Cabbage Rolls

cabbage-rolls-carrot sauce

Cabbage rolls (kāpostu tīteņi) is one of those dishes that many like to eat but deem to challenging to make. Not so long ago I belonged to this category, however, lack of ready-made options have proven that making them is not as hard as it may seem.

Cabbage rolls was the “signature dish” of my grandmother’s sister Dzidra – every time we went to visit her in Liepāja she made a huge pile of cabbage rolls. It was a special occasion, almost as eating a delicacy, as I cannot remember anyone else in my family making them. These days, my kids love them, just as much as I loved them when I was growing up.

Cabbage Rolls

1 hour, 10 minutes

12 cabage rolls

Cabbage Rolls


  • 1 medium size cabbage
  • For the filling
  • 300g beef mince
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1 medium carrot
  • For the sauce
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.
  2. Remove outer and any damaged leaves from the cabbage. Cut around the core and place the cabbage (core side up) in the boiling water for 10 - 15 minutes.
  3. Remove cabbage from the pot, loosen and remove outer leaves (as many as possible), return the cabbage to the pot to heat it further. Leaves have to be soft enough not to break. Repeat removal of leaves and heating as many times as necessary - you will need 12 leaves. Carefully beat thicker parts of the cabbage leaves with a meat tenderiser.
  4. For the filling, grate the carrot and mix together with the mince and cooked rice. Season well.
  5. Place two tablespoons of filling on the thickest part of a cabbage leaf, then fold the leaf upwards, fold in both sides and roll up (just like rice paper rolls). Repeat with the remaining leaves and filling.
  6. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan, add the cabbage rolls and fry for couple minutes on both sides. Place the rolls in an ovenproof dish.
  7. Finely chop onion and grate the carrot. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a medium saucepan, add the onion and sautee on low heat until translucent. Add the grated carrots and cook for further 3 minutes. Add sour cream and tomato paste, stir until sour cream has melted, season well.
  8. Pour the sauce over cabbage rolls, cover the dish and place it in the oven for 30-35 minutes.
  9. Serve hot, boiled potatoes are optional.


Uncooked rolls freeze well. Make in advance, thaw overnight when required and continue cooking from step 5. Alternative recipes do not require sauce - cabbage rolls are fried on a pan, then placed in an oven with a cup of water and couple tablespoons of sour cream.


  1. tania
    December 31, 2015

    GEEEEEZZZZ. I can’t believe how many people don’t fry the rolls before stacking them in the casserole dish. The browning in the frying pan caramelizes the outside of the cabbage roll and lends a lot to the flavour. Otherwise it’s basically just boiled cabbage! PLEASE don’t take short cuts, and fry them in oil/butter until golden brown first. It makes so much difference to the flavour! (And the same goes for chopped bacon and onion mixture before putting it in speku piradzini. I can’t believe people put unfried bacon in their bacon rolls!)

    1. Liva
      December 31, 2015

      Each to their own, I suppose. Although I can see a point in browning the cabbage rolls (and some people do), I have never seen pīrāgs with browned bacon or onion in it.

  2. […] Cabbage rolls – what’s not to love? But what do you do when it is Monday night, no Latvian deli in sight, and no energy to cook? Needless to say, who keeps a whole head of cabbage in the fridge? […]

    1. Anonymous
      October 26, 2019

      Just make a big stack of them and freeze small portions. Keep well in freezer.


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