Golubtzi with Smetana (Stuffed Cabbage with Sour Cream Sauce)

Nadejda’s Golubtzi with Smetana (Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Sour Cream Sauce)


This is a recipe from my mom that my sister Vera has tweaked and published. My mom is always updating her recipes and just when we think we have them down she adds a little twist, always trying to improve the taste. If you are a Russian who has strayed away from home and good home cooking try this and be ready to be taken back in time! Any Russian Molokans or Russian Baptists out there who are looking for long lost recipes I’ll be posting some over the next several weeks. As always there are several varieties to this recipe and others depending on where in Russia your family is from, etc. I have to include a disclaimer here, my mother (the Russian Baptist) would never serve these with vodka. I added that to the picture to make it authentically Russian! It’s actually a souvenir brought straight from Russia. The great thing about this post and picture is that I planned to post this recipe for Golubtzi tonight and when I was at my mom and dads today my mom sent her Golubtzi home with me for “Dear” and I for dinner. I’m sitting here at my computer ready to hit the publish button with a bowl full of Golubtzi. So yum, yum the post has come full circle!

2 lbs. Hamburger
1 – 1/2 cup cooked rice (1/2 cup uncooked)
1/2 onion grated
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
1 can tomato soup
1 8oz. can tomato sauce
2 Tablespoons ketchup
1 onion chopped
1-1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups water
1 head cabbage

Core cabbage. You can carefully separate leaves or cook the cabbage whole. Boil in water until soft and pliable. Combine first 6 ingredients. Place about 1/3 Cup of the hamburger mixture onto a cabbage leaf and fold over the edges and roll up. Place in a baking dish. We use standard glass pyrex or other rectangular baking dishes to bake them in.


Fry the onion in oil until it is translucent. Add soup, sauce, ketchup and water. Stir until well mixed. Bring to a boil. Add a little of sauce to the sour cream to temper it, then add the sour cream mixture to the sauce. Pour the sauce over the cabbage rolls. Bake in 350 degree oven for approximately 1-1/2 hours.

You can eat these as a complete meal or add whatever side dish you might enjoy in combination with the Golubtzi. Yum my mouth is watering. Some extra tips included below to make the rolling process easier.

Shave the larger veins on the smaller leaves of cabbage so they’ll roll easier.


Yes, you can stuff peppers, too. We usually use green peppers.


Don’t forget to put a dish of Sour Cream (Smetana) on the table so you can add another dollop to your serving. Russians aren’t afraid of sour cream. That red pepper up there would look tastier with a dollop of smetana on it!

NEWSFLASH: Now if you want some easy dinner recipes go to Rebecca’s site where she’s hosting a recipe round-up.




About Ellenhttps://happywonderer.com/I am a wife, mother, baba (grandmother) and a loyal friend. Jesus is my King and my hope is in my future with Him.

29 thoughts on “Golubtzi with Smetana (Stuffed Cabbage with Sour Cream Sauce)

  1. Okay L U V this post! I am so jealous you get to have Mom’s Golubtzi. Love the pictures. Too fun. Go girl go!

  2. My hubbies Mom’s family is originally from Czechoslvakia, she was the first born in America. Anyhow she makes these often. She learned a trick … put the head of cabbage in the freezer and when ready to put together set it out to thaw and it is just like you steamed or boiled it in water. Easier to handle too. My guys love this dish. We call it “Stuffed Pigeons” or “Pigs in a blanket.” We just had these the other day with mashed potatoes! Great with Halushki, too! Has your Mom made Serrik or Egg cheese for Easter? Hubbies Mom has balls of this hanging from the kitchen cupboards over bowls to drain the week before Easter! Just curious!

  3. Hi Pam,
    My mom makes seerney paska. I have the recipe she uses on my kulich post. She keeps it in the refrigerator with a weight on it to help the extra moisture escape. We serve it with the bread (kulich) at Easter. Do you have the recipe for Serrik? That’s a great tip about the cabbage!

  4. Kim,
    We even put sour cream on our pancakes, not butter, sour cream. Our friends growing up would get so freaked over the concept!

  5. Serrik or Egg Cheese.

    Theresa calls the Easter Cheese – Hurda.
    This makes 2 balls of cheese (about the size of a grapefruit)
    1 dozen large eggs
    1 qt & 1/2 of milk
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 tbs sugar
    a pinch of salt
    Beat together well
    Cook slowly over LOW heat stirring constantly
    When it looks like yellow cottage cheese & liquid separates, pour into 2 CLEAN NEW knee High (stockings) and tie it so it looks like a BALL. Then you hang it from the kitchen cabinet & let it drip into a cake pan or bowl for around 2 hrs. Refrigerate over night, take it out of the stocking & slice. She used to use cheese cloth or muslin but another lady told her about the new knee hi stocking idea. Works for her!!

  6. I’m just sooooo excited about this recipe–our dauthers are going to be so happy!

    We visited the one and only Russian grocery in town–probably in the state–earlier this week. It’s always fun to see the girls recognize things–candies, meats, canned foods, etc. We bought a few items, but the real “treat” was “seer-roke”–little cream cheese/cheesecake desserts covered with chocolate. Yum! The host family we stayed with in Moscow had these available to us with almost every meal and I/we love them. We LOVED staying with Russian families and eating whatever they served!

    Please keep posting recipes–I’m taking notes!!! BTW, do you have a good pelmini recipe? My husband is the “adventurous” one in the kitchen and tried a recipe shortly after our girls came home, but it was a “flop”–we need a “tried and true” recipe from a “native”!! 🙂

  7. Yes, Connie. I can come up with an authentic recipe. I’ll keep you posted. I have 2 and I’m going to check with my mom to see which one she prefers.

  8. Hi Ellen,

    I enjoyed browsing through the different Russian recipes… I think I am going to try making this for Sunday… I will let you know how it turns out.

  9. Pingback: Don’t judge a dish by how mine looks « IVORY SPRING

  10. Yeay! I love this recipe.

    We make Golubtzi a few times a year and love it. Even my picky 7 year old daughter flips over this meal. Thank you. I love the sour cream spin on it too!


  11. Oh one thing I messed up on. I added the tomato sauce WITH the meat. I just wasn’t thinking and had a child talking to me at the same time 🙂

    For the sauce I followed the directions but added a can of Beef Broth instead of the tomato sauce.


  12. I will try to make your qalubtzy this weekend. It sounds very close to what my mother used to make- was it every a good experience every time we ate it -which was quite offen.
    She also made the best pelminis which she taugh my Scottish wife to make-man are they good. All our Siberian friends always requested them-Ijust don’t know were they put them. Secret to them beef, pork. veal, grated onions, salt and pepper- and don’t over cook them- when they float they are done.


  13. I work for a russian family and when I asked for a stuffed cabbage recipe . I was told that after stuffing the cabbage to put raw onions in the bottom of the pot with pumpernickle bread on top. Then place the rolls on top and fill with water until covered then boil. Does that sound correct ???? I have made myine as you did yours and it was very yummy but I thought I would ask if any one know’s of this way of cooking them.
    Thanks for your help !

    • Never have made it with the pumpernickel and boiling it that way. I’ve never seen my mother make it that way either… :0)

    • I lived with an Hungarian family – they cooked the stuffed cabbage with sauerkraut on the bottom of the pot (cook on top of stove) and layed the cabbage rolls on top of each other, then poured the tomato sauce over the top. Cover. Cook on very low heat for about 1.5 hours. This is the same for stuffed peppers except use Banana/italian peppers and NO sauerkraut at the bottom but sauteed onions instead. And they too are not shy with the sour cream!

      Oh, and I lived with Russian Baptist too – they used dill in their cabbage and also sauteed onions on bottom of baking dish.

  14. Pingback: Deteriorating cooking skills « Misha’s Pad

  15. Thanks a lot for the recipe! I ate 3 times in my life the stuffed cabbage: Russian, Polish and Greek style… and I must admit the Russian way with that tomato sauce was the best and it was exactly like this one!! THANKS A LOT FOR THE RECIPE!!!!

  16. My Russian friend made these for me once. I asked her for the recipe and she was very secretive . . . and when I insisted she just said that it was all written in Russian and that it was in metric measurements and that it would be too hard to translate. I am going to try your recipe (all in an effort to expand my family meal repertoire). Thank you!

  17. As soon as I saw the can of Tomato soup and ketchup in the photo, I knew this was the one!! My Mother, Nadia, the best cook EVER (but sadly not much of a Teacher), has Dimensia now, we miss her but we may miss her cooking more…this looks like her recipe, I can’t wait to try it. I always helped her prepare, but not at the beginning process, she didn’t have much patience. I’m fabulous at decoratively crimping the Varenikiy (Pierogi’s) by hand though!!

  18. Hi Ellen :-}

    I stumbled on your blog while looking for a cabbage roll recipe. This recipe is very similar to my Mother’s. She was full blooded Russian having a Mother of Russian decent born in America and a Father who emigrated from Bystoyz (no longer exists!), Russia in 1913. My Mother passed away last February. I love the pictures with this recipe because they remind me of my Mom and how her kitchen looked when she was getting ready to cook ethnic for us! Thanks for sharing!

  19. Yum, yum, yum! Everything is better with sour cream. Being Hungarian I’ve always eaten sour cream with my cabbage rolls which makes certain of my friends wonder what planet I’m from. They are partial to drowning theirs in ketchup which I totally cannot do to a wonderful cabbage roll.

  20. Fantastic! I was hoping to make some golubtzi for my partner and I, but I only remembered the basics from watching my mother prepare them. Your recipe was very helpful and easy to follow, so now I’m well on my way to preparing this tonight. I’m also making olivye to go with it. ;D

  21. Pingback: Samovar Restaurant, Solaris « she, the epicuriousgirl.

  22. We always loved my mom’s golubtsi, which she made like yours but without ketchup. She would also add dill and garlic to the meat. Her amazing trick was adding a couple of table spoons of frozen OJ into the liquid around them for baking. You could not taste the OJ, I swear, but it just tasted ever so wonderful.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s