This easy stuffed cabbage roll recipe I’m about to share has been passed down to me from my Great Grandmother Molly, aka Bubbie. I remember when I was a kid, she told me she and her 5 sisters were taught how to make holishkes. That’s Yiddish, for what we call stuffed cabbage. Apparently at the orphanage where they lived they had cooking classes. She told me this was the only possession she took before her and the sisters had to flee Nazi Germany.
Interesting, since she was living in Brooklyn during the Holocaust, and my mother was about to be born.
She also told me she dated General Custer, so I’m not really believing they taught a 6-year old girl how to make stuffed cabbage. Regardless of how my Bubbie learned how to cook this, it’s without a doubt the most flipping amazingly easy stuffed cabbage roll recipe you’ll ever have the pleasure of making and eating.
My honey, who’s a food aficionado, even said he’s never tasted anything better than this; and his grandma came from Germany, and she too was a darn good cook. (Apparently not as good as my Bubbie)!
The key to this recipe is to make sure you use brown sugar and real lemon juice. Don’t buy that fake stuff that comes in a plastic lemon. That makes everything taste funky. As for the brown sugar you can use whichever one you have on hand. I typically purchase the dark brown sugar, but it’s equally delicious if you use light brown variety.
Bubbie’s Famous Stuffed Cabbage
- 1 large cabbage head
- 1-1/2 pounds chopped meat
- 1/2 cup uncooked rice
- 1 medium onion (grated)
- 1 egg
- 1 cup water
- 1-1/2 tbsp Ketchup
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 46-ounce can Tomato Juice
- 1 15-ounce can Tomato Sauce
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- Remove the bottom core of the cabbage.
- Parboil the cabbage leaves in a large pot until the leaves become tender.
- Separate the head into individual leaves. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl combine the ground meat, rice, grated onion, egg, ketchup, and salt.
- Place a heaping tablespoon of the filling mixture onto each leaf, near the base. Fold the base of the leaf over filling and roll once. Then fold the sides of the leaf into the center so it encloses the meat. Insert a toothpick to keep the rolls secured.
- In a bowl combine the water, tomato juice, tomato sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice, salt, and garlic powder.
Pour some of the mixture in the bottom of the oven-safe casserole dish.
Add the cabbage rolls to the casserole dish and cover with the remaining sauce.
Bake at 350° for 1 hour. Spoon sauce over cabbage rolls every 20 minutes to keep tops from burning.
Remove from oven. Cover with aluminum foil and heat at 375° for the last 30 minutes.
You can also make this in a crockpot. By doing so, add all of the ingredients in your crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours.
Favorite side compliments
One of the best side dishes you can ever eat with stuffed cabbage rolls is homemade mashed potatoes with grass-fed butter and a huge dollop of sour cream mixed in.
Made too much and have leftovers?
The proper way to store your leftovers
If you have any stuffed cabbage rolls leftover, store them in an air-tight plastic container. Don’t cover the dish with aluminum foil or keep them in the dish you cooked them in. I know sometimes glass cookware – especially Anchor Hocking – has lids that go over the dishes. Although those are good to use when you’re marinating something, they’re really not air-tight enough.
The proper way to reheat
The best way to reheat stuffed cabbage rolls is to reheat them either in the microwave or oven.
- Place the cabbage rolls on a microwave-safe plate
- Cover the rolls with a damp paper towel
- Heat for 6 minutes on high (microwave oven wattage varies, so you may need to adjust your reheating time).
- Once heated thoroughly, let sit for 3 minutes while you heat the leftover tomato sauce.
- Preheat oven to 350
- Drizzle leftover tomato sauce
- Cook for 30 – 40 minutes covered with aluminum foil
I would strongly advise not to reheat your stuffed cabbage rolls on the stove.
Do you think you’ll be making this amazingly easy stuffed cabbage roll dish soon? Share with a comment.
Until we meet again,
Just made this tonight for dinner!!! It was AMAZING!! I didn’t roll the cabbage… I put a layer on the bottom of the baking dish… made the meat rolls.. added another layer of cabbage and the sauce!!! We call it “lazy stuffed cabbage”
Served it with homemade mashed potatoes and crescent rolls!! (The brown sugar totally made the sauce!)
Hi Sue. I’m so glad you loved them! The brown sugar is the key! BTW, you’re not lazy. That’s the smart way to making it.
This is the second time in two weeks I am making your fabulous Bubbie’s onolious (really delicious) cabbage rolls. I doubled the recipe, hoping to have extra to freeze. But none left to freeze lol. This is feeding five adults!
Mahalo nui loa,
Aloha Annamarie! 2 times in a week! Girl…..Why didn’t you invite me over? LOL. I’m so glad you loved this recipe. It’s the best!!!!
What does parboil mean? And where is the base of the leaf? I’m just learning how to cook and I love it. It calms me down. Thank you for posting this recipe. I’ve never even have tasted a cabbage roll in my life. I can’t wait to make it.
The way you parboil the cabbage is to place the entire cabbage head in a large pot and boil it until the leaves are tender enough to be pulled off from the core. Parboiling basically means to cook an item until it becomes soft. As for the base of the leaf, that would be the thickest area that was attached to the core. I hope this clears things up for you. I’m so thrilled you’re learning to cook. Not only is cooking fun, but buying cooking tools is equally fun. LOL. I truly hope you enjoy the stuffed cabbage.
Oh my goodness. I made these tonight, and they were PHENOMENAL. Thank you.
I’m so glad you enjoyed them!
Do you cook the meat first? Our just mix it all raw?
Hi Kayla, You will want to add the meat mixture raw into the cabbage rolls. If you’re concerned about making sure the meat is fully cooked, feel free to insert a food thermometer into the roll. you’ll also want to add the rice raw. The juices from the meat will flavor and cook the rice. I hope this helps. Enjoy!
This is a fantastic recipe
Very similiar to mine!!
I’m so glad you liked it! How did my recipe differ from yours? I’d love to try your recipe out.
Uncooked rice? What kind of rice did you use and did it come out dry?
Hi Renee. Yes, you mix the meat with uncooked rice. When the cabbage roll is cooking the juices from the meat will cook the rice. I know it seems weird but it works. If you cook the rice first then mix it with the beef, the rice will be mushy. You can use any rice you like. We enjoy jasmine rice so I always use that. If you don’t feel comfortable using a long grain rice, uncooked Minute Rice works just as well.
Would it be good to put sauerkraut on top of all of it?
Hi Christy! If you love cabbage as much as I’m thinking you do since sauerkraut is cabbage, then I say go for it. The zing of the sauerkraut mixed with the sweetness of the stuffed cabbage may make the dish even more delicious than it already is. Please let me know if you added it and how it worked out for you.
Hello! Your grandma sounds like a real character! 🥰I’m about to make a toaster full of these and would like to know the yield of the recipe. I need to make approximately 150. -Roxane
I meant roaster full! 😂
OMG, you’re so funny. In all honesty, Roxane, it depends on the size of the rolls and how much meat you put into them. I typically make mine really fat and my recipe typically nets about 8 cabbage rolls. 150 rolls, oh my!!!!! When are you cooking it? I’ll be sure to swing by and have some. HUGS! -Stacey
Hi. I know this will make too much for just my husband and me. Do you bake them then freeze them or put them in the freezer once assembled but before baking?
Hi Tammy, yes, you can bake them then freeze them.
Where does the water go
Step 6. You may have overlooked it. LOL. Let me know how the dish turns out.
Can you make a lot of cabbage rolls and freeze them then thaw them out and heat them up.
Yes, you most certainly can
Is it possible to make the stuffed cabbage leaves and sauce a day ahead & assemble & bake the day you want to serve?
Hi Molly, sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I’m sure you’ve already made the stuffed cabbage, and I’m hoping you loved it! Yes, you can most certainly make it ahead of time. 🙂
patricia wangen says
Is the total cooking time 1 hour at 350 then an additional 1/2 hour at 375 making total cooking time 1-1/2 hours, was a bit confused. Thanks Patty
Hi Patricia. Yes you are correct. 1 hour at 350, then 1/2 hour at 375. For a total of 1-1/2 hours. I’m so sorry for the confusion I may have caused. Let me know how it turns out. Hugs – Stacey