How long to cook cabbage rolls?

Cabbage rolls, a delectable dish enjoyed worldwide, are made by wrapping a flavorful filling in tender cabbage leaves and baking them to perfection. Cooking cabbage rolls requires precision to ensure they are cooked evenly and retain their savory flavors. This comprehensive guide will delve into the intricacies of cooking cabbage rolls, providing detailed instructions and expert tips to help you achieve perfectly cooked cabbage rolls every time.

Cooking Time for Cabbage Rolls

The cooking time for cabbage rolls can vary depending on several factors, including the size of the rolls, the filling used, and the cooking method. Here’s a general guideline for cooking times:

  • Standard Oven Cooking: In a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C), cabbage rolls typically take 1.5 to 2 hours to cook through.
  • Slow Cooker Cooking: Cabbage rolls can also be cooked in a slow cooker on the low setting for 6 to 8 hours.
  • Instant Pot Cooking: Using the pressure cooker setting on an Instant Pot, cabbage rolls can be cooked in as little as 30 minutes.

Factors Affecting Cooking Time

  • Size of Cabbage Rolls: Larger cabbage rolls will require a longer cooking time than smaller rolls.
  • Filling: The type of filling used can also affect the cooking time. Rolls filled with a combination of ground meat and rice may take longer to cook than those filled with just rice or vegetables.
  • Cooking Method: The cooking method chosen will also impact the cooking time. Oven cooking is the most common method, but slow cooker and Instant Pot cooking can offer different advantages in terms of convenience and cooking time.

Checking for Doneness

To ensure the cabbage rolls are cooked through, it’s crucial to check the internal temperature using a meat thermometer. The internal temperature of the filling should reach a minimum of 160°F (71°C) for safe consumption. Insert the thermometer into the center of a few rolls to verify that they have reached the appropriate temperature. If the rolls have not yet reached the desired temperature, return them to the oven and continue checking at intervals until the correct temperature is achieved.

Tips for Perfectly Cooked Cabbage Rolls

  • Use a Meat Thermometer: To ensure that the cabbage rolls are cooked through, it is highly recommended to use a meat thermometer. Insert the thermometer into the center of a cabbage roll, avoiding the filling, and check that the internal temperature reaches at least 160°F (71°C). This will ensure that the ground meat is cooked to a safe temperature and the rolls are ready to serve.
  • Baste the Cabbage Rolls: To keep the cabbage rolls moist and flavorful, you can baste them with the sauce or cooking liquid throughout the cooking process. This can be done by using a spoon to gently pour the sauce over the rolls at regular intervals. Basting will help prevent the rolls from drying out and will infuse them with additional flavor.

How do you make stuffed cabbage rolls?

The first step is to make your filling. Ground beef, cooked rice, onions, garlic, an egg, and seasonings make up the filling. The components are combined to create the dish’s base.

The meat mixture is encased in cooked cabbage leaves, which are then layered on top of homemade tomato sauce in a baking dish and baked. Because we want to make sure the meat is fully cooked, this dish needs to bake for more than an hour.

How do you get cabbage leaves off the head?

To avoid tearing the leaves when attempting to remove raw cabbage leaves from the cabbage head, you should first slice off the root end. No matter how careful you are, tearing occasionally occurs, so I’ve discovered the best approach is to cook the head of cabbage first. Once the cabbage head’s root end has been removed, place it in a pot of boiling water and cook it until the leaves are tender and easily peeled away.

  • You’ll need to cut thick part of the cabbage leaves away before you start rolling them up. I’ve found it’s easiest to take a paring knife and cut a V-shape out of the bottom of each leaf to remove the tough rib.
  • Place the cabbage rolls seam side down in the baking dish.
  • The homemade tomato sauce does contain brown sugar and vinegar, as cabbage rolls are traditionally baked in sweet and sour style sauce. If you don’t want to use brown sugar, you can omit it, but the flavor won’t be as authentic.
  • Cabbage rolls can be assembled and stored covered in the fridge for up to 8 hours before you plan to bake them.

If you prepare ahead of time, there is a quick and simple alternative to boiling the cabbage to soften the leaves. Put the entire head of cabbage in the freezer the night before you intend to prepare the cabbage rolls. Take it out in the morning and let it thaw for the remainder of the day or for a few hours. The thawed cabbage’s leaves can be easily peeled off and stuffed without having to cook them first.

With a tangy tomato sauce and baked to perfection, these cabbage rolls are filled with ground beef and rice. Eastern Europeans love their comfort food, cabbage rolls, and frequently save them for special occasions or large family dinners.

Since the meat won’t be prepared in advance, try to use very lean ground beef to reduce the amount of fat. For a hearty and special meal, serve stuffed cabbage with mashed potatoes or boiled potatoes. 1:40.

“Your grandmother’s kitchen will bring back childhood memories with these classic stuffed cabbage rolls.” While baking in the oven, the rolls are covered in a savory-sweet tomato sauce. The perfect consistency of the sauce is achieved at the very end, and it is then drizzled over the rolls to create the ultimate comfort food. ” —Diana Andrews.

Cabbage Rolls


How long to heat up cabbage rolls in oven?

PREPARATION FOR CABBAGE ROLLS a/ Fresh: Reheat in covered casserole in preheated oven 45 min 350o F or until heated through is the best. The new take-out-container is microwave safe. b/ Frozen: Defrost in the refrigerator overnight and reheat on the stove top, in the oven* 375 for 30 minutes or in the microwave.

How do you know when cooked cabbage is done?

Simmer, covered, until the cabbage begins to soften, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the cabbage carefully, and continue to simmer until the cabbage is tender, an additional 5 minutes. The cabbage is ready when a small paring knife inserted into the thickest part of the cabbage near the core slides through easily.

Why are my cabbage rolls tough?

If your cooked cabbage is tough, it’s likely because the cabbage is not cooked through yet. Continue to cook the rolls until they’re tender. It’s also important to make sure you let the rolls rest after they’re finished baking.

How long are cabbage rolls good for?

To make ahead: Cool cabbage rolls and refrigerate in airtight container for up to 3 days. Alternatively, freeze in airtight container for up to 1 month. Reheat from frozen.


Cooking cabbage rolls is a culinary art that requires patience and attention to detail. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can create delicious, tender cabbage rolls that are filled with savory flavors and comforting textures. Remember to choose a cabbage with large, flexible leaves, prepare the rolls with a well-seasoned filling, and cook them at the appropriate temperature until they reach a safe internal temperature.

With the knowledge and techniques provided in this guide, you are well-equipped to embark on your cabbage roll cooking journey, creating memorable meals that will undoubtedly become a household favorite.

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