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Toltott Kaposzta (Töltött Káposzta)

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Adjust Servings:
500 g minced pork
50 g Rice
1 pcs onion peeled and finely chopped
1 pcs Egg
a pinch ground cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon Salt
a pinch Black pepper
15 pcs sauerkraut leaves
1 kg sauerkraut grated
200 g Smoked bacon lardons
200 g smoked sausage
4 pcs Garlic cloves chopped
2 tablespoons Tomato puree
2 tablespoons paprika
3 pcs Bay leaves
a pinch Black pepper

Toltott Kaposzta (Töltött Káposzta)


Toltott Kaposzta is a very popular traditional Hungarian dish, especially in the winter months.

  • 180
  • Serves 6
  • Medium


  • Stuffing

  • Sauerkraut



What is Toltott Kaposzta?

Toltott Kaposzta (Töltött Káposzta) is a traditional Hungarian dish. It is a hearty and healthy dish, which makes it very popular, especially in the winter months. Although cooked for a relatively long time, the recipe for Toltott Kaposzta is very simple.

It is made of cabbage leaves stuffed with a mixture of minced meat, rice, and spices. Usually, it is cooked and served with sauerkraut, smoked meat, and sour cream.

Toltott Kaposzta Recipe Origin

The name Toltott Kaposzta literally means stuffed cabbage. It comes from the word töltött which means filled and káposzta or cabbage. In the southern parts of Hungary, it can even be found under the name sarma.

This dish has deep roots in Hungarian cuisine. The predecessor of stuffed cabbage in Hungarian cuisine was cabbage meat. Along with the Ottoman conquests, Turkish dishes came to this area, including sarma. However, Turkish sarma is wrapped in vine leaves, but in this area, sauerkraut was very popular. It didn’t take long that a new variant of sarma emerges, this time wrapped in sauerkraut. Again under the influence of local cuisine, people added dried meat to the dish. And so, the Hungarian traditional dish had been created.

The first known records date from the late 17th century, in the book of the Szakáts craft.

As with other traditional dishes, there are countless variations. Almost always the base is minced pork, sauerkraut, rice and smoked meat. However, depending on the region, you can also find variants with a combination of beef and pork, spices such as caraway seeds, barley instead of rice. In the Szabolcs region, for example, tomato puree is a common ingredient.

Other Cuisines

Let’s mention that you can find similar dishes in the cuisines of Central Europe, Asia, the Levant, and even Brazil and Japan. Naturally, in each of these cuisines there are different variants, and sometimes even different names. Let’s just mention a few. In Bulgaria, Turkey, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina,  and Albania a similar dish is called sarma. In Romania and Moldova, it is called sarmale. Interestingly, in some states, they are known as little pigeons. This is the case with Russia [Golubtsy], Poland [Gołąbki], in Ukraine [Holubtsi] and the Czech Republic and Slovakia Holubky.

We got this Toltott Kaposzta recipe from a friend from Pecs, a city from in southern Hungaria. He is a foodie like me, and his family use this recipe for generations.



In a large bowl, mix the minced meat, rice, egg, paprika, onion, cumin, black pepper, and salt until you get a compact mixture.


Wash sauerkraut in cold water, drain it and separate the leaves. Cut the leaves in half and cut the hard part out of the middle.


Wrap the meat in the prepared leaves. (like on the picture).


Fry the bacon in a frying pan for a few minutes, then add the onion and garlic. Fry for a few minutes until the onion becomes translucent. Add the grated sauerkraut and remove from the heat. Season everything with pepper, paprika, tomato puree and bay leaves.


At the bottom of the casserole, place a layer of grated sauerkraut from step 3, then a layer of wrapped sarma, then another layer of sauerkraut and again a layer of wrapped sarma. Add smoked sausages on top and cover everything with another layer of sauerkraut. Fill with water and cover.


Place in the oven and cook for 3-4 hours.


That's all. You’ve made Toltott Kaposzta. Serve with sour cream. If you like, you can also serve it with mashed potatoes.

Ivan Majhen

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