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Kapsarullid (Stuffed Cabbage)

Kapsarullid, or stuffed cabbage, is a traditional Estonian dish that uses large, softened cabbage leaves as an edible wrapper for a rich, savory filling made of three types of ground meat, onions, herbs, and spices. These baked cabbage rolls make a tasty side dish or finger food, and are served with bright red crushed cranberries for dipping. Recipe Servings: Serves 4
Prep Time
30 minutes
Cook Time
2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time
3 hours
Gluten Free
Dairy Free


  • 1 large white cabbage
  • 1 Tbsp (15 g) salt
  • 1/2 lb (230 g) ground lean veal
  • 1/2 lb (230 g) ground lean pork
  • 1/2 lb (230 g) ground lean beef
  • 1/2 cup (75 g) onions, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) cold water
  • 1 cup (150 g) fine dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) black pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 tsp (10 g) salt
  • 3 Tbsp (90 g) butter, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup (240 ml) canned, cooked cranberries, crushed


  1. In a large pot, boil the whole cabbage and 1 tablespoon (15 g) salt briskly, uncovered for about 10 minutes. Move the cabbage to a plate, leaving the pot boiling, and detach the softened outer leaves. Then return the whole cabbage to the pot and cook for a few additional minutes before removing it again and detaching the next layer of leaves. Repeat this process as needed until all the cabbage leaves are softened.
  2. Combine the ground meats in a large mixing bowl, stirring in the onions, water, breadcrumbs, eggs, pepper and salt. Beat the mixture with a large spoon until it becomes smooth.
  3. Lay out 3 cabbage leaves with 2 side by side slightly overlapping and one placed crosswise over the top. Spoon 1/2 cup (120 ml) of the filling in the center of the leaves. Cover the middle with a fourth leaf and tuck in the sides while rolling the leaves up. Make cabbage rolls until all the ingredients have been used.
  4. Preheat the oven to 300°F (149°C). Bake the cabbage rolls in a roasting pan in the center of the oven, basting them from time to time with the juices in the pan for 2–2 1/2 hours or until the rolls have turned golden brown. Serve the rolls hot with the crushed cranberries in a small bowl for a dipping sauce.


For a more traditionally Estonian taste, use lingonberries instead of cranberries. For a main course, serve with boiled potatoes.