For years I’ve been wanting to make Hungarian stuffed cabbage, just like my Auntie Rose and Nana used to make it. It’s a dish I grew up with and have missed for so long. I tried to make it once, when we first got married and it was an absolute failure, even with my Nana walking me through the steps.
Trying to get the cabbage leaves off in one piece and then rolling them was a nightmare for me. They were tearing and I just remember getting so frustrated that I accepted the fact that I would never have stuffed cabbage (at least the way they made it), again.
About a month ago, I accidentally stumbled on a recipe for a slow cooker stuffed cabbage casserole. It seemed similar to our family recipe, at least from what I remembered and I was excited that I wouldn’t have to worry about the cabbage leaves, so I gave it a try.
Y’all… the look on my family’s face spoke volumes. I could just tell that they didn’t love it. The rice was uncooked and crunchy (even though it had sat in the slow cooker for hours) and it had no flavor. It didn’t taste anything like the recipe I grew up with. It was so disappointing.
As frustrated as I was, I was more determined than ever to share those incredible flavors that I knew, with my kids. A couple of weeks ago, I finally did it! That first bite brought tears to my eyes because it was exactly as I remembered it, just a deconstructed version. I didn’t have to struggle with the cabbage leaves and it was amazing.
Since Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, begins tonight, at sundown, I thought it was the perfect opportunity for me to share this recipe with you all. It would make such a great family meal.
Of course, you don’t have to be Jewish or celebrate Rosh Hashanah to enjoy this Hungarian stuffed cabbage casserole. In fact, it’s made it to the top of Super Dad’s favorite meals. He’s already planning the next batch and wants me to make it with ground pork next time (it was great BTW).
Let’s talk equipment. This Hungarian stuffed cabbage casserole recipe will need at least a 6-quart slow cooker. If you have anything smaller, you’ll need to adjust the recipe accordingly. If you don’t have a slow cooker yet… well… what are you waiting for?!
We use our slow cooker at least 1-2 times a week. It’s super convenient and helps me to make sure I can get dinner on the table on those busy nights. Just some prep work in the morning or afternoon and then you let your slow cooker do the work. Plus you have the added bonus of the incredible aroma filling your house for hours. When it’s dinner time, you just uncover and serve.
I have the Crock-Pot 7qt Programmable Cook & Carry Slow Cooker. It’s actually my 2nd one. We had the first one for YEARRRSSSSS until I thought I was much stronger than I actually am and tried to pull it out of the cabinet with one hand. The ceramic part fell out and broke (as well as a tiny piece of my heart along with it).
Thank goodness for Target delivery because we were able to get a new one delivered to the house in just a couple of hours. I love it so much, especially how reasonably priced it is.
Ok, let’s talk about the ingredients.
You’ll want to core the cabbage. I tend to just cut around the core and then chop the top part off. Then you can chop the cabbage up into 1-2″ pieces.
For the meat, you can use turkey, beef, or pork. I’ve even heard of people using a combination of beef and pork. My Nana always used ground turkey and I love that it’s a leaner option.
The Hungarian paprika was a little hard for me to find locally. I did find some sweet paprika on Amazon though and if you are a Prime member, it will arrive in 1-2 days. It has such a great flavor and would be a great addition to so many dishes.
Don’t completely drain the sauerkraut before adding it. Leaving about 1/4 of a cup and adding it to the slow cooker adds another layer of flavor.
The rice is totally optional, but traditional Hungarian stuffed cabbage does have rice in the mixture, so I included it. I found cooking it separately both ensure that it’s fully cooked and also gives you the option to add the amount you’d like.
Above you’ll find step-by-step photos of what your layers should look like.
- Meat, onions, and garlic
- Diced Tomatoes
- Meat, onions, and garlic
- Tomato sauce/water
Now that you know a little about the dish, I’m excited to share the recipe with you. If you do make it, I’d love for you to share a photo and tag us on social media or comment below and let me know what you think. We love feedback from our readers!
Don’t forget to check out our other family friendly recipes.
Slow Cooker Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage CasserolePrint
If you love the classic Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage, you’ll love the casserole version. All of the flavor you love, without all the work!
- 2lbs ground turkey (you can also use beef or pork)
- 1/2 Vidalia onion, diced
- 4–5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tsp hungarian (sweet) paprika
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 head of cabbage, chopped
- 14oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 2 lbs sauerkraut, mostly drained
- (2) 14oz cans tomato sauce
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 cups cooked rice
- In a skillet, over med-high heat, add meat, 1 tsp of salt, black pepper and garlic powder and brown until no longer pink.
- Add chopped onion and garlic, stir and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.
- Core the cabbage and chop into 1 inch pieces. Add half of the cabbage to the bottom of your slow cooker, in an even layer.
- Add half of the meat on top of the cabbage, in an even layer.
- In a small dish, mix together the remaining spices (1 tsp each of salt, black pepper, garlic powder and Hungarian (sweet) paprika). Sprinkle half of the spice mixture on top of the meat, making sure to cover the whole layer of meat.
- Add diced tomatoes (with juice) on top of the spiced meat, in an even layer.
- Add the rest of the cabbage on top, in an even layer.
- Add the rest of the meat, in an even layer.
- Sprinkle the rest of the spice mix, making sure to cover the entire layer of meat.
- Add the sauerkraut in an even layer on top. I like to leave a little sauerkraut juice for added flavor.
- In a small bowl, mix together tomato sauce and water until combined. Pour mixture on top of the sauerkraut.
- Cover and cook on high for 4 hours.
- About 30 minutes before the food is ready, cook the white rice as you normally would. Then stir the ingredients in the crock pot so that everything is mixed well, cover and continue cooking.
- Serve immediately, with a side of rice.
You’ll need at least a 6qt slow cooker for this recipe. If you have anything smaller, you may want to adjust the ingredients accordingly.
- Prep Time: 15 min
- Cook Time: 4 hours
- Method: Slow Cooker
- Cuisine: Hungarian