Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe

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Cabbage leaves stuffed with ground beef and rice and cooked in the oven with a sweet and tangy tomato sauce. Stuffed Cabbage Rolls are one of my favorite comfort foods.

Three Stuffed Cabbage Rolls on a plate.


I’m a huge cabbage lover and surprisingly I only have one cabbage recipe, Sweet and Sour Cabbage, on this blog. Not counting coleslaw of course. But I greatly prefer cooked cabbage to raw cabbage.

I had a similar Stuffed Cabbage Rolls dish at Shapiro’s Delicatessen in Indianapolis last March. Man do they ever have some good food!

Cabbage Rolls on a plate with fork.


Since then I’ve wanted to make Stuffed Cabbage Rolls at home. I found as many recipes as I could and tried to come up with something that would be similar to Shapiro’s Stuffed Cabbage Rolls.

I submerged the cabbage leaves in boiling water for 10 minutes to get them partially cooked. After draining them, I filled them with ground beef, rice, onion, an egg, and some milk, rolled them up, and placed them seam side down in a baking dish. I covered them in a sweet and tangy tomato sauce with brown sugar, vinegar, and a special ingredient- Gingersnap cookies!  It gives them that special something.

It turned out every bit as delicious as I hoped it would.

Next time you need some comfort food just like Grandma’s cooking or Shapiro’s, try Stuffed Cabbage Rolls. It’s a satisfying, filling meal that is bound to lift your spirits. 🙂

Note: Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 days. Reheat in the microwave.

Try These Other Delicious Cabbage Recipes:

Three Stuffed Cabbage Rolls on a plate.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe

Course: Main Dish
Keyword: cabbage, ground beef
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 5
Calories: 349kcal
Author: Christin Mahrlig
Cabbage leaves stuffed with ground beef and rice and cooked in the oven with a sweet and tangy tomato sauce. 
Print Recipe


  • 10 large cabbage leaves from a green cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 crushed gingersnap cookies
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/3 cup long-grain rice, uncooked
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Remove from heat and submerge cabbage leaves in water. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Drain.
  • In a medium saucepan heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened. Add garlic and cook 1 more minute. Remove from heat. Place half of onion mixture in a medium bowl and leave the rest in the saucepan.
  • To the saucepan, add tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, gingersnap crumbs, brown sugar, and vinegar. Bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes.
  • To the bowl with the onion mixture, add ground beef, rice, egg, milk and salt and pepper. Mix together with a wooden spoon or your hands.
  • Place about 3 tablespoons of meat mixture at the stem end of each cabbage leaf. Fold left and right sides over and roll up. Place seam side down in a 9x13-inch baking dish.
  • Pour tomato sauce over cabbage rolls.
  • Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Uncover and bake 15 more minutes. At the point you uncover the baking dish, scoop some tomato sauce on top of the cabbage rolls with a spoon so that they do not dry out.


Calories: 349kcal

Originally published Sept 4, 2014.




35 thoughts on “Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe

  1. Sauce much too sweet.
    meat too bland. Lacked flavor.
    rice undercooked.
    Seemed like the whole thing needed more salt?

    Oh well, I gave it a try…

  2. We had left over Bavarian Pot Roast from the weekend so I used that instead of the ground beef. Because of the BPR flavor there was no need for the gingersnaps or brown sugar.Next time, which will be soon, I will follow the directions as the whole family just loves gingersnaps. I posted this because so many of us have leftovers that really work in a stuffed cabbage recipe. It is just something to think about and our version was a big hit but doubt I ever make it again this way because the leftovers were a special request from our daughters who were visiting this weekend.

      1. I have been making stuffed cabbage rolls with black eyed peas and cornbread every New Year’s day and it is a tradition that has gone on for centuries with my family but using gingersnaps put the new twist on it and I’ve got to try it this year; thank you for sharing!

  3. In our family we call these pigs in a blanket. We top with sauerkraut before adding the tomato sauce. Looking forward to using the gingersnaps for the added flavor. So thankful your son is recovering. God Bless.

  4. My paternal grandmother made these but called them Sarma and used meat with the other ingredients except the gingersnaps. A good friend of ours also made similar rolls called hulopchi with a soured rice and salt pork filling. They are both delicious but have very different tastes.

      1. You could add Poultry. seasoning to the beef. You would be surprised at the change in flavor. I also add it to meatloaf and haven’t found anyone yet that doesn’t comment “this is so good”. It’s a flavor you don’t taste but adds so much flavor if that makes sense!

  5. I am always on the lookout for a new stuffed cabbage recipe, and this one cought my eye with the ginger snaps….I will give it a try! Thanks for posting.

  6. The original recipe is a Turkish one, which does not include any meat and the rolls are covered with grape leaves. They are named “sarmale”, and they are as thin as a finger. In Romania they are also named “sarmale” , they are done almost like yours,; they could be also packed in pickled cabbage leaves, boiled in that syrup as well (this is the original recipe in Romania). You can eat them with polenta. As a secret, add some bacon when you boil them.

  7. My mom used to make this a lot growing up, and I can’t believe I’ve forgotten about it! It really is a great comfort food, and it does sound like the perfect meal to get through a tough/stressful time. I hope everything is going well with your family, Christin!

  8. I have never tried cabbage rolls before but I’ve heard soooo much about it!!!!! I definitely need to make these!!! especially the addition of the gingersnap cookies???? Woooow!!!! That has all my attention! I love anything that is stuffed and doused in delish gravy and this ticks all those boxes!!!! The memory that’s linked with this post is a very inspirational one, of never giving up! 🙂 Lots of love and virtual hugs to you and your beautiful family! :*

  9. Stuffed cabbage rolls are one of my all-time fav comfort foods—I don’t make them NEARLY as often as I’d like though and I think I must change that! I love your twist of using gingersnap crumbs—I’ll bet that adds a ton of amazing flavor!

  10. Christin, you have brought back SO many memories with this recipe! I can’t remember the last time I had cabbage rolls ~ it was when I was a child ~ but it was one of my favorite comfort dishes growing up on our ranch. I have always LOVED cabbage, so the memories came flooding back, and you have me definitely PINNING this to make in the future. And, thank you for the story about your son. This is an amazing post ~ thank you for sharing. God bless to you and your family!!! Hugs to all of you from me and IK!

    1. Well, I haven’t tried your recipe, yet that is. Have tried several from the net but they seem to all come out too heavy. The meat I mean. I loved my Mom’s but she is gone now and I never got a recipe for cabbage rolls from hers. Her’s were light and the meat wasn’t pale in color. Her meat was like meatballs and as said light. They weren’t as big as the ones in the recipes I made from the recipes i’e used. Will try yours though and if they are light enough I will let you know. I enjoy reading your fans remarks too. Thanks for an interesting column.

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