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Stuffed cabbage rolls in a white baking dish.
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Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Homemade Stuffed Cabbage Rolls are an ultra-cozy Dutch oven dinner idea. Learn how to make beef- and rice-Stuffed Cabbage Rolls on the stovetop, plus how to make baked Stuffed Cabbage Rolls and slow cooker Stuffed Cabbage Rolls all using the same simple formula.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 18 rolls
Calories 160kcal

Ingredients

For the cabbage:

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 head green cabbage cored (about 3 pounds)

For the meat filling:

  • 1/4 cup white rice long grain
  • 1 onion grated on the large holes of box grater (see note 1)
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (see note 2)
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes undrained
  • 1 (28 ounce) can tomato purée
  • 2 cups water
  • 6 tablespoons light brown sugar divided
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (see note 3)
  • 1 onion peeled
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 3 ounces gingersnaps coarsely crushed (see note 4)

Instructions

To make the cabbage:

  • In a Dutch oven or large stock pot over high heat, bring 4 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to boil. Add cored head of cabbage and cook until the outer leaves just begin to wilt, about 3 minutes, turning as needed.
  • As each one wilts, use tongs to remove the outer 20 leaves from the head of cabbage, one at a time, and transfer to a colander to cool. Remove the remaining blanched head of cabbage and let cool. Do not discard the water.

To make the meat filling:

  • Return cabbage water to a boil over high heat. Add rice and cook until tender, about 13 minutes. Drain rice through a strainer or fine mesh sieve, rinse to cool, and drain thoroughly.
  • In a medium bowl, combine cooked rice, grated onion, beef, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

To assemble the cabbage rolls:

  • Trim any tough ribs from the cabbage leaves and tightly roll 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture into each leaf (you should have 20 rolls). Shred remaining blanched cabbage (both the head and any remaining leaves).
  • Scatter half of the shredded cabbage leaves in a large Dutch oven. Arrange the cabbage rolls , seam-side down, on top of the shredded cabbage, fitting them snugly to prevent unrolling. (If you are using a smaller pot arrange the rolls in two layers). Sprinkle with remaining shredded cabbage over the rolls.
  • In a medium bowl, add diced tomatoes and juice, tomato puree, water, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir to combine, then pour over cabbage. Push the whole cloves into the whole, peeled onion and submerge it in the liquid. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes.
  • Discard the clove-studded onion. Sprinkle the crushed gingersnaps into pot and shake pot gently to incorporate them without disturbing cabbage rolls. Continue to simmer, uncovered, until the sauce begins to thicken, about 1 hour.
  • To serve, gently transfer the cabbage rolls to a serving dish using a slotted spoon. Stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons of brown sugar to the sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon some sauce over the rolls and pass the extra sauce separately.

Video

Notes

  1. Onions: You'll need two; one for grating into the filling, and another for the fragrant Onion Piqué.
  2. Ground beef: Or substitute, ground pork, turkey, or sausage.
  3. Lemon juice: Apple cider vinegar also works. We're just seeking a little acidity to brighten things up.
  4. Gingersnaps: Trust me! Crush up the cookies then add them to the tomato sauce for an unexpected yet totally welcome kick of spice and sweetness.

Nutrition

Calories: 160kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 62mg | Potassium: 237mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 49IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 1mg