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These easy old-fashioned cabbage rolls are stuffed with a savoury ground beef mixture, coated in tomato sauce and are oh so scrumptious! Inspired by my grandmother, it’ll be the only stuffed cabbage roll recipe you’ll need!

Old-fashioned cabbage rolls with tomato sauce and dill garnish in a serving dish.

Hi friends!

Today I’m sharing another family recipe with you!

I mentioned a while back that I would share this easy cabbage roll recipe with you guys one day and I couldn’t be more excited to do so!

These old-fashioned cabbage rolls are inspired by my grandmother or, as I call her, Nan.

For as long as I can remember, Nan was known in our family for her stuffed cabbage rolls.

She actually learned to make them from my grandfather (pop) when he was just a young fellow working and living in Toronto with his friend’s family, who were Polish.

When I attempted to get the recipe from Nan, I had to question some things she was telling me (or wasn’t telling me, LOL). I tease, I tease!

Did you ever watch Everybody Loves Raymond? There’s an episode where Debra gets her mother-in-law’s recipe for meatballs, but they didn’t quite turn out the same because her mother-in-law secretly replaced a bottle of basil with tarragon by disguising the label.

Nan laughed when I teased her about it, but I think she’s proud of how these turned out.

In all seriousness, though, I made a couple of tweaks to put my own spin on them but, at the heart, they’re Nan’s.

And when I cook them? All I think about is how much the house smells like hers when she makes them. Who would have thought that stuffed cabbage leaves could be so delicious? That smell and taste just makes me happy.

Old-Fashioned Cabbage Rolls (Inspired by Nan)

These easy Old-Fashioned Cabbage Rolls are stuffed with a savoury ground beef mixture, coated in tomato sauce and are so scrumptious! Inspired by my grandmother, it’ll be the only stuffed cabbage roll recipe you’ll need!


  • 1 cup COOKED long-grain rice, or similar variety (you’ll need about ⅓ cup of uncooked rice to yield 1 cup of cooked rice)
  • 1.5 pounds lean ground beef, or extra lean ground beef
  • 1.5 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and minced
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried dill (dill weed)
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon red chili flakes (crushed red pepper flakes), optional
  • 3 (13.5-ounce) cans tomato sauce, divided (about three (398 millilitre) cans or 5 cups. See point “5” below in recipe “Notes”)
  • 1 medium head green cabbage, you’ll need about 18 leaves for the rolls and another 8 to 10 or so for the bottom of the dish and over top
  • ½ cup water, leftover from boiling cabbage
  • Chopped fresh dill, garnish to taste (optional)


  • Cook rice according to package instructions and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit at this point too.
  • In a large bowl, combine ground beef with Worcestershire sauce, egg, cooked rice, onion, parsley, garlic, salt, black pepper, dill, onion powder, red chili flakes (if using) and ½ cup of tomato sauce. Mix until well combined. Set aside.
  • To a large pot of boiling water, add head of cabbage, cover with lid ajar and boil for 8 to 10 minutes (carefully turn over partway through). Carefully remove. Don’t discard water because you will need to re-boil the cabbage as you start to peel off the leaves and you will need some of the water for your sauce.Note: Don’t fill the pot all the way up because the cabbage will displace some of the water. Before boiling water, test how much the water will displace by placing the head of cabbage in the pot.
  • Once cabbage is cool enough to handle, carefully remove leaves and cut out core from each leaf. Once you start taking leaves off, you’ll likely need to add the cabbage back to the boiling water (to soften more leaves). Just boil for another bit, let cool enough to handle and continue removing leaves.
  • Place some cabbage leaves on the bottom of a deep 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish or roasting pan.
  • To assemble the cabbage rolls, taking one leaf at a time, distribute about ¼ cup of ground beef mixture on top and wrap up (fold in sides and roll up, placing in prepared dish, seam side down). Continue with remaining ground beef mixture/leaves.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 4.5 cups of tomato sauce and ½ cup of cabbage water. Pour over top of cabbage rolls. Top with more cabbage leaves.Note: You could stir in about a tablespoon or so of white or brown sugar into the tomato sauce if you want less of a tomato bite. I like the brightness of tomatoes, so I skip this.
  • Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil. Cover and bake for 2 hours and 15 minutes to 2 hours and 30 minutes or until cabbage rolls are fully cooked through (the ground beef should be no longer be pink, it should be brown all the way through and the internal temperature of the cabbage rolls reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit when checked with an instant-read meat thermometer).
  • Once done, be careful removing foil covering as there will be steam. Discard top cabbage leaves. Allow to cool for 20 minutes or so before serving. Garnish, if desired, with fresh dill. Enjoy!Note: If you have any leftovers, properly store in an airtight container in the refrigerator and use within 2 to 4 days, reheating before serving.


  1. Use lean or extra lean ground beef. If the beef is too fatty, it will leak out into your tomato sauce and the end result will be too greasy.
  2. Roll the cabbage leaves tight and place in the baking dish seam side down.
  3. You can add a little brown or white sugar to your tomato sauce if you want less of a tomato bite.
  4. If you use no salt added tomato sauce, you may have to add a little salt to the mix. Just add to taste.
  5. Alternatively, you can replace some of the tomato sauce with canned tomatoes. Use diced or whole peeled tomatoes (crush whole peel canned tomatoes with your hands or a potato masher to break up before using). If opting for this, use one (28 ounce) can of tomatoes, along with one (13 to 14 ounce) can of tomato sauce.
  6. To add more richness to the tomato sauce, mix in 1 to 2 tablespoons of tomato paste into the sauce/water mixture when pouring over the stuffed cabbage rolls.

A note on times provided: appliances vary, any prep and/or cook times provided are estimates only.


By uvu44

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