Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (Töltött Káposzta)
You put the meat in the cabbage and stuff it all up!
When I made my Keto dumplings by replacing the flour wrappers with cabbage I had no idea I was late to the party. The Polish and Hungarians were doing this already. It was a bit of deja-vu when I was making this recipe. Töltött Káposzta or stuffed cabbage rolls is however more than just some meat wrapped with cabbage. This dish is absolutely wholesome and nutritious. It’s got layers of flavours and textures and it’s a hearty soup like preparation. It does take a bit of work but trust me it’s totally worth it.
One of the things I realized while doing my research on this dish is that everyone in Hungary makes it slightly differently. As with more recipes a dish like this allows you to really play around with the layers and the flavours. So I took a few liberties since there was no way mine was going to ‘authentic’ as no matter what I did, someone would have their own way of making this which would be the right one. So here is my take, a Keto version of Töltött Káposzta.
What I love about this recipe is that we use everything. All parts of the cabbage are used in my version. Right from the stems to the remainder of the cabbage leaves etc etc. In fact if you have lots of extra cabbage you can make my Cabbage Sabzi recipe. You can use any left over cabbage stock to make my Keto spinach soup or the mushroom soup even.
If you don’t eat pork you can use beef or chicken mince. You can skip the sauerkraut if you don’t get it where you live. You can also skip the bacon completely. Normally people use Hungarian sausage which I think you can even replace with some chorizo was a different flavour. There are so many options. Go nuts!
Nutrition Info (Per serving)
- Calories: 521
- Net Carbs: 6g
- Carbs: 10g
- Fat: 41g
- Protein: 28g
- Fiber: 4g
This recipe makes 8 servings. Get this recipe on myfitnesspal. The macros do not include any sour cream that is used for garnish. Add that separately.
Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (Töltött Káposzta)
- 1 Kg Ground Pork
- 1 Kg Cabbage
- 1 Egg
- 200 grams Cooked Cauliflower Rice
- 2 Tsp Paprika Buy Online
- 1 Tsp Caraway Seeds Buy Online
- 1 Tsp Salt
- 1 Tsp Pepper
- 150 grams Saurekraut
- 200 grams Smoked Bacon Cubes
- 60 grams Onion
- 1 Tbsp Butter
- 3 Cloves of Garlic
- 1 Green ChillI Pepper
- In a mortar and pestle crush the caraway seeds and then in a large mixing bowl add the ground pork, cooked cauliflower rice, salt, pepper, 1 tsp paprika, the crushed caraway seeds and one egg. Give everything a good mix and set it aside.
- Get a large pot of boiling water on the stove and add salt to it. Once it comes to a boil core the cabbage and add it to the pot. As it cooks the outer leaves will start separating. Using a point of tongs keep removing them as they cook. Finally once you have enough leaves you remove the remainder of the cabbage. Strain and save the water aka cabbage stock for later.
- Prep the leaves by removing the middle part which is the firm white vein. Chop and set that aside to use later. If the leaves are too big then split them in half. Also chop the reminder of the cabbage core that is left.
- Now take small portions of the ground pork and wrap them in the cabbage leaves and set them aside.
- In the same pan add the smoked bacon cubes and cook on a low heat till the bacon fat renders out and the bacon starts to crisp up. Then remove half the bacon with a slotted spoon and add in the onions.
- Fry the onions till translucent and then add the chopped cabbage stems and fry till the onions start to brown. Add the butter and the garlic and cook till the garlic starts to brown.
- Add one tsp of paprika and cook for a minute or two. Then deglaze the pan with about 1/2 cup water. Then add some of the chopped cabbage and sauerkraut to create a layer. On this place your cabbage rolls.
- Layer the top of the cabbage rolls with more fresh cabbage, sauerkraut, some bacon cubes and then place the next layer of cabbage rolls. Top with the green chilly.
- Finally cover with cabbage leaves and pour in about 500ml of the cabbage stock. Cover with a lid and cook for 60 minutes.
- After that turn the heat off and serve the cabbage rolls with some sour cream. Also drink the broth that is in the pot. Don't waste it. That's delicious.
Being a Hungarian on keto, I have been following your takes on Hungarian recipes with interest!
My Hungarian side makes me say this: I am not aware of anybody in Hungary who would use normal, as in not fermented cabbage leaves :). Living outside of Hungary however, I applaud the idea to replace the fermented cabbage leaves (usually not available) with normal cabbage leaves (available). By using minced fermented cabbage (sauerkraut) the original flavor (whatever that is) can be approximated!
Thank you! Keep the recipes coming!
Thank you Reka!
1st mistake I made…. I DIDNT DOUBLE THE RECIPE! If you have a large cast iron stock pot, just double or even triple the recipe. This is one of those meals you make for a group of people and it costs you almost nothing, but looks and tastes amazing. The cabbaage rolls could all be made the day before if you wanted to just throw is together the next day. To save time, I rendered the bacon fat while I was cooking & peeling the cabbage leaves off. Took me 30min of prep time including waiting for the water to boil. another winner!
Hi Lori B. My mum used to cook a very large pot of it. At least 30 cabbage rolls. This is a typical winter dish in Hungary. They keep it in the cold kitchen, don’t put it in the fridge but re heat it every time before they eat from it. The flavors just get better every time, and as saying in Hungary “It tastes the best when was reheated 7 times!”
The Hungarian cabbage rolls are amazing!! Light, tender so delicious! Thank you for sharing the video and recipe!
I initially wasn’t gonna make it because it seemed like hard work but after watching your tasting, I decided to try it and you’re absolutely right! So worth it! I didn’t have cauliflower so I rocked some mushrooms instead and it works! Also added chilli powder because we like the heat. It was a super hit even with my non-keto boyfriend. Thanks for the recipe!
Congrats Sahil, I am so impressed with your recipe!!!
As a Hungarian from Transylvania, I grew up eating cabbage rolls made either from fermented cabbage ( in winter) or “sweet” aka raw cabbage (in summer). My family used to add tomato juice+broth to the cabbage rolls made of raw cabbage to make the dish sour. We traditionally add savory and/or dill weed in the bottom of the pot along with bone-in smoked ham/ hocks. Try it and you will be amazed by the dept of flavors 🙂 And you are right: every family has its own recipe of this dish that is passed down . Thank you for sharing 🙂
thanks so much. I’m glad to hear that and yes I will definitely try those tips.
Ok, trying this tonight for the first time! I love to cook, so the prep was just a step! You def gave awesome direction, & we can’t wait to try! My whole thing was -what to do because I’ve always made them with rice. SO….big thanks for helping me make my husband more Keto just before Valentine’s Day!
Ok, made this last night for my Wife and some friends. I did it even though everyone knows you don’t make stuff you never made before when company is coming over,,,
This recipe was FANTASTIC! everyone LOVED it. Supper good.
I’m glad i doubled the recipe because i took some to work today for lunch. It warms up very well.
Good Job Man!
Sahil can you give a substitute for sauerkraut.
My mother is Hungarian and we always had this the traditional way with rice in the meat and cooked in tomato sauce/ juice . This way is SO MUCH better.
Wonderfully flavorful !
I made this last weekend for my family (6 out of 9 who were present, including 2 teenage boys and a very picky “tween” girl) and everybody absolutely LOVED it! Since I have no idea what cubed Bacon is, I cooked up 1/2 lb. of thick cut Bacon and used that. And since I have NEVER been able to present any “stuffed anything” (e.g., rolatinis, manicotti, peppers, zucchinis, cabbages, etc.) in a presentable fashion, I first boiled the Cauliflower and Cabbage (together) in my Dutch Oven while I sauteed the pork mince, bacon, onion and garlic in my frying pan. I removed the Cauliflower and Cabbage from the Dutch Oven, allowed them to cool a bit, and then chopped them to “a desired consistency” before returning them and all of the other ingredients (minus the Egg, since I didn’t need it to “bind” anything) to it. I added 2.5 cups of the Cabbage/Cauliflower water to the pot, stirred everything around a bit, and let it simmer for an hour. In a separate pot, I boiled 6 Yukon Gold Potatoes and set them out along with (unsalted) Butter, Sour Cream, and chopped Scallions (Spring Onions) for whoever wanted. A GREAT dinner. My husband even asked me to make it again “when there’s no one else but us 2 around”, lol.
Oh boy, let’s not call these Hungarian cabbage rolls. They veer pretty far from my Hungarian grandparents recipe. They look delicious however.
Thank you! I’d love to know what they did differently? Like what part veers far away? I studied a lot of different recipes from various Hungarian blogs and channels so I’m always happy to learn more and understand what kind of makes it more authentic.
Hi Sahil, my mother was born and raised in Budapest, Hungary and a true Magyar. We just made Hungarian stuffed cabbage last night. I came across your recipe today and this is almost exactly how my mother showed me how to make it but we used pork shank. Boiled in water until soft and used a some of that water/juice and poured it in with the rolls and cabbage along with the softened pork shank for the flavor instead of bacon. I do not eat the pork shank, and we do not add garlic but I understand you wanted to layer for flavor and I bet delicious! And as you said, we used rice and a Hungarian Hot Pepper if you want a little spice. And yes, Hungarians love their sour cream! Can’t wait to check out some of your other Hungarian recipes to compare and get your view on them. Enjoy!!!
thank you so much Sandra! I’m very glad to hear this and thank you for sharing your family recipe with me.