Toltott Kaposzta: Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage Recipe

Close up of Stuffed Cabbage with Sour Cream

Marton Hadfi / EyeEm / Getty Images

  • Total: 2 hrs 15 mins
  • Prep: 60 mins
  • Cook: 75 mins
  • Yield: 18 stuffed cabbages (serves 18)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
251 Calories
12g Fat
18g Carbs
19g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 18 stuffed cabbages (serves 18)
Amount per serving
Calories 251
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 15%
Saturated Fat 4g 22%
Cholesterol 100mg 33%
Sodium 509mg 22%
Total Carbohydrate 18g 7%
Dietary Fiber 5g 18%
Protein 19g
Calcium 109mg 8%
*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.)

This recipe for Hungarian stuffed cabbage or toltott kaposzta is made with ground pork, beef, sliced smoked pork butt, sauerkraut, and fresh cabbage. Some traditional recipes are made with whole soured cabbage heads like ​kiseli kupus.
Other popular Hungarian cabbage dishes include layered cabbage (rakott kaposzta or kolozsvari), sloppy cabbage (lucskoskaposzta), and Szekely cabbage (szekelykaposzta), a type of pork stew baked with sauerkraut and sour cream.


  • 1/4 cup rice (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 pound lean ground pork
  • 1/2 pound ground chuck
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 medium onions (finely chopped)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sweet (or hot paprika)
  • 1 head cabbage (about 4 pounds)
  • 2 pounds drained sauerkraut (rinsing optional)
  • 1/2 cup tomato juice
  • 1/2 pound cooked (or uncooked smoked pork butt, thinly sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons lard
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Steps to Make It

  1. Cook rice in 1/2 cup water for 10 minutes, drain and set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix together ground pork and ground beef with garlic, half the chopped onion, egg, salt, pepper, 1 tablespoon of the paprika, and reserved cooked and drained rice. Set aside.

  3. Remove core from cabbage. Place whole head in a large pot filled with boiling, salted water. Cover and cook 3 minutes, or until softened enough to pull off individual leaves. You will need about 18 leaves.

  4. When leaves are cool enough to handle, use a paring knife to cut away the thick center stem from each leaf, without cutting all the way through.

  5. Place about 1/2 cup of the meat mixture on each cabbage leaf. Roll away from you to encase the meat. Flip the right side of the leaf to the middle, then flip the left side to the middle. You will have something that looks like an envelope. Once again, roll away from you to create a neat little roll. Cut any remaining cabbage leaves into fine shreds and set aside.

  6. Place sauerkraut in a large casserole dish or Dutch oven (about 6 inches high, 16 inches long and 8 to 10 inches wide) and pour tomato juice on top, followed by slices of pork butt and enough water to just cover. Bring to a boil, lower heat and cook 5 minutes.

  7. Place reserved shredded cabbage in casserole. Nestle cabbage rolls in the sauerkraut. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer 1 hour.

  8. Heat oven to 350 F. Melt lard in a small skillet, and add flour and remaining chopped onion to make a roux. Cook slowly for about 10 minutes or until golden yellow. Turn off heat, stir in remaining 1 tablespoon paprika and 1 cup cold water until smooth.

  9. Gently remove the stuffed cabbage from the casserole with a slotted spoon to a warm platter. Take a ladleful of sauerkraut broth and whip it into the roux. Return this liquid to the main casserole, stirring well. Bring to a boil. Gently replace stuffed cabbages, cover and bake 15 minutes in the heated oven.

  10. Mix some of the pan juices with sour cream and pour over the stuffed cabbages when serving.