Stuffed Cabbage Rolls With Ground Beef and Rice

Cabbage Rolls
The Spruce
  • Total: 90 mins
  • Prep: 25 mins
  • Cook: 65 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
454 Calories
14g Fat
50g Carbs
33g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 servings
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.


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


  • For the Rolls:
  • 1 head green cabbage (about 1 dozen large cabbage leaves)
  • 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 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can tomatoes (diced, undrained)
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 3/4 cup cold water (divided)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Cabbage rolls with beef and rice ingredients
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  2. Peel about 12 to 15 large leaves off of the cabbage head.

    Peel leaves off cabbage head
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  3. Drop the cabbage leaves into boiling salted water; cover and cook for 3 minutes. Drain well.

    Add cabbage leaves to boiling water
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  4. Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C/Gas 4).

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

    Combine ground beef, rice, onion, egg, and salt, pepper, and milk
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  6. Place a portion of the beef mixture onto the center of each cabbage leaf.

    Place beef mixture in center of cabbage leaf
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  7. Roll the leaf around the filling, burrito-style, folding in the edges to seal it in.

    Roll cabbage leaves
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  8. Fasten the rolls with toothpicks. Place the rolls in a baking dish or an oven-safe Dutch oven.

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

    Combine the tomato sauce, tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, and 1/2 cup of water for cabbage roll sauce
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  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.

    Pour sauce over cabbage rolls and place in oven
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  11. Remove the rolls with a slotted spoon and discard the toothpicks.

    Remove rolls from oven and discard toothpicks
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  12. Carefully pour the juices into a 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; cook until thickened.

    Place juices from cabbage rolls in saucepan and simmer
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  13. Serve the cabbage rolls topped with the sauce.

    Cabbage rolls with beef and rice
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  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.