Cabbage Rolls – Kohlrouladen

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Cabbage Rolls

Recently, I stumbled upon one of my mom’s favorite recipes, Cabbage Rolls – Kohlrouladen. Cabbage Rolls are a traditional German dish made with cabbage leaves stuffed with a savory meat and rice filling. Intrigued by the combination of flavors and textures, I decided to give it a try and was not disappointed.

How to make Cabbage Rolls?

The first step in making Kohlrouladen is to prepare the cabbage leaves. I carefully removed the outer leaves of a large green cabbage, blanched them in boiling water for a few minutes, and then ran them under cold water to stop the cooking process. Once they were cool enough to handle, I trimmed the tough stem from the center of each leaf and set them aside.

Next, I prepared the filling by combining ground beef, cooked rice, chopped onion, garlic, and spices in a bowl. I used a mixture of salt, pepper, paprika, and caraway seeds to give the filling a rich and complex flavor.

To assemble the Kohlrouladen, I placed a small amount of the filling in the center of each cabbage leaf, folded the sides over the filling, and rolled it up tightly. I secured each roll with a toothpick and set them aside while I prepared the sauce.

For the sauce, I sautéed chopped onions and garlic in a large pot until they were soft and fragrant. Then, I added diced tomatoes, tomato paste, beef broth, red wine, and a few bay leaves. I let the mixture simmer for a few minutes to allow the flavors to blend, then added the Kohlrouladen to the pot.

I let the Kohlrouladen simmer in the sauce for about an hour, until the cabbage leaves were tender and the filling was cooked through. The aroma in my kitchen was heavenly as the savory scent of the sauce filled the air.

When the Kohlrouladen were ready, I carefully removed them from the pot and arranged them on a platter. I spooned some of the sauce over the top and garnished with chopped parsley. Cabbage rolls cam be eaten by itself, but if you need a side, I would recommend my Country Style Pan Fried Potatoes.

Notes and Tips

  • Buy a large head of cabbage so you have large leaves to work with and extra leaves just in case.
  • Choose whatever mixture of ground beef, ground pork, or sausage your family will like best. My wife loves sausage so I often make it with 100% ground sausage.
  • Don’t skip the step to boil the cabbage. It really makes all the difference when it comes to rolling these guys. It is almost impossible to roll a cabbage leaf that has not been boiled since it is stiff as a board.
  • The ground meat does not need to be precooked.
  • After boiling the cabbage use a sharp knife to slice the root end off about a 1/2 – 3/4’s inch up. This will make it easier to remove the leaves.
  • Are you always in a hurry and need to cut a few corners? Use your favorite jarred marinara sauce and simply add 1 tablespoon of vinegar and 1 1/2 -2 tablespoons brown sugar.
  • Cover the baking dish tightly with foil so they steam a little bit in the oven softening the cabbage leaves.


The result was a delicious and hearty meal that was perfect for a chilly evening. The tender cabbage leaves were the perfect vessel for the savory filling, and the rich tomato sauce tied everything together perfectly. I can see why Kohlrouladen is such a beloved German dish, and I will definitely be making it again in the future.

Cabbage Rolls
German Cabbage Rolls
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Cabbage Roles – Kohlrouladen

Tender cabbage leaves are filled with a beef and rice mixture
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time1 hour 20 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Bavarian, German
Keyword: Beef
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 400kcal


  • 1 large Green Cabbage
  • 1 lb. Ground beef
  • 1 cup Cooked rice
  • 1 medium Onion chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. Black pepper
  • 1 tsp. Paprika
  • 1 tsp. Caraway Seeds
  • 1 can Diced Tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp. Tomato paste
  • 1 cup Beef Broth
  • ½ cup Red wine
  • 2 Bay Leave
  • Fresh Parsley chopped, for garnish


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Remove the outer leaves from the cabbage, and blanch them in the boiling water for 2-3 minutes, until they are pliable but not too soft. Remove the leaves and set them aside to cool.
    1 large Green Cabbage
  • In a mixing bowl, combine ground beef, cooked rice, half of the chopped onion, half the garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, and caraway seeds. Mix well.
    1 lb. Ground beef, 1 cup Cooked rice, 1 medium Onion, 2 cloves Garlic, 1 tsp. Salt, ½ tsp. Black pepper, 1 tsp. Paprika, 1 tsp. Caraway Seeds
  • Lay a cabbage leaf flat on a work surface, and place a small amount of the meat mixture in the center of the leaf. Roll the leaf around the filling, tucking in the sides, and secure with a toothpick. Repeat with the remaining cabbage leaves and filling.
  • In a large Dutch oven or pot, sauté remaining chopped onions and garlic in a bit of oil until soft and fragrant.
    1 medium Onion, 2 cloves Garlic
  • Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, beef broth, red wine, and bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
    1 can Diced Tomatoes, 2 tbsp. Tomato paste, 1 cup Beef Broth, ½ cup Red wine, 2 Bay Leave
  • Place the Kohlrouladen in the pot, and spoon some of the sauce over the top. Cover the pot, and bake in the preheated oven for about 1 hour, or until the cabbage is tender and the filling is cooked through.
  • Carefully remove the Kohlrouladen from the pot, and arrange on a platter. Spoon some of the sauce over the top, and garnish with chopped parsley.
  • Serve hot with your favorite sides, such as mashed potatoes or sauerkraut.


Calories: 400kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 1151mg | Potassium: 1326mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 1154IU | Vitamin C: 128mg | Calcium: 202mg | Iron: 6mg

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