Old-fashioned cabbage roll recipe – make them in the slow cooker for a fix-and-forget make ahead dinner.

Plan ahead!

My children are getting tired of me saying it, but when they’re rushing around in the morning, trying to find their socks or the sandwich box in their colour, they realize that I’m right.

And yes, my children have colour-coded lunch containers.

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That makes it really easy to tell who forgot to empty and clean their lunch bags the night before. With four children, colour-coding makes life much, much easier.

Even now that we’re homeschooling, we still colour code everything!

One of my favourite ways to plan ahead is to make tomorrow’s supper today. Maybe you like preparing food while hungry children are rolling around at your feet trying to eat each other, but I’m afraid that it fries my nerves.

It can feel like you’re living in Highlander when you have four children. I know they love each other, but oh, they can fight.

Especially when they’re hungry.

This recipe takes a bit of prep work the evening before. Put on a good movie or that audio book you’ve been wanting to hear.

Lately I’ve been binging on The Flash on Netflix – and last night I found out that I should also be watching Arrow and Supergirl at the same time, so I have some catching up to do.

(Edit – I don’t like Arrow. I don’t like the character of Oliver at ALL. I like Barry Allen. Clearly I’ll miss some parts of the storyline, but I’m not watching Arrow anymore.)

So after the children have gone to bed, turn on whatever you want to watch, put this meal together and let it cook on low in your slow cooker.

Leave it there all day, slowly simmering away, cooking up to twelve hours. It has meat, vegetables and rice … everything will be hot and ready and fully cooked when your little ones start saying they’re hungry.

This is not a ‘fancy’ dish.

Okay, it’s a Cabbage Roll recipe – how fancy could that possibly be?

However, there are many recipes out there with many more ingredients, and with directions that seem far more complicated than my cabbage roll recipe. This is a simple recipe – meat, cabbages, tomato, rice. This is a recipe for busy moms with children who have bottomless pits for bellies.

Old fashioned cabbage roll recipe - make them in the slow cooker for a fix-and-forget make ahead dinner.

Look at that – simmering away to fill hungry bellies.

Set the table along with some nice fresh bread, dish it up and enjoy.

You’ll still have to do the dishes, but you would have had to do them anyway.

An important note – the lock-down lid will help to minimize that ‘cooking cabbage’ smell. I like cabbage – cooked, sauerkraut, egg rolls, and raw in coleslaw – but the smell of cooking cabbage can go right through your house.

If you’re really feeling industrious or you have to feed a lot of hungry bellies, serve this with boiled or mashed potatoes.

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Old Fashioned Stuffed Cabbage in the Slow Cooker

  • Author: Marie Beausoleil
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 hours
  • Total Time: 12 hours 30 minutes
  • Category: Main dish


Old-fashioned cabbage roll recipe – make them in the slow cooker for a fix-and-forget make ahead dinner.


2 cabbage heads

3 pounds ground beef

1/2 cup rice, long grain

1 onion

2 eggs

2 tablespoons milk

2 quarts sauerkraut

2 quarts stewed tomatoes



Italian seasoning


It’s difficult to give exact measurements for a meal like this, because a lot will depend on how large your cabbage leaves are and how much stuffing you like in them.

Dice onion. Add to ground meat in a large bowl, along with rice, salt, pepper, and Italian season.

Mix well.

Separate the cabbage leaves.

Grab your biggest mixing bowl and mix together the ground meat, onions, rice, salt, pepper, and seasonings. Grab a handful and roll a big football shaped meatball, then wrap a cabbage leaf around that, stuff the ends into the meatball so it stays wrapped up. Set aside, repeat until you’re out of meat and cabbage.

Quick tip: if you run out of cabbage leaves and still have meat mixture left over – put it in a freezer bag and toss it in the freezer to use next time.

Now it’s time to fill the slow cooker.

Start with a layer of sauerkraut in the bottom, enough to cover the bottom.

Add a layer of stewed tomatoes, then a layer of your cabbage footballs. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on top.

Start with sauerkraut again and repeat the layering process.

Don’t forget that sprinkle of salt and pepper on top of each layer. It’s important.

Add water so that the water comes up to at least the top layer of cabbages, usually about a cup will do it if the pot is really full.

Put the lid on and cook on low setting overnight and throughout the day (at least 10-12 hours) until you’re ready to eat.


  • Serving Size: 12
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Old-fashioned cabbage roll recipe - make them in the slow cooker for a fix-and-forget make ahead dinner.
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