Hearty crockpot cabbage rolls are the kind of satisfying dinner we all crave on cold winter days! With a rice-and-meat filling and flavorful tomato sauce, this recipe is sure to be a family favorite.
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Cold winter days call for seriously satisfying recipes. We love chicken and noodles when the weather gets chilly, and creamy potato soup is always a winner too. However, if you’re looking for something a little more rustic, you can’t beat these crockpot cabbage rolls.
Stuffed cabbage rolls are a classic comfort food made with ground beef and rice wrapped in cabbage leaves, then slow cooked to perfection. They may be one of the most versatile dishes out there—you can make them as simple or complex as you’d like. (Don’t worry, my recipe is super easy!)
Easy Crockpot Cabbage Roll Recipe
Cabbage rolls are one of those recipes that sounds a little meh on paper, but once you’ve had them, you know what the fuss is about. They’re savory, but a tiny bit sweet from the cabbage and sauce, super filling, and oh-so-flavorful. And because they cook in a crockpot, you don’t have to worry about them getting dry or overcooked!
Cooking cabbage rolls in a crockpot is also a great way to enjoy them without spending all afternoon in the kitchen. You can prepare everything ahead of time and let the slow cooker do its magic, so you have more time to relax. (Or fold laundry. Because let’s be real, we’re probably going to be folding laundry.)
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Cabbage leaves – You’ll want a nice, large cabbage; you’ll have leftovers, which you can use to make coleslaw or soup!
- Nonstick cooking spray
For the Filling:
- Ground beef
- Ground pork sausage – Using pork sausage in the filling adds a lot of flavor, without a lot of work!
- Onion – Yellow or white both work.
- Bell pepper
- Egg – Here’s the best way to crack an egg!
- Cooked rice – Plan a stir fry the night before and make extra rice for this recipe, or use our Instant Pot white rice.
- Worcestershire sauce
- Kosher salt
For the Sauce:
- Tomato sauce
- Brown sugar – Light brown sugar is best here.
- Apple cider vinegar
- Fresh parsley
- Kosher salt and pepper
- Make a spicier filling by adding red pepper flakes or hot paprika to taste.
- For a meatless recipe, substitute cooked lentils for the ground beef and sausage. Or, use a combination of plant-based ground beef and Italian sausage.
- You can use ground meat like chicken, turkey, or even sausage instead of ground beef.
- Swap in cooked brown rice for healthier crockpot cabbage rolls.
- Add a few crushed garlic cloves to the filling if you love garlicky flavor.
How to Make Crockpot Cabbage Rolls
- Cook the cabbage: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cabbage leaves, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they’re soft. Drain well.
- Make the filling: In a large bowl, use your hands to mix the filling ingredients until combined.
- Make the sauce: In a separate bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients.
- Roll the leaves: Lay a cabbage leaf on a clean work surface. Spoon about ¼ cup of filling along one edge. Roll up the leaf, tucking in the sides as you go like a burrito. Repeat with the remaining leaves and filling.
- Assemble: Coat the inside of a slow cooker with nonstick spray, then arrange the rolls along the bottom with the cabbage rolls seam down. (Stack a few of the rolls seam-side down if needed!) Pour the remaining sauce over the rolls, spreading it as evenly as possible.
- Cook: Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 to 5 hours, or on low for 7 to 8 hours.
- Serve: Set the slow cooker stuffed cabbage rolls aside until they’re cool enough to handle. Then, add your favorite toppings, and enjoy!
If there’s still water clinging to the cabbage when you’re ready to assemble the rolls, pat them dry. This keeps the filling from becoming watery and allows for easy rolling.
How to Store Leftover Crockpot Cabbage Rolls
Store any leftover crock pot cabbage rolls in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.
Reheat them in a microwave or on the stovetop until heated through. You can also freeze them for up to 2 months—just thaw them overnight before reheating.
Slow cooker cabbage rolls are delicious as-is, but there are plenty of ways to make them an even heartier dinner. Serve them with a side of mashed potatoes or roasted potatoes for a comforting meal. Or, try serving your cabbage rolls with toppings. Sour cream, grated Parmesan cheese, crumbled feta, or crispy crumbled bacon are great options for extra flavor!
The best way to prep cabbage for cabbage rolls is to blanch the leaves in boiling water. This will soften them so they’re easier to roll and it also helps prevent them from being too tough when cooked.
If you don’t blanch the cabbage leaves before assembling, the cabbage can be tough—especially the thicker stem part in the middle. That’s why it’s a good idea to take the time to blanch the leaves first!
Cabbage rolls are a popular dish in Eastern European countries, particularly Russia, Poland, Ukraine, and Romania.
The best type of cabbage for cabbage rolls is green cabbage, as it has a mild flavor and will hold up better during cooking. You can also use Savoy cabbage if desired, but it’s more likely to tear.
Crockpot Cabbage Rolls
- 1 Large pot
- 2 Mixing bowls
- 12 – 14 large cabbage leaves
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1 pound ground beef
- ½ pound ground pork sausage
- ½ cup onion minced
- ½ cup bell pepper minced
- 1 egg beaten
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 cup rice cooked
- 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cabbage leaves and blanch for 2 to 3 minutes until softened. Drain and set aside.12 – 14 large cabbage leaves
- In a large bowl, mix together the filling ingredients until well combined. This is done easiest with your hands.1 pound ground beef, ½ pound ground pork sausage, ½ cup onion, ½ cup bell pepper, 1 egg, ¼ cup milk, 1 cup rice, 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients.1 (15 ounce) can, 2 Tablespoons brown sugar, 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper
- To assemble, lay out each cabbage leaf, spoon about ¼ cup of filling along one edge. Roll up each leaf, tucking the sides in as you go to completely enclose the filling.
- Coat the inside of a slow cooker with the nonstick spray, then arrange the rolls along the bottom, seam side down. It may be necessary to stack a few on top of each other.Nonstick cooking spray
- Pour the sauce over the rolls, spreading it out as evenly as possible.
- Cover and cook on high for 4 to 5 hours, or on low for 7 to 8 hours.