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Classic Cabbage Rolls Recipe
Classic Cabbage Rolls Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Classic Cabbage Rolls Recipe

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4.5 40
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I've always enjoyed cabbage rolls but didn't make them since most methods were too complicated. This recipe is fairly simple and results in the best cabbage rolls. My husband, Sid, requests them often. They're terrific to share at gatherings with our children and grandchildren. —Beverly Zehner, McMinnville, Oregon
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. Cook: 1-1/2 hours
MAKES:4 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. Cook: 1-1/2 hours
MAKES: 4 servings


  • 1 medium head cabbage
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped onion, divided
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) Italian stewed tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 1/4 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 1/2 cup V8 juice, optional


  1. In a Dutch oven, cook cabbage in boiling water for 10 minutes or until outer leaves are tender; drain. Rinse in cold water; drain. Remove eight large outer leaves (refrigerate remaining cabbage for another use); set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, saute 1 cup onion in butter until tender. Add the tomatoes, garlic, brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the rice, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, pepper and remaining onion and salt. Crumble beef and sausage over mixture and mix well.
  4. Remove thick vein from cabbage leaves for easier rolling. Place about 1/2 cup meat mixture on each leaf; fold in sides. Starting at an unfolded edge, roll up leaf to completely enclose filling. Place seam side down in a skillet. Top with the sauce.
  5. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 1 hour. Add V8 juice if desired. Reduce heat to low; cook 20 minutes longer or until rolls are heated through and a thermometer inserted in the filling reads 160°. Yield: 4 servings.
Originally published as Classic Cabbage Rolls in Taste of Home April/May 1999, p29

Medium-Bodied Red Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a medium-bodied red wine such as Chianti, Sangiovese, Malbec or Zinfandel.

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Reviewed Mar. 3, 2015

"I have made this recipe as directed several times now. It is incredible! My Polish in laws claim they have never had better. That is very high praise!!"

Reviewed Jan. 26, 2015

"No TMR031, you're basi making a meatball and baking it inside the cabbage leaf."

Reviewed Jan. 26, 2015

"Do you cook meat first..or mix in raw?? Help!! want to make tomorrow"

Reviewed Jan. 10, 2015

"My husband loves stuffed cabbage, I also bake mine in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour. If you want to raise this a notch and give a little kick for the tomatoes, use 2 cans mild Rotel tomatoes and 1 T Italian seasoning. I put the tomatoes in the blender, for a smooth sauce."

Reviewed Jan. 9, 2015

"I found if you put your head of cabbage in the freezer in the produce bag then a regular shopping bag, and then take out the night before you want to make these, the cabbage leaves are soft and tender when it thaws out, it does not omit that cabbage smell, and then the only smell that is in your house is the actual cabbage and meat, which smells way better. I only do it this way, and I have shared this with others, and they LOVE it, no guess work as to if it has cooked enough, or will the middle of the head be soft? it will all be PERFECT."

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