tray of stuffed cabbage covered in tomato sauce
My Curated Tastes is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.
ground meat with rice in a bowl

Cook the chopped onion and garlic with the olive oil on the stoves until fragrant and the onions are soft and translucent.  Put to the side to let cool.

onions cooking in a skillet
cabbage boiling in pot

When the cabbage is cool enough to work with, using a large chef’s knife, cut out the core and discard.  Separate the leaves and stack them on a plate and let the excess water drip off.  Remove the big leaves that will be perfect for stuffing.  Keep the smaller leaves for topping the finished cabbage before baking.

cabbage with core cut out
cabbage leave on cutting board

Once you have all your leaves separated, you see that there is still a hard core in the middle of the larger leaves.  You’ll want to cut that out so the cabbage rolls don’t have that tough section.  Don’t worry if the leaves are irregular in shape.  You’ll be folding everything into neat packages and they will be just fine.  Once you have all the hard cores removes from you leaves, you are ready to mix the cooled onion mixture into the meat.

onions in meat mixture in a bowl
stack of cabbage leaves next to measuring cup of tomato sauce
tray of cabbage bundles covered with tomato sauce

Top the cabbage with 3-4 slices of bacon per baking dish.  Add the boiling beef stock to the pan(s).

bacon topped cabbage rolls
beef stock being pouring into tray of stuffed cabbage

Now, take those smaller cabbage leaves and top the bacon.  Rather than tin foil wrapping the pan, the cabbage leaves insulate the dish and provide additional moisture.  These small leaves will be thrown out after the dish bakes.

tray of cabbage rolls topped with bacon
two trays of stuffed cabbage

Bake the stuffed cabbage in the oven for 50-60 minutes until cooked through.  The cabbage will be soft and the smell will be amazing.  The tops of the small lettuce will be brown or burnt.  This is just fine. When you remove the baking dishes from the oven, let them sit for about five minutes.

brown cabbage on top of cooked cabbage rolls

Remove that top layer of browned cabbage and discard.  I do the same with the bacon.  It won’t be crispy.  In this recipe, it is just used to flavor the sauce.  I discard it. 

removing brown cabbage from stuffed cabbage

Serve two or three bundles per person.  If you are a guy in my family, that can grow to 5-6!!!  Remember, these taste even better the next day or the third day.  If you do have left overs, cover the baking sheet with foil and keep in the refrigerator.  Bring to room temperature before reheating in a 350 degree F. oven for 25-35 minutes.

spoon removing cabbage rolls
tray of stuffed cabbage covered in tomato sauce

Dad’s Lithuanian Stuffed Cabbage

A three meat stuffed cabbage reminiscent of childhood dinners with my Lithuanian father. Filled with love and lots of great taste, this will be a classic for years to come.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine General
Servings 12 Served
Calories 167 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.


  • 3 Heads of Cabbage (24 leaves for stuffing, extra for baking)
  • 1 Lb. Ground Beef
  • 1 Lb. Ground Veal
  • 1 Lb. Ground Pork OR Ground Pork Sausage
  • 1 ¼ Cup Coked rice
  • 6-8 Slices of bacon
  • 1 Yellow onion, finely diced
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, finely diced
  • 6 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 28 Oz. Can tomato sauce
  • ¼ Cup White wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
  • ½ – ¾ Cup of boiling beef stock or broth
  • 1 Tbsp. Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a very large pot of water to boil.
  • Mix the three meats, cooked rice and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Put to the side.
  • Cook the chopped onion and garlic with the olive oil on the stove until the onion are soft and translucent. Put to the side to cool.
  • Add heads of cabbage to the boiling water. (Depending on the size of your pot, you may have to do them one at a time). Cook the cabbage for about five minutes until the outer leaves are soft. Drain in a colander under running cold water so they are easier to work with.
  • When cool enough to touch, cut out the hard core at the end of the cabbage head. You may have to make multiple cuts around the core to loosen it and cut it out.
  • Separate the whole cabbage leaves from the head and pile them on a plate to let excess water drip off. (Note: you won’t be separating the inner leaves. They will be too small for the stuffed cabbage. Save those leaves for topping the baking pan (see notes below) or for another use.
  • Once you have all your leaves separated (you need about 24 from the three heads of cabbage), you need to remove the hard core in the middle of each leaf. Just cut it out using a knife.
  • Now, mix the onion mixture into your meat and rice mixture. You may need to add more salt. You can test by rolling a small amount into a little ball and frying in on the stove. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
  • Scoop a good ½ Cup of the meat mixture and put in an individual cabbage leaf. Fold the cabbage around the meat creating a little bundle. Place the cabbage bundles, seam side down, in a large baking dish or foil pan. Continue with all the rolls. You may need two pans depending on the size.
  • Mix the tomato sauce, vinegar and sugar in a measuring cup. Pour over your cabbage rolls. (If using two pans, pour half over each. Top each pan of rolls with 3-4 slices of bacon. Add half the boiling beef stock to each pan.
  • Use your excess cabbage leaves to act like tin foil and cover the bacon topped rolls. The moist cabbage helps the rolls steam and cook while protecting the cabbage rolls from getting burnt or overcooked.
  • Cook in the oven for 50-60 minutes until cooked through and the cabbage is soft.
  • Remove from the oven, let cool about five minutes and serve.Remove from the oven, let cool about five minutes and serve.


Calories: 167kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 14gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.5gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.5gCholesterol: 58mgSodium: 173mgPotassium: 228mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 29IUVitamin C: 0.03mgCalcium: 18mgIron: 1mg
Keyword dinner
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!