Töltött Káposzta / Stuffed Cabbage

Töltött Káposzta / Stuffed Cabbage

Credit: Marika’s Kitchen


  • 3 lbs. (1.604kg) ground pork (pork butt or pork shoulder)
  • 1/3 cup (72g) Olive Oil
  • 1 large (426-568g) onions diced fine (3 to 4 cups)
  • 5 cloves (approx., 35g) garlic crushed or minced
  • 1 cup (68g) Italian parsley (minced, remove most of stems) 1 large bunch
  • ¾ cup (150g) white long grain rice uncooked
  • 1 ½ cups water for rice (half cook rice)
  • 1 tsp. (10g) salt for rice
  • 1 tsp. (4.4g) olive oil for rice (no need to measure, just a dash of olive oil
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. (11g) Hungarian paprika (find good source that is imported from Hungary. ex. Bende)
  • 2 Tbsp. (36g) salt
  • 1 Tbsp. (7g) black pepper


  • 2 large Heads Cabbage cored (core needs to be fully removed giving boiling water access- to space between leaves while separating cabbage leaves from head) *video
  • large pot boiling water (enough water to cover cabbage)
  • 2 Tbsp. (29.8g) vinegar (for boiling water)


  • 64 oz. sauerkraut (find good source in Deli dept.)
  • 1 large (approx. 426g) onions diced fine (about 3-4 cups)
  • 1 lb. (453.59g) bacon diced
  • 1 Tbsp. (7g) Hungarian paprika
  • 2 tsp. (20g) salt
  • 2 cups (236.59g) water


  • 5 cups Water (approx.) to fill pot when all cabbage rolls and sauerkraut is layered and ready to cook


  1. Grind Pork and set aside
  2. Rinse rice. Add 1 ½ cups water, rinsed rice, 1 tsp. (10g) salt and dash of olive oil to water. Bring water to a boil and once it is boiling, reduce heat to lowest setting, cover pot and cook rice for ten minutes. When 10 minutes timer sounds, remove from burner, remove lid, stir rice and set aside to cool.
  3. Peel and dice onions fine, peel and mince garlic and remove most of the stems from the Italian parsley and mince parsley.
  4. Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil, stirring frequently until translucent. Add minced parsley and sauté additional 30 seconds, then set aside to cool.
  5. Onion mixture and rice can be combined and cooled together.
  6. Add cooled rice, onion mixture, ground meat, eggs, salt, pepper, paprika in a large bowl, mix well to incorporate all ingredients evenly and set aside.


  1. Rinse/wash sauerkraut thoroughly with cold water. This is a very important step. Squeeze out excess water (washing it thoroughly is important, otherwise it will be too sour)
  2. Sauté bacon
  3. Add diced onions to bacon and fat and sauté for a few minutes until onions are translucent,
  4. Add Hungarian Paprika and sauté for approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute, being careful not to burn paprika.
  5. Add sauerkraut and sauté for a couple more minutes while stirring with wooden spoon to incorporate paprika onions into ingredients evenly.
  6. Add salt, 2 cups water, stir and set aside.


  1. Bring a large pot of water with 2 Tbsp. vinegar to boil. (you need enough water for a cored head of cabbage to be fully immersed)
  2. Remove core from Cabbage so that all of the core is removed allowing hot water to seep in between cabbage leaf layers.
  3. As cabbage softens and becomes a bit wilted or translucent, using two forks, gently remove cabbage leaves onto a cookie sheet being careful not to tear leaves.
  4. Leaves need to just get soft enough to work loose from head. Don’t cook the cabbage leaves, just barely soften them so they can wrap around the meat mixture.
  5. Cool cabbage leaves and carefully cut approx. ¾ of the thickness of the hard spine of the cabbage leaves. See picture


  1. Measure mixture with either a 1/3 cup measuring cup or weigh each meat ball at 84 grams.
  2. The smallest leaves and center of the cabbage are kept for last and usually get cut into very thin strips to be added to sauerkraut.
  3. Start off by using all the largest leaves first. Sometimes, they are so big that they need to be cut in half.
  4. Roll all of the cabbage rolls and set aside before layering them into roaster to be roasted/baked in oven or layered and cooked on the stove.
  5. My first preference is to layer the cabbage rolls in a roaster and roast/bake in the oven.
  6. Divide sauerkraut into three equal portions. Spread 1/3 of the sauerkraut in the bottom of stock pot or roaster, 1/3 on top of first layer and the last 1/3 on the top of the top layer.
  7. The size of roaster or pot will be determined by the amount of cabbage rolls you have.
  8. I used a 16-quart stock pot, so I only got two layers of cabbage roll and three layers of sauerkraut.
  9. Pour additional 5 cups of water over sauerkraut and cabbage rolls just before putting roaster into oven, or stock pot onto stovetop. Water level is just below the top layer of kraut. Water will saturate sauerkraut but not cover it.
  10. I like to use a bigger pot and roaster than necessary so it doesn’t splatter out and make a huge mess. Leave enough room for cabbage rolls to swell and content to sputter without splattering out from under the lid.
  11. Cooks for approximately an hour covered and then let sit in steam without uncovering for approximately 30 more minutes.
  • Adding smoked Hungarian sausage, smoked ribs and/or additional thick slices of Mangalisa bacon between layers gives added smoked flavor.
  • Making a roux by sautéing a little flour and paprika in olive oil or lard and adding the liquid from the stuffed cabbage, whisking it until it is smooth, then pouring it over the stuffed cabbage is another option.
  • I always make some stuffed peppers whenever I have stuffed cabbage since there are always kids that prefer the meatballs to the stuffed cabbage. Our family likes drizzling the tomato sauce from the stuffed peppers onto the stuffed cabbage.

5 thoughts on “Töltött Káposzta / Stuffed Cabbage

    1. I’m sorry! I’m just now seeing this. I’m not sure what you are asking. My mom’s stuffed cabbage never included tomato sauce. I know some do:-)

      Something we often did was that we would also make some stuffed peppers and meatballs from the same mixture that we filled the cabbage rolls with and then used the sauce from that to cover our cabbage rolls with when we served it for whoever wanted it that way.

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