Instant Pot Cabbage Rolls are pure comfort food stuffed with seasoned beef, shredded carrots, and onions rolled in cabbage and then simmered in diced tomatoes to make a delicious sauce. This really is an easy dinner done in a fraction of the time it normally would take with the pressure cooker.
Why this works
- Comfort food - Instant Pot Cabbage Rolls are classic comfort food just like Grandma used to make. Serve it with some buttery mashed potatoes or eat them as a meal on their own.
- Timesaver - using the Instant Pot cuts down on the time for the whole process dramatically just like French dip sandwiches. If you want to save even more time but have the same great taste try out my Instant Pot Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls.
- Budget-friendly - the ingredients are inexpensive and easy to find simple ingredients for Instant Pot Cabbage Rolls. If you like this then try some Beefy Rice-A-Roni one night for dinner!
- Make ahead - this great recipe can be made up to two days in advance for special dinners or just for a handy meal for busy weeknights.
- Leftovers - you'll have plenty of leftovers from these pressure cooker cabbage rolls for lunches and they taste just as good if not better the next day. It is also freezer-friendly!
Ingredients you will need
Here is a quick snapshot of the ingredients you'll need. Scroll down to the recipe card where you'll find exact measurements.
- Cabbage - the whole head of cabbage should be small enough to fit into your pressure cooker. You can use either green or savoy cabbage.
- Ground meat - I used an 80/20 mixture of ground beef. You can use a half and half mixture of ground pork and beef if you like or even ground turkey.
- White Rice - I use cooked rice because I like the way it turns out at the end. You can often find cooked rice at the grocery, save rice from recent take-out, or make a little extra when you are eating rice with a meal. You can use uncooked rice instead if you like (½ cup dry rice rinsed) with no difference in the cooking time.
- Breadcrumbs - I use Italian seasoned breadcrumbs.
- Minced garlic - fresh garlic is amazing but if you are out then garlic powder will work just as well.
- Water - you can use water or beef broth.
How to make this
Step 1: Prepare the cabbage leaves
Trim the core of the cabbage, and cut an "x" in the remaining stem. Remove any of the outer leaves that may be loose or discolored.
Add the minimum amount of water for your model into the bottom of the Instant Pot, and then place the rack inside on the bottom of the pot. Put the whole cabbage head inside on top of the trivet.
Cook on high pressure for 4 minutes and follow with a quick release of pressure.
Step 2: Make the filling
Dice the onion into small pieces with a knife or food processor then shred the carrots.
Combine well in a large bowl or mixer the ground beef, half of the chopped onion, shredded carrot, kosher salt, black pepper, minced garlic, eggs, water, a cup of rice, and breadcrumbs.
Step 3: Make the cabbage rolls
Fold one of the cabbage in half, and cut off the very thick part of the stem...usually up to one inch.
Take your knife and gently slice partially through the middle of the thick vein being careful not to cut all the way through. This will make it easier to roll with the meat filling inside.
Lay the cabbage leaf flat, and place a small handful of the filling near the bottom. Fold one side of the cabbage leaf over the meat mixture, and then fold over the other side.
Roll away from you until it is completely closed then set aside seam side down. Repeat the process until you've used up all your meat mixture and cabbage leaves.
Step 4: Cooking the stuffed cabbage rolls
Once you are done removing the leaves from the cabbage head roughly chop up the remaining cabbage.
Preheat the Instant Pot on the saute function. Add some olive oil to the inner pot. Add in the remaining onion and leftover chopped cabbage. Saute until softened then turn off the saute function.
Stack the stuffed cabbage rolls in the pressure cooker. Top with brown sugar, and lemon juice.
Add water or beef broth to the pot and cover the top of the rolls with the diced tomatoes up to the fill line. Do not overfill the pot!
Seal the lid and cook at high pressure for 20 minutes, and follow with a 20-minute natural release.
It's important to note that since your pot is full to the maximum it will also take a while to come to pressure.
If you do not want to soften the cabbage in the Instant Pot you can do it on the stovetop with a large pot of boiling water. Once the water is boiling just gently put the cabbage head in, and let it boil submerged for a few minutes. Remove from water and cut cabbage leaves off with a small knife. Repeat if necessary.
This is a great meal to hide vegetables in like the carrots. Add in some shredded zucchini for something different.
The raw cabbage rolls can be made as far in advance as the night before. The cooked cabbage rolls can be made two days in advance, and still retain their flavor.
You eat them warm.
The reason is that they have not been cooked enough.
Cabbage often takes on the flavor of the foods it is cooked with. While raw cabbage has a bitter taste the cooked version does not.
Storage & Reheating
Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container for up to one week. Reheat in microwave, oven, or stove.
You can freeze uncooked cabbage rolls for up to three months. Cooked cabbage rolls can be frozen for up to one month but may be watery when thawed. Thaw in the refrigerator then cook or reheat.
More Instant Pot recipes
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How to video
Instant Pot Cabbage Rolls
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 onion diced
- 1 cup rice cooked
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- 2 carrots shredded
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoon pepper
- ½ cup water
Cabbage Roll Ingredients
- 2 cabbage heads steamed or boiled, leaves cut off, remainder chopped
- 2 14.5 ounce diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 lemon several drops
- 2-3 cups water enough water to cover or fill to max line
- Cut an "x" in the cabbage heads. Steam in pressure cooker for 5 minutes on trivet with one cup of water followed by a quick release. Or, boil a large pot of water and boil cabbage head for ten minutes. Cut the leaves off, and set aside.
- Combine all the ingredients in the filling group together in a large bowl or mixer, and set aside.
- Trim the ends of the cabbage leaves and partially slice the thicker part of the spine of the leaf. Place the meat mixture in the middle and fold both sides of the cabbage leaf over. Roll vertically and set aside seam side down.
- Stack prepared cabbage rolls into inner pot. Add the brown sugar along with several lemon drops.
- Pour diced tomatoes on top with juices. Do not overfill the pot. It will be at or close the to the ⅔ mark in a six-quart pressure cooker. Cover with water or full to max line. Note since the Instant Pot is so full it will take time to build pressure.
- Seal and cook on high pressure for 20 minutes and follow with a 20-minute natural pressure release. You can also opt for a full natural pressure release if you have time.
- Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container for up to one week.