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Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Apple

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These easy Stuffed Cabbage Rolls are a savory and succulent dinnertime treat brightened and sweetened with apple. Packed with the traditional fillings of ground beef, rice and plenty of delicious aromatics serve this old-fashioned cabbage rolls recipe with mashed potato and seasonal greens for a hearty family meal!

Side view of cabbage roll with sauce on a white plate with curly parsley.

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These classic Stuffed Cabbage Rolls are a charming and delicious comfort food that is moist, tender, and oh-so satisfying.

When the apples ripen on the trees, these cabbage rolls aren’t far from my mind. It’s a tasty way to usher in the season — I love the sweetness and extra layer of flavor you get adding apples to your cabbage rolls. Bundles of moist and tender flavor simmered in a tomato sauce.

Global Journey of Cabbage Rolls

While many of us simply refer to these succulent rolls of spiced meat and filling as cabbage rolls, they are known worldwide by many names:

  • Poland: Gołąbki
  • Czechs and Slovaks: Holubky
  • Serbs and Croatians: Sarma
  • Ukraine: Holubtsi
  • Sweden: Kåldolmar
  • Finland: Kaalikääryle
  • Hungary: Töltött Káposzta

And there are more, including a vast array of fillings and regional distinctions. It is a delightful dish that spans ethnicities and continents.

So, no matter what you call them, they are a beloved comfort dish. The addition of apple to this recipe makes it, in our opinion, even more seasonal… and delicious!

I’d love to hear which variation of cabbage rolls you make at home in the comments.

Ingredients

Here is a quick list of what you’ll need to make this delicious meal. The exact ingredient measurements are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  • Green cabbage: I like to look for large cabbages that feel heavy, look bright and fresh, and are blemish-free.
  • Aromatics: onion, garlic, sweet paprika, fresh parsley, and salt and pepper.
  • Uncooked ground beef, or your preferred ground meat like chicken, turkey, or pork.
  • Mushrooms: I prefer cremini or white button mushrooms.
  • Cooked rice: for the filling.
  • Sugar: to balance the sauce.
  • Tomato puree: or canned crushed tomatoes.
  • Celery: with their leaves.
  • Apples: peeled, cored and chopped. I love the flavor of Granny Smith, but use your favorite variety.

What to Serve with Cabbage Rolls

Here are some delicious side dishes perfect with cabbage rolls:  

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should I keep any leftovers?

You can easily keep any leftovers in the fridge for 3-4 days, gently warming them through before serving.

Can I make any of this Stuffed Cabbage Rolls recipe in advance?

Yes! You can make the filling ahead, and you can even stuff the rolls ahead, just remember to reserve some of the cabbage cooking water for the sauce — you can make that in advance if you want too.

Closeup vertical view of Cabbage Rolls in tomato sauce with apples.

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Side view of cabbage roll with sauce on a white plate with curly parsley.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Apple Recipe

Indulge in the mouthwatering flavors of stuffed cabbage rolls. This savory dish, filled with spiced meat, is a comfort food delight.
5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients 

  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 large green cabbage about 2 1/2 pounds
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1/2 lb mushrooms sliced (cremini or white button)
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon parsley chopped
  • 2 celery stalks with leaves finely chopped
  • 4 cups tomato puree
  • 1 Granny Smith apple peeled, cored, and chopped

Instructions

  • Using a paring knife, remove the center core of the cabbage. In a large stockpot, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add cabbage, core side down, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until outer leaves are bright green and tender. Lift cabbage from water, and remove outer leaves. Return cabbage to boiling water, and repeat brief cooking and removal of leaves until all leaves are cooked. Reserve 2 cups of cabbage cooking water. Trim the thick center vein from the bottom of each leaf. Reserve four large outer leaves to line the bottom of the pan.
  • In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and mushrooms, and cook until tender and the liquid has evaporated for about 8 minutes. Add to the rice.
  • In a large bowl, combine onion mixture, cooked rice, ground beef, paprika, sugar, salt, pepper, and celery with leaves. Stir to combine.
  • Add about 1/3 cup rice/meat filling to one cabbage leaf. Fold sides of cabbage over filling, and, starting with the stem end, roll the cabbage up. Repeat with remaining leaves and filling.
  • Line a 6-quart Dutch oven with reserved outside leaves. Transfer stuffed cabbage leaves to the Dutch oven.
  • Combine tomato puree and the reserved 2 cups of cabbage cooking water in a large bowl. Pour some of the tomato sauce over the cabbage to almost cover. Sprinkle apple over top of cabbage leaves. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a gentle simmer; cover. Cook for 1 hour or until cabbage is very tender, adding additional tomato sauce as needed.

Notes

You can make the filling ahead, and you can even stuff the rolls ahead, just remember to reserve some of the cabbage cooking water for the sauce — you can make that in advance if you want too.

Nutrition

Calories: 319kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 44mg | Sodium: 129mg | Potassium: 1107mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 1046IU | Vitamin C: 59mg | Calcium: 103mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: stuffed cabbage rolls

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