Oma's Cabbage Rolls Recipe

This cabbage rolls recipe is SO German. Stuffed with meat and served with a brown gravy, this really is a family favorite ... a great German food

German foods: German Cabbage Rolls

These "Kohlrouladen" are the ones I grew up with. Meat and just meat fills these. 

No rice. 

No tomato sauce to dilute the great meat/cabbage flavours!

Just great cabbage taste with a wonderful gravy!

The number of cabbage rolls you make will be dependent on the size and shape of the cabbage.

I make a large amount of meat mixture so that I'll have enough, just in case I get extra leaves.

Any extra meat is then cooked as hamburgers or meat balls.  

Check below the recipe for detailed help and pictures.

It'll show how easy it is to make this very traditional German cabbage rolls recipe!

German Cabbage Rolls Recipe


  • 1 medium to large head green cabbage (about 3 lb)
  • 1 lb ground lean beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Montreal steak spice
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • about 2 tbsp oil and 2 tbsp butter
  • about 2 cups beef broth
  • about 1 - 2 tbsp corn starch


  • Prepare cabbage head by removing the stalk. Cook head in a large pot of boiling, salted water for about 10 minutes until the leaves loosen. Remove leaves. (Use remainder of cabbage for another meal.)
  • Prepare meat mixture by mixing together the beef, pork, eggs, onion, bread crumbs, salt, steak spice and pepper.
  • Put about 1 heaping tbsp meat mixture on end of cabbage leaf. Roll up tightly, tucking in sides. Fasten with a wooden toothpick.
  • In a large saucepan, over high heat, add oil and butter. In batches, carefully brown cabbage rolls on all sides. When all have been browned, return all cabbage rolls to pan and add beef broth so that the liquid almost covers the rolls.
  • Simmer gently for about 1 hour.
  • Carefully remove cabbage rolls unto a platter, removing the toothpicks. Keep rolls warm while you make the gravy.
  • Mix corn starch with a bit of cold water. Add as much as needed to the liquid in the saucepan until it is the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
  • Serve cabbage rolls with potatoes (boiled or mashed) and a green salad on the side.

Cabbage Rolls Recipe Tips:

The only really tricky part in making this cabbage rolls recipe is the process of removing the leaves from the raw cabbage head. 

removing cabbage leaves in boiling water

There is a trick to this. Put the cabbage head into a large pot of water and fill with water until the cabbage is submerged. This helps you estimate how much water to use so that the boiling water won't spill over once you add the cabbage.

Remove cabbage and put water on to boil. Meanwhile carefully cut out the center core of the cabbage so that the leaves will loosen easily once boiled.

Carefully put the cabbage into the water and let boil gently for about 10 minutesYou should be able to loosen the leaves, one after the other and remove from the pot. Set leaves aside until you have removed as many leaves as you need.

trimming stalk from cabbage leaves

Once the leaves have cooled, turn over so that the thick vein is on top. Using a sharp knife, cut the thickened vein away to make the vein and leaf the same thickness.

The filling for this cabbage rolls recipe is the basic meatloaf mixture.

I use half beef and half pork. The pork will help keep the meat filling moist with the long cooking time needed.

Check the meat filling before using by putting a small amount (about 1 tsp) on a plate in the microwave and cooking about 1 minute until done. Cool and taste and re-season if necessary.

making cabbage rolls

You really want a very well spiced/seasoned meat filling -- nothing bland fits here!

Add about 1 heaping tbsp of meat filling to the "veined" end.

Start rolling up tightly, tucking in the sides and then fasten with a wooden toothpick.

From here on, follow the recipe for cooking this most traditional, authentic, pure German recipe!

I know! I know! The Montreal Steak Spice is NOT German!!!! It's my OWN addition.

To give a bit of a kick to the filling, I season the meat with Montreal Steak Spice -- any similar seasoned salt will do. Or, just omit this!

Want nutritional information for a recipe? Copy and paste the ingredient list and the number of servings into Calorie Count. It will give you an approximate calculation.

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