Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls

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Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls is a simple crockpot meal with flavor that is out of this world scrumptious!! The filling is seasoned with garlic, onion, Worcestershire, and onion powder and wrapped in sweet yet savory cabbage leaves. The best part is a tangy tomato sauce that truly ties the whole dish together. 

titled image for slow cooker stuffed cabbage rolls recipe

Crockpot recipes are a home cook’s (and a busy mom’s!) best friend.

I mean, what’s better than sticking cabbage rolls in the crock pot and having a family sized meal waiting for you a couple hours later? 

ingredients for crockpot cabbage rolls

Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls

Crockpot stuffed cabbage rolls are the epitome of a warming, welcoming home cooked meal. It’s really a meal for all the senses!

The sound of the sizzling tomato sauce, the mouthwatering aroma of ground pork and beef, the sight of the perfect rolls doused in sauce and sprinkled with herbs, and the mixed textures of the soft leaves, rice, and meat.

Want all the flavor but less of the hassle? You can make unstuffed cabbage rolls instead!

All the same ingredients, minus the work! Even better, it’s ready to serve in less than an hour.

making filling for crockpot stuffed cabbage rolls

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Ground Sausage – I use spicy ground sausage here for some heat and a change in texture, but you can pick the protein of your choice: chicken, turkey, or plain mild sausage also adds depth.

    You could even go with all chicken or turkey instead of beef, or sausage for that matter, for a leaner stuffed cabbage rolls.
  • Onion Powder, Salt, Pepper, Minced Garlic, and Sugar – These spices and seasonings are really basic and form a solid foundation for tasty crockpot cabbage rolls.

    For a stronger garlic flavor, add some more minced cloves or swap out the salt with seasoned garlic salt.

    You could also throw in cayenne pepper or paprika for a bit more heat!
  • Worcestershire Sauce – Try it once and you’ll never forget the taste: spicy, sour, and sweet–a trifecta of flavor!

    If it’s not your thing, you can mix together some soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, and hot sauce.
  • Beef Base – You can make your own by reducing some beef stock on the stove. You can do the same thing with chicken or veggie stock as a replacement. 
filling for stuffed cabbage in ice cream scoop

How to Assemble Crockpot Cabbage Rolls

  1. Parboil the leaves. Before you can fill them, you have to start with soft, boiled cabbage leaves that are pliable and easy to work with. 
  1. Add the filling. Wearing gloves, dollop a good amount of sausage filling right onto the center of the leaf. 
  1. Roll them up! Once the filling is in place, fold the bottom of the leaf up and over the center.

    Then fold the sides inward, and finally pull the top of the leaf over. You should be left with a little packet, no filling exposed.
  1. Transfer and cook! Place your stuffed cabbage in the crockpot with the folds on the bottom, preventing them from opening up while cooking.

    If all else fails, you can stick some toothpicks into the rolls to keep them together!
poring sauce over cabbage rolls

Storing and Reheating

Leftover crockpot stuffed cabbage rolls last up to 4 days in the fridge, depending on the amount of time they’re left out before refrigerating.

There are a couple of ways you can reheat them.

You can microwave them in 20 second bursts, heat on the stovetop until warmed through, or stick them in the oven at 350°F until warm.

Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls FAQ

Why are my cabbage rolls tough?

Unfortunately, this likely means that you didn’t boil the cabbage leaves long enough. This might also make your rolls fall apart!

Luckily, there’s an easy fix! Just cook the cabbage rolls a little longer.

How long does it take to cook cabbage rolls in a slow cooker on high?

It depends on your slow cooker – each one is a little different! In my cooker, it takes 3 hours for the meat to reach a safe internal temperature of 165°F.

It could take you less time, or it may take longer! Keep a digital thermometer on standby to check the doneness periodically.

Can I cook slow cooker cabbage rolls on Low instead of High?

Absolutely! On Low power, it takes somewhere between 5 and 6 hours to make this cabbage rolls recipe.

slow cooker cabbage rolls in slow cooker

Enjoy!
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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sauce spooned over cut slow cooker cabbage roll

slow cooker cabbage roll cut in half with sauce

Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls

Donna Elick
Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls are soft, sweet and stuffed with meat and rice. This crockpot cabbage rolls recipe makes an easy weeknight meal!
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs
Total Time 3 hrs 30 mins
Course Main
Cuisine American
Method Slow Cooker
Servings 13 cabbage rolls

Ingredients
 

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground sausage, mild or hot
  • 1 cup cooked long-grain rice
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced, more if desired
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 head green cabbage
  • 15 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon beef base
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • chopped flat leaf parsley, for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil. Carefully place the head of cabbage into the boiling water and boil for several minutes.
  • Lift the cabbage from the boiling water, and when cool enough to handle, peel off the outer leaves that are soft.
  • Place the remaining cabbage head back into the boiling water and repeat steps until you have 12-14 soft and pliable cabbage leaves.
  • Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine ground beef, sausage, rice, onion powder, salt, pepper, garlic, and egg. Use gloved hands to thoroughly combine all of the ingredients.
  • Use a large cookie scoop or ice cream scoop to portion meat in the center of each cabbage leaf. Use your gloved hands to form the filling into a slight oval shape.
  • Fold the bottom of the cabbage leaf up, then sides in, and then top back over the filling to make a neat little packet.
  • Fill cabbage leaves until the meat mixture has all been used.
  • Place the cabbage rolls in two layers in the bottom of the crockpot, leaving a little space between each to avoid overcrowding them.
  • In a separate bowl, add tomato sauce, sugar, beef bouillon, and Worcestershire sauce; whisk to combine. Pour the sauce over the prepared cabbage rolls.
  • Cover and cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours, or until the meat mixture in the center of the cabbage rolls has reached a temperature of 165°F. (This took 3 hours in my crockpot).
  • Stir the sauce in the bottom of the crock pot and spoon it up and over the cabbage rolls. Garnish with a bit of fresh parsley and serve.

Donna’s Notes

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator and consume within 4 days.
You can use any combination of meats – hot sausage makes a spicy cabbage roll, but ground turkey, ground chicken, or regular ground sausage can all be combined with the ground beef for a milder dish.
Some recipes call for uncooked rice, but we use pre-cooked rice to ensure it cooks all the way through and there is enough moisture in the dish. Any long-grain rice will do.
This can also be cooked on low for 5-6 hours. I recommend testing the internal temperature of the cabbage rolls to determine when the dish is done cooking. Ground pork and poultry should be cooked to 165°F for food safety purposes.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 roll | Calories: 231cal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 63mg | Sodium: 554mg | Sugar: 4g | Fiber: 2g | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 2mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
titled collage for slow cooker cabbage rolls recipe

Originally published August 2022

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3 Comments

  1. My mom was a caterer for many years and her stuffed cabbage rolls were her specialty. Great hint that saves time later is to core the cabbage head and then freeze the cabbage head for a few weeks or more. When ready to make your cabbage rolls just remove head from freezer, soak in hot water in sink and just pull off leaves…NO NEED TO COOK YOUR CABBAGE!

    1. Thanks for the fabulous tip, Marilyn! I’ll definitely try that the next time I make this recipe. 🙂

      TSRI Team member,
      Becca

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