Ukrainian Holubtsi or Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Ukrainian Holubtsi or Stuffed Cabbage Rolls are a labor of love and the epitome of an ultimate comfort food meal.

PREP TIME: 30 minutesCOOK TIME: 2 hoursRESTING TIME: 1 hourTOTAL TIME: 3 hours 30 minutes
COURSE: Main CourseCUISINE: Poland, UkraineSERVINGS: 12 servings, 2 rolls per servingCALORIES: 321 kcal


lidded roasting pan
large stock pot


One head of cabbage yields approximately 24 Holubtsi, sometimes more if the cabbage is very large, sometimes less if the leaves are too small to roll. Select a large, tight cabbage when purchasing.

  • 1 large green cabbage
  • 2 ½ pounds of ground beef
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 medium onion roughly chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper cut into strips; alternatively, several to many small sweet gem peppers, any colors, cut into strips
  • 10 cherry tomatoes quartered
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 2 10 3/4 ounce cans of condensed tomato soup
  • 1 1 pound canned tomatoes1 bottle chi
  • li sauce I am using Heinz
  • 1 tablespoon basil dried
  • 4 bay leaves dried


  1. Cook rice according to package directions and set aside to cool completely once done.
  2. Adjust the oven rack to the lower half of the oven to allow for the height of the roasting pan. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  3. Draw water into a large pot and set it atop the burner and bring it to a boil. While the water is heating, remove the tough outer leaves of the cabbage and reserve. The core around the stem of the cabbage is at enough of an angle to remove. Gently place cabbage into boiling water core side down. Add additional water to ensure the cabbage is not touching the bottom of the pot.
  4. Reduce heat just a little and boil cabbage for about 5 minutes or until outer leaves become soft. Using kitchen tongs, remove the outer 2 or 3 leaves intact to a colander placed over a bowl to catch the water. Continue with the remaining cabbage leaves one by one, allowing a minute or two between leaves for the underlying leaves to soften. You want them to peel apart in one intact piece.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, cooled rice, chopped onion, eggs, and salt. Using your hands, work the mixture until combined.
  6. Position your cooked cabbage leaves alongside your bowl with the mixture in preparation for rolling/stuffing the dumplings. Before stuffing, prepare a large roasting pan by emptying one can of condensed tomato soup or a bit of the canned tomatoes in the bottom and spreading to coat. You do not need much.
  7. Begin rolling/stuffing the cabbage leaves one at a time, by taking a loose handful of beef mixture and centering in a leaf. Fold side to side, and top to bottom. Mom’s ‘technique,’ show here, is more along the lines of fat cigar-shaped bundles. As long as they are tightly packed, they will keep their shape during cooking. Place seam side down in the roasting pan and repeat until all of the meat mixture has been used.
  8. Once all of the cabbage rolls are tucked tightly in the roasting pan, scatter the pepper strips and the cherry tomatoes. If there are remaining unstuffed cabbage leaves left, chop them finely and scatter them atop as well. Pour the canned tomatoes, the remaining can of tomato soup, and the Heinz Chili Sauce atop the dumplings. Sprinkle with dried basil and add bay leaves. Dunk the reserved outer leaves detached from the cabbage at the beginning of the recipe into the still-hot water used to soften the cabbage. This is simply to remove any grit from the surface of the leaves. Use the outer leaves as a ‘blanket’ and cover the dumplings completely. This is important so they both steam cook and also do not burn.
  9. Place the lid on the roasting pan and bake at 350°F for 2 hours. When 2 hours is up, turn off the oven heat, crack the oven door, and leave the roasting pan in the oven, undisturbed, for an additional hour.
  10. The Holubtsi are ready to be eaten as soon as they are done resting. Spoon the sauce over the Holubtsi and serve with plenty of bread for mopping up the sauce and juices.

The nutritional value can vary depending on what product(s) you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use a calorie counter you are familiar with.

Please note that table salt and iodized salt are NOT substitutions for Kosher salt. Do not deviate unless otherwise specified.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 321kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 680mg | Potassium: 514mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 262IU | Vitamin C: 50mg | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 3mg

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About the Author: Julia Azedae

Food is my passion, and I'm grateful every day that I get to share that passion with others through my blog. I hope to continue exploring the world of food and sharing my experiences with my readers for many years to come.

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