oil and chopped onion to a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté 2-3 minutes, or until the onion has softened. Add crushed garlic and continue sautéing for an additional minute. Add tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Stir to combine. Increase heat to high and bring sauce to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes.
  • Make Meat Mixture: Add all filling ingredients to a large bowl. Mash the ingredients together using a potato masher until well combined.
  • Assemble Cabbage Rolls: Place one cabbage leaf on a cutting board. Cut a V-shaped incision at the base of each leaf to remove the bottom 1-2 inches of the tough rib. Add in about 3-4 tablespoons of the filling mixture into each leaf. Fold the right side of the leaf over the filling and then fold the left side over. Starting at the base, begin rolling the cabbage leaf up. Repeat the previous steps with the remaining filling and cabbage leafs.
  • Bake in Oven: Spray a large 9×13 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Pour in tomato sauce and spread it out along the bottom of the dish. Place cabbage rolls, seam-side-down, in two rows of six rolls. Cover the baking dish with a piece of aluminum foil and bake in preheated 350°F oven for 60-75 minutes.

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 76 votes

Video

Notes

  • A medium-large head of green cabbage is recommended. Larger leaves are easier to fill up and then roll without them tearing.
  • Substitute with uncooked cauliflower rice if on a low-carb diet.
  • Can use 90/10 or 93/7 ground meat.
  • To Store: Seal leftover stuffed cabbage rolls in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3-5 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 471kcal, Carbohydrates: 51g, Protein: 21g, Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 81mg, Sodium: 1222mg, Potassium: 1089mg, Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 16g, Vitamin A: 1420IU, Vitamin C: 81mg, Calcium: 149mg, Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Made this recipe?Leave a comment below!
5 Secrets to Healthier Family Dinners
Tips & recipes for getting yummy — and healthy — meals on the table.

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Comments

  1. Excellent recipe! It took longer than indicated to prep but the outcome was delicious! I increased the filling by 1/2 (except the egg) to have fuller rolls. This worked perfectly!

    1. Yay! So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe, Dottie! I’m glad it worked out for you. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment!

  2. Could use a little chilli powder. I used powdered onion soup in the meat all in all not to bad. Is a healthy meal

    1. Yay! So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe, Barbara! I’m glad you could make it work for you. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment and rating!

  3. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious and one of our new favorites. Great dinner to prep parts in advance too. Made exactly according to recipe, except added a few extra garlic cloves to both meat mixture and sauce… as I do with everything I make!

    1. Yay! So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe, Ana! Can’t go wrong with garlic. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment and rating!

    1. Yay! So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe, Richard! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment and rating!