Swedish Cabbage Rolls, Crock Pot or Stovetop

Cabbage Rolls, Swedish Style
Diana Rattray
Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 7 hrs
Total: 7 hrs 25 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
480 Calories
16g Fat
47g Carbs
38g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 480
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 20%
Saturated Fat 6g 29%
Cholesterol 235mg 78%
Sodium 283mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 47g 17%
Dietary Fiber 8g 28%
Protein 38g
Calcium 148mg 11%
*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 easy, tasty cabbage rolls are always a favorite! Ground beef and rice are used to stuff cabbage leaves, which are then simmered to perfection in a tangy tomato sauce. You can opt to cook them in the slow cooker or on the stovetop.

One piece of advice: The easiest way to prepare the cabbage leaves is to freeze the whole head. Put the head of cabbage in a food storage bag the night before and stick it in the freezer. In the morning, take it out and let it thaw. Cut the leaves away at the core. They will be somewhat wilted and flexible enough to roll. No pre-boiling is required when you use this method, and the leaves are less likely to tear as you remove them.

The sauce makes a flavorful "gravy" for mashed or boiled potatoes. If you like lots of tomato sauce to drizzle over your potatoes, double all of the sauce ingredients except for the diced tomatoes.

Along with potatoes, serve the cabbage rolls with steamed green beans or broccoli for a full, satisfying family dinner. Leftover cabbage rolls are even tastier the next day!


  • 1 large head of cabbage (frozen, thawed)
  • 1 large egg (beaten)
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1 1/4 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • Optional: 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice (or cider vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Steps to Make It

Crock Pot

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Remove the leaves from the thawed head of cabbage.

  3. If you did not freeze the cabbage, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Carefully remove about 12 to 14 large leaves from a head of cabbage. Place the leaves in the water and boil for 2 to 4 minutes. Drain thoroughly.

  4. In a large bowl combine the beaten egg, milk, finely chopped onion, salt, pepper, ground beef, and cooked rice.

  5. Place about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the ground beef and rice mixture in center of each thawed or boiled cabbage leaf and form it into a cylinder shape. Fold in sides and roll ends over meat–burrito-style–until the beef filling is completely encased. Secure with toothpicks, if desired.

  6. Place the stuffed cabbage rolls in the slow cooker, seam-side down.

  7. In another bowl, combine the tomato sauce with the canned tomatoes, brown sugar, lemon juice or vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce. Pour the sauce mixture over cabbage rolls.

  8. Cover the pot and cook on low for about 6 to 8 hours.

  9. Enjoy!

Stove Top

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Prepare the cabbage rolls following steps 1 through 4, above. Place the cabbage rolls in a large, heavy Dutch oven or stockpot, seam-side down. 

  3. Prepare the sauce (step 6, above) and pour it over the cabbage rolls.

  4. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and simmer the cabbage rolls for about 2 hours.

  5. Enjoy!