Step-by-Step Guide: Old-Fashioned Stuffed Cabbage Recipe

Embark on a culinary journey back in time with Old-Fashioned Stuffed Cabbage, a comforting and hearty dish that has been warming hearts and homes for generations. This beloved recipe combines the simple, wholesome flavors of tender cabbage leaves wrapped around a savory mixture of meat, rice, and spices, all simmered in a tangy tomato sauce. Perfect for a cozy family dinner, special gatherings, or a nourishing meal prep option, this dish exemplifies the essence of home-cooked comfort. Discover why this timeless classic continues to be a favorite across cultures, offering a taste of tradition that transcends the ages.


There’s a special kind of magic in recipes that are passed down through the years, and our Old-Fashioned Stuffed Cabbage is a cherished treasure in our family’s culinary heritage. I remember watching my grandmother carefully roll each cabbage leaf, her hands skilled from years of practice, a ritual of love and tradition. It was more than just a recipe; it was a way to bring the family together, to share stories, and to connect with our roots.

As I grew older, the task of making the stuffed cabbage was passed down to me, carrying with it the responsibility of preserving our family’s legacy. Each time I prepare it, I’m transported back to my grandmother’s kitchen, filled with the aroma of simmering tomato sauce and the warmth of shared memories. This dish has become a symbol of our family’s history, a testament to the power of food to comfort, unite, and celebrate our heritage.

Why You’ll Love Old-Fashioned Stuffed Cabbage

  • Rich History: This dish offers a taste of tradition, connecting you to generations past.
  • Comforting Flavors: The combination of meat, rice, and spices wrapped in cabbage and cooked in tomato sauce creates a deeply satisfying meal.
  • Versatile and Adaptable: Easily tailored to suit dietary preferences, this recipe can be modified to include different meats, grains, or vegetarian options.
  • Makes Great Leftovers: Stuffed cabbage tastes even better the next day, making it a perfect make-ahead meal.

Ingredients Notes For Old-Fashioned Stuffed Cabbage

  • Cabbage: Large, sturdy leaves are ideal for wrapping the filling.
  • Meat: A mix of ground beef and pork offers the best flavor, but you can use any ground meat of your choice.
  • Rice: Acts as a binder and extender for the meat filling, adding texture and substance.
  • Tomato Sauce: Provides the tangy, rich base in which the cabbage rolls are cooked.
  • Herbs and Spices: A blend of garlic, onion, paprika, and dill adds depth and complexity to the dish.

Recipe Steps

  1. Prepare the Cabbage: Blanch the whole cabbage leaves until they’re pliable, then trim the thick vein from the base of each leaf for easier rolling.
  2. Make the Filling: Mix together the ground meat, cooked rice, finely chopped onions, garlic, and seasonings.
  3. Roll the Cabbage: Place a portion of the filling on each cabbage leaf, roll it up, and secure it with a toothpick if necessary.
  4. Simmer in Sauce: Arrange the rolls in a pot, cover with tomato sauce, and simmer until the meat is cooked through and the flavors meld together.
  5. Serve: Enjoy hot, garnished with fresh dill or sour cream for added flavor.

Storage Options

  • Refrigerate: Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  • Freeze: Freeze in a suitable container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.


clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Step-by-Step Guide: Old-Fashioned Stuffed Cabbage Recipe


For the Cabbage and Filling:

  • Green cabbage: 1 large head, about 12 leaves needed
  • Ground beef: 1 lb (450g)
  • Ground pork: 1/2 lb (225g) (optional, you can use all beef if preferred)
  • Cooked rice: 1 cup
  • Onion: 1 medium, finely chopped
  • Garlic: 2 cloves, minced
  • Egg: 1, beaten
  • Salt: 1 teaspoon
  • Pepper: 1/2 teaspoon
  • Paprika: 1 teaspoon (optional for added flavor)

For the Sauce:

  • Canned tomato sauce: 2 cups (480ml)
  • Tomato paste: 2 tablespoons
  • Water or beef broth: 1 cup (240ml)
  • Brown sugar: 2 tablespoons (adjust to taste)
  • Lemon juice: 1 tablespoon (adjust to taste)
  • Worcestershire sauce: 1 teaspoon
  • Salt and pepper: to taste


  1. Prepare the Cabbage:
    • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Core the cabbage and gently peel off about 12 leaves. Blanch the cabbage leaves in the boiling water for about 2-3 minutes or until softened. Drain and set aside to cool.
  2. Make the Filling:
    • In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, ground pork, cooked rice, onion, garlic, egg, salt, pepper, and paprika. Mix until well combined but do not overmix.
  3. Fill the Cabbage Leaves:
    • Take a cabbage leaf and place a portion of the filling (about 1/4 cup) on the center. Fold in the sides and roll up the leaf to enclose the filling. Repeat with the remaining leaves and filling.
  4. Prepare the Sauce:
    • In a saucepan, mix together the tomato sauce, tomato paste, water or beef broth, brown sugar, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer, stirring until well combined.
  5. Layer the Cabbage Rolls and Sauce:
    • Place a layer of the sauce on the bottom of a large pot or Dutch oven. Arrange the stuffed cabbage rolls seam-side down in the pot. Pour the remaining sauce over the top of the cabbage rolls.
  6. Cook:
    • Cover and simmer on low heat for about 1 to 1.5 hours, or until the meat is cooked through and the cabbage is tender.
  7. Serve:
    • Carefully remove the cabbage rolls from the pot and serve with additional sauce spooned over the top.
  • Author: Maria

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating