These stuffed cabbage rolls are SOO GOOD! These are packed with lean ground beef, onion, garlic, dill, and just a hint of nutmeg. The cabbage rolls are slow-cooked in marinara sauce until they’re melt-in-your-mouth delicious!
What are Stuffed Cabbage Rolls?
Ok, so admittedly, cabbage rolls don’t sound like the most exciting meal on the planet, however, they are total comfort food! They’re Polish in their origination and they basically consist of cooked cabbage leaves wrapped around a meat filling. There are a bunch of different filling choices out there, but my favorite is a combination of lean ground beef, brown rice, dried dill, onion, garlic, and just a hint of nutmeg.
The stuffed cabbage rolls are covered in marinara sauce and then slow-cooked in the oven until they’re melt-in-your-mouth delicious. If you’ve never had them, then you’re in for a treat! They are especially good during cold winter days because they will warm you right up! If you love stuffed cabbage rolls, then you’re definitely going to love this Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup, this Beef and Cabbage Soup, and this Corned Beef and Cabbage Stew. They are all so delicious!
Ingredients You Need to Make Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
These ingredients are hearty and together make such a delicious and filling dinner! See the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact measurements!
- Cabbage: Green cabbage is what I used for this recipe!
- Ground beef: When is comes to ground beef, I normally like to use a pretty high fat ratio. However, when you’re making something like stuffed cabbage rolls that have quite a few additional ingredients, you can get away with using something a little leaner. For this particular recipe, I went with a 90/10 beef to fat ratio.
- Brown rice: I like using brown rice because it’s more filling and a bit healthier! But you can use long grain white rice if that’s all that you have!
- Garlic cloves: If you don’t have any fresh garlic cloves then you can use minced garlic. ½ tsp equals about 1 clove of garlic.
- Onion: I like to mince my onion up into very fine pieces so that I don’t have any large chunks.
- Seasonings: I use salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, parsley, dill and nutmeg!
- Egg: Adding an egg will help bind all of the ingredients together.
- Marinara sauce: You can use store bought or you could try making this delicious homemade marinara sauce.
How to make Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
This recipe is super easy and will only take you a few minutes to make! You are going to have an amazing meal in no time!
- Preheat oven: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Pre-cook the cabbage: Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Season with salt. Use a pairing knife to cut around the core. Gently pull off six leaves of cabbage, trying not to break them. If they tear a little bit that’s ok. You can also submerge the whole head of cabbage in the boiling water for a few minutes to loosen up the leaves a bit before pulling them off. Boil cabbage leaves, three at a time until very soft and pliable, about 3-4 minutes.
- Mix up meat, sauce, spices and egg: Add the ground beef, onion, garlic, ½ cup marinara, egg, salt, dill, nutmeg, and cooked brown rice to a medium bowl. Then, use your hands or a fork to mix the ingredients just until combined.
- Fill cabbage leaves: Spoon half of the sauce in the bottom of a 9×12 baking dish. Use the paring knife to cut the hard vein out of the cabbage. Spoon about ½ cup of the filling in the middle of each cabbage leave. Tuck the edges in and roll up jelly-roll style. Place in the prepared pan seam-side down.
- Add the sauce: Cover with remaining sauce.
- Cover and bake: Cover with foil and then bake until cabbage is super soft and meat is cooked through (for about 1 hour.)
Substitutions and Cooking Tips
There are a few ways that you can change these up to make them work just for you! These Tried and True stuffed cabbage rolls are so delicious that you can’t go wrong!
- Meat: You can use whatever beef you’d like! Ground sirloin, 85/15 – it all works. You could also use ground turkey as a healthier option!
- Cinnamon: For an extra hint of warmth, add it a few dashes of cinnamon.
- How to peel cabbage leaves so they don’t rip: To make peeling the leaves off of the cabbage head even easier, place the cabbage in the freezer for 2 hours. Pull it out and let it defrost. The leaves should be easier to peel off.
- Don’t forget to cover it! Make sure to cover the cabbage rolls with foil while baking. The steam helps the cabbage rolls become super soft and tender.
Cooking and Freezing Tips
There are a few ways that you can cook these stuffed cabbage rolls or prepare them for later. Here are a couple of ideas for you!
- Can I make cabbage rolls in the slow cooker? Yes! These would actually be PERFECT to make in the slow cooker. Just assemble them exactly as in instructed, but in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
- Freezing uncooked: Prepare the cabbage rolls up until covering them in marinara. Place the cabbage rolls on a baking sheet covered in parchment. Place in the freezer until frozen solid and then transfer them to a ziplock bag that is labeled with the date. They can stay frozen for up to 2 months. When you are ready to cook them, take them out and place them in the fridge to thaw overnight. Then, cook them accoring to the instructions on the recipe card!
- Freezing fully cooked: Make the cabbage rolls from start to finish. Cool completely. Place in an airtight container and store in the freezer for up to two months.
Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Season with salt. Use a pairing knife to cut around the core. Gently pull off six leaves of cabbage, trying not to break them. If they tear a little bit that's okay. You can also submerge the whole head of cabbage in the boiling water for a few minutes to loosen up the leaves a bit before pulling them off. Boil cabbage leaves, three at a time until very soft and pliable, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the ground beef, onion, garlic, ½ cup marinara, Italian seasoning, egg, salt, dill, nutmeg, and brown rice to a medium bowl. Use hands or a fork to mix the ingredients just until combined.
- Spoon half of the sauce in the bottom of a 9×12 baking dish. Use the paring knife to cut the hard vein out of the cabbage. Spoon about ½ cup of the filling in the middle of each cabbage leave. Tuck the edges in and roll up jelly-roll style. Place in the prepared pan seam-side down. Cover with remaining sauce.
- Cover with foil. Bake until cabbage is super soft and meat is cooked through for about 1 hour.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.