Pork Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Have you ever had stuffed cabbage rolls with sauerkraut? It’s a classic Hungarian dish. Lightly cooked large cabbage leaves are stuffed with a mixture of paprika-spiced ground pork and pork sausage, and then rolled up into little bundles. They’re cooked over tomato-infused sauerkraut and then served with a sour-cream sauerkraut sauce. So good! Like tamales, they take some time to prepare, but the result? Fabulous.

Pork Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe

  • Prep time: 25 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6.

Paprika can go flat if it's too old. Make sure you taste test your paprika for cooking with it in this recipe. If it doesn't have a strong flavor, it's no longer good and you'll need to replace it.

Cook the rice while preparing the cooked cabbage.

Caraway seeds can also be used to season the stuffing in this recipe.



  • 2 lbs sauerkraut (preferably a good brand, such as Bubbies, that you would find in the refrigerated section of your grocery store)
  • 1 large head green cabbage
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup minced onions
  • 1/4 tsp of minced garlic
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 3/4 cup cooked white rice (from about 1/4 cup of dry rice)
  • 2 lightly beaten eggs
  • 2 Tbsp sweet Hungarian paprika (or plain paprika if your market doesn't offer a choice)
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried marjoram (can sub oregano)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup water mixed with 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1 cup sour cream


1 Rinse the sauerkraut in cold water. Squeeze out excess moisture and set aside.

place cabbage in boiling waterspread cooked cabbage leaves out to dry on paper towels

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (1 Tbsp of salt for every 2 quarts of water). Add the whole green cabbage to the boiling water. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of the cabbage. Remove the cabbage from the water and let drain until it is cool enough to handle. Pull off as many large, unbroken leaves as you can and lay them on paper towels dry. If the inner leaves haven't cooked enough to bend easily, return them to the simmering water to cook a little longer.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and sauté them until translucent and beginning to color. Add the garlic and cook half a minute longer. Remove from heat.

mix ground meat with spices and rice

4 In a large bowl, place the ground pork, cooked rice, beaten eggs, paprika, marjoram, the cooked onions and garlic, salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Mix with your clean hands or a wooden spoon until just combined.

place stuffing in cooked cabbage leafbegin to roll cabbage leaf over stuffing
tuck sides of cabbage leaf in towards stuffingroll cabbage leaves into small bundles

5 Working one at a time, place a couple tablespoons of the pork stuffing in the center of a blanched cabbage leaf. Start at the thick end of the leaf and fold the sides of the cabbage over the stuffing. Then roll up the whole cabbage leaf into a tight bundle. Repeat with the remaining leaves until you have used up all of your stuffing.

place sauerkraut in even layer on bottom of panarrange stuffed cabbage on top of sauerkraut
pour tomato sauce over stuffed cabbage rollscook for one hour

6 Place the rinsed and drained sauerkraut in an even layer on the bottom of a 5 or 6 quart thick-bottomed pot, such as a Dutch oven. Place the cabbage rolls on top of the sauerkraut. Pour the diluted tomato purée over the cabbage rolls. Heat on high to bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and cook the cabbage rolls on a low simmer for one hour.

add sour cream to sauerkraut to make saucespoon sauce over stuffed cabbage rolls

7 Remove the stuffed cabbage rolls from the pot and place on warm dish. Slowly stir the sour cream into the sauerkraut. Bring to a simmer and let cook for about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to lift the creamy sauerkraut sauce onto a serving platter. Arrange the stuffed cabbage rolls on top of the sauerkraut and spoon some sauce over them as well. Serve remaining sauce on the side.

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Recipe adapted from The Cooking of Vienna's Empire, Time Life Books, By Joseph Wechsberg, 1968. Out of print, but often available on ebay.

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Showing 4 of 35 Comments

  • Rosie

    I am very interrested in trying your version with the sauerkraut and sour cream. It sounds very yummy.

    I had a Hungarian aunt who used a tomato based sauce for her cabbage rolls, as did my mother whose family was Polish. However, neither used sauerkraut or sour cream.

    I recently made cabbage rolls for a friend from Slovenia and he said they were ALMOST as good as his mom’s. I’ll take that as a compliment because his mom is one heck of a cook.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Hungarian Cook

    One of the secrets of good stuffed cabbage is to cook it long enough.

    It must undergo a transformation that will change it (in stages) from uncooked to perfect. you will know it is done when the cabbage and tomato sauce change from pale to a rich dark reddish/orange color. Depending on the tenderness of the cabbage, it may sometimes take an extra 30-45 min. cooking time!

    Also, you may increase cooking temp abt 50 deg. or so for the last 20 min. of cooking.

    Many Hungarians prefer it more tangy—-just lightly rinse sauerkraut before using. Another timesaver is to use uncooked rice and for lower cholesterol just leave out egg. the rice always cooks enough and you will not notice the missing egg!

    We have made stuffed cabbage for many many years and it’s a family and church dinner favorite.

  • zsofi

    Hi Elise!
    I’m Hungarian and this recipe is more or less really authentic and sounds very good. I love stuffed cabbage (töltött káposzta).In Hungary the cabbage leaves are also “pickled” they taste like the sauerkraut. We always make a huge batch because the dish keeps for ages and gets better and better everytime it’s reheated.

  • EB

    My great aunt was from the hungary/chech region and brought this recipe when she immigrated to the U.S. in the early 1900’s. I was raised eating it with caraway seeds in the sauerkraut. We never have drained it and actually prefer the slightly sour taste.

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