How to Make Stuffed Cabbage Rolls in the Oven

Two cabbage rolls covered with sauce, on a white plate

Stuffed cabbage is easy to make and is a delicious way to enjoy this nutritious vegetable that's so easy to grow in your backyard garden.

Not a gardener? It's just as easy to make stuffed cabbage rolls with a purchased head of cabbage. Let's get started!

How to make stuffed cabbage rolls in the oven

Stuffed cabbage rolls are one of the most delicious ways to eat cabbage, and it's easy to prepare. 

Whether you grow cabbage in your garden or not, this is a delicious dish that isn't expensive to make and serve. This is a filling and delightful meal.

I have to admit, the first time I tried to make stuffed cabbage, soon after our wedding, was a royal disaster. 

That was long before the days when you could look up a recipe on the internet, and my one and only cookbook didn't include a stuffed cabbage recipe. My new husband told me that the stuffing was made up of ground beef and rice, and his mother simply poured a can of tomato juice over the top and baked it.

All right, I thought, I could do that. So I did.

Cabbage plant in the garden

I formed ground beef and uncooked rice into balls and tried to wrap them in raw cabbage leaves, which snapped and cracked and ripped and tore as I tried to fold and roll them up. 

I skewered them closed with toothpicks, but they were a sorry mess. I poured a can of tomato juice on top and baked them. The uncooked rice was still uncooked and my cabbage rolls were nearly inedible.

After more than four decades, I'm a much better cook. Of course, I really had no where to go but better!

And by the way, there are two secrets to making stuffed cabbage rolls that I didn't know: 

  • Use cooked rice
  • Blanch the cabbage leaves

Are you growing cabbage in your backyard garden?

Cabbage is an easy early-spring vegetable to grow in your backyard garden. Learn how to grow cabbage here.

If you are growing your own cabbage, the Savoy variety is excellent to grow. The leaves' crinkly texture gives it some "give" or elasticity, which makes it easy to roll up filling inside the leaves. However, any cabbage variety will work and will taste wonderful in this dish.

Cabbage is low in calories but high in nutrients, so it's a healthy, weight-conscious meal. According to, cabbage is a good source dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals. 

As soon as the cabbage in my garden was ready to harvest, I used the first head to make these oven-baked stuffed cabbage rolls. 

A woman holding a large head of cabbage from the garden

One head of cabbage plus a pound of ground beef made one big pan of these little Polish burrito-like roll-ups, with enough cabbage left over for a side dish of steamed cabbage for my cabbage-loving hubby the next evening.

Wash the cabbage leaves

Whether you grew that head of cabbage or bought it, you should peel away and discard the outside leaves, cut and remove the core (stem) of the cabbage head, then peel off the leaves you wish to use and rinse them under running water for several minutes.

Cabbage heads can harbor small insects as well as dirt, so wash those leaves well before using.

How to blanch cabbage leaves for stuffed cabbage rolls

Blanching the cabbage leaves will soften them up so you can easily roll them around the filling. Add the cabbage leaves to a pot of boiling water, one at a time, and blanch for one minute. Remove the leaf, then blanch the next leaf.

You can steam the leaves instead if you wish, for about two minutes.

After blanching, make a V-shaped cut in the leaf to remove the thick vein at the bottom. This will also make it easier to roll the cabbage leaf.

Subscribe to The Acorn, Oak Hill Homestead's weekly-ish newsletter and get my ebook "How to Make Vinegar at Home for Pennies" for free.

Ingredients you'll need to make stuffed cabbage rolls in the oven

12 or more cabbage leaves

Filling ingredients:

1 pound of ground beef, uncooked
1 cup of white rice, cooked
1 egg
1/4 cup of tomato sauce (or substitute spaghetti sauce, beef broth, or water)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup of chopped green pepper 
one clove of chopped garlic
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp pepper

Sauce ingredients:

1 8-oz can of tomato sauce
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce


Preheat your oven to 350°F. Add a spoonful of cooking oil to the baking dish and spread it around to prevent sticking.

Add the chopped onions and bell peppers to a skillet with a tablespoon of oil, and saute them until wilted. Add the chopped garlic and saute for another minute or so. 

Combine all of the filling ingredients (cooked rice, ground beef, egg, tomato sauce, the sauteed vegetables, salt and pepper) in a large bowl. 

Mix very well - I just use my hands to squish it all together but you can of course use a large spoon. The texture is much smoother if you use your hands, and chunkier if you use a spoon.

Next, blanch the cabbage leaves as directed above. Cut out the middle vein of the cabbage leaves at the bottom, so it will be easier to wrap them around the stuffing.

Divide the filling mixture into twelve parts and place one part on each cabbage leaf. If your cabbage leaves are small, you can use a smaller amount of filling and blanch a few more cabbage leaves to use up the rest of the filling.

Here's how to roll the cabbage and filling, just like a burrito: 

Place the filling on the center of the leaf, wrap the stem end of the cabbage leaf over the filling, fold the left and right sides of the leaves inward over the filling, then continue rolling to the end of the leaves.

Place the cabbage rolls seam side down in a large baking dish.

Cabbage rolls in baking dish

Make the sauce for your cabbage rolls

Measure the ingredients for the sauce into a bowl - tomato sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. Whisk these ingredients together.  

Pour the sauce evenly over the cabbage rolls in the baking pan. 

Cover the pan with foil and bake the stuffed cabbage in a 350°F oven for 1 hour.

Because oven temperatures may vary, you may need to cook your stuffed cabbage rolls a bit longer, until they are soft and the internal temperature reaches 160°F.

Stuffed cabbage rolls on a plate

What to serve with stuffed cabbage rolls

Serve light side dishes with this hearty meal. A salad, potatoes, rice or bread would be a tasty, light companion. 

For more delicious side dish suggestions, see What to Serve with Cabbage Rolls

Related Posts:
Tips on Growing Cabbage
Freezing and Dehydrating Cabbage

For more gardening posts and ways to use the food you grow, subscribe to The Acorn, Oak Hill Homestead's weekly newsletter, and join me on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. I'd love to see you there!


My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a simple, self-reliant, God-dependent life. You can follow me here:
Facebook | InstagramPinterest | Subscribe