Oh My Halupki! (Grandma-Style Stuffed Cabbage)

halupki cover

I think my Grandma made Halupki (stuffed cabbage to some) almost every week.

When Grandma cooked – even when it was just her towards the end of her life – she cooked for a small army…

Halupki pan 1

… and she ALWAYS made a care package for me.

I visited her at least once a week, and there was always a quart jar of some kind of homemade soup waiting for me in the fridge, usually a container of halupkis (or maybe stuffed peppers or something else that week), and then a bag full of goodies (cookies or cereal or candy or ALL three!) to treat the kids.

Grandma 80 birthday with Nick

Grandma’s 80th Birthday sharing her cake with Nick in our backyard

She kept an ongoing bag in the closet that she added to each time she shopped or made something so I always had a “Grandma Bag” to take home.  Sometimes she even picked up dish towels or other small kitchen tools.  She was always thinking of me, and always so giving.

I haven’t made halupkis in quite a while, so thought it would be fun to do.  (Funny how this blog has inspired me to stretch out of the normal chicken salad, pasta with meatballs, and other “usual” dinners to more creativity so I can blog about it…)  Definite bonus for Marty and family and friends that I share the “lovin’ from my oven” with 🙂 .

halupki 1

I hope Grandma would be proud of my halupkis – – – though hers were pure perfection – each sized the same in tight little cabbage packages – – – I’m not so fussy…

Halupki is a dish made of rice, beef, and pork encased in cabbage with a thin, sweet tomato sauce.  Every family has their own twist on this traditional “hunky” comfort food dish.

halupki pan closeup

One of Grandma’s tricks for her sauce was to mix tomato sauce, tomato soup and some of the water the cabbage was boiled in.

halupki 2

I hope you enjoy these with mashed potatoes – a must with Grandma’s halupkis.

halupki plated

Here is the recipe as I made it and as I recall from Grandma.

Makes: Enough for a small army (or approx. 60 halupkis)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

3 large heads of cabbage, cored
2 lbs ground beef
2 lbs pound ground pork
2 lbs ground veal
1  1/2 lbs thick sliced bacon
4 cups cooked white rice
3/4 cup chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
2 28 oz can tomato sauce
4-5 Family size cans Campbell’s Tomato Soup

halupki pan closeup

Place cabbage in a deep pot and cover with water. Add salt to taste, and bring water to a boil.

Remove outer leaves as they begin to separate from cabbage head. Continue to pull leaves off while boiling for approximately 15 minutes. Trim thick center vein off cabbage leaves. Chop remaining core of cabbage and place in bottom of greased (I use Pam spray) roasting pan.

Reserve 4 cups of the cabbage water to mix with the tomato sauce and soup for sauce. Combine sauce ingredients and place 2 cupx over chopped cabbage in roasting pan.

Chop bacon into bite-sized pieces and fry. When cooked, drain off most of the grease, leaving enough in the pan to saute onions and garlic. Saute until translucent.

In a large bowl, combine ground beef, pork, veal, bacon, rice, onion, garlic, egg, salt and pepper.

Form oblong balls of meat mixture and place in center of cabbage leaves. Fold sides over filling and roll cabbage around meat.

Place in a roasting pan on top of chopped cabbage and sauce. When all are rolled and placed, pour remaining sauce over top of all.

Cover pan, and bake approximately 4 hours, basting every 30 minutes.

Best Ever Blue Enamel Pot for Roasting Halupkis! You can get it HERE!

Cheers & Hugs,

53 thoughts on “Oh My Halupki! (Grandma-Style Stuffed Cabbage)

  1. Well you are a true “hunky”, as I am. My Mother was Croatian & my Dad was Slovak. Looks like you get an A+ on your Halupki!!!!
    My friend & I were just talking about making stuffed cabbage yesterday…I was tell her that my Mom always browned some cut-up pieces of bacon, browned it than added and sauteed the chopped onions, cooled this and added it to the meat mixture. As you say every family has their own variation. But it always brings back good memories!!
    Our church, that is an ethnic Slovak Catholic Church, has a stuffed cabbage dinner every september…they use Campbell’s tomato juice and soup.
    Enjoy those delicious Halupki!!!!!


    PS—-If you're ever in the Ytown area, there's a bar called Rip's Tavern on Youngstown-Poland Rd., north of Rt. 224, they feature a home-made Hunky Platter, (pirohy, halupki, & halushki).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for sharing, Char. Bacon sounds like a great addition!!! When isn’t it?!? 🙂 And thanks for the restaurant recommendation. Can’t wait to try it some day! Ytown sure has some great ethnic restaurants, delis and stores that I fondly remember visiting when spending time there. Oh – I can still taste the Mish Mosh Soup and Reuben Sandwiches at that deli that was practically across the street from the office. Do you recall the name? And that Italian store that was across from it – oooh laaa laaa!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. OMGEE…..My mom must have hung out with your grandma at some time…(knowing my mom and her 7 degrees of knowing someone somewhere at anytime…maybe she did!) She makes her cabbage rolls with Campbell’s tomato soup and her own stewed tomatoes from the garden. And, definitely sweet with a touch of sugar or maybe a lot- her sauces are always on the sweet side. I typed out directions for my daughter last year but now I can refer her to this blog post! Lovely pics! Actually, she has saved me from starving many a time with frozen ones I heat up in the microwave…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Just finished par boiling my cabbage…ready to go tomorrow!!!!!
    See what you started, haven’t been able to stop thinking of Halupki!!!! 🙂


  4. What a good idea to use the cabbage core in the bottom of the pan. I have never heard of that and think it is a great idea. My recipe is from an old Minnesota cookbook. It’s very similar to this although it does add a healthy blob of brown sugar into the sauce which I think I cannot live without. This is what’s so fun about cooking – adapting recipes to your own personal taste. Next time I do these, your chopped cabbage in the bottom of the pan is a must do. Waste not, right?

    Liked by 2 people

  5. My grandmother sauteed bacon with the onions…. this recipe is very close to hers. No tomato sauce and she swore by Campbells for the soup. 🙂


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  7. These sound delicious! If I was a better cook I might give them a try. I love cabbage. My grandmother used to make a German dish that we called “filled noodles”but I’m sure it had a real name! She rolled out dough and filled it with ground meat, rolled it up like a jelly roll and sliced them in pieces. Then they were boiled in an ox tail broth. They were so good! I really should have gotten the recipe!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow – that does sound interesting! Darn – that you didn’t get the recipe. Anyone else in the family maybe? We take those things for granted until we lose them – eh?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This looks like my Grandmother’s recipe! She was from the old country. The only thing that she did that was different was to make a couple of stuffed peppers and stuck them in the pan with the stuffed cabbage. That added a great flavor accent!

    Liked by 1 person

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  11. To many ingredients…..hamburger…onion…parsley…salt…..and pepper….Campbell tomato soup…that’s it…..this is how both polish mother’s made them…passed down by their polish mother’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. To many ingredients…..hamburger…onion…parsley…rice..salt…..and pepper….Campbell tomato soup…that’s it…..this is how both polish mother’s made them…passed down by their polish mother’s.

    Liked by 1 person

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  14. A secret to great Halupki is, believe it or not, nutmeg! A dah or 3 will make it more tasty. or all of you hunkys and Slovaks out there, I nee a recipe for ‘horse buns. My Grandma made the on special occasions like Christmas. They were very small balls of bread dough placed on a baking sheet, When done she broke them apart, covered them with melted butter then mixed it all with fried sauerkraut, We called them horse buns cuz they looked like horse ‘you know what’. Sure would like to have it again!

    Liked by 2 people

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  16. I am 100% slovak so I hope I can help you out. The “horse buns” are called bolbalki. Using an all purpose dough or bread dough make round bite size pieces and bake until golden brown. (350)
    When cool, put in a colander and pour 2 cups of boiling water over bread bites.
    saute kraut in butter and mix with the bread bites.

    You can also make a sweet version. After bread bites are cool put in colander and pour 2 cups of milk that has just been brought to a boil (do not boil)… Mix together 1 c ground poppyseed, 4 T milk also just brought to a boil, 4 T honey, 1/4 cup sugar and 3 T melted butter. Mix together and then add to the bread bites and mix well.

    Hope you enjoy
    Gram Patty

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Patty! Here is another thing my Grandma made. I was just a boy but I remember her making some sort of cheese (I think). She would take eggs and milk (plus other things I’m sure). She would then put the stuff in cheesecloth and hang over the sink until it stopped dripping. I can’t recall which Holiday. Could be Easter or Christmas.



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