Oma's Kohlrouladen ~ Cabbage Rolls Recipe

➤ by Oma Gerhild Fulson

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

These Kohlrouladen are the ones I grew up with. Meat and just meat fills these. No riceNo tomato sauce to dilute the great meat and cabbage flavors!

For the full list of ingredients & detailed instructions, see the recipe card at the end of this post. But before you scroll, there’s important & interesting stuff to know right below.

Just great cabbage taste with a wonderful gravy!

Check below for detailed help and pictures. It'll show how easy it is to make this very traditional German cabbage rolls recipe! There are several ways to separate those leaves from the cabbage.

For me, I just use my big stock pot.

German Cabbage yummy with brown gravy. Truly authentic German recipe!

Oma's Cabbage Rolls Recipe Tips:

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 meatballs.  

German Cabbage Rolls -- so yummy with brown gravy. Truly authentic German

1. How to remove the cabbage leaves:

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

There is a trick to this.

  • Put the cabbage head into that big stock pot filled 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 boiling water and let simmer gently for about 10 minutes
  • You 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.

2. Trim the thick cabbage veins:

  • 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.

3. Prepare ground meat filling:

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 teaspoon) on a plate in the microwave and cooking about 1 minute until done. 
  • Cool and taste and re-season if necessary.

4. Stuff the cabbage leaves:

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

  • Add about 1 heaping tablespoon 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! Pure COMFORT FOOD!

Lydia Remembers...

I have so many wunderbar memories in the kitchen with my Oma, and have had MANY of her most popular and traditional recipes, like these cabbage rolls! 

Wowza, where to start with these rolls is going to be a challenge. They are just SO good! I have always adored cabbage rolls. To me they are such a comfort food! Not to mention they are very German and that will always make any dish delicious! 

I remember my first time trying Oma's cabbage rolls during a family dinner. I just kept going back for seconds, then thirds... maybe even fourths. Of course, Oma would always send home a little doggie bag with us too! (She loves to spoil us, that's for sure!) I can't get enough of this recipe. When served with its nice warm homemade gravy, it is one irresistible dish! 

Learn a little bit about me, Lydia, and my kitchen adventures with Oma!

Need that “all’s good with the world” feeling? Comfort food will do that. Get your copy of Oma's German favorites in her Comfort Foods e-Cookbook.

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My Cabbage Roll Story ...

I had always thought cabbage rolls were a nuisance to make, and even though I loved them, I hadn't made them in years.

That is, until I was having company and they wanted to taste real German cabbage rolls.

Never turning down a challenge, I researched recipes and methods, and returned to the one my Mutti used to make. And surprise! It really wasn't that difficult. And best of all, I made lots so there were leftovers for us to enjoy the next day!

Now, of course, I put them on the menu more frequently. Hubby's happy. I'm happy. I'm happy particularly when I make a HUGE batch. Those leftovers are so delicious.

Oma says, 

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 and stay purely German ;)

Ready to make German Cabbage Rolls?

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. (The unused inner cabbage often becomes a braised side dish.)

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 and cabbage flavors!

Prep Time

30 minutes

Cook Time

90 minutes

Total Time

2 hours


Makes 6 servings


  • 1 medium to large head green cabbage (about 3 pounds)
  • 1 pound ground lean beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Montreal steak spice (optional ... see hints below!)
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • about 2 tablespoons oil and 2 tablespoons butter
  • about 2 cups beef broth
  • about 1 - 2 tablespoons cornstarch


  1. 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.)
  2. Prepare meat mixture by mixing together the beef, pork, eggs, onion, breadcrumbs, salt, steak spice and pepper.
  3. Put about 1 heaping tablespoon meat mixture on end of cabbage leaf. Roll up tightly, tucking in sides. Fasten with a wooden toothpick.
  4. 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.
  5. Simmer gently for about 1 hour.
  6. Carefully remove cabbage rolls unto a platter, removing the toothpicks. Keep rolls warm while you make the gravy.
  7. Mix cornstarch 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.
  8. Serve cabbage rolls with potatoes (boiled or mashed) and a green salad on the side.
  9. The cabbage that's leftover from pulling the outer leaves off often ends up as a yummy braised cabbage side dish that can be served alongside if you wish. 


  • I like adding Montreal Steak Spice for just a bit added kick ... a totally non-German addition. 
  • Use additional seasonings as preferred, such as nutmeg, Maggi, caraway seeds, paprika, thyme ... :)

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THE traditional German Cabbage Rolls recipe that only uses meat (and NO rice) and has a mouth-watering gravy. Made just like Oma!

Oma's Kohlrouladen ~ Cabbage Rolls Recipe

Oma's Cabbage Rolls Recipe made Just like Oma
Oma's cabbage rolls recipe is SO traditionally German. Stuffed with meat and served with a brown gravy, this is not just another cabbage roll! This is THE BEST!

Ingredients: green cabbage, ground beef, ground pork, eggs, onion, breadcrumbs, seasonings, oil/butter, beef broth, cornstarch,

For the full recipe, scroll up ...

Words to the Wise

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Proverbs 13:12 (NLT)