Baked Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Baked stuffed cabbage rolls with tomato sauce on a plate

The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 75 mins
Total: 100 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
364 Calories
11g Fat
41g Carbs
29g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 364
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 99mg 33%
Sodium 914mg 40%
Total Carbohydrate 41g 15%
Dietary Fiber 9g 33%
Total Sugars 21g
Protein 29g
Vitamin C 144mg 719%
Calcium 236mg 18%
Iron 4mg 24%
Potassium 1351mg 29%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Cabbage rolls are a traditional preparation of Eastern Europe so popular that people have made them their own over time and there are plenty of variations for the filling and cooking liquid. In these cabbage rolls, a mixture of beef and rice seasoned with paprika makes an unctuous filling for the soft cabbage leaves.

It Pays to Plan Ahead

Sometimes cooked in just broth, and sometimes in tomato sauce, cabbage rolls look harder to make than they really are. With a little planning and some patience, even a novice cook can make these little pockets of flavor.

If you want, prepare the rolls ahead of time but don't bake them. Place them in the fridge, covered, and bake one and a half hours plus before dinner time—the cooking time can vary depending on the thickness of the rolls and how much stuffing you used. Cold cabbage rolls will take longer to cook.

What to Serve With Cabbage Rolls

There are plenty of great side dishes for these rolls, from mashed potatoes to soak up the sauce to dinner rolls, a fresh tossed salad, potato pancakes, spaetzle, or a side bowl of crème fraîche or sour cream.


Click Play to See This Baked Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe Come Together

“Cabbage rolls is the definition of comfort food to me. A perfect meal for a cold fall/winter days. The stuffing is meaty and delicious and the sauce is rich and tangy. Feel free to make a big batch, because they taste even better the next day!” -Tara Omidvar

Baked Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


For the Filling:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef

  • 3/4 cup rice, cooked

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika

  • 1 teaspoon pepper

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

  • 1/4 cup milk

For the Sauce:

  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes

  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 3 tablespoons of water

Steps to Make It

Make the Rolls

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients for baked stuffed cabbage rolls recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  2. Core and peel the leaves from the cabbage.

    Cabbage leaves stacked up on a wooden cutting board

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  3. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Drop the cabbage leaves into boiling salted water. Cover and cook for 7 to 12 minutes or just until pliable. Drain well. Reserve.

    Cabbage leaves stacked up in a large pot with water

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  4. Combine the ground beef with the cooked rice, onions, egg, sweet paprika, pepper, salt, and milk. Mix well and divide into 12 portions.

    Ground beef mixture divided into 12 equal portions in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  5. Place a portion of the ground beef mixture into the center of a cabbage leaf.

    Sausage-shaped filling placed in the center of a cabbage leaf

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  6. Tightly roll the leaf around the filling, fastening it with a toothpick. 

    Cabbage leaf being rolled up tightly around the filling

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  7. Place the formed rolls in a baking dish or Dutch oven. Repeat the process with the remaining filling and cabbage leaves.

    Cabbage parcels packed tightly into a casserole dish in a single layer

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

Prepare the Sauce, Assemble, and Bake

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, sugar, apple cider vinegar, and water.

    Ingredients for the tomato sauce stirred together in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  2. Pour the sauce over cabbage rolls.

    Tomato sauce poured over stuffed cabbage in the casserole dish

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  3. Cover tightly with a lid or foil and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until cooked through and cabbage is tender.

    Baked cabbage rolls in the casserole dish with the tomato sauce thickened

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  4. Remove the cabbage rolls to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Remove the toothpicks and discard.

    Cabbage rolls, toothpicks removed, in a serving bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

Thicken the Sauce

  1. Place the pan juices in a pan over medium heat. Combine the cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of cold water and mix until smooth. Stir the cornstarch slurry into the sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil and cook until thickened.

    Tomato sauce being stirred in a saucepan on a burner

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  2. Pour the sauce over the rolls. Serve hot and enjoy!

    Baked stuffed cabbage rolls with thick tomato sauce on a plate

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

Recipe Tips

  • When mixing the beef filling, take care to avoid overmixing as this can cause the filling to be dense and springy rather than tender.
  • If any of your cabbage leaves have tears or holes, use a second leaf to wrap the filling.

Can I Freeze Cabbage Leaves?

You may freeze the uncooked cabbage rolls for later use. Thaw in the fridge overnight and bake as directed.

Other Ways to Retrieve the Cabbage Leaves

Although it looks intimidating to use cabbage leaves as the wrapper for the rolls, there is an easy way to retrieve the leaves from the cabbage head:

  • Place the whole head—cored or not—in a microwave-safe dish with a small amount of water and microwave it on full power for about 10 to 15 minutes. The leaves should peel off nicely.
  • Alternatively, remove the stem root and place the whole head core down into a pot of salted boiling water, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes; this technique also makes removing the leaves an easy task.