Old-Fashioned Stuffed Cabbage Rolls


Transport yourself to a cozy kitchen filled with the aroma of simmering tomato sauce and tender cabbage leaves with this classic recipe for Old-Fashioned Stuffed Cabbage Rolls. Perfect for a comforting family dinner or a gathering with friends, these savory rolls are a timeless delight. Packed with a flavorful blend of ground beef, ground pork, and rice, and enveloped in a tangy tomato sauce, each bite is a delicious trip down memory lane. Follow along as we guide you through the simple steps to create this beloved dish that’s sure to warm hearts and bellies alike.


  • 1 large head cabbage
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)


  1. Preheat and Prepare: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and grease a large baking dish, setting it aside for later.
  2. Prepare the Cabbage: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Remove the core from the cabbage and carefully place the whole head into the boiling water. Allow it to cook for approximately 5 minutes, until the outer leaves are softened and easy to peel off. Once done, remove the cabbage from the water and let it cool slightly.
  3. Mix the Filling: In a mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, ground pork, cooked rice, chopped onion, minced garlic, salt, and black pepper. Mix well until all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.
  4. Roll the Cabbage Rolls: Gently peel off the softened cabbage leaves, ensuring they remain intact. Spoon a portion of the meat mixture onto each cabbage leaf and roll it up, tucking in the sides as you go. Place the cabbage rolls seam-side down in the greased baking dish.
  5. Prepare the Sauce: In another bowl, mix together the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and paprika. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Pour the sauce evenly over the cabbage rolls in the baking dish.
  6. Bake: Cover the baking dish with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour. Afterward, remove the foil and continue baking for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the cabbage rolls are fully cooked and the sauce is bubbly.
  7. Garnish and Serve: Once done, remove the dish from the oven and allow the Old-Fashioned Stuffed Cabbage Rolls to cool for a few minutes. Optionally, garnish with chopped fresh parsley before serving. Enjoy the comforting flavors of this timeless dish!


  • For added flavor and nutrition, consider incorporating diced carrots or celery into the meat mixture.
  • Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently in the microwave or oven before serving for a delicious meal anytime.

Serving Tips:

  1. Allow the Old-Fashioned Stuffed Cabbage Rolls to rest for a few minutes after removing them from the oven. This helps the flavors to meld together and makes for easier serving.
  2. Serve the cabbage rolls hot, either individually plated or family-style on a serving platter.
  3. For an extra touch of freshness and color, garnish the dish with chopped fresh parsley just before serving.

Storage Tips:

  1. If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator promptly after they have cooled down.
  2. Old-Fashioned Stuffed Cabbage Rolls can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  3. To reheat, gently warm the cabbage rolls in the microwave or oven until heated through. Add a splash of water or tomato sauce to prevent them from drying out during reheating.
  4. For longer storage, you can freeze the cabbage rolls. Place them in a freezer-safe container or bag, ensuring they are well-sealed to prevent freezer burn. They can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  5. When ready to enjoy frozen cabbage rolls, thaw them overnight in the refrigerator before reheating as instructed above.

Variations of Old-Fashioned Stuffed Cabbage Rolls:

  1. Vegetarian Option:
    • Replace the ground beef and ground pork with a mixture of cooked lentils, quinoa, and finely chopped vegetables such as mushrooms, carrots, and bell peppers.
    • Use vegetable broth instead of Worcestershire sauce for flavoring.
    • Follow the same steps for preparing and rolling the cabbage rolls, adjusting seasoning to taste.
  2. Mediterranean Twist:
    • Add Mediterranean-inspired ingredients such as feta cheese, chopped Kalamata olives, and diced sun-dried tomatoes to the meat mixture for a burst of flavor.
    • Season the tomato sauce with oregano, basil, and a pinch of red pepper flakes for a hint of spice.
    • Serve the cabbage rolls with a dollop of tzatziki sauce or a side of Greek salad for a refreshing accompaniment.
  3. Asian-Inspired Flavor:
    • Substitute the Worcestershire sauce with soy sauce and add minced ginger and chopped green onions to the meat mixture.
    • Enhance the tomato sauce with a splash of rice vinegar, a drizzle of honey, and a dash of sesame oil.
    • Serve the cabbage rolls with steamed jasmine rice and a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds for an Asian-inspired twist.
  4. Middle Eastern Flair:
    • Incorporate Middle Eastern spices such as cumin, coriander, and cinnamon into the meat mixture for a fragrant twist.
    • Mix cooked couscous or bulgur wheat with the meat for added texture and flavor.
    • Top the cabbage rolls with a dollop of yogurt mixed with minced garlic and chopped mint before serving.
  5. Gluten-Free Option:
    • Replace the cooked rice with cooked quinoa or gluten-free breadcrumbs in the meat mixture.
    • Ensure that all sauce ingredients, including Worcestershire sauce and tomato sauce, are gluten-free certified.
    • Serve the gluten-free cabbage rolls with a side of roasted vegetables or a fresh green salad for a wholesome meal.

These variations offer creative ways to customize the classic Old-Fashioned Stuffed Cabbage Rolls recipe to suit different dietary preferences and flavor preferences. Experiment with ingredients and seasonings to discover your favorite version of this comforting dish!


With its blend of savory meat, tender cabbage, and rich tomato sauce, Old-Fashioned Stuffed Cabbage Rolls are a comforting classic that never goes out of style. Whether shared around the family table or served at a gathering with friends, this beloved recipe is sure to evoke feelings of warmth and nostalgia with every bite. So, roll up your sleeves and indulge in the simple pleasure of homemade comfort food with this timeless dish.

FAQ’s Of Old-Fashioned Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

  • FAQ: Can I use a different type of cabbage for this recipe? Answer: While traditional green cabbage is commonly used, you can experiment with other varieties like Savoy cabbage or Napa cabbage for a different texture and flavor profile. Just adjust cooking times accordingly as they may vary slightly.
  • FAQ: Can I prepare the cabbage rolls in advance? Answer: Yes, you can assemble the cabbage rolls ahead of time and refrigerate them, covered, until ready to bake. This makes it convenient for busy days or when entertaining guests.
  • FAQ: Can I freeze the cabbage rolls? Answer: Absolutely! Once assembled, you can freeze the cabbage rolls before baking. Simply place them in a single layer on a baking sheet until frozen solid, then transfer to a freezer bag or container. They can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • FAQ: How do I prevent the cabbage rolls from falling apart during cooking? Answer: Make sure to blanch the cabbage leaves until they are pliable but still sturdy enough to hold the filling. Additionally, rolling the cabbage leaves tightly and securing them with toothpicks or tucking the ends helps prevent them from unraveling.
  • FAQ: Can I make this recipe vegetarian? Answer: Absolutely! You can substitute the ground beef and pork with plant-based alternatives like lentils, mushrooms, or tofu. Adjust seasoning and cooking times as needed to suit your preferences.
  • FAQ: What can I serve with Old-Fashioned Stuffed Cabbage Rolls? Answer: These cabbage rolls pair well with a variety of sides such as mashed potatoes, crusty bread, or a simple green salad. You can also serve them with steamed vegetables or roasted root vegetables for a wholesome meal.
  • FAQ: How do I know when the cabbage rolls are fully cooked? Answer: The cabbage rolls are done when the meat filling is cooked through and the cabbage leaves are tender. You can test for doneness by inserting a knife into the center of a cabbage roll – it should come out hot and the meat should no longer be pink.
  • FAQ: Can I make this recipe without rice? Answer: Yes, you can omit the rice if desired or substitute it with cooked quinoa, bulgur wheat, or even cauliflower rice for a lower-carb option.
  • FAQ: How can I make the tomato sauce less sweet? Answer: If you prefer a less sweet sauce, you can reduce the amount of brown sugar or omit it entirely. You can also balance the sweetness with a splash of vinegar or a squeeze of lemon juice for acidity.
  • FAQ: Can I add other vegetables to the filling? Answer: Absolutely! Feel free to customize the filling by adding diced carrots, celery, bell peppers, or spinach for extra flavor and nutrition. Just make sure to chop them finely so they cook evenly with the meat mixture.

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