Old Fashioned Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

The traditional comfort food dish known as “old-fashioned stuffed cabbage rolls,” also known as “cabbage rolls” or “golabki,” consists of tender cabbage leaves encasing a flavorful filling that is typically made of ground meat, rice, and seasonings. After that, these rolls are baked in a flavorful tomato sauce to create a filling meal. Here is a recipe to help you prepare traditional stuffed cabbage rolls:


For the cabbage rolls:

  • 1 large head of cabbage
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the tomato sauce:

  • 2 cans (14 ounces each) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Make the cabbage leaves by heating up a big pot of water to a rolling boil. Remove the core of the cabbage head with care, then add the entire head of cabbage to the boiling water. To make the outer leaves flexible and easy to separate, boil for about 5 minutes. Take the cabbage out of the water, then allow it to cool a little. Peel off the outer leaves that have become softer and set them aside. Up until you have enough cabbage leaves for your rolls, repeat the process.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, cooked rice, chopped onion, minced garlic, egg, dried thyme, paprika, salt, and pepper. Mix well until all the ingredients are evenly incorporated.
  4. A small amount of the meat mixture (about 1/4 cup) should be placed in the center of one cabbage leaf. The sides of the cabbage leaf should be folded over the filling before being tightly rolled. The cabbage roll should be placed seam-side down in a baking or casserole dish. With the remaining cabbage leaves and filling, repeat the procedure.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, dried oregano, dried basil, salt, and pepper to make the tomato sauce.
  6. Pour the tomato sauce over the cabbage rolls, making sure they are fully covered. If needed, add a bit of water or broth to the sauce to ensure the cabbage rolls are moist during baking.
  7. Cover the baking dish with foil and place it in the preheated oven. Bake for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the cabbage is tender and the filling is cooked through.
  8. Remove the foil and continue baking for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the tops of the cabbage rolls are slightly browned.
  9. Once cooked, remove the dish from the oven and let the cabbage rolls cool for a few minutes before serving.
  10. Warm up the traditional stuffed cabbage rolls and serve them with a little tomato sauce on top. They can be eaten as a standalone main dish or with mashed potatoes or crusty bread on the side.

Enjoy the savory and comforting traditional stuffed cabbage rolls!