The credit for this recipe goes to my grandma, Sylvia Altman, z”l, even though I have made some changes to it over the years. Her original recipe used every saucepan in my kitchen, and I have shifted to napa rather than green cabbage, as it is easier to roll. She would never have believed that you could have melt-in-your-mouth stuffed cabbage cooked without watching the rolls for hours!

Grandma’s Stuffed Cabbage

Hands-on time: 45 minutes. Time to pressure: 25 minutes. Cooking time: 18 minutes. Buttons to use: “Sauté” and “Pressure Cook.” Release type: Natural release for 15 minutes. Advance prep: May be made two days in advance or frozen. Makes 16 cabbage rolls.


  • Sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped into small dice
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice, from 1-2 lemons
  • 5 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ⅓ cup golden raisins
  • 1 large green apple, peeled and cut into ¾-inch cubes
  • Cabbage rolls:
  • 1 head napa cabbage
  • 1 onion
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ⅓ cup white rice
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper


  1. Cut off the end of the cabbage and separate 17 leaves. Bring a medium or large saucepan of water to a boil on the stovetop. Place a colander over a bowl near the saucepan. Cook the leaves, about six at a time, for 4 minutes per batch, leaving the water boiling the entire time. Use tongs to lift the cooked leaves and place into the colander to drain. Try not to tear the leaves. Place on paper towels or a clean dishtowel to dry.
  2. To make the sauce, press “Sauté” and when the display reads “Hot,” add the oil, chopped onions and apples. Cook for about 5 minutes, until they start to soften but not brown, stirring often.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the cabbage filling. Finely chop the onion by hand or in a food processor. Place into a large bowl. Add the beef, rice, egg, water, salt and pepper, and mix well with your hands. Fan out a cabbage leaf in front of you with the stem facing you. Scoop up a handful of the meat and rice mixture, about ¼ cup for each roll, and place at the bottom of a cabbage leaf, at the stem.
  4. Fold the bottom over the mixture and roll over again, and then fold the sides of the leaf toward the middle to cover the meat, and then roll up.
  5. When the onions and apple are cooked, add the crushed tomatoes, water, lemon juice, brown sugar and honey and bring to a boil. Add salt and black pepper.
  6. Remove sauce to a large bowl. Add ½ cup hot water to the inner pot and boil, and use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pot clean. Place the steam rack on top. Place one layer of rolls on the rack, one ladle of sauce, another layer of rolls and so on, pouring any remaining sauce on top. Sprinkle the golden raisins on top.
  7. Secure the lid, ensuring that the steam release handle is in the “Sealing” position. Press the “Pressure Cook” button and set the cooking time for 18 minutes. When the cooking time is complete, let the pot sit for 15 minutes to naturally release the pressure. Turn the valve to the “Venting” position to release any remaining pressure. Press “Cancel” and remove the lid.

© Paula Shoyer, reprinted with permission from “The Instant Pot Kosher Cookbook” (Sterling Epicure 2021).