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Authentic German Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Authentic German Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (Kohlrouladen)

Creating authentic German Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, or Kohlrouladen, is a culinary journey that combines the earthy flavors of cabbage with a delicious meat and rice filling. To serve, arrange the rolls on a platter, and generously pour the creamy sauce made by combining heavy cream with the cooking juices over them. Traditionally, Kohlrouladen is paired with mashed potatoes or boiled potatoes, creating a hearty and satisfying German meal that truly captures the essence of comfort food. Enjoy this authentic taste of Germany!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine German
Servings 4 servings


  • 1 large green cabbage
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 4 slices of bacon, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup uncooked long-grain rice
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil


  • Start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. Remove the core from the cabbage carefully. Place the whole head into the boiling water and let it cook for about 5 minutes until the leaves become pliable. Remove the leaves one by one and spread them out on a clean kitchen towel to cool.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, finely bacon, finely chopped onion, rice, egg, ground nutmeg, ground cumin, salt, and black pepper. Thoroughly blend these ingredients to form a well-mixed filling.
  • Take a cabbage leaf and lay it flat. Place a portion of the filling at the base of the leaf. Fold the sides of the leaf over the filling, then roll it up tightly, akin to making a burrito, ensuring the filling is entirely enclosed. Repeat this process with all the cabbage leaves and the filling.
  • In a large pot, combine tomato sauce and beef broth. Carefully place the cabbage rolls into the sauce. Allow them to simmer gently for an extended period. This low and slow cooking method will meld the flavors and tenderize the cabbage, resulting in deliciously savory rolls.
  • Once the cabbage rolls have simmered to perfection, carefully remove them from the cooking pot using a slotted spoon. Place them on a serving platter.
  • Spoon some of the flavorful tomato-based sauce over the cabbage rolls. Ensure that each roll is generously coated with the sauce.
  • Garnish the rolls with heavy cream and freshly chopped parsley, which adds a burst of color and a hint of freshness to the dish.


Cooking Tips for the Best Results:

  1. Selecting the Cabbage: Choose a large, firm cabbage with fresh, crisp leaves. To make it easier to remove the leaves, freeze the cabbage overnight before boiling. Thaw it before cooking to soften the leaves without overcooking them.
  2. Perfect Filling: To achieve the most flavorful filling, use a combination of ground beef and pork. The pork adds extra moisture and richness to the mixture. Make sure to season the filling generously with herbs and spices for an authentic taste.
  3. Rolling Technique: When assembling the rolls, tuck in the sides of the cabbage leaf tightly around the filling before rolling it up. This ensures that the filling stays inside during cooking, resulting in perfectly stuffed rolls.
  4. Slow Cooking: Allow the cabbage rolls to simmer in the tomato sauce and beef broth for an extended period. Low and slow cooking helps meld the flavors and ensures that the cabbage becomes tender and flavorful.
  5. Serve with Love: Authentic German Stuffed Cabbage Rolls are traditionally served with a ladle of the delicious tomato-based sauce and a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley. Pair them with creamy mashed potatoes, boiled potatoes or buttered noodles for a complete and satisfying meal.

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FAQs about Authentic German Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe

Can I use a different type of meat?

Yes, you can use a mixture of ground meats such as pork and beef for a different flavor profile.

Can I freeze leftover rolls?

Yes, you can freeze them for up to three months. Reheat them in the oven for a convenient meal.

Are there vegetarian alternatives?

You can make vegetarian cabbage rolls using a filling of rice, mushrooms, and vegetables, and replace the beef broth with vegetable broth.

What if I don’t have heavy cream?

You can substitute with sour cream or plain yogurt for a slightly different but still delicious sauce.

What can I serve with Kohlrouladen?

They are traditionally served with mashed potatoes or boiled potatoes and crusty bread.

Read more here for additional info about stuffed cabbage rolls. Also, I recommend other interesting articles related to this topic.

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