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Kung Fu for your BBQ…
November 16th, 2007 by


Both of my parents were born in Hungary, and, lucky for me, my Mom still loves to make Hungarian dishes. Stuffed Cabbage is a family favorite, especially in the colder months, and I’ve adapted my Mom’s recipe a little bit over time. If you decide to make the dish, be sure to set aside enough time (1-2 hours for prep, 4 hours or longer for cooking time). This is a great leftover meal, as it tastes better when reheated.

Paprika is a key ingredient in Hungarian cooking, so when using it, take the time to look for a good quality Paprika, preferably Hungarian. Hungarian Paprika is a little spicier than Spanish Paprika, and provides a wonderful color as well as needed flavor to the dish. Our local supermarket carries Hungarian Paprika in the spice aisle (Pride of Szeged Hungarian Paprika), and we buy a lot of our spices from Penzey’s – they have several varieties of Paprika, but I prefer to use the Hungarian Sweet.

Core cabbage(s). Bring enough water to a boil so that the entire cabbage will be emersed. Boil cabbage (one at a time if using two) for approximately 5 minutes or until leaves are starting to pull away from core. Remove from water and let cool. Once cooled off, carefully remove green leaves until you reach the tougher white leaves. Do not use the white ones for rolling as they are difficult to fold, but roughly chop a few of them to add to the stock pot.

Parboil rice for 10 minutes. While the rice is cooking, combine ground beef, pork, 3 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper in a bowl; mix well to incorporate salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, brown bacon in medium to large stock pot. Remove bacon and half of the grease that was rendered (discard grease). Add onions to remaining bacon grease and cook until translucent. Remove half of the onion mixture and add it along with the rice to the meat mixture; stir to incorporate the onions and rice. Add the flour to the remaining onion mixture in the stock pot and stir for a couple of minutes; this will help eliminate the flour flavor, but help to thicken the base. Add paprika and four cups of water. Stir and bring to a soft boil.

Rinse the sauerkraut in a strainer. Add the diced green pepper and tomato and gently toss to incorporate them together.


On a cutting board, trim off the tough stems of each cabbage leaf as shown in the picture below; this will make the rolling easier.


Put about a tablespoon (depending on the size of the leaf) of the filling into each leaf, and fold bottom to the middle, then each side into the middle, then roll leaf (will resemble an egg roll, as pictured below).



To assemble, put some of the leftover cut-up cabbage leaves into the bottom of the stock pot, then add a little of the sauerkraut mixture. Lightly salt and pepper contents in the pot.


Next, place cabbage rolls in a circle, and fill in gaps with the meatballs. Cover with more cut up cabbage leaves and another layer of the sauerkraut mixture. Lightly salt and pepper again. Continue until you are out of cabbage rolls and meatballs. Finish off with the sauerkraut mixture on top. Add enough water to barely cover mixture.


Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer/soft boil for at least 4 hours, as you are cooking raw pork. The longer you let it cook, the more flavor you will get out of the dish. Oftentimes, this dish is served with a dollup of sour cream. Enjoy!


These recipes have some of the same ingredients:


47 Responses to “Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage”

  1. Danielle on November 16th, 2007 3:36 pm

    These look very different from my Hungarian grandmother’s stuffed cabbage, but very wonderful in a different way! I had no idea you were Hungarian, too. (I liked your blog lots even not knowing, mind.) My maternal grandparents were born in Hungary, my mother was born in Israel, my father was born in Brooklyn, and his recent ancestors came from Ukraine (not far from the Hungarian border).

    Danielle’s last blog post..A Recipe From the Crease of my Right Eye

  2. Cynthia on November 16th, 2007 3:59 pm

    You know there are so many days when you’re thinking of what to make and keep forgetting that there are simple and tasty home-made dishes like these that can be rolled up (pun intended) :) in not time.

  3. meeso on November 16th, 2007 6:35 pm

    This sounds so good, my mom use to cook with cabbage a lot. I would absolutely love to have some of those, I really need to try this sometime…I know my mom would love it!

    meeso’s last blog post..Steak & Mushrooms

  4. meeso on November 17th, 2007 5:26 pm

    You’ve been tagged for a Meme :D If you haven’t done it already.

    meeso’s last blog post..Steak & Mushrooms

  5. Bellini Valli on November 19th, 2007 9:29 am

    These just sound too incredible!!! Throw in a few potatoes on the side and I would be in heaven. Do Hungarians have a version of perogies?

    Bellini Valli’s last blog post..Chicken Pot Pie

  6. marjie on November 19th, 2007 7:35 pm

    I love your web site and all the great pictures and recipes. I will return often.

  7. kris on December 2nd, 2007 12:59 pm

    Hi Everyone,
    Sorry for the lack of comments back – we have been here and there and unable to buckle down on the site lately; never fear, we are back.
    Meeso – we will get to work on the Meme; Valli – I don’t think Hungarians have perogies, but they do cook with potatoes quite a bit…my Mom makes “saucy” potatoes with a lot of paprika, and also baked potatoes made with hard boiled eggs as well. Thanks again and Happy Holidays!

    kris’s last blog post..Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage

  8. laci on December 8th, 2007 5:50 am

    My parents both came from Hungary in 1956 and I eat the Hungarian restaurant here in the the San Fernado Valley (California)I asked both and they only use pork no beef also no paprika.

  9. Agi on December 24th, 2007 2:11 pm

    I have been looking for a receipe for my moms dish and this is the closest I have found. Mom would mix pork and beef. Then she would also add sausage to the pot along with smoked pork pieces.

    To die for!!!

  10. Marie on January 7th, 2008 11:19 pm

    Nice Blog! I came by for a visit!! Everything looks delicious.

  11. Nirmala on January 22nd, 2008 9:06 pm

    This looks just fantastic. I made something similar but the pictures were not nearly as great as yours! Keep it up!

    Nirmala’s last blog post..I’m Back Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

  12. Michael on May 23rd, 2008 11:03 pm

    Mmm. That looks really good actually. Is it difficult finding the ingredients?

    Michael’s last blog post..Make my site rank #1 in Google

  13. Zlamushka on May 25th, 2008 1:22 am

    Hi Andy, I am so glad to read a recipe from Hungary. I am Slovak and love their cuisine. I am so bookmarking your cabbage recipe. I cam here through Cynthia´s blog and am very glad for that. I am hosting Tried & Tasted event dedicated to cooking from other blogs. This month, we re cooking from Cynthia. Up for the challenge?

    Zlamushka’s last blog post..Nepalese Tofu And Pea Curry

  14. The Cooking Ninja on June 4th, 2008 8:35 am

    wow! This looks delicious. :)mmm

  15. Bill on July 23rd, 2008 7:17 pm

    My friends mother use to make these she called them galumpkies or golumpki I don’t know but they where kick butt. I’m going to make some with cabbage out of my garden this years.

  16. Susan Marie on September 7th, 2008 12:31 pm

    My great grandmother was born in Hungary and lived with my family from the time I was 5 years old. She did most of the cooking and I loved to help her. She had a hand meat grinder and let me turn the handle as she put the fresh pork & beef in the top. When I was a little older she taught me how to place the filling in the cabbage leaves and roll them up! Of course nothing was ever written down… I’ve done my own versions over the years but am always looking for better/different ones to try. I picked up a head of cabbage at our local farmers market yesterday and it gave me a hankering for stuffed cabbage. This recipe looks wonderful. I can’t wait to try it out. Thank you Kris!

  17. cynthia maxion on September 28th, 2008 3:30 pm

    My grandmother and grandfather came through Ellis Island in New York in the early 1900′s. My grandmother taoght me how to cook. I wish she was here when I have a question. Actually I am making her cabbage rolls today for company, but I do not know what to serve with them. When she made stuffed green peppers she always made a big pot of mashed potatoies becasue the gravy was so good. The recipes I found on your site gave me some new ideas for variation but I still don’t know what to serve with the stuffed cabbage rolls.
    Thanks, Cindy

  18. kris on September 29th, 2008 2:47 pm

    Hi Cindy,

    I hate to not be a help, but when I called my parents, they said that the only thing they ever served with stuffed cabbage was sour cream (for the dairy) and then a really good bread – usually rye, but whatever you choose – to soak up all of the good juices. It’s truly a meal in and of itself, however, you could always make rice to go along with it to pour the juices over, since the meat doesn’t have too much rice in it. Good luck!


  19. Bebe on January 11th, 2009 11:28 am

    Love knowing theres lots of us Hungarins! my mother’s stuffed cabbage used a tsp. ofset stoma caraway seed. this helps with the gas from cabbage. hungarians often made a ”caraway tea” used for an upset stomach.

  20. Gabriella Laszlo Wilson on February 16th, 2009 2:31 pm

    Both of my parents are Hungarian and came to the US in 1959 after the revolution. I grew up eating exclusively Hungarian food, which I didn’t appreciate then, but now sorely miss. I made your stuffed cabbage recipe for my Dad’s birthday dinner, which was so close to the one he ate as a boy, it moved him to tears. Any chance you might have an authentic Pogacha (? spelling) recipe?

  21. kris on February 16th, 2009 8:52 pm

    Gabriella – I am so happy to hear that your Dad enjoyed it! My Mom is an amazing cook, and her Hungarian cooking can’t be beat – I’ll ask her tomorrow if she has the recipe. I’ll also check the wonderful Hungarian cookbook I have (I’ll give you the name of it when I reply). Take care!

  22. kris on February 17th, 2009 6:28 pm

    Gabriella – I’ll be sending you at least three different recipes that my Mom had. Also, a great book is “The Hungarian Cookbook” by Susan Derecskey. I got it as a gift from my Mom, and have used it a lot, including making my favorite cake, Dios Torta (flourless walnut cake).

  23. R.C. Balogh on February 27th, 2009 3:39 pm

    Mother is Erdely tribe from Tizalok,Szabolcz. Pappys tribe from Komoro, Szabolcz, near Ukeranian border. I’ve leaned more toward varity meat mixtures. Ma was always putting smoked things into the pot. I’ve decided to ad smoked butt, course ground to 50% beef , pork, veal and lamb at any given impulse. But, 50% smoked butt. Ma said: I haven’t tasted this since 1925. She said it was a very old, back country taste. Been making it 30 years in variations. Don’t forget some barley to stiffen up the mix.

  24. R.C. Balogh on February 27th, 2009 3:44 pm

    Been reading George Lang: Cuisine of Hungary. Ma said it was all high cusine, not country style. We Made 300# of Hurka in an afternoon as a boy. Can”t find it anywhere. It’s like precious metal.

  25. Terry Gergely on April 11th, 2009 2:34 pm

    I am a senior of 80 years old and my Mother in law taught me to make this delicious meal. But I always was told to use Pork. So I would buy a 3 or 4 lb Pork butt and cut it into small cubes. Mix with sauted onions Uncle Ben’s long grain rice, one or two eggs, salt and pepper. Before stuffing the cabbages I would put sauer kraut on bottom of kettle and the stuffed cabbages. Cover with water, tomatoe juice and deluted catsup.Cook for about 3 hrs. and jummy. Its delicious. I also put a rack on the bottom of kettle so it does not scorch. I will try the attached recipes
    will be interesting. Thanks Terry

  26. michelle on July 19th, 2009 4:36 pm

    the stuffed cabbage recipe great, closest i have found to my grandma’s original,
    for the person who asked about hurka when i was young and lived in cleveland used to by at the farmers world market there, for years afterward my mom would buy in bulk and freeze whenever she went back east

  27. mollyspain on September 9th, 2009 2:20 pm

    your stuffed cabbage looks wonderful. i shall make it.

  28. Rosemary on November 26th, 2009 10:36 am

    Reminds me of the stuffed cabbage rolls my Hungarian mother-in-law used to make and in the 70′s were a staple at weddings where I lived in Ohio. How many rolls does your recipe yield? I need to make enough for 25 people, so about 50 rolls. Can they be cooked in a large electric roaster instead of stovetop?

  29. Andy on November 26th, 2009 11:45 am

    Rosemary – I would say to add some cabbage to the recipe; I tend to run out of cabbage and instead put “meatballs” into the pot. I would make it on the stovetop, only because I use the same pot to cook onions, etc in it, and it needs to come to a boil before you let it sit for a while. You might need to use two pots, or else one really big one would hold them. Good luck!

  30. Monte Haun on March 13th, 2010 5:06 pm

    I grew up in Cleveland, OH in the 1940s-50s and some small (Hungarian) grocery stores would have a half of a hog covered with paprika hanging in the window. I don’t think it was cooked.

    My Mother didn’t know what it was and as far as I know my Grandmother never served it.

    I wonder what it was and how was it prepared.

    Monte Haun mchaun -At- hotmail -dot- com
    [Edited to obscure email address ~Andy]

  31. Barbara Gurcsik on March 18th, 2010 12:59 am

    I grew up in Toledo, Ohio in the 1940′s-and my great grandma, her daughter, Rose and son in law, Steve and my Dad George had a Hungarian restaurant built in 1930 on the same property where they built their home in 1929. Every four mo.’s the restaurant was decorated (strung) with hanging green & red grapes (live) & tied with red green & white ribbon. The waitresses all wore authentic Hungarian outfits handmade by my mom and a neighbor. The pleats in the starched skirts were each pinned to the ironing table to hand steam them in place. A gypsy band, Ziggy Bella’s, came from Detroit and played wonderful gypsy music while patrons (225 plus) sang and danced on the hardwood dance floor that my grandfather had sprinkled with fine granules of dance wax. One of many dishes served was stuffed cabbage. We did add caraway seed, fresh dill. and tomatoe juice so there was plenty of juice or sauce to dip that great crunchy exterior of the freshly made hungarian white bread which was baked & picked up daily at a small hungarian bakery in the Hungarian neighborhood called Birmingham in Toledo, Ohio. This delicious dish was made in a large electric roaster lined with saurcraut, pigs(rolled cabbage) sauercraut.pigs. etc. etc. I live in LA (Santa Monica, CA.) and in answer to where to find hurka. There was a hungarian deli here in Lancaster CA.that made it. I searched for hungarian deli that offers hurka. You have made me so hungry for it now that you mentioned it. Tony Packo’s (web site) in Toledo, Ohio ships it US and Internationally.

  32. kris on March 18th, 2010 3:48 pm

    Monte – I believe what you are asking about is called Abárolt Salonna (I believe it is boiled pork, then the spicy flavors of the paprika with it melts in your mouth), and it is probably my favorite of all of the prepared meats. I have had hurka (fresh blood sausage that can also have rice in it), and I also love Kolbász, which is the smoked sausage, mainly distinguished by the use of paprika, but has many variations…pretty much all of them good. The place back “home”, at least where I was born and my parents had immigrated to, is:
    Budai Meat Market
    52 Robinson Street
    New Brunswick, NJ, 08901
    1-732-247-4554 — my parents still get things delivered to Wisconsin from there.

    Magyar Marketing
    1070 South Schenley
    Youngstown, Ohio, 44509

    Good luck, and happy eating ;-)
    .-= kris´s last blog ..Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage =-.

  33. VeronicaL on May 15th, 2010 2:35 pm

    My father was born here, but when he was about four years old, the family went back to Austria to attend his grandmother’s funeral. The war broke out and the ocean was mined, so the family remained in Austria Hungary. He was reared and educated there and when he was 21 years old, he came to the United States. He married my mother who was Czechoslovakian and what wonderful food we were raised on.

    Thank you for your recipe. Mine is somewhat different than yours in that I use tomato juice to cook my rolls and some smoked pork.

  34. r. c. balogh on June 5th, 2010 1:24 pm

    My Brides gone vegan! Yikes. But, I’m still in charge of the galley. Got old recipes for Hurka, and Deres(Blood) Hurka. We’ve become weak in our gastronomic pursuits. This is a lot of work, but a good butcher can get ingredients. Unfortunately, this is a team activity. I ,alas am the last mohichan. If anyone would like Balant Cscaki’s recipe, or Grand ma Erdely’s I would gladely submit. Also0, I suspect, the variations are a matter of supply, and $$$.

  35. Clarice Annerud on August 29th, 2010 9:49 pm

    Thank you, thank you , thank you! I am dating a Hungarian and he asked for galumpkis. I wanted to make them so he would feel at home. Your recipe is a bit different from what my mother made for us. When he tasted them I got the best compliment, “these are like my Ma’s”. I have made him a happy man and you have made me a very happy woman!

  36. Thomas Braun on January 1st, 2011 6:01 pm

    I am Hungarian, and there is nothing better than


  37. Janet on April 15th, 2011 7:16 pm

    I have been looking a very long time for a recipe I remember as a kid but all I can remember
    is that it was a cabbage roll such as a long nut roll would be only the filling was cabbage, the dough was a basic dough that you would use for the different pastries-have you ever heard of this. My grandmother was from Pa.and I still have some of her cook books from Romanian culture
    but not this cabbage thing. Help if you can…
    Appreciate it Janet

  38. Jane Levington on May 19th, 2011 9:31 am

    Wow! This recipe looks delicious. I have tried Cabbage Rolls in tomato sauce, prepared just like Stuffed Hungarian Peppers. And this recipe you have looks slightly different but I think this will sure taste so good. I can’t wait to try this out. Thank you…

  39. Laszlo on December 4th, 2011 2:34 pm

    Just made a double portion (to freeze some for future eats) and it came out great. It tasted just like I remember eating as a kid in Transylvania. Thank you for sharing it with all of us. Just sent the link to my sister.

  40. Bob McKeen on December 17th, 2011 1:14 pm

    My Mom used to make longolo with lots of garlic, do you know where I can get how to make it?

  41. Ilona on December 20th, 2011 11:59 am

    Well this year I will be making the hungarian cabbage rolls for Christmas. My mother has been making them for our family for years. Unfortunately this year she is ill so I told her I would make them. Of course trying to get the recipe from her wasn’t easy as she has never written it down…So it should be interesting all those years of watching her make them, now at 48 years old this will be my first attempt. Your recipe looks very close. Well here goes nothing…

  42. Joe Yacso on February 2nd, 2012 5:11 pm

    My grandparents were part of the founding families who started the Hungarian American Society here in Akron Ohio in the Mid 20s. My father was one of six and all of the family used to get together and make Stuffed Cabbage, Sausage, Hurka and Kocsonya(jellied pigs feet).There are still places in Akron,Cleveland and Barberton Ohio to purchase these things mostly at holidays but ARE still available. There is a resturant in Barberton,Ohio that also has a real old time butcher shop that serves all those foods and MORE ! Google Als Quality Market and also resturant in Barberton,Ohio and see how yu can still get the food we all grew up on ! ..

  43. Lenora Breznai on February 12th, 2012 7:33 pm

    I just finished cooking the lovely dish. My husband is Hungarian and his grandparents came through Ellis Island in th 1900′s. I cook their recipe at least twice a year. I wanted to try a new one and this one was my choice. I tweeted it a little here and there but the results were fantastic. It usually always taste better the second day but this was wonderful right out of the pot the first helping. Thank you so much.
    The Paprika does make all the difference.

  44. Ethel Leone (Czvik) on April 22nd, 2012 10:13 am

    Parents came in the 1920′s thru Ellis Island- We did a great csardes- I married an Italain – my mother died when I was 19 and I never learned to cook Hungarian food. I am now 76 and relearning to speak Magyar(Simon & Schuster’s- Pimsleur) and to cook stuff cabbage. I don’t remember green peppers in the receipt, but it sounds good. I an also going make palacsinta for desert. Doesn’t that sound good. ( Kissunim )spel? Thank You

  45. barb dules on May 20th, 2012 2:14 pm

    Your recipes sounds so good! My grandmother’s recipe was very similar except she added a can of chopped tomatoes and allspice to the bacon fat and flour mixture. We have always had this dish with mashed potatoes & sour cream.

  46. Kathleen Burke Brown on August 14th, 2012 1:25 pm

    My Hungarian grandmother(born in 1884)passed this receipe down to my mother and all of her sisters. I now make it a couple of times a year for family gatherings. I use pork, beef and veal. I also mix the leftover chopped cabbage with sauerkraut and stewed tomatos for the layering mixture. Pretty much the same receipe as yours. I make mashed potatos mashed with butter, sour cream and buttermilk for all that wonderful cabbage mixture. I bake it for at least 5 hours and serve it the next day. No other country has stuffed cabbages as good as the Hungarians!!!!!

  47. Linda Stoeckl Gartner on September 26th, 2012 10:40 pm

    I’m first generation American. My dad is from the Danube Swabian town of Kernei in the former Batschka (what is now Serbia) region of the former Yugoslavia. Before World War I, Kernei was part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, and is located only 50 miles from Szeged, Hungary, where the wonderful Hungarian paprika is made. Needless to say, I grew up on many Hungarian dishes! Your recipe sounds delicious and very authentic. Every family adds their own little “tweak.” My family adds two tweakers: Paprika Speck – smoked fat from pork with paprika on top; and Kaiser Speck – smoked boneless bacon (yeah, I know…boneless bacon haha). We sometimes add Hungarian smoked sausages. Great comfort food! Thank you for this version!