Grandma’s Famous Cabbage Rolls Recipe

Welcome to Afterka’s kitchen! Today, we’re sharing a beloved family recipe that has been passed down through generations: Grandma’s Famous Cabbage Rolls. These comforting and hearty rolls are filled with a delicious mixture of ground meat, rice, and savory seasonings, then simmered in a rich tomato sauce. They are perfect for a cozy dinner and are sure to become a favorite in your home.


For the Cabbage Rolls:

  • 1 large head of cabbage
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp allspice

For the Tomato Sauce:

  • 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Step 1: Prepare the Cabbage

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Carefully remove the core from the cabbage.
  3. Place the whole head of cabbage in the boiling water for about 2-3 minutes, or until the outer leaves are pliable.
  4. Remove the cabbage from the water and gently peel off the softened outer leaves. Repeat as needed until you have about 12-15 leaves. Set aside to cool.

Step 2: Make the Filling

  1. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, ground pork, cooked rice, chopped onion, minced garlic, egg, salt, black pepper, paprika, dried thyme, and allspice. Mix until well combined.

Step 3: Prepare the Tomato Sauce

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat a little oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the chopped onion and garlic, and sauté until softened.
  3. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, brown sugar, red wine vinegar, dried basil, dried oregano, salt, and pepper.
  4. Bring to a simmer and let cook for about 10 minutes to blend the flavors.

Step 4: Assemble the Cabbage Rolls

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Place a cabbage leaf on a flat surface and spoon about 2-3 tablespoons of the meat mixture onto the center of the leaf.
  3. Fold in the sides and roll up the leaf to enclose the filling.
  4. Repeat with the remaining leaves and filling.

Step 5: Bake the Cabbage Rolls

  1. Spread a thin layer of the tomato sauce on the bottom of a large baking dish.
  2. Place the cabbage rolls seam-side down in the dish.
  3. Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the cabbage rolls, making sure they are well covered.
  4. Cover the dish with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the cabbage is tender and the filling is cooked through.

Step 6: Serve

  1. Let the cabbage rolls rest for a few minutes before serving.
  2. Serve hot, spooning extra sauce over each roll.

Tips and Variations

  • Meat Mixture: You can use all ground beef or substitute with ground turkey for a lighter version.
  • Rice Substitute: Use quinoa or cauliflower rice for a different texture and added nutrition.
  • Make Ahead: Assemble the cabbage rolls the day before and refrigerate until ready to bake. This allows the flavors to meld together beautifully.
  • Freeze: These cabbage rolls freeze well. Simply prepare and bake, then cool completely before freezing. Reheat in the oven or microwave when ready to eat.

Grandma’s Famous Cabbage Rolls are a true comfort food classic, bringing warmth and nostalgia with every bite. The combination of tender cabbage, savory filling, and rich tomato sauce makes this dish a standout. Whether you’re making them for a family dinner or a special occasion, these cabbage rolls are sure to be a hit.

Enjoy cooking and savoring this timeless recipe! Don’t forget to share your creations with us in the comments below or tag us on social media.

Grandma’s Famous Cabbage Rolls Recipe

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