The best Polish Cabbage Rolls made with ground beef, rice and tomato soup. These classic homemade rolls are my family’s favorite! Includes directions on how to easily blanch cabbage leaves to prevent tearing.
Classic Cabbage Rolls (aka Gołąbki)
This is my favorite stuffed cabbage rolls recipe because it’s delicious and because it’s a Polish family pass me down recipe. I remember my Mom would always prepare these on Saturday night and my Dad would always sneak his way into the refrigerator, eating 1 or 2 before Sunday dinner.
The key to cabbage rolls is tender cabbage leaves, juicy ground meat inside that doesn’t dry up when cooking, and a tangy sweet tomato sauce on top. My husband and kids declare this one of their Mom’s “top 10 meals” (thank you!) so I think you should try it for yourself!
What are Polish cabbage rolls made of?
Classic Polish Cabbage rolls are cabbage leaves that are stuffed with a ground meat mixture – usually ground beef or ground pork, along with white rice filling. Each cabbage leaf is rolled up and placed in a baking dish with a tangy tomato sauce poured on top.
How to Blanch Cabbage
Parboiling cabbage is the easiest way to remove cabbage leaves without tearing them. The process is simple and will result in tender cabbage leaves that are evenly cooked and won’t rip.
- Carefully cut the core from a whole head of cabbage. I do this by cutting a rough square around the bottom, pushing the knife in and out until I can easily pull the core out of the cabbage. Please use a sharp knife for this, and again, be careful!
- Place cabbage (now without core) in a large pot of water – the hole you cut should be at the top.
- Bring to a boil, and boil until cabbage leaves will easily pull off. This takes a little under 15 minutes to do.
- Drain pot with cabbage (I like to run cold water on top of the cabbage so the leaves can easily be pulled off without burning my fingers).
- Now simply remove the cabbage leaves from the head. You’ll see how easily they come off without any tears, perfect for cabbage rolls! I like to keep the large outter leaves for covering the bottom of the baking dish. The best leaves for the rolls start at around 3-4 leaves in.
How to Make Baked Cabbage Rolls
Boil cabbage (with parboling instructions above) and remove 8 leaves for the rolls. Remove a couple additional leaves and place them on the bottom of the baking dish.
In a small bowl, mix tomato soup, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce together. This makes a tangy sweet tomato sauce that everyone loves!
In a large bowl mix together ground beef, cooked rice, chopped onion, egg, salt, pepper and a little bit of the tomato soup mixture that you made in the previous step.
Place the 8 cabbage leaves on a flat surface and fill with all of the ground beef mixture, evenly filling them.
Roll each cabbage roll up, and place a toothpick in each to keep it closed.
Place cabbage rolls in a baking dish.
Pour the remaining of the tomato soup mixture on top of the rolls. I know it looks like alot of sauce, but it cooks down.
Add a couple more cabbage leaves on top of the rolls. This prevents the cabbage rolls from drying up, and keeps them juicy.
Finally, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 90 minutes.
Remove foil, and leaves on top, and serve these cabbage rolls! Trust me, you’re going to love dinner tonight!
Can I make these ahead of time?
Yes, you sure can. As I mentioned above my Mom would basically always make these for the next day. Just prepare the rolls as directed, but don’t cook. When you’re ready to cook them the following day, remove from the refrigerator and place on your counter while the oven preheats. Because they are coming straight from the refrigerator, you might need to add a couple more minutes to the final cook time.
If you really want to cook these completely ahead of time, you can. I would recommend reheating the rolls in the oven before serving, instead of heating up in the microwave.
What can I serve with cabbage rolls?
If you’re looking for side dishes for cabbage rolls try mashed potatoes or dinner rolls.
Can I make cabbage rolls in the crockpot?
Absolutely, try my Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Casserole, ready in 4 hours.
Can I freeze cabbage rolls?
If there’s any leftover (I doubt it!) you can easily freeze them. Place them in freezer bags, freeze and allow to defrost overnight in the refrigerator when you’re ready to use them.
You can then either heat up in the microwave or bake in the oven (preferred method). The cabbage rolls will still have sauce on them, but if freezing, I recommend adding a little more tomato sauce on top when serving just to refresh.
What to do with leftover cooked cabbage?
There will be some cabbage leaves leftover on the head of cabbage. And since the core is already removed because we parboiled it, I like to simply just chop up all leftover cabbage, place it in a container in the refrigerator and within 2-3 days make Cabbage and Noodles.
I really hope you love this cabbage roll recipe as much as my entire family does! Enjoy!
Need another cabbage recipe?
Slow Cooker Kielbasa and Cabbage
Fried Cabbage With Sausage
Polish Sausage and Cabbage Soup
Buttered Rice and Cabbage
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Polish Cabbage RollsPrint
- 1 head cabbage
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/3 cup uncooked white rice
- (2) 10.75 oz cans tomato soup
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/4 cup onion finely chopped
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Using a knife, carefully cut out the core out of the cabbage. Add cabbage (without core now) to a large pot of salted water. Bring to a boil, and cook for 12-14 minutes, or until leaves gently peel off the head of cabbage. Remove 8 leaves for the rolls, and multiple other leaves for the bottom and top of the baking dish.
- Using leftover cabbages leaves, cover the bottom of a 11×8 baking dish.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Add water to a medium-sized saucepan, bring to a boil. Add rice, stir, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
- In a small bowl, mix 2 cans of tomato soup, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce together.
- In a large bowl add ground beef, cooked rice, chopped onion, egg, salt, pepper and 1/4 cup of tomato soup mixture. Mix to fully combine.
- Place 8 cabbage leaves out on a clean surface. Add ground beef mixture into the middle of each one, using all the ground beef mixture until it's gone. Roll them up and place a toothpick into each one to hold together. Place rolls into the baking dish on top of cabbage leaves.
- Pour remaining tomato soup mixture on top of the cabbage rolls. Cover with a few extra cabbage leaves on top. Cover with aluminum foil.
- Bake for 90 minutes, or until ground beef is fully cooked. Serve and enjoy!
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