Sarma (Stuffed Cabbage) Recipe -
Sarma (Stuffed Cabbage) Recipe
  • READY IN 3+ hrs

Sarma (Stuffed Cabbage)

Recipe by  

"For this satisfying dish, cabbage leaves are stuffed with a seasoned mixture of rice, ground beef, pork and ham. They are then laid on a bed of sauerkraut and simmered to completion. This is the best stuffed cabbage recipe I've ever tried."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 6 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    15 mins
  • COOK

    3 hrs

    3 hrs 15 mins


  1. Place cabbage in the freezer for a few days. The night before making the rolls, take it out to thaw.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the beef, pork, ham, rice, onion, egg, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mix well. Form meat mixture into oblong balls, using 1/2 cup of the mixture at a time. Then, wrap a cabbage leaf around each ball.
  3. Spread the sauerkraut in the bottom of a large pot, then layer cabbage rolls on top, placing them seam-side down. Pour tomato juice over rolls, then add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 3 hours, adding more water as necessary.
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Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Mar 31, 2009

My Grame made Sarma on a regular basis. She was born in Chabar (now Yugoslavia) & is Croatian. She has been gone for quite some time but her recipe's live long and prosper. She did not freeze the kraut or cabbage and only used ground beff. Always used fresh garlic, onion and bell pepper and also lined the cook pot with pork spare ribs. All ingredients with the exception of the rolls cooked for at least 2 hours to marry the flavors before adding the rolls. If she did not make fresh kraut she always thoroughly rinsed it so it would not overpower the dish. It was served best with either mashed potatoes or corn meal mush (Polenta). Jane (Evanca)

Most Helpful Critical Review
Nov 18, 2011

I love Sarma we make sarmas a lot at home and Dolma's, I made the Turkish way, similar recipe but I like the Turkish way better.

Oct 14, 2006

Usually for sarma you use a sour cabbage but since I didn't have one I added about 4 tbsp of vinegar to the water that I blanched the cabbage in. I also added chopped bacon to this recipe. I fried the onion and bacon together and then added to the other ingredients. Absolutely love these. I also did these in the oven instead of stove top. they turned out really well. thanks

Sep 23, 2008

Great recipe!! As suggested, I parboiled the cabbage head with a bit of vinegar instead of freezing. I sauteed the onion with fresh minced garlic before adding to ground beef/pork mixture and also added vegeta seasoning. They turned out perfectly, my husband and I could not stop eating them!!

Jul 15, 2003

Great eastern european sarma recipe!! Thank you. I changed it a bit by leaving out the ham and adding a kilbasa to the pot as it cooked. Came out wonderful.

Sep 17, 2008

I love Sarma. This recipe is pretty good, my mother in law uses barley instead of rice. Just a note the poster who said that this is mostly made in Romania is wrong. Sarma is made in Croatia, Bosnia and pretty much all of the former Yugoslavia. I'm sure Romania has their own version or at least it has a different name than "our" sarma. :)

Aug 18, 2003

This sarma is called sarmale,and it is made mostly in Romania.

Jun 08, 2007

Elderly neighbors and best friend loved it and requested more! Changes: followed other reviews' advice and parboiled the cabbage rather than freezing it. I only used ground beef, a little ham, & onion powder. Next time I will triple the tomato juice because it dries out in the oven (left it in the oven because I was working in the yard). I fried some bacon, chopped onions and sprinkled a little brown sugar on it; then mixed it into the meat and rice mixture. Thanks Bea and other reviewers for generous advice.


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  • Calories
  • 532 kcal
  • 27%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 43.8 g
  • 14%
  • Cholesterol
  • 141 mg
  • 47%
  • Fat
  • 22.7 g
  • 35%
  • Fiber
  • 8.2 g
  • 33%
  • Protein
  • 38.4 g
  • 77%
  • Sodium
  • 1135 mg
  • 45%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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