I have never made cabbage rolls before.  I remember eating them when I was a kid, but only liked the “insides” and would not eat the cabbage!  Now that I actually like cabbage I thought I would give making them a try!

They turned out better than I expected.  The rolling was a bit nerve racking, I figured all of the meat and rice would fall out and it would be a one-pot mess.  They all actually stayed together quite well…and I didn’t even have to use toothpicks! 🙂  This is definitely a weekend recipe, time-wise.




1 C. long grain rice

1 large head of cabbage—I used green cabbage

1 C. chopped onion

6 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced

1 ½ tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. ground white pepper

3-4 dashes Worcestershire sauce

2-2 ½ lbs. lean ground beef


1 TBSP butter

1 TBSP olive oil

4 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced

2, 14 ½ oz. each, canned diced tomatoes with their juice

1, 8 oz., can tomato sauce

¼ C. white vinegar

2 tsp. low sodium beef bouillon

½ tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. onion powder

½ tsp. ground pepper

3-4 dashes Worcestershire sauce

1 TBSP cornstarch

4 TBSP cold water



  1. Remove the core from the cabbage and head of cabbage in plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 30 seconds at a time to remove the softened outer leaves.  Keep repeating the 30 seconds until you have about 12-15 leaves.  Place leaves on a plate to cool.

For the sauce:

  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan.
  2. Add onion and cover over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion starts to turn golden brown.
  3. Add garlic and cook for an additional 1 minute.
  4. Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce, vinegar, bouillon, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Mix well.
  5. Remove from heat and set aside.

For the filling:

  1. In a large bowl stir together onion, garlic, salt, pepper and rice.
  2. Add ground beef and mix with wooden spoon or our hands until ingredients are well combined.
  3. Lay one of the cabbage leaves flat on a work surface with the stem end in front of you. Take 2 generous tablespoonfuls of the filling and place at the bottom of the cabbage leaf.
  4. Fold the 2 side in and roll away from you, making sure the filling stays in the center and away from the top edge, until you reach the top of the leaf.
  5. Repeat this with the remaining filling and cabbage leaves.
  6. Place the rack in the bottom of the Instant Pot. Pour in 1 C. water.  Place 7-8 cabbage rolls on the rack.  Cover the rolls with about 1/3 of the sauce.  Add a second layer of rolls to the pot, alternating the direction of the second layer.  Pour the remaining sauce over the top of the rolls.
  7. Lock the lid in place, select High Pressure and set for 18 minutes. When the Instant Pot beeps, turn off the pressure cooker or unplug it.  Wait for 15 minutes, then use Quick Release to release any remaining steam.
  8. Gently remove the cabbage rolls from the pot and place on a platter.

To finish the sauce:

  1. Select “sauté” and bring the sauce to a boil.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and cold water until smooth and the cornstarch is dissolved.
  3. Site the cornstarch mixture into the sauce and cook until thickened, stirring constantly.
  4. Serve the sauce over the cabbage rolls.


Makes about 15 cabbage rolls.