Stuffed Cabbage Rolls {Golubtsi} + Instant Pot Conversion

Country Style Beef Stuffed Cabbage Rolls are authentic Ukrainian comfort food filled with ground beef, rice, a medley of spices and lots of caramelized onions. This recipe is great lunch or dinner
After months of wonderful and warm fall, the frigid cold is finally upon the Pacific Northwest. Cold weather to our family means that, all the comfort foods make their lovely appearance on our dinner table, like these homey, delicious Cabbage Rolls. Filled with ground beef, rice, a medley of spices and lots of caramelized onions these Cabbage Rolls are bound to become your favorite!

Country Style Beef Stuffed Cabbage Rolls are authentic Ukrainian comfort food filled with ground beef, rice, a medley of spices and lots of caramelized onions. This recipe is great lunch or dinner

My husband has taken on a new job where he travels all over the states and now he’s home only every couple of weeks. When he is home I make sure to cook from his “favorites” list, which of course includes these Cabbage Rolls, as well as Borsch and a couple of other things.

Even though they take some time to make, the process is almost therapeutic and the aroma that fills the house as the Cabbage Rolls bake always has my kids and husband watching the oven. I made these a couple days ago and my husband couldn’t stop commenting on how good they are.

Country Style Beef Stuffed Cabbage Rolls are authentic Ukrainian comfort food filled with ground beef, rice, a medley of spices and lots of caramelized onions. This recipe is great lunch or dinner.

Even my baby, who typically does not eat leftovers, happily munched down on these Cabbage rolls 3 times. We just kept re-heating them until they were all gone. This recipe makes a huge size portion and we definitely did not mind.

If it is too much for your family, you can halve the recipe or freeze them in freezer safe containers and just reheat them in the microwave, or better yet, in a buttered skillet for that beautiful golden crust.Country Style Beef Stuffed Cabbage Rolls are authentic Ukrainian comfort food filled with ground beef, rice, a medley of spices and lots of caramelized onions. This recipe is great lunch or dinner.

When cooking the Cabbage Rolls, I use the low and slow method, which means that I bake them in a cast iron dutch oven at a lower temperature, for longer. This allows the cabbage leaves to turn that golden color that you can not get by cooking them quick. This also allows the Cabbage Rolls to brown up nicely around the edges that are closer to the pot, without burning.

This method replicates the flavor you would get from cooking the Cabbage Rolls in the brick oven. Even though we didn’t have one growing up, our relatives who lived in the country did and their Cabbage Rolls were bombalicious! Nothing compares to those! Country Style Beef Stuffed Cabbage Rolls are authentic Ukrainian comfort food filled with ground beef, rice, a medley of spices and lots of caramelized onions. This recipe is great lunch or dinner.

Lately though, as I continue to experiment and figure out what else I can cook in my Instapot, I have come up with a hack to get the same flavor I get from cooking them low and slow, but in half the time! Whoohoo!

The first time I made the Cabbage Rolls in the Pressure Cooker, while I expected them to be good, I was absolutely blown away by what the pot did to them. I felt like I have found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow! Even though I cooked them for half the time it would take to bake them in the oven, they had an even more intense flavor of the low and slow method. If you have a Pressure Cooker make sure to scroll down for the converted version to taste it for yourself!

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls {Golubtsi}

Yields: about 70 small to medium sized rolls. 1 serving = 6-7 rolls.

Ingredients for the Cabbage Rolls:

For the Rice:
3 cups round rice
3 cups water
1 Tbsp Better than Bouillion

For the stuffing: 
2 medium sized heads of cabbage
2 lbs ground beef/turkey/chicken
2 cups diced onion
1.5 cups shredded carrots
1 Tbsp ground mustard
2 Tbsp chopped dill
1 tsp dry garlic
1 Tbsp dry green onion OR 3-4 stems of green onion, chopped
2 Tbsp Johny’s Garlic Spread Seasoning (optional)
Olive Oil
1 Tbsp kosher salt
2 tsp black ground pepper

Ingredients for Cooking Liquid
3 cups broth or 3 cups hot water + 1 tbsp Better than Bouillion
4 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp salt

How to make the Stuffed Cabbage Rolls:

Prepare the Cabbage

Remove a couple of outer leaves from the head of cabbage and discard; cut out the stem with a long knife; wrap the cabbage with plastic wrap and microwave for about 3-4 minutes. You want the leaves to be softened but not cooked through.
Remove the plastic wrap and remove the softened outer leaves. Keep removing until you get to the tough/uncooked leaves, then wrap the cabbage again and cook for another couple minutes until you’re able to remove all leaves.

Country Style Beef Stuffed Cabbage recipe | Let the Baking Begin!

Cut out the tough middle part of the stem from the large leaves.

Country Style Beef Stuffed Cabbage recipe | Let the Baking Begin!

Cut the large leaves in half, and then each half into halves again. Giving you 4 pieces. Each piece should be no bigger than the size of your palm. Prepare all the leaves and set aside.

Country Style Beef Stuffed Cabbage recipe | Let the Baking Begin!

Partially cook the rice:

Good to know: adding the partially cooked rice to the stuffing means that it will finish cooking in all of the meaty juicy liquid, absorbing great flavors and imparting amazing flavor to the finished product.

Rinse 3 cups of round rice in a sieve under cold running water until the water runs clear.
Add the rice to a medium sized pot, cover with 3 cups of hot boiling chicken broth, or 1 tablespoon of Better than Bouillion combined with 3 cups hot boiling water. Cover with lid and cook on low heat until all water has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Open lid, fluff with a fork and allow to cool as you work on other ingredients.

Country Style Beef Stuffed Cabbage recipe | Let the Baking Begin!

Saute Vegetables:

Dice onion and saute in a skillet with 1/4 cup of oil over medium heat until golden in color, about 10 minutes.

Country Style Beef Stuffed Cabbage recipe | Let the Baking Begin!

Add 2 shredded carrots, stir, cover with lid and over low heat continue cooking, mixing several times throughout, for about 10 minutes. Allow to slightly cool.

Country Style Beef Stuffed Cabbage recipe | Let the Baking Begin!

Mix:

In a bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl combine 2 lbs of ground chuck beef ( or turkey, chicken, or a combination of several of them), pre-cooked rice, sauteed vegetables, 1 Tbsp of kosher salt (use less if using table salt), 2 tsp paprika, 1 tbsp ground mustard, 2 tbsp chopped dill, 1 tsp dry garlic, 2 tsp black ground pepper, 1 tbsp dry green onion, or 3-4 chopped green onions and 2 tbsp of Johny’s Garlic Spread seasoning (optional).

Country Style Beef Stuffed Cabbage Rolls are authentic Ukrainian comfort food filled with ground beef, rice, a medley of spices and lots of caramelized onions. This recipe is great lunch or dinner.

Using a spoon or a stand mixer on low speed, mix everything together just until the ingredients are evenly distributed.
Country Style Beef Stuffed Cabbage Rolls are authentic Ukrainian comfort food filled with ground beef, rice, a medley of spices and lots of caramelized onions. This recipe is great lunch or dinner.

Roll the Cabbage Rolls:

There’s several ways to roll the cabbage, you will use different type of rolling depending on the shape of your leaves, or your preference.
#1 – Spoon about a tablespoon of filling in the middle. Fold the flaps from the right and left towards the middle. Then roll the roll away from yourself.
Country Style Beef Stuffed Cabbage recipe | Let the Baking Begin!#2 – Place the leaf into the palm of your hand, add a spoon of filling and roll it into a tight roll. Now with your finger tuck the open ends towards the middle of the roll from both ends.

Country Style Beef Stuffed Cabbage recipe | Let the Baking Begin!#3 – Place the leaf into the palm of your hand, add a spoon of filling and roll the leaf into a cone. Now tuck the open end towards the middle with your finger.

Country Style Beef Stuffed Cabbage recipe | Let the Baking Begin!

Good to know: Before adding the rolls to the pot, line the pot with a couple of large leaves, covering the bottom. This will prevent the rolls themselves from burning as you cook them.

Layer the bottom of the dutch oven (or any large pot) with large cabbage leaves. Add the rolled cabbage rolls in layers into the pot.

Make the Cooking Liquid & Bake

Good to know: For the cooking liquid you can either use meat broth as the base, or combine Better than Bullion and hot water. I used Better than Bullion with water.

Combine 1 Tbsp of Better than Bullion, 4 Tbsp of tomato paste, 3 cups of hot water, and 1 tsp of salt and stir until all ingredients are combined.

Pour the liquid over the rolled cabbage rolls. The liquid should come to just below the level of the top row of cabbage rolls.

Drizzle about 3 tablespoons of oil on top of the rolls. Place a couple of large cabbage leaves on top of the cabbage rolls. Cover with lid and bring to a boil on a stove over medium heat. Transfer the pot to an oven and bake the cabbage rolls for about 1.5 – 2 hours over low-medium heat (about 300F), keeping the Cabbage Rolls at a constant low simmer and not a rapid boil until the cabbage leaves are soft, the rice is cooked through and most of the liquid is gone.
Country Style Beef Stuffed Cabbage recipe | Let the Baking Begin!

When the cabbage rolls are ready, remove the top leaves and discard.Country Style Beef Stuffed Cabbage Rolls are authentic Ukrainian comfort food filled with ground beef, rice, a medley of spices and lots of caramelized onions. This recipe is great lunch or dinner.

Shake the pot from side to side to loosen the cabbage rolls one from the other and make it easier to get them out.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls {Golubtsi}

Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Ukrainian
Serves: about 70 small to medium sized rolls. 1 serving = 6-7 rolls.

Ingredients

For the Rice:

  • 3 cups round rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp Better than Bouillion

For the stuffing:

  • 2 medium sized heads of cabbage
  • 2 lbs ground beef/turkey/chicken
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 1.5 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 Tbsp ground mustard
  • 2 Tbsp chopped dill
  • 1 tsp dry garlic
  • 1 Tbsp dry green onion OR 3-4 stems of green onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Johny's Garlic Spread Seasoning (optional)
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp black ground pepper

Ingredients for Cooking Liquid

  • 3 cups broth or 3 cups hot water + 1 tbsp Better than Bullion
  • 4 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

Prepare the Cabbage

  1. Remove a couple of outer leaves from the head of cabbage and discard; cut out the stem with a long knife; wrap the cabbage with plastic wrap and microwave for about 3-4 minutes. You want the leaves to be softened but not cooked through.
  2. Remove the plastic wrap and remove the softened outer leaves. Keep removing until you get to the tough/uncooked leaves, then wrap the cabbage again and cook for another couple minutes until you're able to remove all leaves.
  3. Cut out the tough middle part of the stem from the large leaves
  4. Cut the large leaves in half, and then each half into halves again. Giving you 4 pieces. Each piece should be no bigger than the size of your palm. Prepare all the leaves and set aside

Partially cook the rice:

  1. Rinse 3 cups of round rice in a sieve under cold running water until the water runs clear.
  2. Add the rice to a medium sized pot, cover with 3 cups of hot boiling chicken broth, or 1 tablespoon of Better than Bouillion combined with 3 cups hot boiling water. Cover with lid and cook on low heat until all water has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Open lid, fluff with a fork and allow to cool as you work on other ingredients.

Saute Vegetables:

  1. Dice onion and saute in a skillet with ¼ cup of oil over medium heat until golden in color, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add 2 shredded carrots, stir, cover with lid and over low heat continue cooking, mixing several times throughout, for about 10 minutes. Allow to slightly cool.

Mix:

  1. In a bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl combine 2 lbs of ground chuck beef ( or turkey, chicken, or a combination of several of them), pre-cooked rice, sauteed vegetables, 1 Tbsp of kosher salt (use less if using table salt), 2 tsp paprika, 1 tbsp ground mustard, 2 tbsp chopped dill, 1 tsp dry garlic, 2 tsp black ground pepper, 1 tbsp dry green onion, or 3-4 chopped green onions and 2 tbsp of Johny's Garlic Spread seasoning (optional).
  2. Using a spoon or a stand mixer on low speed, mix everything together just until the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Roll the Cabbage Rolls:

  1. There's several ways to roll the cabbage, you will use different type of rolling depending on the shape of your leaves, or your preference.
  2. #1 - Spoon about a tablespoon of filling in the middle. Fold the flaps from the right and left towards the middle. Then roll the roll away from yourself.
  3. #2 - Place the leaf into the palm of your hand, add a spoon of filling and roll it into a tight roll. Now with your finger tuck the open ends towards the middle of the roll from both ends.
  4. #3 - Place the leaf into the palm of your hand, add a spoon of filling and roll the leaf into a cone. Now tuck the open end towards the middle with your finger.
  5. Layer the bottom of the dutch oven (or any large pot) with large cabbage leaves. Add the rolled cabbage rolls in layers into the pot

Make the Cooking Liquid & Bake

  1. Combine 1 Tbsp of Better than Bullion, 4 Tbsp of tomato paste, 3 cups of hot water, and 1 tsp of salt and stir until all ingredients are combined.
  2. Pour the liquid over the rolled cabbage rolls. The liquid should come to just below the level of the top row of cabbage rolls.
  3. Drizzle about 3 tablespoons of oil on top of the rolls. Place a couple of large cabbage leaves on top of the cabbage rolls. Cover with lid and bring to a boil on a stove over medium heat. Transfer the pot to an oven and bake the cabbage rolls for about 1.5 - 2 hours over low-medium heat (about 300F), keeping the Cabbage Rolls at a constant simmer and not a rapid boil until the cabbage leaves are soft, the rice is cooked through and most of the liquid is gone.

Notes

To serve:

When the cabbage rolls are ready, remove the top leaves and discard.Shake the pot from side to side to loosen the cabbage rolls one from the other and make it easier to get them out. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a spoon of the beet and horseradish root relish.

Bon Appetit & Happy Pinning

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Stuffed Cabbage Rolls {Golubtsi} Instapot Conversion

Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Ukrainian
Serves: 70 rolls. 1 serving = 6-7 rolls

Ingredients

For the Rice:

  • 3 cups round rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp Better than Bouillion

For the stuffing:

  • 2 medium sized heads of cabbage
  • 2 lbs ground beef/turkey/chicken
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 1.5 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 Tbsp ground mustard
  • 2 Tbsp chopped dill
  • 1 tsp dry garlic
  • 1 Tbsp dry green onion OR 3-4 stems of green onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Johny's Garlic Spread Seasoning (optional)
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp black ground pepper

Ingredients for Cooking Liquid

  • 3 cups broth or 3 cups hot water + 1 tbsp Better than Bullion
  • 4 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

Prepare the Cabbage

  1. Remove a couple of outer leaves from the head of cabbage and discard; cut out the stem with a long knife; wrap the cabbage with plastic wrap and microwave for about 3-4 minutes. You want the leaves to be softened but not cooked through.
  2. Remove the plastic wrap and remove the softened outer leaves. Keep removing until you get to the tough/uncooked leaves, then wrap the cabbage again and cook for another couple minutes until you're able to remove all leaves.
  3. Cut out the tough middle part of the stem from the large leaves
  4. Cut the large leaves in half, and then each half into halves again. Giving you 4 pieces. Each piece should be no bigger than the size of your palm. Prepare all the leaves and set aside

Partially cook the rice:

  1. Rinse 3 cups of round rice in a sieve under cold running water until the water runs clear.
  2. Add the rice to a medium sized pot, cover with 3 cups of hot boiling chicken broth, or 1 tablespoon of Better than Bouillion combined with 3 cups hot boiling water. Cover with lid and cook on low heat until all water has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Open lid, fluff with a fork and allow to cool as you work on other ingredients.

Saute Vegetables:

  1. Dice onion and saute in a skillet with ¼ cup of oil over medium heat until golden in color, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add 2 shredded carrots, stir, cover with lid and over low heat continue cooking, mixing several times throughout, for about 10 minutes. Allow to slightly cool.

Mix:

  1. In a bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl combine 2 lbs of ground chuck beef ( or turkey, chicken, or a combination of several of them), pre-cooked rice, sauteed vegetables, 1 Tbsp of kosher salt (use less if using table salt), 2 tsp paprika, 1 tbsp ground mustard, 2 tbsp chopped dill, 1 tsp dry garlic, 2 tsp black ground pepper, 1 tbsp dry green onion, or 3-4 chopped green onions and 2 tbsp of Johny's Garlic Spread seasoning (optional).
  2. Using a spoon or a stand mixer on low speed, mix everything together just until the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Roll the Cabbage Rolls:

  1. There's several ways to roll the cabbage, you will use different type of rolling depending on the shape of your leaves, or your preference.
  2. #1 - Spoon about a tablespoon of filling in the middle. Fold the flaps from the right and left towards the middle. Then roll the roll away from yourself.
  3. #2 - Place the leaf into the palm of your hand, add a spoon of filling and roll it into a tight roll. Now with your finger tuck the open ends towards the middle of the roll from both ends.
  4. #3 - Place the leaf into the palm of your hand, add a spoon of filling and roll the leaf into a cone. Now tuck the open end towards the middle with your finger.
  5. Layer the bottom of an 8 Qt Pressure Cooker pot with large cabbage leaves. Add the rolled cabbage rolls in layers into the pot. Do not fill beyond the "Fill" line.

Make the Cooking Liquid & Pressure Cook

  1. Combine 1 Tbsp of Better than Bullion, 4 Tbsp of tomato paste, 3 cups of hot water, and 1 tsp of salt and stir until all ingredients are combined.
  2. Pour the liquid over the rolled cabbage rolls. The liquid should come to just below the level of the top row of cabbage rolls.
  3. Drizzle about 3 tablespoons of oil on top of the rolls. Place a couple of large cabbage leaves on top of the cabbage rolls.
  4. Turn the Pressure cooker to "Pressure Cook" on "Low" for 35 minutes. After the time expires allow the pressure to naturally reduce for 15 minutes, then slowly open the steam valve and release the rest of the pressure.

Notes

To serve:

When the cabbage rolls are ready, remove the top leaves and discard.Shake the pot from side to side to loosen the cabbage rolls one from the other and make it easier to get them out. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a spoon of the beet and horseradish root relish.

 

Country Style Beef Stuffed Cabbage Rolls are authentic Ukrainian comfort food filled with ground beef, rice, a medley of spices and lots of caramelized onions. This recipe is great lunch or dinner.

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  • Alla

    Очень аппетитно выглядит!

    · Reply
  • Luda

    Marina, Just made a batch of golubtsi following your recipe. I should say, these are heavenly good!!! I definitely am starting a new batch as soon as this one is gone :))) Despite the fact that at the end of recipe I forgot to add 1tsp of salt to liquid, and I can taste the lack of salt, they still turned out simply amazing! For the meat, i used ground chicken, beef and pork. Can you please share what degree where you cooking them in oven? I cooked mine on stove top until they started boiling (about 10min), then 20min at 400F, 40min at 350F, and another hour at 300F. I could potentially use more liquid in my golubtsi, but I am not sure if I cooked them too long, and that affected that there was almost no liquid left. Thank you for putting together such a masterpiece-recipe! God bless you and your family! Have a yummy day :)))

    · Reply
    • Hi Luda,
      Thank you so much for your feedback, I am so happy you liked them!
      You actually probably did everything right because there should not be any liquid left in the end (just like in the rice when you cook it), since all of it should be absorbed by the rice itself, making the golubtsi very nice and soft. This also means that all the juices from the meat are absorbed by the rice as well, giving you the best flavor possible 😀

      Thank you for visiting my blog and using my recipes!

      Have a good night, God bless you dear!

      Marina

      · Reply

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