Hungarian Sweet Cabbage Stuffed Rolls Recipe

➡️ Looking for authentic Hungarian stuffed cabbage recipes? You don’t need to search further because on this page you can learn how to make sweet cabbage stuffed rolls from scratch. Cabbage stuffed rolls are a kind of popular food in many parts of the world and the recipes, naturally, differ a lot depending on the local gastronomic specifics.

➡️ Hungarians love cabbage stuffed rolls so much that they cook them both in summer and winter. In the winter they use sauerkraut and in the summer they make them with sweet white cabbage. My easy Hungarian recipe helps you cook stuffed cabbage rolls with sweet cabbage, ground pork, and smoked bacon (töltött káposzta).

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How to Make Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls from Scratch

➡️ Cooking cabbage stuffed rolls is not difficult, even if it seems so at first glance. Rolling cabbage with stuffing is learned extremely quickly, and for the rest, only basic knowledge is needed in terms of cooking food. Learn in the cooking video below how to make stuffed cabbage rolls from scratch using a yummy and easy sweet cabbage stuffed rolls recipe in the authentic Hungarian style.

Hungarian Sweet Cabbage Stuffed Rolls Recipe

Hungarian Sweet Cabbage Stuffed Rolls

Hungarian Sweet Cabbage Stuffed Rolls, known as "Töltött Káposzta" in Hungarian, are a cherished culinary tradition that embodies the heartiness and flavors of Hungarian cuisine. This classic dish features tender cabbage leaves filled with a delectable mixture of ground meat, rice, and aromatic spices, all bathed in a sweet and tangy tomato sauce.
The preparation of Hungarian Sweet Cabbage Stuffed Rolls is a labor of love, as it involves carefully blanching and softening cabbage leaves, which are then used as wrappers for the savory filling. The filling typically consists of ground pork or beef, mixed with cooked rice, onions, garlic, and a blend of seasonings such as paprika, caraway seeds, and black pepper. This flavorful mixture is then rolled into the cabbage leaves, creating neat little parcels of deliciousness.
The crowning glory of Hungarian Sweet Cabbage Stuffed Rolls is the tomato sauce that envelops them during cooking. This sauce combines the sweetness of ripe tomatoes with a hint of sourness, resulting in a perfectly balanced and deeply flavorful accompaniment to the cabbage rolls. The sauce also incorporates elements of the filling's seasoning, tying the entire dish together harmoniously.
These rolls are traditionally simmered or baked slowly in the tomato sauce until the flavors meld together, and the cabbage becomes tender, offering a satisfying contrast to the savory meat filling. The result is a dish that boasts both a visually appealing presentation and a mouthwatering taste.
Hungarian Sweet Cabbage Stuffed Rolls are often served as a comforting main course, and they are a staple during holidays and celebrations in Hungary. The combination of sweet and savory flavors, along with the tender cabbage leaves, makes this dish a true comfort food that warms the heart and delights the palate.
Whether enjoyed in a cozy Hungarian kitchen or prepared in your own home, Hungarian Sweet Cabbage Stuffed Rolls invite you to savor the rich and savory heritage of Hungarian cuisine in every bite, offering a culinary experience that pays homage to tradition and craftsmanship.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Course Main Course
Cuisine Hungarian
Servings 10 servings


  • 90/2.5 (oz/kg) sweet cabbage (1-2 cabbage heads, depending on their size)
  • 60/1.75 (oz/kg) pork mince
  • 15/400 (oz/g) rice
  • 20/500 (oz/g) smoked bacon (or another type of smoked pork meat like sausage or ham)
  • 20/500 (oz/g) ripe tomatoes (alternatively, you can use 17.5 fl oz/500 ml tomato juice or 4 tbsp of tomato puree)
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme or cumin powder
  • 4 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 1-2 eggs, depending on their size
  • bundle of green dill
  • some sour cream for serving


  • peel and chop the onions with a kitchen knife, then place them in a pan with a little oil and fry them until glassy, meanwhile season with some salt to taste.
  • cut the stubs out from cabbage heads and remove the blistered outer leaves.
  • bring to boil some water in a tall pot.
  • when the water starts bubbling, put cabbage heads into the pot, one at a time, and keep it immersed for a few minutes to soften.
  • detach the cabbage leaves from the head one by one, be careful not to break them.
  • put aside the small leaves from inside for later chopping.
  • place the pork mince into a bowl and season it with salt and ground pepper to taste.
  • add thyme/cumin, paprika, broken eggs, rice, and fried onion together with oil, then mix the ingredients well.
  • cut the hard string out at the end of each cabbage leaf, then fill it up with about a tablespoon of minced meat and rice mixture (if the cabbage leaf is too large you can cut it into 2 or even 3 pieces of the right size.)
  • fold the cabbage sheet as tightly as possible with the edges inwards, press the ends inside with your finger tightly so that the stuffing does not come out during boiling, then continue with the rest of the ingredients the same way.
  • chop the remaining cabbage and put half of it in a tall pot.
  • place into the pot a row of cabbage rolls tightly fixed to each other so that they do not open during cooking.
  • cut the smoked bacon into larger pieces, chop the dill and tomatoes, then sprinkle over the first row of sweet cabbage rolls a little of each.
  • place another row of stuffed cabbage, bacon, dill, and tomatoes, then continue with similar layers until the pot fills completely up.
  • put the remaining chopped cabbage on top into a layer, place over a heat-proof and heavy dish to avoid rising the rolls during boiling, and then fill the pot up with water.
  • boil the Hungarian stuffed cabbage rolls over a low temperature until both cabbage and stuffing are soft, add gradually more water as needed so that the rolls are always immersed in liquid.
  • serve 2-3 sweet cabbage stuffed rolls topped with some sour cream per person (recommended)



Cooking Tips for the Best Results:

  1. Select the Right Cabbage: Start with a fresh and firm cabbage for the best results. Look for a cabbage with tight, crisp leaves and minimal blemishes. Green or Savoy cabbage varieties are commonly used for this dish. Remove any damaged outer leaves and core the cabbage to facilitate easy leaf removal during blanching.
  2. Blanch the Cabbage Leaves Carefully: To soften the cabbage leaves for rolling, blanch them in boiling water. Be patient and immerse the whole cabbage head in boiling water first. As the outer leaves soften and become pliable, gently peel them off one by one. Avoid overcooking the leaves, as they should remain slightly firm to hold the filling and roll without tearing.
  3. Season the Filling Thoughtfully: The filling is the heart of the dish, so season it with care. Use a combination of ground pork and beef for a flavorful blend, and season it with Hungarian paprika, caraway or thyme, black pepper, and a pinch of salt. Sautee the onions until they’re soft and fragrant before mixing them with the meat and cooked rice. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your preference.
  4. Roll Tightly and Securely: When assembling the rolls, place a spoonful of the filling at the base of each cabbage leaf and fold the sides in before rolling it up tightly. Ensure that the rolls are secure to prevent the filling from escaping during cooking. Place them seam-side down in the cooking pot or baking dish.
  5. Simmer Slowly with Tomato Sauce: The tomato sauce is a crucial element of this dish. Combine tomato puree/juice or crushed tomatoes with sugar, vinegar, and a bit of water to create a sweet and tangy sauce. Pour it over the cabbage rolls and simmer them gently. Low and slow cooking allows the flavors to meld together, resulting in tender cabbage rolls and a rich, well-balanced sauce. Stir the sauce gently to avoid disturbing the delicate rolls.

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FAQs about the Hungarian Sweet Cabbage Stuffed Rolls Recipe

Can I use a different type of cabbage for this dish?

While green or Savoy cabbage is the traditional choice for Hungarian Sweet Cabbage Stuffed Rolls, you can experiment with other cabbage varieties if you prefer. However, keep in mind that the cooking time may vary depending on the cabbage’s thickness and tenderness, so adjust accordingly.

Can I make Hungarian Sweet Cabbage Stuffed Rolls in advance?

Yes, you can prepare these stuffed rolls in advance. In fact, they often taste even better the next day as the flavors have more time to meld together. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator and gently reheat them on the stovetop or in the oven when you’re ready to enjoy them.

What is the best way to prevent the cabbage rolls from unraveling during cooking?

To prevent the rolls from unraveling, make sure to roll them tightly, securing the filling inside the cabbage leaves. Placing them seam-side down in the cooking pot or baking dish helps keep them closed during cooking. Additionally, simmer them gently, as rapid boiling may cause the rolls to come apart.

What can I serve with Hungarian Sweet Cabbage Stuffed Rolls?

These rolls are often served as a complete meal, but you can pair them with a dollop of sour cream for added richness and a side of crusty bread or mashed potatoes to soak up the delicious tomato sauce. A simple salad or pickles can also complement the dish well.

Can I freeze Hungarian Sweet Cabbage Stuffed Rolls for later?

Yes, you can freeze Hungarian Sweet Cabbage Stuffed Rolls for future consumption. After cooking and cooling them, arrange the rolls in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag with a layer of parchment paper between each roll to prevent sticking. They can be stored in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. When ready to enjoy, thaw them in the refrigerator and reheat gently on the stovetop or in the oven.

Related Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage Roll Recipes and Culinary Articles

➡️ Enjoy the Hungarian stuffed cabbage rolls recipe from scratch! For additional info, read more about stuffed cabbage rolls’ origin here. I also recommend other tasty stuffed cabbage roll recipes published on this website (see below.)

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