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Stuffed Cabbage Rolls are tender cabbage leaves filled with a mixture of ground beef, rice, and herbs smothered in a rich and flavorful homemade tomato sauce. This family favorite comfort food dinner is a great freezer meal, easy to make or prep in advance, and can be easily adjusted to feed a crowd.
Table of Contents
Ingredients for Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
I made a homemade tomato sauce with olive oil, onion, garlic, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. As an alternative and for simplicity, your favorite marinara sauce may be used.
- Green cabbage
- Ground beef
- Instant rice OR cooked white rice
- 1 egg
- Seasonings – onion powder, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper
Step by Step Instructions
The preparation is similar to making enchiladas, except instead of using tortillas, you’re using cabbage leaves.
See recipe card below for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
Prepare the cabbage. Boil the whole cabbage head in a pot of water for about 5 minutes. Pull off some leaves and set aside to cool.
Make the sauce. Cook the garlic and onion over medium-high heat, then add the remaining ingredients and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Make the filling. Combine the ground beef, rice, egg, and seasonings in a large bowl. Add some of the sauce and mix everything together.
Assemble the cabbage rolls. Add about ¼ cup of the ground beef mixture to the center of a cabbage leaf and roll it up like you would a tortilla. Place the rolls seam side down in a large baking dish and spoon the sauce over the top. Bake uncovered for an hour. Check about halfway through and spoon extra sauce if needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Boiling the whole head of cabbage both softens and helps to separate the leaves, making them easy to detach from the head. They won’t be fully cooked, but just softened enough to make them pliable so they won’t tear.
If your cabbage rolls are tough, it means they haven’t cooked long enough. Slide the dish back into the oven and let them bake for some additional time.
Make Ahead, Storage and Reheating
Make Ahead: Prepare the stuffed cabbage and assemble in the casserole dish. Cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours. Let sit out while your oven heats up, or you may need to add to the cooking time.
Storing leftovers: Place leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Or, leave the casserole in the baking dish, cover, and store 3-4 days.
Freeze before baking: Prepare the recipe and don’t bake it. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, then foil, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw fully in the fridge overnight before baking.
Freeze after baking: Let leftovers cool completely, then store in a freezer container. To store in a bag, freeze rolls separately on a cutting board or baking sheet for 30 minutes first.
Reheating: If frozen, thaw completely in the fridge overnight. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Heat for 30 minutes if previously baked, one hour or more in not. For individual portions, reheat in the microwave.
- This recipe calls for Instant Rice. If you wants to use white or brown rice, it will need to be precooked. Otherwise, there will not be enough liquid to cook the rice once stuffed.
- One common problem with cabbage rolls is that once you get to the inner leaves, they become tough. Leave the water on and you can boil the center again if needed for easier wrapping.
- I like to peek at the rolls halfway through cooking and spoon some extra sauce over them if they are exposed too much. Or, just cover while baking if you prefer.
- Make sure to use a lean ground beef. Alternatively, ground pork, chicken or turkey may be used.
More Comfort Food Recipes You’ll Love
- Ground Turkey Casserole
- Turkey Taco Stuffed Peppers
- Beef Tips and Gravy
- Swiss Steak
- One Pot Creamy Chicken and Noodles
- Slow Cooker Lasagna
Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup yellow onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 28 ounces canned crushed tomatoes (1 large can)
- 14.5 ounces tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 head cabbage
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 cup instant rice OR cooked white rice
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Optional: fresh herbs for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a large pot filled with water, boil the head of cabbage for 5 minutes. Pull 12 leaves off of the head, set aside to cool.
- To prepare the sauce: Heat oil over medium high heat and cook onion until tender. Add garlic and cook for one additional minute. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce and seasonings and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- To prepare the stuffing: In a large bowl, combine the beef, rice, egg and seasonings. Mix until fully incorporated. Add 1 cup prepared sauce into the mixture.
- Fill each prepared leaf with about ¼ cup of the mixture and carefully fold the cabbage around, wrapping tightly.
- Place the stuffed cabbage rolls into the pan, seam sides down and top with the additional sauce.
- Bake for 60 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Check halfway and spoon extra sauce over rolls if needed.