Stuffed Cabbage Rolls With Ground Beef and Rice

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls With Ground Beef and Rice recipe

The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  • Total: 102 mins
  • Prep: 37 mins
  • Cook: 65 mins
  • Servings: 6 servings
  • Yields: 12 cabbage rolls
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
454 Calories
14g Fat
50g Carbs
33g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 454
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 5g 27%
Cholesterol 221mg 74%
Sodium 763mg 33%
Total Carbohydrate 50g 18%
Dietary Fiber 7g 27%
Protein 33g
Calcium 169mg 13%
*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.)

These cabbage rolls are stuffed with ground beef and rice and baked to perfection with a tangy tomato sauce. Cabbage rolls are a favorite comfort food from Eastern Europe and are often reserved for special occasions or big family dinners.

Instead of boiling the cabbage, there's an easy shortcut to soften the leaves if you plan ahead. The night before you plan to make the cabbage rolls, put the whole head of cabbage in the freezer. Take it out in the morning and give it the rest of the day or several hours to thaw. The leaves of the thawed cabbage will peel off easily and are flexible enough to stuff with no pre-cooking required! 

The meat isn't cooked ahead of time, so try to use very lean ground beef to avoid the excess fat. Serve stuffed cabbage with mashed potatoes or boiled potatoes for a filling and special meal.

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Ingredients

  • For the Rolls:
  • 1 head green cabbage (about 1 dozen large cabbage leaves)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, more for the water
  • 1 pound ground beef (85 percent or leaner)
  • 3/4 cup rice (cooked)
  • 1/2 cup onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can tomatoes (diced, undrained)
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup cold water (divided)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Stuffed Cabbage Rolls With Ground Beef and Rice ingredients, cabbage, beef, rice, onions, egg, milk, tomato, salt, vinegar, pepper

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  2. Peel about 12 to 15 large leaves off of the cabbage head.

    cabbage head on a white marble table

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  3. Drop the cabbage leaves into a large pot of well salted boiling water; cover and cook for 3 minutes. Drain well.

    cabbage leaves in a pot, on a white marble table

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  4. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 F (180 C/Gas 4).

  5. For the filling, combine the ground beef, rice, onion, egg, milk, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Mix well and divide into 12 portions.

    ground beef, rice, onion, egg, milk, salt, and pepper in a clear bowl, on a white marble table

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  6. Place a portion of the beef mixture (about 2-1/4 oz.) onto the center of each cabbage leaf.

    meat and rice mixture in a leaf of cabbage on a white marble table

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  7. Roll the leaf around the filling, burrito-style, folding in the edges to seal it in.

    cabbage roll on a white marble table

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  8. Fasten the rolls with toothpicks. Place the rolls in a single layer in a large baking dish or an oven-safe Dutch oven.

    cabbage rolls with a toothpick in a casserole pan on a white marble counter top

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  9. For the sauce, combine the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, sugar, vinegar, and 1/2 cup of water.

    red sauce on a white marble table - tomato, vinegar, sugar

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  10. Pour over the cabbage rolls. Cover with a lid or aluminum foil (carefully avoiding the toothpicks) and bake in the preheated oven for about 1 hour until the cabbage is tender and the sauce is bubbling.

    cabbage rolls covered in tomato red sauce in a casserole / oven pan, on a white marble table

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  11. Remove the rolls with a slotted spoon and discard the toothpicks.

    baked cabbage rolls covered in tomato red sauce, in a casserole / oven pan, on a white marble counter

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  12. Carefully pour the juices into a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir the cornstarch with 1/4 cup cold water until dissolved. Add to the sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, whisking constantly until thickened.

    red tomato sauce in a metal sauce pan, on a marble white counter

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  13. Serve the cabbage rolls topped with the sauce.

    Stuffed Cabbage Rolls With Ground Beef and Rice on a white plate

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  14. Enjoy!

Recipe Variations

  • For a low-carb option, replace the rice with steamed cauliflower rice.
  • If you are looking for cabbage roll flavor but are short on time, try an "unstuffed" version.