Greek Stuffed Cabbage Rolls recipe in lemon sauce (Lahanodolmades / Lahanodolmathes)

A Greek winter classic! These Lahanodolmades / Lahanodolmathes recipe will amaze you. Cabbage leaves stuffed with juicy mince, rice and herby filling, topped with a delicious thick lemony flavoured sauce… Serve with lots of freshly ground black pepper!

In Northern Greece (Kozani), stuffed cabbage rolls are called yiaprakia and are a traditional Christmas dish, that is never missing from the Christmas table. Yiaprakia are made with ground pork and brined cabbage (toursi). And of course they are a wintery variation of the popular summer meze, stuffed vine leaves!

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Greek Stuffed Cabbage Rolls recipe in lemon sauce (Lahanodolmades / Lahanodolmathes)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (770 votes, average: 4.75 out of 5)
  • Author: Eli K. Giannopoulos
  • Prep Time: 30 min
  • Cook Time: 70 min
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: 40 pieces 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Boiled
  • Cuisine: Greek


The perfect warming dish for a cold wintery weather! Lahanodolmades are stuffed cabbage rolls with juicy mince, rice and herby filling, topped with a delicious thick lemony flavoured sauce.



For the cabbage rolls

  • 2 kg cabbage (70 ounces)
  • 1kg ground beef – mince (35 ounces)
  • 2 medium-sized red onions, finely chopped
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp chopped dill
  • 90 ml rice (1/3 of a cup and 1 tbsp)
  • 1/3 of a cup olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

For the lemon sauce

  • 2 tbsps butter
  • 1/2 tbsp flour
  • juice of 1 lemon (or more, if you like)
  • 3/4 of a cup milk
  • salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. To make these delicious stuffed cabbage rolls, start by preparing the cabbage. Discard the outer leaves of the cabbage, open up carefully its leaves and wash thoroughly. In a large, deep pot, add some water and bring to the boil. Take some of the cabbage leaves and blanch them in the boiling water; parboiling the cabbage leaves before rolling them will make them softer and easier to roll. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a clean working surface. Repeat with the rest of the leaves. Once cool a little bit, remove the thick inner vein on the leaves and set aside (you will need them later).
  2. Prepare the stuffing for the stuffed cabbage rolls. In a large bowl add the ground beef, the rice, the chopped onions, the parsley, the dill, the egg whites and season; knead the mixture well, squeezing the ingredients with your hands, so that the meat absorbs all the wonderful flavours.
  3. Place one leaf on a flat surface (if it is too big, cut it in 2 or 3 smaller pieces), add a spoonful of the filling on the bottom centre of the leaf; be careful not to overfill the rolls, as the rice will expand during cooking. Fold the lower section of the leaf over the filling towards the centre; bring the two sides in towards the centre and roll them up (not too tightly). Continue with the rest of the leaves and filling.
  4. Layer the bottom of a large pot with the removed thick inner vein of the leaves (see step 1) and the smaller cabbage leaves that were too small for rolling. Lay on top the stuffed cabbage rolls, fold side down, and top in snugly packed layers. Season with salt and pepper and pour in the olive oil. Place an inverted plate on top to hold them down when cooking and pour in enough water to cover them. Place the lid on and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and boil over medium heat for about 1 hour, until the cabbage is tender.
  5. Drain the remaining water and set aside. Prepare the lemon sauce for the stuffed cabbage rolls. Melt the butter over medium heat, add the flour and whisk to form a paste. Pour in the lemon juice and ladle slowly the milk, whilst whisking. Pour in 3/4 of a cup of the drained liquid and whisk, until the sauce thickens a little bit.
  6. Pour the sauce over the stuffed cabbage rolls and season well with freshly ground pepper. Enjoy!


  • Serving Size: 1 piece
  • Calories: 114kcal
  • Sugar: 2.8g
  • Sodium: 156.6mg
  • Fat: 7.3g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.6g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 5.3g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 6.1g
  • Fiber: 1.3g
  • Protein: 7.1g
  • Cholesterol: 25.7mg

Keywords: Greek Stuffed Cabbage rolls, Lahanodolmades recipe, Yiaprakia, Lahanodolmathes Avgolemono

Recipe image gallery:

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  1. I’m going to make them this week yum <3

  2. Adding garlic and oregano to the meat mix is a nice addition

  3. Lemon sauce with milk have not heard but will give it a try

  4. What side dish goes well with these?

  5. Hoagy Carmichael

    These actually taste better the day or two after preparation. Don’t have to warm up. Try serving cold right out of the Fridge…..Hard to stop eating these things, Like Potato Chips !!!!!! So make up a large pot of them and eat for a week. You will not tire of them even after 5 or 6 days…..

  6. This is a yummy dolma. We call it ” lahana(cabbage) dolmasi(stuffed) in Turkey. Try to add some tomato paste to the stuffing. Scrumptious!

  7. We usually make a cabbage rolls with pickled cabbage…now I tried Greek recipe…Jast loved it

  8. Hoagy Carmichael

    Anyone ever try this using Chinese Cabbage? Seems it would be a lot easier than the regular Cabbage.

  9. Fiona mcgregor

    Best ever with mince of your choice follow all other recipe onion herbs rice garlic tomato paste chick stock lemon salt pepper but i do wine leaves & i do not heat them up straight out of pkt or jar cause i also love the brine taste un them as well

  10. Maria Lepeniotis

    I am so happy this recipe is like my grandmother’s and had lost it. So glad I found it.

    • Hi Maria! I’m really happy you liked the recipe!

      • I made a couple of changes, but turned out fantastic. Used ground turkey, rest of the stuffing the same. Sprayed Pyrex dish with olive oil, laid out the rolls, poured about 3/4 cup of chicken broth, covered and baked for 60 minutes on top rack at 400 degrees.
        Doubled the amount of sauce and used half and half instead of milk. After baking, basted the stock out of the dish, whisked it into the sauce, ladled it over rolls and put it back in the oven for 5 minutes. I have my wife and 2 15 year old twin girls. They loved it. Thank you.

  11. Paula Geivelis

    OK Eli…..i’m Danish American and I married a Greek from Athens(yes..a city boy)who came here when he was 18yrs old. His mom makes the most INCREDIBLE lahanodolmades!!!! Like I could cry at the thought of how fabulous they are!! She sautes the onion, meat, rice . I just can’t believe that the meat is cooked before getting wrapped in the leaf? Seems like you’d lose all that flavor… I’m trying your version. I’ve tried to make them before and they were close to hers but I feel as though all of our ingredients bought here are just different…they don’t have that rich warm flavor. Well… goes. I’ll tell you how it goes after!

  12. Paula Geivelis

    OK…..WOW!!! the recipe is perfect! It is always tempting to add things like garlic etc…and yes that may be tasty, however, this is a Greek dish and when you add or change ingredients you take the Greek out of it. I also just watched a video of an Italian Grandma making Italian Stuffed Cabbage. It also sounded delicious but it had different ingredients that made it Italian. This is a fabulous recipe and it’s going into my permanent recipe file. Thanks Eli… will be my 1st go to for different Greek recipes.
    p.s. my husbands first gift to me was the book “The Greek Cookbook” by Sophia Skoura….HAHA!

  13. I would like to try this. Nice to find authentic Greek recipes. However, I am puzzled as for which cabbage to choose from. There are so many choices in our country and no picture of your cabbage in the recipe. White, green, red, kale, pointed, oxheart, Chinese, paksoi, what is the best choice?

  14. Kalimera eprepe na kaneis youtube ego nomizo thelo na se pantrefto na mou ftiaheis dolmades kai na pigenoume Ellada kathe kalokeri.

  15. I had difficulty separating the cabbage leaves…in the end I put the whole thing into the boiling water which softened the leaves making it easier to remove them without too much trouble….what kind of rice do you recommend?

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