Instant Pot Cabbage Rolls—a hearty beef and rice mixture is rolled up in softened cabbage leaves and cooked in your Instant Pot with a homemade tomato sauce. Comfort food!
Instant Pot Cabbage Rolls (Video)
I’ve had a few people email me and ask about a cabbage roll recipe. Even Greg asked about it the other day. Finally I got all the ingredients together and created a cabbage roll recipe for the Instant Pot.
The cool thing about using the Instant Pot to make cabbage rolls is that you don’t have to boil the cabbage in water on the stove to soften up the leaves and separately cook rice on the stove. The whole process is made easier by using the Instant Pot.
First you’ll soften up the leaves of the cabbage by steaming them in the Instant Pot and at the same time you’ll cook the rice (pot in pot method). Once steamed you can easily peel off the perfectly pliable cabbage leaves. You’ll then roll up a mixture cooked rice, ground beef and seasonings (think porcupine meatballs) in the cabbage leaves, like little burritos.
Because this recipe is just a bit more involved then some of my other dump and go type of recipes I made a video so you can visualize the process. Hope this helps you!
If you’re wanting to experience the cabbage roll flavors but don’t want to go through the longer process of making them then try these faster cabbage roll inspired recipes. I love them both! Especially the soup.
Instant Pot Cabbage Roll Casserole
What Pressure Cooker Did You Use?
To make Instant Pot Cabbage Rolls I used my 6 quart Instant Pot Duo 60 7 in 1*. You can also use an 8 quart Instant Pot to make this recipe. Keep the same cooking time. This recipe is too large to fit in a 3 quart pot.Print
Instant Pot Cabbage Rolls
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 18 minutes (plus 15 minute NPR)
- Total Time: 65 minutes
- Yield: 9 large cabbage rolls 1x
A hearty beef and rice mixture is rolled up in softened cabbage leaves and cooked in your Instant Pot with a homemade tomato sauce. Comfort food!
- 1 (medium 2 pound) green cabbage
- 1/3 cup long grain white rice, uncooked
- 1 1/4 pounds lean ground beef (mine was 85% lean)
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce (see note below)
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 tsp white sugar
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch (optional)
- Pour 1 ½ cups water into the bottom of your Instant Pot. In a pan (I used this one*) add the rice and ½ cup of water. Place the pan on a trivet and lower the trivet into the bottom of the Instant Pot. Then place the cabbage on top of the rice so that it will fit into the Instant Pot when the lid is on.
- Cover the Instant Pot and secure the lid. Make sure the valve is set to sealing. Set the manual/pressure cook button to 5 minutes. When the time is up perform a quick release. Carefully remove the pan and trivet. Set aside. Dump out the water inside the bottom of the Instant Pot and clean the Instant Pot liner. Replace the liner into the Instant Pot.
- In a medium bowl add the ground beef, cooked rice, egg, black pepper, kosher salt, diced onion and garlic powder. With clean hands mix the mixture until combined.
- Carefully peel off each of the layers of the cabbage. You will need at least 9 good leaves. Use a paring knife to shave down the thick vein that runs down the middle of each leaf (see video for demonstration).
- With the vein side of each cabbage leaf down, take about ¼ to ⅓ cup of the meat mixture and place it at the bottom of the leaf. Then roll up the leaf while tucking in the sides. Repeat until all the meat is used.
- Cut the remaining hard and inflexible part of the cabbage into about 8 wedges.
- Pour 1 1/2 cups water or broth into the bottom of the Instant Pot. Place the trivet in the bottom. Evenly spread out the 8 wedges of cabbage on top of the trivet. Then layer the cabbage rolls on top.
- In a bowl stir together the tomato sauce, tomato paste, sugar, butter, and lemon juice. Whisk well. Then pour the mixture over the top of the cabbage rolls.
- Cover the Instant Pot and secure the lid. Make sure the valve is set to sealing. Set the manual/pressure cook button to 18 minutes. When the time is up let the pot sit for 15 more minutes and then release any remaining pressure. Remove the lid.
- Carefully use a spoon or tongs to place the cabbage rolls on a plate. Remove the trivet. Stir the remaining juices together in the pot. Thicken the juices by turning the saute button on. Then make a cornstarch slurry by stirring together 2 Tbsp of cornstarch and 3 Tbsp of water in a small bowl. Stir the slurry into the liquid. It should thicken quickly. Then turn off the pot.
- Serve the cabbage rolls topped with the sauce. Eat or discard the extra pieces of cabbage in the pot.
If you prefer you can use 2 cans of tomato soup in substitution for the tomato sauce, paste, sugar, butter and lemon juice.
- Category: Beef
- Method: Instant Pot
- Cuisine: American
Want more tried and true Instant Pot recipes?
The 365 Days of Slow and Pressure Cooking website has 3-4 new Instant Pot recipes a week! If you sign up for my FREE emails (fill out the form below) you’ll receive an email each time something new is on the site. You can also join the 365 Days of Instant Pot Recipes Facebook group which is run by my husband Greg and myself. If you’re a visual learner consider subscribing to my YouTube channel where I share Instant Pot stuff with you weekly.
*Karen Petersen is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
Kim Lippy says
Made this tonight, according to directions. Please don’t neglect to make mashed potatoes or buttered noodles as a side.
Thanks so much! I appreciate the 5 stars!
Since I only had 1 lb. of ground beef, I increased both the rice and the water by 1 T. Cut out the cabbage core before putting it in the IP to make it easier to pull the leaves off. It takes awhile to prepare, but it was worth it.
Thanks so much for the 5 stars!
I didn’t have the trivet, I placed 1/2 cup of rice on the bottom with a cup + a little more water, placed a small cabbage on top and it worked just fine without the trivet. I had to boil the cabbage in a separate pot a little longer bc it wouldn’t completely separate after 6 leaves that were removed. Excellent recipe. I like the short cut, it saved me time. Thank you!
correction: with a cup + of water
Awesome! Thanks for sharing your experience!
Can the rolls be frozen after assembled and cooked at later date?
Yes that would work!
But only if your meat wasn’t frozen and thawed before you cook! Be sure to cook thawed meat first, before re-freezing. If it was fresh, then no problem! Otherwise, you stand the chance of a bacterial issue with your meat. Always observe safe cooking habits!
The page wouldn’t let me give any stars, but I would rate it a 5!! A couple notes: I used ground turkey (because my dearest darling husband took that out of the freezer instead of ground beef!). I sliced off more of the bottom of the cabbage and peeled from the bottom up for the roll ups/leaves which seemed to work better. At least for me. Be forewarned! This is a messy dinner! But SO SO worth it! Served with broccoli and potatoes.
I’m so glad you liked it so much! It is messy but so tasty!
Cynthia Beckwith says
In Step 7, the recipe states “Pour 1 1/2 cups into the bottom of the Instant Pot.” Is that water or broth or does it matter which?
Thanks for your time (and for your recipes!)
oops sorry about that. you can use broth or water. Broth will add more flavor.
Thank you so much!
Trista Campbell says
I have made cabbage rolls in the past in the oven but this is my first time in a pressure cooker. I just got my instant pot duo about a month ago. My husband has health issues and we are trying to get away from processed foods. I am glad you put a note at the end about using tomato soup, that is how I make mine since my husband can not handle eating tomato sauce. Also I used a spice blend and omitted onion. Thank you for this wonderful recipe I will be making it again in the future.
Thanks Trista, so glad you enjoyed it. Keep up the good work!
Debbie Broussard says
I just got an InstantPot Duo and made this recipe last night. Absolutely delicious! I will definitely be making it again. I have been watching your videos and they are truly very helpful! Thanks for all the recipes, tips and your dedication for making InstantPot cooking fun! Can’t wait to try more recipes!
So glad it was helpful to you Debbie 😊
Caryn Hopkins says
This recipe is so good!!! I’ve never done any pot in pot so I made my rice separate in my mini instant pot 😁. A bit more meds to clean but so worth it!
I made this last night and it was yummy!! I had a difficult time separating the cabbage leaves ..could I substitute quinoa for rice? What would the cooking time be? Thank you for the many awesome recipes you have created!!
You could use uncooked quinoa! That would work really well, I think!
What about using frozen vegan meatballs and skipping steaming the cabbage (Napa)?
You could try it. I think steaming the cabbage helps so much for peeling it off and keeping it pliable. Someone told me you could freeze the cabbage and it will do the same thing as steaming it. You could try that and see how it works!
D. Porter says
I use uncooked Minute Rice, that would eliminate the first steps for a faster, easier recipe.
Yes, good idea!
Would a Spring Form pan work for this recipe?
Yes Melinda, are you thinking of using that instead of a trivet?
It did not work. The water leaked out. I did make it with a 6” pot. My cabbage leaves were not as perfect as yours . But it was delicious and I will definitely make it again. Thank you!
okay good to know! Glad that you shared your experience as it will help others!
Debbie Guidry says
Yes – N – Deed …..
Looking forward to trying this recipe but adding a little Cajun to it.
Been looking for a simple recipe like this for cabbage rolls with the Instant Pot.
Appreciate you sharing.
Deb from South Louisiana
You’re welcome Deb! Enjoy!
Jennifer Mensch says
Your photos are looking so professional!
Bill Buckley says
My wife and I are empty nesters, and use a 3 qt Instant Pot. Is there a rule of thumb to cut down 6- or 8-qt recipes?
Stephanie Amon says
For the recipes I have tried here, just cutting it in half for the recipe works in my 3 quart Instant Pot. Love her recipes…another empty nester.
Hi Bill, I answer this question here on my youtube video! https://youtu.be/qXV2R__PzsM
Moms secret was a can of tomato soup
Yep! You can totally use that too instead of the tomato sauce mixture 🙂
I’m not sure it would still be gluten free if you used canned tomato soup….right??
Oh right. Check the label first. A quick google search showed me that progresso tomato basil is gluten free.