German Cabbage Rolls - Simple and Classic Cabbage Rolls

Stuffed German Cabbage rolls
Stuffed German Cabbage rolls. Getty Images
    90 mins
Ratings (18)

When I started to make cabbage rolls, this is the recipe I tried first. Nothing fancy, rather plain Jane, these Kohlrouladen satisfy in a Macaroni and Cheese-way. A German comfort food.

If you crave more spice, try caraway, mustard or tomato sauce in the meat or the sauce. You can also use any variety of chopped meat you prefer or have on hand in this recipe. Ground pork, chicken or turkey would also work well.

What You'll Need

  • 1 1/2 lb. cabbage 
  • 12 oz. ground beef ( (in Germany this ingredient is usually half pork, half beef)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoons dried marjoram or oregano
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1-2 strips bacon 
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup cold water

How to Make It

Peel any old or discolored leaves from the outside of the head of cabbage.

Using a sharp knife, cut the "Strunk" or stem out of the cabbage, leaving a cone-shaped hole. Place the cabbage head in a large pot and fill the pot with water to cover or almost cover the cabbage. Add a teaspoon or two of salt.

Bring the pot to a boil, remove from heat and let the cabbage sit for several minutes. Peel the outer leaves off, one by one and drain the water from them.

If, after you remove several leaves, the rest are sticking together, put the rest of the cabbage back in the hot water for a few minutes and try again.

While the cabbage water is coming to a boil, mix the chopped meat with the egg, bread crumbs, paprika, salt, marjoram and pepper until smooth.

Form 10 - 12, two-inch long "meat rolls" using about 1/4 cup meat mixture each.

Lay out a cabbage leaf and cut out the thickest vein (only 1/3 to 2/3 of the way up the leaf) as necessary so you can roll the leaf. Place a meat roll in the thinner, cupped portion of the leaf, and fold the roll on three sides, then roll to the thickest part (like a burrito).

Tie like a gift package (in quarters) with kitchen string or, in a pinch, regular thread. This works well with two people.

Cut the strip of bacon into small pieces and brown it in a large sauce pan. Remove bacon.

Brown the cabbage rolls on two sides in the bacon fat.

Add 1/2 cup beef broth (or enough to cover pan to 1/4 inch depth), cover the pan with a lid and simmer 40 - 50 minutes, adding more beef broth as necessary to keep the cabbage rolls in 1/4 to 1/2 inch broth.

Remove the cabbage rolls to a warm serving dish (remove the string, too), add the cornstarch and water to the beef broth and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until thickened. Pour over cabbage rolls.

Serve with boiled potatoes or mashed potatoes.

Edited by Lora Wiley-Lennartz