Cabbage rolls that are perfect for the whole family, filled with a delightful mixture of ground pork, ground beef, and rice, and generously coated in a sweet and tangy tomato sauce.



  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 can (15 ounce) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (14.5 ounce) petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • 1 large head green cabbage
  • 1/2 pound ground pork sausage
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 medium onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup Minute Rice (or long-grain parboiled white rice)
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika


  • Bring a large stock pot of water to boil.  Add the whole head of cabbage and boil for 5 minutes.  Remove to a colander to drain and cool.  Once cooled, cut 1/2 inch off the stem end of the cabbage. Carefully remove 12 leaves and cut the tough rib out of the stem end in the shape of a V.
  • In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring several times.  Reduce heat to low and add garlic. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, cider vinegar, and brown sugar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Spoon a thin layer of the tomato sauce into a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish.  In a large bowl, mix the ground pork sausage, ground beef, onion, garlic, egg, rice, parsley, and paprika.  Place about 1/3 cup of the meat mixture in the center of the cabbage roll.  Bring in the sides and roll tight.  Place the rolls on the tomato sauce in a single layer in the casserole dish.  Repeat until all the cabbage rolls are made and in the casserole dish.  Top with remaining tomato sauce.
  • Cover with aluminum foil. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 80-90 minutes.


    • Buy a large head of cabbage so you have large leaves to work with and extra leaves just in case.
    • Choose whatever mixture of ground beef, ground pork, or sausage your family will like best.  My husband loves sausage, so I often make it with 100% ground sausage.
    • Don’t skip the step to boil the cabbage.  It really makes all the difference when it comes to rolling these guys.  It is almost impossible to roll a cabbage leaf that has not been boiled since it is stiff as a board.
    • The ground meat does not need to be precooked.
    • After boiling the cabbage slice the root ends off about a 1/2 – 3/4’s inch up.  This will make it easier to remove the leaves.
    • Are you always in a hurry and need to cut a few corners?  Use your favorite jarred marinara sauce and simply add 1 tablespoon of vinegar and 1 1/2 -2 tablespoons brown sugar.
    • Switch out the cider vinegar for balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar or champagne vinegar.
    • Cover the casserole dish tightly with foil so they steam a little bit in the oven softening the cabbage leaves.
    • Cut a V shape on the root end of each cabbage leaf to get rid of the tough part of the leaf and to make it easier to roll.
    • If you do not have access to Minute Rice, then simply parboil 1 cup of rice.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are Classic Cabbage Rolls?

Classic Cabbage Rolls are a traditional dish featuring cabbage leaves filled with a flavorful mixture of ground meat, rice, and seasonings, typically baked in a tomato-based sauce.

What kind of meat is commonly used in Classic Cabbage Rolls?

Ground beef and pork are commonly used in the filling for Classic Cabbage Rolls. The combination of these meats adds a rich and savory flavor to the dish.

How do I prepare cabbage leaves for rolling?

To prepare cabbage leaves for rolling, blanch the whole cabbage in boiling water until the leaves become pliable. Then, carefully peel off the leaves, trimming the thick center stem for easier rolling.

Can I use a different type of cabbage?

While green cabbage is the most commonly used variety for Classic Cabbage Rolls, you can experiment with other types like Savoy cabbage or Napa cabbage for a slightly different flavor and texture.

What type of rice is best for the filling?

Long-grain white rice is often used for Classic Cabbage Rolls. It cooks to a fluffy texture and complements the other ingredients well.

How long do I bake Classic Cabbage Rolls?

The baking time can vary, but typically it takes about 45-60 minutes at 350°F (175°C). Ensure the internal temperature of the rolls reaches 165°F (74°C).

Can I make Classic Cabbage Rolls ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the rolls ahead of time and refrigerate them before baking. This allows for convenient meal planning and can enhance the flavors as they meld together.

What can I serve with Classic Cabbage Rolls?

Classic Cabbage Rolls pair well with sides like mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, or a simple salad. Sour cream or a dollop of yogurt can also be served as a garnish.

Are Classic Cabbage Rolls freezer-friendly?

Yes, Classic Cabbage Rolls can be frozen after baking. Allow them to cool completely, then store in airtight containers or freezer bags. Reheat in the oven or microwave when ready to serve.

Can I make a vegetarian version of Cabbage Rolls?

Yes, you can create a vegetarian version by substituting the meat with a combination of grains, such as quinoa or lentils, along with flavorful vegetables and spices. Adjust the seasonings to suit your taste preferences.