Cabbage Rolls With Ground Beef and Tomato Sauce

Family favorite cabbage rolls
Diana Rattray
Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 90 mins
Total: 2 hrs
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Yield: 12 cabbage rolls
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
302 Calories
10g Fat
26g Carbs
27g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 302
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 13%
Saturated Fat 4g 19%
Cholesterol 98mg 33%
Sodium 678mg 29%
Total Carbohydrate 26g 10%
Dietary Fiber 6g 20%
Total Sugars 12g
Protein 27g
Vitamin C 86mg 431%
Calcium 145mg 11%
Iron 4mg 20%
Potassium 1133mg 24%
*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 pure comfort food with Eastern European origins. In this recipe, cabbage leaves are stuffed with seasoned ground beef and rice mix, and cooked on the stovetop in a simple tomato sauce. There's no need to reserve them for special occasions. The recipe is easy, so they can work well on any weekend or those nights when you have a couple of hours to make dinner.

A hint of cinnamon is the key ingredient to this cabbage roll recipe. The spice's warm, sweet flavor is a fabulous contrast against the onion, salt, and black pepper that's commonly used for cabbage roll fillings. It's a pop of flavor that is both unexpected and welcomed. However, if you're unsure you'll like the cinnamon, omit that ingredient, or use just a dash.

The cabbage leaves need to be precooked so they're easy to roll. You can use the traditional method of boiling them to wilt the leaves. Or microwave the whole head of cabbage for about 12 to 15 minutes. The leaves will be soft and pliable and easy to peel off the head and roll. If you plan ahead, there's even a neat freezer trick that eliminates the cooking entirely.

Once the cabbage is stuffed, the recipe is pretty hands-off; simmer the rolls in a tomato sauce on the stovetop until the cabbage is tender. That leaves plenty of time to make side dishes, and the cabbage rolls are excellent with boiled or mashed potatoes.

"Cabbage rolls are such a comforting food that is great just for you, but somehow also feels momentous enough for company. This recipe gets straight to the point with no frills or complicated tricks, and you're left with one of those rare dishes that's even more delicious the next day!" —Laura Manzano

Mom's Cabbage Rolls/Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 large head cabbage

  • 1 pound lean ground beef

  • 1/2 cup instant rice, or cooked rice

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided

  • 1 (10 1/2-ounce) can tomato soup, undiluted

  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Carefully tear the large leaves off the cabbage and cook in boiling water or steam in the microwave until wilted enough to be flexible. You'll need about 12 large leaves. Set aside to cool.

  3. Mix the ground beef, rice, egg, onion, and salt, pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon together in a medium bowl.

  4. Shape about 3 tablespoons of the mixture into a cylinder, then roll up in a cabbage leaf. Secure rolls with toothpicks.

  5. Combine the soup and tomatoes in a large Dutch oven or saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat.

  6. Lower the heat to low. Place cabbage rolls in the pot, seam side down. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon.

  7. Cover and simmer until the cabbage rolls are very tender, but not falling apart, and the meat mixture is cooked through, 60 to 70 minutes.


  • Put a head of cabbage in the freezer overnight. Just peel the leaves off the next day. They will be flexible enough to fill and roll—no pre-boiling required.

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