Take all the guesswork out of cooking the perfect stuffed cabbage with my super simple Instant Pot method. Full of tender rice, melt in your mouth meat and a savory sauce, my ridiculously easy method will forever change how you make stuffed cabbage!
Jump to Recipe
I have been making my signature stuffed cabbage for years. However, lately… I have had loads of time experimenting with my Instant Pot and one of the recipes that got me super excited was stuffed cabbage. My classic stuffed cabbage is always delicious BUT it does take some time…usually anywhere from 1.5 to 2 hours in the oven renders delicious and tender results.
But sometimes I am just too hungry and too anxious to wait.
Look at that!!! Just look at all that tender deliciousness. I was honestly skeptical about what results the Instant Pot would render. And I am beyond happy to say that it did NOT disappoint.
Best of all everything came together quite simply RIGHT in the Instant Pot. I sautéed the veggies right in the Instant Pot and then just layered all the cabbage rolls in. It was then covered with a delicious and savory sauce and sealed to pressure cook for 17 minutes!
And out came…this gorgeousness … all begging to be sliced into and devoured with copious servings of sour cream. And naturally I did.
- The Cabbage: I used to place the cabbage in the freezer the night before and then the day of making the actual stuffed cabbage I would defrost the cabbage and the leaves would peel off super easily. However, while this is a very easy method it does take a bit of planning and remembering. So instead I learned a neat little tip to speed things up from one of my cooking class students. Simply cut a bit of the core off and place the cabbage into a microwave safe bowl completely submerged in water. Place into the microwave for 15 minutes and voila, super soft and pliable leaves. In order to make them easier to roll, just cut out the center vein. Your other option actually involves your Instant Pot. Just place your whole head of cabbage into the Instant pot with 1.5 cups of water. Set it to manual on high pressure for 7 minutes. And you will have perfect cabbage leaves. Of course this also will depend on the size of your cabbage. Make sure that a knife can go all the way to the center easily and smoothly. That’s when you know it’s perfectly cooked.
- Sautéing Veggies: I turned the Instant Pot to the “sautee” option and sweated the onions and shredded carrots in some olive oil. These veggies will serve as flavor for the actual stuffed cabbage as well the sauce, aka the braising liquid.
- The Sauce: There are many variations for a sauce used for stuffed cabbage. There is a sweet and sour sauce that is typically used, but I have always liked the one that my father in law taught me. It is a simple combination of crushed tomatoes and the aforementioned sautéed carrots and onions. Naturally, I have a secret ingredient that makes this sauce…perfection: sour cream gives this sauce that little extra something that makes it ridiculously delicious!
- Using the Instant Pot: After I create the sauce and sautee the veggies, I start to layer in the stuffed cabbage rolls. The “steam release valve“ is then set to “sealing” and the Instantpot is set to “stew/meat” for 17 minutes. Afterwards it is quick released and perfection is achieved.
My in-laws and my husband are used to the original recipe…including the 2 hour cooking time. However, when I served it to the hubby and my in-laws they were all VERY pleasantly surprised. Because the stuffed cabbage was indeed tender and ridiculously delicious. But most importantly, everything was cooked perfectly even, the rice was not overcooked and the meat was not overly dry.
Instant Pot…you have done it again.
Instant Pot Stuffed Cabbage
- 1 pounds ground turkey
- 1 pounds ground chicken not chicken breast
- .75 cup rice (uncooked) basmati or white rice is perfect
- 7 each carrots large
- 3 each onions large
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1 can crushed tomatoes pureed is fine as well
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp dill chopped finely
- 1 each cabbage large
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- sour cream to garnish
- Remove a bit of the core from the cabbage and place into a microwave safe bowl and then into the microwave for 15 minutes. Your other option actually involves your Instant Pot. Just place your whole head of cabbage into the Instant pot with 1.5 cups of water. Set it to manual on high pressure for 7 minutes. And you will have perfect cabbage leaves.
- I use my Vitamix for the carrot and onions. You can also use your shredder attachment on a food processor or grate them on a box grater. If using a Vitamix you are going to want to do the wet chop method:Throw all your carrots and onions in the Vitamix and fill up with water until all veggies are covered. Pulse on high until everything is shredded nicely. Now pour into a strainer to get rid of the water
- Place a tablespoon of olive in the Instant Pot and set it to the "sautee" option. Add in the veggies and sprinkle in some salt and pepper. Sweat them out for about 15 minutes. You do not want them to brown you just want them to get aromatic and soft.
- In the meantime, separate your cabbage leaves one from the other. If you end up having some leftover in the end, you will just use them on top as a blanket for the rolls. You are going to want to cut out the stem at the bottom where it is the toughest in a V shape.
- After the veggies have sweated out for a bit, add in your dill, tomato puree and sour cream; stir to combine. See how creamy it's getting? That's what you want. That will help hold the mix together as well as add killer flavor. Remove and set aside.
- Place the meat and rice into a bowl. Add in HALF of the sautéed veggie mix. Mix everything together so it is well mixed. Take a small piece and fry on a small pan to taste for seasoning. Add in salt and pepper as necessary.
- Take one cabbage leave and place about 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture in the middle. If the leaves are smaller, you can place 1 tablespoon. Fold in the sides of the cabbage on top of the filling first. Take the middle part of the leaf and cover up the meat with it. And now just roll it up like a burrito.
- Place 1/3 of the remaining sauce sauce on the bottom of the Instant Pot. Start layering the stuffed cabbage rolls, making sure that they are not overlapping but placed in the Instant Pot tightly.
- Once the first layer is done, place another 1/3 of the sauce on top and continue layering until finished with all the stuffed cabbage rolls.
- Add in the half a cup of water. Turn the sealing valve to the "seal" position and lock the lid. Press the "stew/meat" button and place for 17 minutes.
- Allow the stuffed cabbage to stand for 2 minutes after the cooking time is over. Turn the sealing valve to the "venting" position. Once the steam has released, feel free to enjoy!
- Make sure to check out my original Easy Russian Cabbage Rolls recipe for a step by step tutorial on how to fold the cabbage rolls up.
- Some people have experienced the "Burn" error in their Instant pots with this recipe. After testing this recipe over 20 times in 3 different Instant Pots, I received this error only once. You may need to just add a bit more water to the sauce to thin it out.
- How long you cook the head of cabbage in the IP also will depend on the size of your cabbage. Make sure that a knife can go all the way to the center easily and smoothly. That's when you know it's perfectly cooked.
- Nutritional information should only be used as a guide.