Pioneering Today Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls Recipe

This slow cooker cabbage rolls recipe is one of my very favorites. I’ve tried the unstuffed version and the oven version, but this is best cooked on low in the slow cooker. Is there any busy woman out there who doesn’t love her slow cooker? It’s like having a kitchen robot, I tell it when I want dinner, toss in the ingredients, and at supper time, an amazing meal is ready. Now if we could do this for the rest of the house…

Best ever slow cooker cabbage rolls recipe. We love these delicious slow cooker cabbage rolls. Seriously, these are our most requested recipe ever, get your copy now!

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Resources for Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls Recipe

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Apple cider vinegar is a must in our house, but many brands use “caramel coloring”. This is an organic and raw apple cider vinegar with all the health benefits –> Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

Quinoa is a wonderful gluten free seed that is high in protein and one of our favorite foods. –> Organic Quinoa

No baby sitter needed slow cooker–> Programmable slow cooker

Delicious Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls 

Depending upon how long you’re gone for the day and how hot your slow cooker cooks, you might find it over cooks. Because my sweet mother lives up the road, I’ve often dropped off my slow cooker so she could turn it off for me, but now that I’ve discovered from our affiliate partner Amazon this little programmable slow cooker (isn’t that the coolest thing ever), I won’t have to try and fit putting my slow cooker in day care while I’m gone. 

In the process of making delicious slow cooker cabbage rolls

My picky seven-year-old will eat these slow cooker cabbage rolls with gusto and it’s even better the second day.

Boil a pot of water and add head of cabbage, cook for 2 minutes and drain. (You can freeze cabbage then thaw and skip the boiling part. We just need the leaves soft enough to roll)

How to make slow cooker cabbage rolls Recipe at #glutenfree and a family favorite, even with the picky kid

Combine rice, egg, liquid, onion, garlic, beef, salt, and seasonings in large bowl. Tip: If you want more veggies, try grated carrots or cauliflower in place of the rice or quinoa. Place 1/4 cup meat mixture in center of leaf and roll, tucking ends. Place cabbage rolls seam side down in slow cooker.

Mix all sauce ingredients together and pour over rolls. Depending upon the size of the cabbage, I sometimes double the sauce if I have more than 10 rolls, or if I want extra sauce to sop up my bread.

Cook cabbage rolls on low 8 hours in slow cooker, or on high for 4 hours if you didn’t get it started in time. Now ooh and ahh with your family. It’s the perfect mix of sweet and sour. The texture of the cabbage reminds me of pot stickers, another favorite.

Best ever slow cooker cabbage rolls These are gluten free and so good even my picky eater eight-year-old gobbles them up. Can you say healthy comfort food? Recipe at

5.0 from 5 reviews
Pioneering Today Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 10
  • 10 cabbage leaves
  • ½ cup uncooked wild rice, quinoa, grated carrots and/or cauliflower)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¼ cup water or broth
  • ¼ cup minced onion
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • Sauce (If you like lots of sauce, feel free to double this, I’ve done it both ways)
  • 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 Tbs. honey
  • 2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  1. Boil a pot of water and add head of cabbage, cook for 2 minutes and drain. (You can freeze cabbage then thaw and skip the boiling part. We just need the leaves soft enough to roll)
  2. Combine rice, egg, liquid, onion, garlic, beef, salt, and seasonings in large bowl. Place ¼ cup meat mixture in center of leaf and roll up like a burrito. Place seam side down in slow cooker.
  3. Mix all sauce ingredients together and pour over rolls. Cook on low 8 hours in slow cooker.

Best Ever Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll recipe at gluten free and even picky kids love it. Healthy comfort food!


In Pioneering Today-Faith and Home the Old Fashioned Way, I explain practical and easy methods to cook from scratch, garden, preserve your own food, and see God’s fingerprint in your everyday busy life. Read the first chapter for FREE and bring simple back to your home.

The sauce is especially good when sopped up with some homemade bread made in less than 5 minutes a day.

What’s your favorite slow cooker dish?

This recipe is featured on Kelly The Kitchen Hop’s Bog, This Chick Cooks Whole Foods Recipe Swap,  and Miz Helen’s Country Cottage Recipe Swap, and The Prairie Homestead and Traditional Tuesdays.

Looking for more healthy slow cooker recipes?

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  1. says

    I am definitely trying this! I have been married for nearly 14 years and I have YET to make a good cabbage roll recipe!!! My favorite is a chili recipe made with black beans and ground turkey. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    • says

      I do love black beans in my chili too, Becky. I haven’t tried turkey chili, but I do a chicken one. I’ll have to give the other poultry a try. :) Let me know what you think of this recipe.

      • jessie says

        I just made this today but I didn’t have wild rice, I had quinoa so I used that instead and it turned out delicious. I added a tbs of chicken bullion and since i didn’t have Worcestershire sauce I added 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar. It so easy to make! and delicious.

        • says

          I bet the apple cider vinegar was nice. I love apple cider vinegar and sneak it into a lot of recipes. lol I’m planning on using quinoa next time I make this, thanks for letting me know it turns out well. So glad you enjoyed it!

  2. heatherdaygilbert says

    Definitely pinning to my Pinterest board! My mom makes the best cabbage rolls in the world, but I might try to give these a shot, since they look delish!

  3. says

    Hi Melissa,
    We just love Cabbage Rolls and I especially love your recipe that can be made in the Slow Cooker. This recipe is going in my recipe box, we will really enjoy it! Hope you are having a great week end and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

    • says

      Thanks, Miz Helen. I do like my slow cooker, especially on those busy days when I don’t have time to spend all day in the kitchen, but don’t want to sacrifice taste and a home cooked meal. I hope you enjoy this as much as we do. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Johnna says

    Could you assemble these rolls ahead of time and freeze them then place the frozen rolls in the slow cooker in the morning of a really busy day?

    • Melissa Norris says

      Johanna, I don’t see why not. That’s actually a really good idea. Let me know how it works if you try it, and next time I make these I’ll try some frozen and update the post w/ tips if it works well. Thanks!

  5. Amy says

    I’ve got mine in the crockpot now. I’m hoping it’s a BIG hit tonight for dinner. We will have an Artesian Bread that I baked the other night, which turned out AMAZING by the way. Thanks Melissa!!!

  6. Marcy says

    Just made these.. They are in the crockpot, my only worry is if they will come apart once I try to scoop them out.. Any tips on getting them out? Lol.. Oh, and the sauce is delicious! Couldn’t resist trying it!

    • says

      That sauce is awesome, I always take an extra spoonful on my plate. :)
      The rolls will stay together, the cabbage keeps them held fairly well. I use a large spoon to transfer them to the bowls or plates when eating. If they do come apart, they still taste great. I have made them unstuffed, where I layer the ingredients kind of like lasagna, but I chop up the cabbage, for large events where I need to serve more than 10 people. Love to hear how they turn out!

  7. Candace says

    These are in the crockpot on low right now, but I need to have dinner at 6. Should I increase to high in a little while? Any tips? Or keep cooking on low and have a really late dinner? 😉

    • says

      Candace, you can put them on high and then bring back to low. My slow cooker actually cooks a little warm even on the low setting. I’d do high for a total of 4 hours and low 6 to 8. Or a combination of approximate. Consider 1 hour on high the equivalent of 2 hours on low.

  8. Danielle Moore says

    I’m compiling an ebook and was wondering if you would mind if I used some of your recipes/referred to this site/had a link to this site in my book. Feel free to email me at the above address with any questions. Thank you in advance for your consideration. Sincerely, Danielle Moore

    • says

      Gina, a pressure cooker? I don’t think so. The magic happens when it’s cooked slowly over a long period of time as the flavors have a chance to really mingle. I love my pressure cooker, but not for this recipe.

  9. Martha says

    Wild rice is not really rice. It is a grain and not in the rice Genus. When purchasing brown rice check the area of origin. Any rice from the south of the US I likely to have a high arsenic content and insecticide residue, due to the fact many rice producers in the south are using areas previously used to grow tobacco. Even the organic brands contain the residuals from the tobacco plants in the soil. Costco’s brand is organic but high in arsenic and pesticides.

  10. Raven says

    Ack! my rolls are all rolled up and ready to go and I just realized I forgot the milk in the meat mixture!! I hope they’ll be ok!! Any thoughts or suggestions?

  11. Tammy says

    Raven, you should be fine without milk (think of the filling as meatloaf) if anything they may be a little dry, but you’ll have that wonderful sauce to balance it out!
    My grandmother, an old (97) Polish woman, has been making hers in the slow cooker (not crock pot) for more than 25 years, they are delicious! We always just used uncooked white rice. I think minute rice will cook too fast, making filling dry.
    In Poland we call this dish golabki (guh-woomp-kee)
    I love the idea of adding brown sugar to sauce! Can’t wait to try your recipe!
    Thank you for sharing, Melissa!

    • says

      Tammy, excellent advice! I like to use my Dutch oven for slow cooking when I’m home, but the crockpot is my saving grace when I’m not here to tend it. Excellent tip on not using minute rice. Love the Polish translation. Hope to hear how it turns out for you. :) Thanks!

  12. Shelley says

    These were amazing. My Grandma use to make these and it brought back so many memories eating these. Thank you so much for Sharing!

  13. Sue says

    My daughter just forwarded me this recipe. She made it this week for the first time and loved it! Think I could make it with green peppers (like stuffed peppers)? I don’t like cooked cabbage. Also, do you ever double the sauce so you have lots/extra? Thanks!

    • says

      Sue, I think it would be great to try it with green peppers. And you can definitely double the sauce. In my opinion, you can never have too much sauce. :) Let me know how it turns out with the peppers.

  14. Kara says

    I made these today and I used brown rice..the flavor was excellent, but my rice didn’t cook all the way (still a tad crunchy!) even after cooking on low for 8 hours (and assembling them the night before). Any tips?

    • says

      Kara, I haven’t used brown rice, just white and now wild. You could cook the rice before hand or increase the cook time, but I think pre-cooking the rice would be best.

      • Kara says

        Thanks..I was thinking of cooking it halfway through before adding it to see if that helped. I don’t want to give up on the brown rice because of the health benefits, but crunchy rice isn’t all that appetizing :) But like I said, it tasted REALLY good despite the rice! Also, I used a round crock pot (not my oblong one) and the rice in the ones on the bottom was cooked a bit more than the ones towards the top that were not submerged in liquid. I might try using the oblong crock pot next time to see if it helps to not have them stacked so high. Thank you for a great recipe!

  15. Rebecca says

    I made this for dinner last night. This is the best cabbage rolls I’ve ever made. My family loved them. Even my 5 year old who isn’t a cabbage fan had 2 of them.

    Next time I plan on doubling the recipe. We didn’t have any leftovers.

    • says

      Rebecca, I’m so happy to hear that! I always think the same thing, it never makes enough. I’ve got my eye on another crockpot so I can cook two batches at once. :)

  16. says

    I made this for dinner tonight and my hubby and I both LOVED IT! I used pre cooked brown rice and added the extra cabbage leaves just to the top of the cabbage rolls, it’s so YUMMY! THANK YOU!

    • says

      Jamie, I haven’t doubled it as this recipe fills my slow cooker up. But if you’re slow cooker is large, I think it would be fine. Let me know how it works if you double it.

  17. Sharla says

    I was wondering if anybody had used quinoa instead of rice? I’d cook the quinoa first I think though. I was also going to ask if anybody had problems with the rice not cooking? I’ve always made cabbage rolls with cooked rice and beef, but I may give this a try, I’ll make a lot more than 10 though! Double up on the sauce mixture.

  18. Vicki says

    This is so yummy! I made a batch yesterday and plan to make another tonight to take down to my family who lives out of town. Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

  19. Stephanie Daughtrey says

    Love your site, just found it. Did you ever try freezing in advance? Also, should the rice be cooked? I am assuming no, since the meat isn’t. Thank you!

    • says

      Stephanie, welcome! Glad you stumbled upon the site. :) I haven’t froze them in advance, but I think they’d lend themselves nicely. I don’t cook the rice before hand and never had an issue.

  20. Katie says

    Thank you for sharing this recipe! I have been missing my grandma’s cabbage rolls for a very long time but she was never able to pass along a workable recipe. I made these earlier this week and my mom and I were practically in tears (the good kind) while eating these. I could tell as they were cooking that they smelled right. I would get home from school and that’s exactly how the house would smell…amazing. When I tasted the first bite it was just like hers. I’m so excited that my kids won’t miss out on these now.

    • says


      Thank you so much for sharing your story. Recipes are a beautiful thing in that they hold so many memories, they tie us to the people who prepared them, even after they’re gone. I’m honored that this recipe did that for you.

  21. Kristina says

    I want to make this for dinner tonight for some friends. One of my friends is allergic to eggs though. Would it still come out right if I leave out the egg?

  22. Katie says

    I’m really excited to make this for dinner! How many rolls would be considered a serving? Do you know the calorie count per serving?

    • says

      Katie, I consider two rolls to be a serving for an adult. One is just not enough. Calorie count will depend on how lean your beef is, but I’m guessing around 120 calories per roll.

  23. Suzanne says

    Holy Cabbage Head, Batman! These were wonderful! How nice to come home on a Monday night and have dinner ready and waiting. I haven’t had cabbage rolls in years, but you can bet I’ll be having these again soon!

  24. Monica Squires says

    I found this on Pinterest yesterday and immediately went to the shops to get some ingredients. I made it in the afternoon for my family and added a few other ingredients. We all loved it. Highly recommended. Great instructions. Thanks for sharing :):):)

  25. Deana says

    I prepped this yesterday and made it throughout today. I did change the meat to ground turkey, but you couldn’t even tell. My family loved it and I’m looking forward to making it again (soon!). Thank you for this delicious recipe! : )

  26. Stacy says

    I’m making your stuffed cabbage recipe on Sunday and was wondering if I can make the cabbage rolls and sauce the night before refrigerate them and put in the crockpot the next day.

  27. Shannon says

    I cannot wait to try this! Have you ever used it with ground turkey or ground chicken rather than beef? I don’t eat red meat. What about substituting the cabbage with collard greens?

  28. Kristin S. says

    Would love to know if this could be veganized. :) My little man is allergic to eggs and we don’t eat meat. Any thoughts on the changes needed?

  29. Irene says

    Has anyone tried using barley instead of rice. AMAZING!! I wanted to try something different, and i’m glad I did.

  30. Nancy says

    To give an extra flavor lay 3/4 stripes of bacon on the bottom of the crockpot and a couple on the top. Try it, you’ll like it!

  31. says

    I can’t have sugar or any sugar substitute (honey, agave, life is awful lol =D), any advice on what to do about the brown sugar? Anyone have any good substitute for it? Or could I just leave it out?

  32. Angela says

    I have made these twice now and LOVE them. I did ground turkey the first time and then beef. So good! I am so glad this recipe made it to pinterest :) Thank you!

  33. Penny says

    These were fabulous and so easy. Put it all together this morning before work and they were ready when I got home. Will definitely do this one again.

    • says

      Usually I serve them with garlic bread or a dinner roll. Beings the cabbage is the vegetable, the meat a protein, and the rice a carbohydrate, I generally consider them a full meal. But, I’ve also served green beans on the side and that pairs nicely, too.

    • says


      I think it might have to do with the different temperatures of slow cookers, because I use wild rice and never have a problem, but my slow cooker tends to cook on the hot side. Glad you enjoyed it other than the crunchy rice.

  34. Amber says

    I have celiac and can’t have Worcestershire sauce. I was wondering if you had a flavor substitute in mind that would help keep them from being bland without it

    • says

      Hmmm, forgive my not knowing the extent of what celiacs can have, but would you be able to toss in a dash of soy sauce? Or maybe a splash of liquid smoke? If you have to leave it out, I don’t think it will alter the flavor a huge amount.

  35. Tracy says

    What a great recipe!!! The meat measurements were perfect. I just put the rolls in the crockpot. It was very simple too! :)

  36. Olga says

    I made this and it was absolutelyyyyyyy delicious. i just started a blog and if you don’t mind, i would love to post this on my blog. i will use the pictures that i took myself and credit you for the recipe. i will even send you a link when i’m done :-)

  37. Gina says

    I never leave comments or feedback on the recipes I use, but I am trying to start doing that! I am a stay at home mom and I cook a home cooked meal nightly, and 90% of my recipes over the last year have come from blogs that Pinterest has lead me too. (The link is actually broken for some reason on my pin to this recipe all of the sudden, thank God I remembered the name of your site!)
    Anyway I ALWAYS read the comments on a recipe that I have never made before, and to be honest if the recipe has no comments, or bad reviews, and I dont have experience with that recipe, I normally wont make it. The comments have helped me notice errors in the measurments that the blogger wasnt aware of, and also suggestions to make it better. So my point is comments are important and I am really going to start commenting!
    Now these cabbage rolls I have been making for about a year now when I first found them on Pinterest. I have always made an old family recipe of “unstuffed stuffed cabbage” but I never really messed around with cabbage rolls because as dumb as this sounds; I never knew boiling or freezing the cabbage made it easy to roll. I always had issues rolling them up and the cabbage leaves ripping. So absolutely do NOT skip the boiling step! And the bigger the head of cabbage you may have to boil longer than 2 min. The batch I just made, I had to boil the head for over 5 minutes and even after it was still cold on the inside layers.
    Anyway this recipe is fantastic! Stuffeed/unstuffed cabbage recipes are always a hit in my house number one because the ingredients are inexpensive, and aside from the cabbage I usually have it all on hand. Number two anything in the crock is great because I can make it in the morning and not have to worry about dinner till dinner time. Three- its a healthy low carb dish and for junky eaters like my husband its a good opportunity to stick some nutrition in their diet!
    I have used both ground turkey and ground beef and both work.
    I also ALWAYS double the sauce no matter what because the sauce really is amazing and its what makes this the best cabbage dish I have ever tried.
    Ever since finding this my family always prefers this over our old unstuffed version. Just make sure you allow yourself enough time to prepare them, with still being able to let them cook for 8 hours. With boiling the cabbage head and then assembling the rolls it usually takes me about 30 minutes to get in the crock pot. Cant wait for 6 o clock to roll around tonight!

    • says


      Thanks for your comment and tips! If you ever come across a super good deal on cabbage, just toss a whole head in the freezer. Once it thaws, it’s pliable enough to roll without boiling. :) So glad you and your family are enjoying it!

  38. Joy says

    This was my first ever cabbage roll recipe. 😀 And my first ever blog comment to boot.

    I remixed it a little, I hope you’ll forgive me. I am a lacto-ovo vegetarian so I changed it up. The mods I used:

    -I used 1 pkg Morningstar Suasage Links (8oz) and 8oz (2/3 pkg) Morningstar Griller Crumbles Meal Starter (to equal 1 lb of textured vegetable protein)
    -I sautéed the soy meat in butter with the garlic and onion before assembly
    -Salt and pepper to taste
    -I froze most of the rolls after assembly, worked very well
    -I used Ragu Garlic, Onion and Tomato Sauce (bottled sauce vs. canned tastes better to me, and Ragu starts out on the sweet side anyway)
    -I used Safeway brand pre-cooked Quinoa, Brown and Wild Rice mix (I wanted that exact combination before I went shopping and I was *starving*, clearly Heaven sent :D)
    -I used home-made vegetarian Worchestwrshire sauce (Martha Stewart recipe)
    -Should have gotten 2 cabbages

    All in all, it turned out fantastic. :d

    I’m trying it out for potluck next week! Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Joy says

      Also, these mods meant that crock pot cook time was reduced to 2 hours to Mary the flavors.

      One last note: Morningstar products are seasoned pretty well, so require very little to be added.

      Morningstar products are NOT organic.

      (I’m transitioning)

  39. Laura Lewandowski says

    Amazing delicious cabbage rolls, best ever!!!! Hubby & kids absolutely loved them. As always I double the recipe & use a lot more minced garlic cloves than on the recipe. Sauce to roll ratio is perfect, slow cooked them a little longer since I started on high due to time & we like the cabbage cooked very well. Definitely making this again!!

  40. Kathy Zandbergen says

    Best cabbage rolls I’ve made in years. I made one batch with wild rice and one batch with quinoa. The quinoa version tasted amazing and seemed to pick up a bit more of the spice/flavour. Wonderful recipe!

  41. Irene Carrick says

    Hey, everyone. Mashed potatoes is the way to go with the stuffed cabbage. It’s a Ukrainian tradition.

  42. Michelle says

    I made your cabbage roll recipe last night. We had an impromptu dinner party on our deck and everyone loved them. I have just begun the process of going dairy free. I subbed broth for the milk and didn’t notice a difference. The meat was tender, the rice was fluffy, cabbage leaves intact. I bought a huge head of cabbage at my local farmers’ market. I just removed the outer leaves and boiled those. The remaining part of the cabbage is still pretty large so I’ll shred it for fish tacos. Thank you for sharing this recipe!


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