Hungarian Cabbage Rolls

Hungarian Cabbage Rolls

13 reviews, 4.2 star(s). 92% would make again

Ready in 5 hours

Cabbage rolls made the original way. Instructions from a Hungarian friend in Budapest as I watched her make them, and translated into English by my wife just for you.


***For the Stuffing***
2 1/4 pounds pork, ground; quite fatty
1 teaspoon salt; (as required)
1/2 cup bacon, smoked; diced, OR fatty smoked ham, chopped fine
1 egg; raw
1/2 cup rice; crushed
1 teaspoon pepper, black
1 large head cabbage; OR sour prepared leaves
1 tablespoon paprika powder, sweet
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika powder, hot
3 1/3 pounds sauerkraut
1/2 cup onion; minced/grated OR sub. 2 whole bulbs garlic
4 bay leaves; whole
1 handful peppercorns, black, whole; (optional)
water to cover; (see instructions!)
3 paprika peppers; (or more, as required)
***For the Sauce***
1 tablespoon paprika powder, sweet
1 cup fat; melted goose (best!) or pig fat
1/2 cup Flour
1 cup Sour cream

Original recipe makes 6



Combine all stuffing ingredients (flesh, spices, rice) except cabbage. Mix well by hand. Add the optional egg if dry or if desired. Can be tasted to check for sharpness of paprika flavour. (If using fresh cabbage, add 1 teaspoon salt to stuffing mix).

Either buy sauerkrauted cabbage leaves packed individially in packages or remove core from large cabbage, add some salt and lots of water to a large pot and boil the cabbage until the leaves are tender. Strip cooked leaves from cabbage. They should be soft and flexible. If the stem is still tough, it can be cut out.

Place portions (around 1/2 cup) in individual cabbage leaves and roll, tucking in the sides as you go.

Do not rinse sauerkraut. Line bottom of large pot (at least 3 gallon size) with bacon. Place on stove for a few minutes until fat is removed from the flesh. Remove from heat. (this is an optional step) Add one-half the sauerkraut, and all the onion/garlic. Place stuffed rolls in pan stacking them around and on top of each other until all used. Add the rest of the sauerkraut on top of stacked rolls. Add enough water to cover rolls. This can be plain water, or water that a smoked ham or other smoked meat has been cooked in. (best!)

Sprinkle on the top the peppercorns, whole peppers and bay leaves. Cover and put on low heat for at least 3 to 4 hours cooking. Do not stir. Watch carefully so it does not cook too fast.

When the rolls are tender, remove the large whole paprikas and bay leaves. (peppercorns can remain) Remove the rolls from the kraut and set aside.

In the pan where you melted the pig/goose fat, add flour and cook stirring constantly until mixture has turned a light brown colour. When colour is OK, add paprika powder and then add this mixture to the kraut mixture in the empty pot. Stir thoroughly and then re-add the kraut rolls. This mixture can now be eaten or frozen in portions. When serving, serve with sour cream dobbed over the hot cabbage rolls. Serve with potatoes or bread.


Cabbage rolls do not contain tomato. The red color is from Hungarian paprika (pepper) powder which varies from an orange to a deep red depending on how sharp (strong) it is. Lots of the sweet powder will add the colour without adding tomatoes. If it is available in your area, look for the "Kotanyi" brand straight from Hungary.

Verified by stevemur
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Calories Per Serving: 723 Get detailed nutrition information, including line-by-line nutrition insights?  Try BigOven Pro for Free for 14 days!

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First of all this is not the traditional Hungarian Cabbage Roll recipe. I know as I am Hungarian. You are kidding right??? You can taste the raw meat mixture and raw egg mixture for the paprika flavor? No wonder people get food poisoning and e coli and salmonella!!! Someone should be checking the safety of the recipes posted on this site!!!!
TheWhip 3m ago

This recipe is delicious!
Jamskittlesa 3y ago

toysruskld 3y ago

So yummy! I seasoned the meat a little differently and used beef because its what I had, but I tired to stay true to the other ingredients. I was looking for something to do with the leftover sauerkraut from New Years and this was perfect. We were tired of eating the kraut and it was transformed by the garlic and paprika into something else entirely.
MandaPierce 3y ago

Yum! An aquaintence of mine gave me the tip to put a fresh cabbage in the freezer the night before then set it out to thaw the morning that you are making the rolls. I found this easier for wilting the leaves than boilingthem
dreamstar85 3y ago

We love this recipe! It tastes just like the cabbage rolls we had in Budapest. We have not used goose fat, but it is still delicious. We also have used sweet red peppers on top instead of Hungarian peppers (which we were inspired to grow this year--and those are really the best).
Lindarussell 3y ago

For people who may hesitate to use all pork, I would recommend substituting 1/2 pound ground beef. None of my relatives, even those still in Hungary ever crushed the rice so I wouldn't be to concerned about that.
SzaboSari 4y ago

Excellent! Could not find a hungarian pepper so I used a hot banana pepper instead. Used plain yogurt instead of sour cream and also used half the pork and substituted ground beef to make up the rest.
summerpls 5y ago

Great recipe, being in Germany I had no problem getting all of the ingredients and would agree that the goose fat is worth the effort to find. It gave the kraut a silky richness that really made the dish. My Germany wife, who is not a big fan of sour kraut, loved it and told me to put it on our favorites list.
Ist_mir_Wurst 5y ago

Cabbage rolls do not contain tomato. The red color is from Hungarian paprika (pepper) powder which varies from an orange to a deep red depending on how sharp (strong) it is. Lots of the sweet powder will add the colour without adding tomatoes. If it is available in your area, look for the "Kotanyi" brand straight from Hungary.
sunrein 6y ago

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