Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Hungarian stuffed cabbage rolls are hearty comfort food at its best! Cabbage leaves are stuffed with ground pork, onions, garlic, egg, rice, and spices, and braised in a tomato sauce.

Have you ever had stuffed cabbage rolls with sauerkraut? It’s a classic Hungarian dish that takes some time to prepare, but the result? Fabulous!

What are stuffed cabbage rolls?

True to their name, stuffed cabbage rolls are little bundles of cabbage leaves that have been stuffed and cooked with a mixture of ground pork, onions, paprika, and other spices, and braised in tomato sauce. They are typically served with a sour cream-based sauce with plenty of sauerkraut.

This is comfort food at its best. The interplay of sweet, sour, and savory flavors — tangy sour cream and sauerkraut with sweet tomatoes and savory onions and pork — make for a heavenly combo. It’s no wonder this dish never goes out of style.

How to Make Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

This recipe has several steps, but it is totally do-able, and worth it!

Cabbage leaves are not particularly bendy when raw, so you have to boil them for several minutes until they soften enough to stuff and roll.

Once the cabbage leaves are softened, stuff them with a mixture of ground pork, cooked rice, eggs, onion, garlic, and spices, and roll them up into tight little packages.

Place the cabbage bundles on top of rinsed and drained sauerkraut, add diluted tomato purée, and simmer for an hour.

Making the sauce is easy. Just remove the cooked cabbage rolls from the pot and stir sour cream into the tomato-infused sauerkraut. Serve the stuffed cabbage rolls with the sauce.

How to Season Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

This dish tastes best with sweet Hungarian paprika, but regular paprika will work if you can’t find Hungarian paprika at the market.

Note: paprika can go flat if it’s old. Make sure you taste test your paprika before cooking with it in this recipe. If your paprika doesn’t have a strong flavor, it’s no longer good and you’ll need to replace it. There is nothing sadder than taking the time to make this dish, only to bite into it and have it taste bland because the paprika has lost its oomph. (Been there, done that.)

If you want, you can add caraway seeds to season the stuffing, and if you don’t have marjoram, feel free to use oregano instead.

What Kind of Sauerkraut to Use?

For this recipe we recommend a high quality sauerkraut such as Bubbies, which you’d find in the refrigerated section of your supermarket.

Can I make ahead and freeze cabbage rolls?

You can make ahead and freeze the pork stuffed cabbage rolls, without the sauce or sauerkraut. Place the individual raw cabbage rolls, space apart so they are not touching, on a large baking pan lined with parchment or wax paper. Put in the freezer.

Once frozen put the cabbage rolls in a freezer bag and remove as much air as you can from the bag. They’ll last about a month in the freezer.

Let them defrost overnight in the fridge before cooking with the sauerkraut and tomato.


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