Real Recipes From Real Home Cooks ®

halupki (cabbage rolls)

(1 rating)
Recipe by
Staci Cakes
On a farm in..., GA

Authentic family recipe. Growing up I always thought that my Aunt Rosie made the best halupki and a few years ago I got the chance to make them along side of her. My memory of our family making halupki always involved those large white turkey roasters. We always cooked for an army no matter how many were expected - we constantly had family and friends dropping in and out of Baba's. This recipe makes approximately 120-125 medium-large cabbage rolls. If I'm going to spend the time making them I make them in bulk to freeze. This recipe can be easily scaled down.

(1 rating)
yield serving(s)
prep time 2 Hr
cook time 2 Hr
method Stove Top

Ingredients For halupki (cabbage rolls)

  • 2-3 lg
    heads of cabbage
  • 10 lb
    ground beef or a combination of beef and pork 2:1
  • 3 md
    onions, diced
  • 2
    green peppers, diced
  • 1/2 - 1
    head of garlic, minced (to taste)
  • 1/8 - 1/4 c
    salad oil
  • 1 jar
    32oz sauerkraut drained and rinsed (optional)
  • 2 jar
    tomato soup (not condensed) i use 2 - 1 quart jars of home canned tomato soup. you can easily use canned tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, or diced tomatoes - you thicken a little with tomato paste or not
  • 2 - 3 c
    slightly undercooked rice (i use parboiled b/c it holds its texture)
  • salt & pepper - to taste

How To Make halupki (cabbage rolls)

  • 1
    CABBAGE: In a large soup/stock pot add enough, lightly salted, water to submerge a head of cabbage. Bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer. Core each whole head of cabbage.
  • 2
    CABBAGE: Parboil cabbage until slightly tender.
  • 3
    CABBAGE: Remove the outer leaves as they become tender - do not overcook. Drain well and let cool.
  • 4
    ONIONS, PEPPERS & GARLIC: Dice onions and green peppers. Peel cloves of garlic and mince.
  • 5
    ONIONS, PEPPERS & GARLIC: Heat oil in pan, stir in onions, peppers, and seasoning; cook until just tender. Remove from heat; set aside to cool. *Vegetables should be tender but still be able to retain their shape and texture through mixing and baking.
  • 6
    MEAT MIXTURE: Season the meat and mix well with your hands, squeezing meat through your fingers to mix thoroughly. Add cooled onion/pepper mixture, minced garlic, and rice.
  • 7
    MEAT MIXTURE: Again with your hands, mix in cooled onion/pepper mixture, minced garlic, and 2 cups of the rice. Mix until well incorporated. Add more rice and additional seasoning if needed. *At this point I like to take a pinch of meat and fry in a small pan to test the seasoning before assembling the cabbage rolls.
  • 8
    CABBAGE ROLLS: Take about 1/3 of a cup of meat and roll into about a 3" oblong tube of meat. Place meat at cored end of one leaf of cabbage.
  • 9
    CABBAGE ROLLS: Tightly roll meat in cabbage (away from you) until you no longer see the meat and the cored end of cabbage meets middle of cabbage leaf.
  • 10
    CABBAGE ROLLS: Take excess cabbage from both sides of meat and neatly and tightly fold in towards each other, allowing the cabbage above the meat to neatly fold in evenly. *See picture*
  • 11
    CABBAGE ROLLS: Continue to roll meat tightly until the cabbage is completely and neatly wrapped. At this point you can gently push the cabbage into the meat on each end of the meat - this helps secure the cabbage in place while cooking. Don't use the smaller leaves, set aside for later. Continue rolling until all of the meat is used. You should have cabbage leftover.
  • 12
    CABBAGE ROLLS TIP: If the thick vein of the cabbage makes it too tough to roll you can simply trim the vein. Be careful not to trim too much of the cabbage. You can see where the vein was trimmed in steps 9 - 11.
  • 13
    FREEZING: At this point you can freeze your cabbage rolls by placing them spaced evenly without touching on a baking sheet and place into the freezer until completely frozen. Then place the individually frozen cabbage rolls in a freezer safe plastic bag and back into the freezer until ready to use.
  • 14
    LAYERING CABBAGE ROLLS: Layer enough leaves in a single layers at the bottom of your roaster.
  • 15
    LAYERING CABBAGE ROLLS: (optional) Next spread a layer of sauerkraut
  • 16
    LAYERING CABBAGE ROLLS: Add a layer of cabbage rolls. At this point, if you plan to double layer your cabbage rolls repeat with a layer of cabbage, sauerkraut, and some tomatoes/sauce before adding the second layer of rolls.
  • 17
    LAYERING CABBAGE ROLLS: Top cabbage rolls with remaining cabbage and sauerkraut. Pour tomatoes/soup/sauce evenly over cabbage rolls.
  • 18
    Cover and bake at 350 degrees for about 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until meat is fully cooked and a cabbage roll can easily be cut through with the side of a fork. *This cooking time is based on cooking 20 - 25 thawed cabbage rolls in a single layer.