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Gołąbki Posted by on Jan 11, 2011 in cooking, food

Ok, so I’m in the cooking mode this week. Last time I told you about pierogi, now I’m making gołąbki!

Polish Gołąbki are an undisputed classic of Polish cuisine. Quite simple in preparation, it gives you a lot of enjoyment. It is a tasty, light and versatile meal, good for any time of the day.

They are cabbage rolls or stuffed cabbage. It consists of a cabbage leaf in which a filling of rice and meat is placed. The other necessary ingredient is sauce.

The proportions of rice and meat in the stuffing can differ. Most frequently a mushroom or tomato sauce is used to complement the dish.

It should be prepared in sufficient amount, because the filling itself feels rather dry. So for maximum satisfaction you should always have enough sauce for your gołąbki. So, as you have already guessed, the secret of a good Polish gołąbki lies in the fillings and the sauce.  Like with pierogi possibilities are numerous. And that’s where the thrill is. Gołąbki are often referred to as “golumpki”, “gwumpki” and other similar names. None of those is correct, but they get close to the Polish pronunciation of the name (pron. go – om – pkee). And, since we mention that, as a matter of fact gołąbki is plural in Polish and literally means “little pigeons”. But don’t worry – that’s just a name.


Here is my recipe for you:

Makes about 16 – 18 gołąbki

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes


  • 1 whole head cabbage, about 4 pounds
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked white rice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 can of crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup of beef stock (you can use plain water with seasoning or vegetable stock as well)

The reason you should mix beef and pork is because beef by itself would get really tough once cooked.


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Remove core from cabbage. Place whole head in a large pot filled with boiling, salted water. Cover and cook 3 minutes, or until softened enough to pull off individual leaves. You will need about 18 leaves.
  3. When leaves are cool enough to handle, use a paring knife to cut away the thick center stem from each leaf, without cutting all the way through.
  4. Chop the remaining cabbage and place it in the bottom of a casserole dish.
  5. Sauté the chopped onion in butter in a large frying pan until tender, and let it cool.
  6. Mix cooled onions with beef, pork, rice, eggs, salt and black pepper until well combined. You can also add a little bit of crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce to the mix.
  7. Place about 1/2 cup of meat on each cabbage leaf. Roll away from you to encase the meat. Flip the right side of the leaf to the middle, and then flip the left side. You will have something that looks like an envelope. Once again, roll away from you to create a neat little roll.
  8. Place the cabbage rolls on top of the chopped cabbage in the casserole dish or Dutch oven, seasoning each layer with salt and pepper. Pour beef stock and tomato sauce (or crushed tomatoes) over rolls, cover and place in oven. Bake for 1 hour or until cabbage is tender and meat is cooked.
  9. Serve with pan juices and a drizzle of sour cream, or mix the pan juices with sour cream and ladle it over the cabbage rolls.
  10. Cabbage rolls freeze well before or after cooking, and can be made in a slow cooker (see your manufacturer’s instructions).

Since they can be eaten hot or at room temperature, mini cabbage rolls make great appetizers. Just spear them with a frilled toothpick and you’re good to go!

Also, you can cook them on the stove in a big pan. Just make sure that all gołąbki are covered with the sauce.

I usually served them with mashed potatoes.

Powodzenia i smacznego!

Please let me know how they came out in comments below!

Do następnego razu! (Till next time…)

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About the Author:Kasia

My name is Kasia Scontsas. I grew up in Lublin, Poland and moved to Warsaw to study International Business. I have passion for languages: any languages! Currently I live in New Hampshire. I enjoy skiing, kayaking, biking and paddle boarding. My husband speaks a little Polish, but our daughters are fluent in it! I wanted to make sure that they can communicate with their Polish relatives in our native language. Teaching them Polish since they were born was the best thing I could have given them! I have been writing about learning Polish language and culture for Transparent Language’s Polish Blog since 2010.


  1. Emilia Misiura:

    My Golabki don’t come out dry at all.
    I think that maybe you are using too much rice and that soaks more juice from the meat. I like to use just the ground pork. all other ingredients as yours.

    I make them on the top of the stove adding Bay leaves on top, carrots and mushrooms, Also my sauce is brown made from flour and sourcream..

    Yam Yam

    P.S. Your presentation looks very good.


  2. Jonpgh:

    I implore my wife to make it instead of a tomato sauce, make it with sauerkraut. It is, in my opinion, much better.

  3. Paddy:

    mmm mniam mniam. I am getting glodny just looking at the pictures!!!!

  4. Lori:

    I love this dish and look forward to spending 10 weeks in Poland during the upcoming months. Surely these will turn up on the dining menu several times.

  5. Jonpgh:

    These comments make me laugh since only in America have I actually had the joyious pleasure of this delicious food. My mother, and then my wife, from Poland, truly make the best. Rarely have I had these treats in Poland. Unfortunately I tend to eat too many of them at one time. My Aunt Mary, who grew up during the great American depression, used bountiful amounts of rice intermixed with the sparse meat to make her delightful stuffed cabbage. I thought this was unique and loved it.

  6. Paddy:


    Everybody thinks their mother in-law and wife makes the best!!


  7. Jonpgh:

    For some reason I love the ones made with the darker leaves the best and always search for them. I noticed there is no garlic in the recipe, which most cooks add. My mother also sent me to the butcher to get a custom ground meat with thirds of beef, pork and veal. My wife only uses the beef and pork however.

  8. H. Dopierala:

    I have been making these for years now, my family (english) love them. I have only the recipe remembered from my Polish mother-in-law, but after reading your recipe, my husband wants me to try it. I personally dont like perogi, but hubby loves them, but I always make such a mess of them, so have given up. HD

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