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Stuffed Cabbage Recipes??

This is one of those dishes I never learned to make from my Russian Jewish grandmother. The two adjectives are key. Russians do not make dishes as sweet and rich as other nationalities probably because they were poorer and possibly because of personal taste. In any event while my Bubbe's stuffed cabbage was sweet and sour it was definitely not overly sweet and certainly NEVER included raisins as many Polish Jews' recipes do. Also, Jews would only make this dish with chopped beef and possibly some chopped veal but never with pork products because of the rules governing keeping Kosher.

I remember my grandmothers dish as being fairly simple - chopped beef, rice, steamed cabbage for rolling it, and a sweet and sour tomato sauce - nothing heavy - and probably salt and peper. It had a great aroma when cooking and was delicious.

I have a hankering to make this for Rosh Hashanah. So if anyone has a good recipe they'd like to share - please make it as step-by-step as possible - I'd really appreciate it.

In all events a sweet and happy New Year to all!

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  1. KK

    I'm sure you'll get lots of recipes to choose from, but I just wanted to share a technique for rolling.
    First of all, after blanching the leaves, I use a paring knife and trim the thick rib by
    shaving it rather than cutting a V out of the leaf. It gives you a perfect whole leaf for stuffing -- no fall-out. I put the filling in that thicker end and roll towards the leafy end.

    Also, I only fold in one side of the leaf as I'm rolling. When you get to the end, just poke the loose edges into the filling with your finger. When cooking, it swells shut. Nothing falls apart. It's the neatest trick I've found in ages! Been doing it for years.

    You're making me hungry! I have a block party coming up in early October, and I'm thinking stuffed cabbage kept warm in a slow cooker would be the perfect covered dish to bring. Thanks for the reminder.

    2 Replies
    1. re: nemo

      I'll echo nemo's suggestion for not cutting out the rib. This led to many attempts with the ground meat squeezing out of the rolls. In fact, now, I blanch the whole head in gently boiling water a bit longer than when they're ready to give. I do not cut the rib out at all and I roll the meat like a fajita and place seam side down. By braising the stuffed cabbage low and slow for 2 hours or more, every part of the cabbage gets tender. That's definitely the key.
      For the stuffing, I took some hints from Martha Stewart's recipe and sauteed finely chopped garlic and onion in butter. Along with a grated green bell pepper, I add it to the meat and rice. Bind with an egg, add s&p.
      Here's another trick....make a tiny patty and fry it up. Taste for salt level. There's no going back and putting in more salt once you've made them.
      Good luck and let us know how it turns out.
      What is the sweet and sour sauce made with? It sounds great!


      1. re: nemo

        Exactly how I do it, my stuffing and sauce is just rice, ground meat, s/p, grated onion. My sauce: is just tomato sauce, paste, brown sugar and a little cider vinegar, s/p, some fine chopped onion and a bay leaf . But not much else.

      2. She probably used ground beef, rice, cabbage, canned tomatoes, and sour salt.

        Personally, I can't stand it with sour salt -- we always make our stuffed cabbage more Italian, but my Russian Jewish grandmothers both use sour salt to season the sauce. Blech. The rest of the recipe is simple though, and if you like the sweet/sour taste, go for it. ;)

        2 lb ground beef
        2 cups rice
        1 large head cabbage (blanched)

        Tomato sauce of your choice
        -- like I said, to make it Russian, it'd be tomatoes, a wee bit of onions and/or garlic, some sugar, and sour salt.

        -- We do ours as a mild marinara sauce

        Anyway, you combine the uncooked rice and raw beef, roll them up in the cabbage leaves, and let them simmer away in the sauce for about 45 minutes until everything is cooked through. Don't stir it (you'll break up the rolls), but instead give the pot a good "shake" every 5-10 minutes or so.

        L'Shana Tova to you too! :)

        1. Afew ground ginger snaps in the tomatoe sauce is good for flavor and thickening. My Nana used sour salt and raisins.

          1 Reply
          1. re: howboy

            Ginger snaps is a fantastic idea!

          2. I've heard of putting ginger snaps in pot roast as well...but never know the quantity and sometimes I think the crumbs will give it a weird texture. Has anyone actually done this?

            1 Reply
            1. re: KingsKetz

              I use ginger snaps when making sauerbraten. It thickens the sauce and there's no texture problems.


            2. Fabulous Russian Orthodox families who gather during the Fall to make great pots of tomato based stuffed cabbage at church bazaars is a not to be missed event! Each home cook uses her own variation but tomato juice or V8 as their base. Fillings includes pork, lamb and beef with lots of onion, fennel, celery and brown rice.
              Love it!

              1. My grandmother was a russian jew as well. Her sauce for cabbage rolls was very simple... it was a condensed tomato soup w/ a splash of vinegar. I make them every few years and while the filling may change, the sauce remains the same.Honestly, it's the best i've ever had.

                1. KK, I am of Russian decent. My mom was a great cook, unfortunately I didn't write down her recipe for the cabbage as I did for a lot of other things. I just made it for the first time, and what I used for the sauce was her meatball sauce made from a can of whole cranberry sauce, a bottle of kethup melted together. I doctor if up with a little brown sugar and lemon juice to give it that sweet sour taste.. I sometimes add a pinch of sour salt. It came out great. The meatballs were made from ground beef onions or sauteed onions rice eggs matzah meal, and a little onion soup.

                  1. Thanks for all of the help. I could use some more specifics about relative quantities and all if anyone has that info.

                    1. Do a search for stuffed Cabbage, and there should be additional strings of information

                      1. Hi,

                        I'm polish and have never heard of raisins in cabbage rolls - I've had them in Krakow, Warsaw and many a little town betwixt and between, with nary a raisin. My husband is Romanian, so when I make cabbage rolls now (golabki in polish, sarmale in Romanian), I combine methods from both ethnicities. The main ingredient for the romanian version is pickled cabbage. I don't know if that would be readily available where you live, in an Eastern European deli - but it makes all the difference to the actual roll and to the sauce. To make the sauce I use tomato passata (available in most grocery stores and Italian specialty stores), consomme, water and dill. The slower/longer you cook the cabbage rolls the better. And my secret ingredient for making moist rolls is adding some sour cream to the meat mixture.A mixture of ground beef, pork, veal, sauteed onions with garlic, long grain white rice, salt, pepper, paprika (sweet not smoked), about a cup of chopped up smoked bacon, and a touch of sour cream.

                        I completely endorse cutting out the rib - no matter how long it cooks, it's still stringy and tough. All you have to do once you have cut it out is to overlap the two sides of the cabbage leaf.


                        1. I have had a Serbian version that uses grated carrot in the filling as well. I think this adds a nice sweet flavor.

                          1. MIne is rather simple -

                            Filling - Ground beef, seasoned with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper -

                            place a stock pot over over mediumd heat with a large or two medium onions choped in the bottom of the pot - maked your stuffed cabbage and layer in the pot when you finish a layer add 1-2 tablespoons of tomato paste - conrinue until all beef us used - it is pretty amazing that the water in the cabbage will make the sauce -once it is cooking add brown sugar/sour salt to your own taste of sweetness to sour -

                            to make it easier to wrap the cabbage rolls - either freeze or blance the head of cabbage -

                            1. Maybe it's only Polish Jews who make it sweet w/raisins. I've seen many recipes like that. Unfortunately I can't add the sour cream or the bacon for reasons of kashrut but the dill sounds interesting as a variation as does a mixture of beef and veal. I know my mother definitely used sour salt in hers and it tasted a lot like my grandmother's.

                              I'm nervous but I'm ready to try this. Wish me luck! I'll report back after the holiday.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: KingsKetz

                                Good luck - just remember, if you use fresh ingredients, you can't really go wrong - start fresh, eat well.

                                1. re: maisonbistro

                                  You'll do great! Enjoy them and report back!

                              2. I am repying now so as not to lose the thread, I'll post my grandmother's recipe for halushkes(Lithuanian-Jewish) after I get home and can pull it from my file. She used raisins in the stuffing, and ginger snaps for thickening the sauce. it is a great recipe and not complicated.

                                1. KK, while my background is Hungarian Jewish, we also don't make our stuffed cabbage very sweet, more like sweet and sour. I very much endorse the idea of TRIMMING the cabbage stem, not totally cutting it out. Here is my basic recipe:

                                  2 lb. ground chuck
                                  1/2 cup raw white rice, rinsed in cold water, drained well
                                  2 eggs lightly beaten
                                  1 large onion, finely chopped
                                  salt, pepper & garlic to taste
                                  2 28 oz cans diced tomatoes
                                  4 oz. can tomato paste
                                  1/4 cup brown sugar
                                  3T lemon juice
                                  4 large carrots, scraped and finely ground
                                  1 can (14 oz?) sauerkraut, washed
                                  1 large head cabbage, core removed

                                  Boil up big soup pot of salted water, put cabbage in for 10 min or so, remove leaves as they become somewhat soft. TRIM, don't remove vein of cabbage leave, you should have 14-18 leaves from a big head, save remaining cabbage, chop thinly. Make a filling of ground beef, seasoning, 3 T onions, rinsed rice, eggs. Stuff each cabbage leaf with couple tablespoons of filling. Make meatballs out of any remaining mixture and cook those as well. In large greased roasting pan (I use turkey/brisket roaster), layer 1/2 chopped remaining cabbage, 1/2 remaining onions, 1/2 sauerkraut, 1/2 carrots. Make sauce out of tomatoes, paste, brown sugar, and lemon juice, taste and adjust seasoning. Pour about 1 cup over vegetables. Place stuffed cabbage rolls (and meatballs if you have any) in one layer on top of vegetables. Repeat layering remaining chopped cabbage, onions, sauerkraut, and carrots. Cover with remaining tomato mixture, cover very tightly with heavy duty aluminum foil. Bake at 300 degrees for 3-4 hours. If you have a large jelly roll pan that fits under casserole, use it to catch drips. I guarantee you will need to clean your oven after this. Cabbage is better if made 2-3 days in advance and reheated, freezes beautifully.

                                  L'Shana Tova!

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: Diane in Bexley

                                    Here's the recipe as I said.
                                    1 lg(2 lbs) head cabbage
                                    1 lb ground chuck
                                    6 tbsps uncooked rice
                                    1/3 c raisins
                                    1 medium-lg white onion, grated
                                    2 lg eggs
                                    1 tsp salt
                                    1/2 tsp ground black pepper
                                    2 8 oz. cans tomato paste
                                    1 #2 1/2 can whole tomatoes
                                    juice of 2 lemons
                                    1 tsp salt
                                    1/2 c brown sugar
                                    1/3 c. crushed ginger snaps
                                    Steam cabbage until softened removong larger outside leaves and setting aside.. core the remaining head and slice into shreds. mix meat, eggs,onion, raisins rice, salt and pepper. take whole leaves and lay1 flat, vein towards you. with a paring knif trim the rib flat so it is about the same thickness as the rest of the leaf. take about 1/2- 3/4 c. of the meat mixture and lay it about 1/3 of the way from the base of the leaf. roll up from the bottom, folding the sides over as you go up.
                                    In a large cassarole or dutch oven (non-reactive)spread the chopped cabbage out in an even layer and lay the cabbage rolls seam side down. mix remaining ingredients(except the crumbs), breaking up the tomatoes, and pour over the cabbage rolls. shake the pot to make sure the sauce gets to the bottom of the pot. preheat oven to 375 . heat pot on stovetop until just simmering and cover and transfer to oven. bake covered, 1 hour. uncover and bake 1 7 1/2 hours longer. stir in crumbs, being careful not to disturb the rolls and return to oven for 1/2 hour longer uncovered. enjoy and gut yontiff.

                                    1. re: chazzerking

                                      I'm going to use this recipe...sounds right on target.

                                      1. re: chazzerking

                                        I would like to make this, but the directions are confusing. Bake for the 1 hour, then uncover and bake how long before adding crumbs? Looks like 7 1/2.

                                        1. re: chazzerking

                                          yes you can steam or par boil the cabbage . but if you freeze the cabbage overnight it wilts enough to work with and it doesn't ruin the flavor

                                        2. re: Diane in Bexley

                                          Hi Diane-

                                          Do you make this for any of the Jewish holidays? if so which ones?


                                        3. Tip: you can also quick freeze the cabbage leaves rather than blanching to get them nicely softened. Also use a tea cup to mold: place the leaf first, add filling, round the top only, and finish wrapping.

                                          1. Lots of good recipes here! Has anyone tried tomake this in a pressure cooker? If so, how'd you do it? thanks...

                                            1. I really must post my thanks to all of you for your thoughts and input on this heartfelt topic. It was a really difficult Rosh Hashanah this year. Somehow I missed my grandparents and my mother more than ever tho they have been gone for so long. Also, the morning of the day my guests were coming, my husband opened the drawer where I had long kept the jumble of silverplated flatware from my grandmother, great aunt and my mother and somehow somewhere someone had stolen it..it was all gone. All of it. Hundreds of pieces. Not worth a lot except to me. I still can't fathom it.

                                              But we had stuffed cabbage. It wasn't my grandmother's stuffed cabbage. It was a little spicy for one thing - maybe too much pepper?? - and I had used diced tomatoes not crushed tomatoes and tomato paste (next time) - but it was heading in the right direction. No raisins or gingersnaps. I used brown sugar and sour salt. It needed a little more of the sweet and sour taste, but I'll work on it.

                                              Thanks so much to all of you! Happy New Year.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: KingsKetz

                                                Oh no! Much sympathy for you. I know how horrible it is to be robbed.

                                                May the new year bring you peace, comfort, and happiness.

                                                I'm glad to hear your stuffed cabbage turned out "close".

                                                1. re: KingsKetz

                                                  First, happy new Year!
                                                  I empathize with you . My home was burglarized years ago and it was devastating. Even though no one was hurt, things close to my heart were gone.
                                                  I wanted stuffed cabbage for my yom tov dinner but took the lazy way out and followed Joan Nathan's recipe:
                                                  and made the following changes;
                                                  I created "meatballs" out of Kosher extra lean ground turkey with egg, cooked brown rice and onion, and browned them in a little olive oil. I chopped the cabbage and followed her recipe for the sauce. then, I placed the browned meatballs in the bubbling sauce. We had unstuffed cabbage for dinner and it was wonderful.

                                                2. The following recipe originated with a friend who loves stuffed cabbage but got tired of rolling the cabbage. She came up with the idea for layering the ingredients. The appearance isn't as distinctive as the rolled-stuffed version but the flavors are the same.

                                                  My friend's version included sliced apples. I take her time-saving impulse one step further and use unsweetened applesauce. The remaining quantities of ingredients reflect my preference for food that isn't too sweet.

                                                  2 lbs. ground beef
                                                  1 head cabbage, cored and leaves separated
                                                  2-3 onions, thinly sliced
                                                  2-3 slices bread
                                                  1 onion, grated or finely minced
                                                  salt and pepper to taste
                                                  2 cloves crushed garlic
                                                  3 (8-ounce) cans plain tomato sauce
                                                  1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
                                                  3-4 tablespoons cider vinegar
                                                  1 tablespoon lemon juice
                                                  1/2 teaspoon powdered mustard
                                                  2-3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
                                                  1/4 cup golden raisins

                                                  Pour enough warm water over bread to moisten. When moist, crumble bread and combine with garlic, minced onion, salt and pepper, and meat. Set aside.

                                                  In a separate bowl, combine tomato sauce, applesauce, cider vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, brown sugar and raisins. Set aside.

                                                  Lay layer of cabbage leaves on the bottom of a Dutch oven.

                                                  Layer some sliced onions over top the cabbage leaves. Place some of the mixed sauce over onions. Place some of the meat over top the sauce. Spread some sauce over the meat layer.

                                                  Reapeat cabbage, onion, meat layers, interspersing sauce between layers. End layering procedure with cabbage and sauce.

                                                  Bake at 325 degree oven for 3 hours.


                                                  Don't worry about the appearance of the cabbage leaves as you remove them from the head of cabbage. You're not rolling stuffing so you don't need whole, beautiful

                                                  Adjust the sauce ingredients to taste depending on your preference for piquant or sweet tasting stuffed cabbage.

                                                  When you serve a portion, make certain you dig down deep to get all the layers of the recipe.

                                                  1. Just to throw in my two cents, I have a Hungarian background and a mother who makes great cabbage rolls AND stuffed peppers, I've also worked with Hungarians who have taught me a few things...that pared with a desire to eat delicious, yet healthy food has led me to the following tips for stuffed cabbage. I just made it this past week and plan on making it again in the next week or so, it was so delicious and I want to share it with my family this time.
                                                    First off, I was lucky enough to use up some Kobe ground beef, which was really indulgent but delicious.
                                                    Instead of rice, I use bulger, no really, bulger! If you hydrate it for a couple hours in warm to hot water, then add it to your seasoned beef, it really helps the meat retain moisture, and it's good for you (FIBER!). This also works very well for ground turkey, which dries out so easily.
                                                    I like the savoy cabbage, blanched off before rolling. I can't wait to try "shaving" the rib instead of cutting it out. I didn't have a leakage problem but this sounds promising anyway.
                                                    Seasoned the beef with s&p, a couple eggs and tomato product. Also aded a little panko and parsley.
                                                    After rolling my rolls, (taste test in a skillet was key), I smothered them in a sauce made from sauteed white onion, diced tomatoes and a tiny bit of honey added at the end. Not much, just enough for a nice background flavor. Fresh chopped dill was added at the end before smothering. All was covered with parchment and foil and gently baked just until the meat cooked through. Definitely erred on the side of less cooking here, so as not to ruin the ground Kobe.
                                                    Hope this helps someone, I loved it and really look forward to enjoying it again.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: rabaja

                                                      forgot to mention, it is nice cooked on a bed of saurkraut, homemade if possible. Or just rinse the jared stuff pretty well.

                                                    2. The stuffed cabbage recipe my family makes has only rice stuffing- no meat. I think it was because they were so poor they could not afford to add the meat. My mother tells me there was very few dishes her mother made that had meat in them. Lots of cabbage soup, stuffed cabbages and other veggie meals growing up. We use salt pork, onions and celery with seasoning such as cinnamon for flavorings. They cook in a pot in the oven with tomatoes and cook for hours. The best part of our stuffed cabbages is the cream sauce we put ontop of them. It's a cardiologists delight- made from butter, heavy cream, sour cream and onions... My mouth is watering already!
                                                      My grandparents were Ukrainian (Polish really) and it was/is our Easter Dinner favorite part of the meal (along with nana's Easter Sweet Bread!)

                                                      1. Oy vey .... I am so glad I found this site. My mom used to make the best cabbage rolls (yep we're also Jewish, mom's mom was polish) but in all her recipe's I can't find this particular one. Now that the summer gardens are in full bloom - I have a nice head of cabbage sitting on my counter and the thought of homemade cabbage rolls just makes me drool :)

                                                        I'm going to give a few of your recipe's a shot .. THANK YOU so much for all of your time in posting.


                                                        1. I have made my Russian grandma's stuffed sweet and sour cabbage rolls for decades, but as a variation modernized it for lazy days and developed this recipe - same ingedients but not the bother:

                                                          UNSTUFFED CABBAGE FOR CROCKPOT (a.k.a. SPLUDGE!)

                                                          1 small to medium head cabbage, shredded
                                                          1-2 pounds lean ground beef
                                                          1 medium onion, chopped
                                                          salt and pepper
                                                          1 tsp. garlic powder
                                                          1 cup instant rice, uncooked
                                                          8 oz. can tomato sauce
                                                          16 oz. can crushed tomatoes
                                                          bay leaf (which I thread lengthwise on a toothpick)
                                                          grape jelly to taste
                                                          brown sugar to taste
                                                          lemon juice to taste
                                                          water as necessary

                                                          Cover bottom of a large crockpot with cabbage. Layer remaining ingredients in the order given. Cook on Low for 8-10 hours--the longer the better and if not done enough, cook on high for a little while. (on newer crockpots it could take 4-5 hours) Be sure to remove the bay leaf after done cooking.
                                                          The recipe can also be cooked in a Dutch oven on a stovetop or baked in an oven.

                                                          1. I just made a batch of golabki last week. Oh yum! I think my recipe is linked above. Just so good, and it gets even better the next day!

                                                            1. I too have been trying to recreate a Russian Bubbie's stuffed cabbage recipe for over 25 years. I finally found one that tastes almost exactly the same (except even better)!
                                                              It is from the 2nd Ave. Deli in NYC. Here is the link:


                                                              I was able to get about 16 rolls from the recipe. Next time I'll use all the citrus, rather than just part of the fruit. Try it, it is fantastic! Clean flavor, not too sweet. Freezes well too.

                                                              1. This is my dads recipe who taught me.Never never raw meat,it was always sauteed,to 2 pounds of meat 1/2 pork 1/2 beef but you can use 1/2 ground dark turkey meat,saute the ground meat when liquid is almost gone add 1and a half cut up onion saute for awhile then add 1or 2 cut up garlic or how much of a garlic taste you like,add 1 tablespoon of mustard at the end along with your uncooked rice,yes uncooked ha-ha,season with salt and pepper,thyme, parsley or dill or whatever seasoning you like,to the amount of meat I gave I use only 1/4 cup of rice,no more than a1/2 cup,make sure you add just a little more salt than you normally would as the rice needs it.put lid on your skillet and let sit for a while till you can handle the mixture.Now you can cook the rice for a few minutes depending on the strenght of your cabbage leaves,if the leaves are strong then I do not cook the rice one has to remember that this will cook in the oven for almost 2 hour's.Fill the leaves according to how big they are usually 2 to 3 big spoons of filling,cut the rest of your cabbage into small pieces and lay on the bottom then layer your cabbage rolls on top,now as to your sauce I found thru much trial and erro I simply use a small 16 oz jar of marinara sauce with 1 cup or more of chicken stock,the sauce is my version as my dad was sebian and he used sauerkraut for layering with the addition of tomatoe's and loads of smoked meats for extra flavoring,even though I love this version that I grew up with,It is a little costly I use good bacon to lay on top of the cabbages,and no kraut since some of my family do not care for it.
                                                                I do hope some of you will try is, I'll guarantee you'll be a hit, and for the kosher folks get beef smoked sausage to add to the sauce.
                                                                P.S. I also use this meat mixture for stuffing my bell peppers plus the sauce.

                                                                1. Inspired by this thread and armed with a head of cabbage, I'm taking my first foray into the world of stuffed cabbage! I wanted to make something that would be good leftover, as this week looks like it will be pretty hectic....

                                                                  I cobbled together a version from reading all your suggestions and using what I have on hand (and keeping in mind that I usually like things less sweet than typical). Blanched a couple of cabbage leaves with little trimming and set them aside. For the filling, I made about a 1:1 mixture of soaked steel-cut oats and ground beef and seasoned it with a little sugar, a little lemon juice, salt, pepper, and chopped dill. I definitely appreciate the tip about pressing the cabbage against the filling to make a nice tight roll- works great! Covered everything with a sauce of crushed tomatoes mixed with brown sugar, lots of lemon juice, salt, cayenne and black pepper, and more chopped dill.

                                                                  It's baking at 350 right now and smelling INSANELY good....thanks for your help!Next time (and I suspect there WILL be a next time) I do want to try out the tip about freezing the leaves, but went with the more traditional blanching this morning because I'd already had simmering water from poached eggs at breakfast.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: 4Snisl

                                                                    Next time, try layering the rolls with drained sauerkraut, then top with the sauce.
                                                                    REALLY yummy!
                                                                    Let us know how it turns out!

                                                                    1. re: bayoucook

                                                                      Definitely intrigued by the idea of sauerkraut, though I've never purchased or made it! Is there a good brand you'd recommend?

                                                                      As it is, the dish is delicious (if I do say so myself!) The sauce formed a lovely caramelized layer on top because I baked it uncovered, about 1.5 hours.

                                                                      Next time, I might want to use a leaner ground beef (no idea what percentage fat it was- it's from a local farmer, but I'd guess about 80%). The soaked steel cut oats worked much better than I expected- I think they water they retained kept the meat mixture moist (which is why I think I can go to a leaner mix), but the oats themselves maintained a nice texture. Not chewy at all....

                                                                      I did sneak a taste a few minutes after it was out of the oven, and managed to hold off eating a full portion until dinner- and the taste definitely improved with time! I think this could go into regular rotation- very economical, stretches meat a lot further, makes good leftovers, and heck, it just tastes good!