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Hungarian Food - Stuffed Cabbage (Töltött Káposzta)



Cabbage roll with Tomato Sauce

Cabbage roll with Tomato Sauce

Hungarian Food

Hungarian Food

Cabbage Leaf

Cabbage Leaf

Cabbage Leaf with Filling

Cabbage Leaf with Filling

Cabbage Roll

Cabbage Roll

Cabbage Rolls Cooking

Cabbage Rolls Cooking

Hungarian Food


Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage



In Hungary as throughout most of Europe, stuffed Cabbage is a comfort food. Every family has its own prized recipe. Cabbage, rice and ground pork or beef form the backbone of this recipe, but people add everything from smoked ham hocks to spare ribs or Hungarian sausage. This recipe calls for bacon, but feel free to experiment.


The most difficult part of this recipe is to get a large enough fresh cabbage to provide enough big leaves for stuffing. Then you need to blanch the cabbage and carefully separate enough whole leaves. You may need to do this in several steps.




Preparation Time:

60 Minutes

Cooking Time:

2 Hours



¾ Lb. of Ground Pork

¾ Lb of Ground Beef

¼ Lb of Bacon

1 Large Onion finely chopped

1 large Head of Cabbage

1 Jar of Sauerkraut drained and washed

2 Cloves of Garlic finely chopped

14 Oz. Can of Diced Tomatoes

1 Egg lightly beaten

¼ Cup of Raw Rice

3 Tablespoons Lard or Butter

1 Bay Leaf

2 Tablespoon Hungarian Sweet Paprika

1 Teaspoons Salt

Pepper to taste

4 Oz. of Sour Cream

3 Tablespoons of Flour 



  1. Core the cabbage and submerge it repeatedly in boiling water until all of the leaves can be separated. Save the eight largest ones and chop the rest to add to the sauerkraut.
  2. Meanwhile simmer 1/4 cup of rice with 1/2 cup of water in a small covered pan for 10 minutes and let stand for about 15 minutes more before using.
  3. Cut the bacon into ¼ inches strips and cook until crisp but not burnt.
  4. Remove half of the fat and cook half of the onion until it is translucent. Then add 1 tablespoon of paprika and turn off the heat.
  5. In a large bowl, mix the ground meat, the cooked rice, the cooked onion and bacon, the chopped garlic, the salt and the pepper. Add the egg and mix thoroughly with your hands.
  6. In a Dutch oven or large casserole dish, spread out the sauerkraut and add the can of diced tomatoes and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
  7. Lay each cabbage leaf on a flat cutting board and cut out a part of the thick core.
  8. Beginning at the core end, lay down ¼ cup of the meat on each leaf and begin rolling it up tucking in the sides as you go. Fasten each packet with a wooden toothpick.
  9. Moving aside the sauerkraut to form depressions, place the stuffed cabbage packets evenly over the surface.
  10. If necessary, add a cup of water so that the cabbage rolls are partially covered and simmer covered for about 60 minutes until the cabbage is tender.
  11. Finally, make a roux using three tablespoons of lard or butter and the last half of the chopped onions. Stir in the flour and second tablespoon of paprika and add a cup of cold water to prepare a sauce.
  12. Pour the sauce over the cabbage and cook for 15 minutes in a 350 F oven.
  13. Just before serving, gently stir in half a cup of sour cream.


How to make Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Map of Hungary

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aka-dj from Australia on January 13, 2012:

This is my all time favorite dish.

My mother-in-law once asked me what I would like her to cook for me.

I told her Szarma. She makes the best I've ever had. And I have had plenty other versions to compare it to. She just has a knack of getting it just right (well for my taste at least).

It started over 30 years ago, and it's still on between us.

I encourage anyone who's even a little curious, to try it.

It is especially good in winter. And. tradition says, it gets better each time you re-heat it. IE, make a big batch, eat what you can. Refrigerate the rest. Reheat the the lot, eat what you can, etc. It's GOOD.

Sueswan on December 27, 2011:

I love cabbage rolls. Your recipe sounds delicious. I would omit the sauerkraut as I don't like it.

Best wishes for a Happy New Year.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on December 26, 2011:

Yummy! I will definitely try this. Thanks for another great recipe.

jenubouka on December 26, 2011:

You had me at bacon! These sound very easy to make and incredibly delish! Way up and wonderful idea for those who are watching their carb intake.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on December 25, 2011:

I love cabbage. I've never made the rolls, but it's something i will try. Thank you..

Anastasia Kingsley from Croatia, Europe on December 25, 2011:

Yes, it's sure tasty and filling when stuffed with meat, spiced ham and garlic, onion and parsley. It's a traditional new year's recipe in my neck of the woods. Thanks for sharing. Mljac! (Yum!)

rjsadowski (author) on December 25, 2011:

Thanks for your comments. Unless you don't like cabbage, everyone loves it stuffed.

Corey from Northfield, MA on December 25, 2011:

I have made these several times and everyone loves them. I like your version of simmering them in a dutch oven. I usually bake mine in oven covered with foil so that the sauce melds with the stuffed cabbage. Your version sounds easier. I can't wait to try them Yum!

Deborah Brooks Langford from Brownsville,TX on December 25, 2011:

mmmmmmm.. I love cabbage.. I am book marking this..

Merry Christmas

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