Polish Stuffed Cabbage {Gołąbki}

No need for a long explanation for gołąbki [pron. goh-wom-bkee]. For some reason this savory dish found a huge following here in the US. There are about as many recipes for them as the chefs cooking them. I’m presenting a basic recipe today, the way they were made in my home, but this by no means is the only way to make them. As my blog grows, I will prepare for you different varieties of this all-in-one dinner dish. Subscribe now, so you don’t miss anything.

Polish Stuffed Cabbage {Gołąbki}

  • Yields: About 15 rolls
  • Prep Time: 30 min
  • Cook Time: 30 min


  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 1/2 lb of ground beef
  • 1/2 lb of ground pork or turkey
  • 2 1/2 cup of cooked rice
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 tbs of butter
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of pepper
  • 1 quart of chicken stock (vegetable ok)
  • 3 bay leaves


  1. Cook rice following the directions on the package, but shorten the cooking time by half.

  2. Wash cabbage and cut out the core. Place cabbage in a pot (hole down) and fill with water to cover the whole head. Start heating the water and as the leaves start loosening away from the head, remove from water (careful! Hot!). Set leaves aside, and also preserve those that may break while separating.

  3. Lay out cooled leaves and with a sharp knife, slice off a portion of the thick part of the leave so the leaves lay flat (there may be a slight curve in the leave).

  4. Place ground meat in a large mixing bowl, add cooked rice, sautéed onion, salt, pepper. Hand mix until combined.

  5. Depending on the size of the leave, place a ball of meat on each leave in the natural curve of the leave. Start rolling from the bottom, then sides (as pictured). Set rolls aside until all done.

  6. Now to cook, you may choose to bake or boil. I boiled mine, but I'm presenting both ways of cooking.

  7. Boiling:

  8. Place broken leaves on the bottom of the pot you boiled the cabbage in and layer cabbage rolls on top, placing each roll seem down. Cover with any leftover leaves.

  9. Fill the pot with chicken stock to cover the layered rolls. Boil on low for about 30 min.

  10. Baking:

  11. Place rolls in a baking dish, cover with broken up leaves. Carefully add a little bit of stock (about 1/3 of the depth of the dish). Bake at 350F for about 45 min.

  12. To make the sauce:

  13. Heat tomato puree with bay leaf and spices for about 20 min to reduce and thicken. Taste, add more salt if needed.


Serve immediately drenched in sauce.

Even though they’re filled with rice, we always ate them with potatoes at dinner. It was nice to have that starch to soak up the sauce and cut the richness of the meat.

If you’re looking for a recipe for a classic Polish tomato sauce, look here.

What’s your favorite way to eat them? Leave me a comment below.