Slovak Stuffed Cabbage (Holubky or Halupki)

Cabbage Rolls in Tomatoes

Sergey Kashkin / Getty Images

Prep: 45 mins
Cook: 4 hrs
Total: 4 hrs 45 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
625 Calories
31g Fat
44g Carbs
48g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 625
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 31g 39%
Saturated Fat 13g 66%
Cholesterol 175mg 58%
Sodium 1129mg 49%
Total Carbohydrate 44g 16%
Dietary Fiber 11g 38%
Total Sugars 16g
Protein 48g
Vitamin C 137mg 683%
Calcium 251mg 19%
Iron 7mg 39%
Potassium 1738mg 37%
*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 Slovak stuffed cabbage, also known as holubky or halupki, is made with ground beef and pork, sauerkraut, paprika, and tomato sauce. You can substitute ground chicken or turkey for this recipe, or combine it with beef or pork, if you like.

It's a traditional comfort food dish that is cooked slowly on the stovetop and goes well with rye bread and butter.


  • 1 (4-pound) head cabbage

  • 1/2 cup raw white rice

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped

  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck

  • 1/2 pound lean ground pork

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 teaspoon sweet or hot paprika

  • 1 pound canned sauerkraut, drained, juices reserved, and optionally rinsed

  • 1 (14-ounce) can tomato sauce

  • 1 (14-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

Steps to Make It

  1. Remove large outer leaves from cabbage and set aside. Remove core from cabbage. Place head in a large pot filled with boiling salted water. Cover and cook three minutes or until softened enough to pull off individual leaves. You will need 18 leaves.

  2. 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.

  3. Chop the remaining cabbage, still reserving large outer leaves, and place it in the bottom of a large greased casserole dish or Dutch oven.

  4. Rinse rice and cook it in 1/2 cup water until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let cool. Meanwhile, sauté chopped onion in butter in a medium skillet until tender and let cool.

  5. In a large bowl, mix cooked and cooled rice, cooled onions, beef, pork, salt and pepper to taste, egg, garlic, paprika, reserved sauerkraut juices, and 1/3 cup of the tomato sauce; blend ingredients thoroughly. Don't overmix or the meat will become tough.

  6. Place about 1/2 cup of meat 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. You will have something that looks like an envelope. Roll the leaf into a small tube.

  7. Add some tomato sauce in between the layers in the casserole dish or Dutch oven. Place the cabbage rolls on top of the chopped cabbage with sauerkraut and top with all the crushed tomatoes, remaining sauerkraut, tomato sauce, and a few of the reserved whole cabbage leaves.

  8. Add enough water to cover completely. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to very low, cover and simmer three to four hours. Watch carefully so stuffed cabbages don't burn.

  9. Serve with pan juices and a drizzle of sour cream if desired, mashed potatoes, and crusty bread.

  10. Cabbage rolls freeze well before or after cooking and can be made in a slow cooker (see your manufacturer's instructions).