Sauerkraut Cabbage Rolls

Sauerkraut Cabbage Rolls are styled after the St. Augustine Church of Waynesville Ohio, served each year at the Ohio Sauerkraut festival.Sauerkraut Cabbage Rolls

Ever since we moved to Ohio from the sunny shores of Central Florida we have been captivated by the annual Ohio Sauerkraut Festival, held the second weekend of October on Main Street in Waynesville, Ohio. It is a wonderful blend of cool weather (usually), scores of arts and crafts and the aroma of sauerkraut fills the air. What a perfect way to spend a weekend taking in the local artists offerings while having a sauerkraut specialty! To be included as a food vendor in the fair, your food must have sauerkraut in it.  And that might be a tough restriction for some, but the local organizations and foodies do have a few tricks up their sleeve. So the food offerings range from Sauerkraut and cabbage rolls offered by the St. Augustine’s church, sauerkraut balls, the German Sundae, sauerkraut donuts, sauerkraut pizza, sauerkraut custard pie, and even sauerkraut fudge.

Over the course of twenty some-odd years, I have tried it all.

I’ve not been left disappointed, in case those of you whose eyebrows raised at the mention of some of those foods may have wondered.

There are tricks to making it work. Some of them may seem like highly guarded secrets, and while you may find recipes for some of these items cited to be from the Sauerkraut festival, if you look closely, you will see that the details change from recipe to recipe, or perhaps certain things that are in there just aren’t mentioned. Such is the case with the sauerkraut rolls from St. Augustine’s church, which has given a general description of their cabbage rolls to the press.  I’ve looked at those. And they don’t all seem right, or even the same. Some of them describe the amounts of ingredients used for the whole festival. And believe me, if you have ever seen the line for the cabbage rolls and the crowd in the street, you do not want to do that, unless you want to eat these cabbage rolls for the rest of your life!

Hmm…that might not be such a bad thing, but we do like other foods. Right?

But I am not new to making cabbage rolls. There is a little German in me.  Just a tad. And having eaten these things year after year for twenty years, I do know exactly what they taste like. And I harbor no cooking secrets, so dear friends, I offer up my discoveries to you. And truth be told, if we actually saw the real recipe from the church and compared it to this, they are not likely to be the same.

Mine are going to be better. Ha!

But I bet you can’t tell the difference. And so while the Sauerkraut festival will come and go over a weekend very soon, and your cravings for cabbage rolls might remain, don’t fret.

I got your back. And your recipe. Enjoy!

Makes 10-12 cabbage rolls
Serves 5-6
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 8-10 hours (crockpot/low)


  • 1 pound lean GROUND BEEF
  • 1 cup cold cooked long-grain RICE
  • 1 medium ONION, finely chopped
  • 1/4  cup MILK
  • SALT
  • 1/2 tsp. GARLIC POWDER
  • 1/2 tsp. PAPRIKA
  • 1 EGG
  • 1 large head CABBAGE
  • 29 ounces canned SAUERKRAUT (I use snow floss), juice reserved (do not drain)
  • 2 cups TOMATO JUICE

NOTE: I used the largest cabbage I could find, which makes using the cabbage leaves quite a bit easier. Of course, this may mean you will end up with extra cabbage. Might I recommend making a slaw and having Reuben Sandwiches very soon?

Placing cabbage rolls in the crock pot
Placing cabbage rolls in the crock pot, getting ready to cook.


  1. Mix together ground beef, cold cooked rice, onion, milk, salt and pepper to taste, garlic powder, egg  and paprika; set aside.
  2. Cut out the core of a large green cabbage. Place cabbage core side down on a plate in the microwave and nuke for about 5 minutes.
  3. Gently peel off several leaves intact.
  4. Microwave again for another five minutes to soften the cabbage further and repeat with gently peeling off leaves intact until you have 12 leaves.
  5. Place a half cup mixture of beef on the inside lower/thick part of the cabbage leaf and roll the thick part over the meat. Fold over the side parts of the leaf and then roll up like a burrito.
  6. Place 6 of these seam-side-down in the bottom of the crockpot, then top those with about half of the sauerkraut with juice from the can.
  7. Make 6 more rolls and add to the crockpot.
  8. Top that with the remaining sauerkraut (with juice)  and pour the tomato juice over all.
  9. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until the inside of a cabbage roll reaches 160F on an instant-read thermometer.

NOTE: I used a very large oval 6-quart cooker.

If you use a smaller one, divide the cabbage rolls among two regular crock pots or cut the recipe in half.

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16 responses

  1. Hi Betty! I use the milk to adjust the consistency of the meat filling. I use milk in my meat loaf recipes as well. It works! Try it. ~Sue

  2. Ha ha.. I live like 7 miles from Waynesville as the crow flies.. I was looking for a cabbage roll recipe and this was the first one I came across.. Will have to try the rolls next time I go to the fest.

  3. I have helped make the oh so famous St. Augustine cabbage rolls for years and you’ve got it pretty much right. Its amazing how simple it is! Of course when you’re making 30,000 cabbage rolls it has to be, right?

  4. I can’t believe that this is the first recipe that came up tonight when I keyed this in…we went to the Waynesville Sauerkraut Fest today for my first time and I had this cabbage roll and as soon as I saw this picture, I thought wow that looks just like theirs did and then I read where she said the Waynesville Fest….never seen them made with the sauerkraut and when I asked the man for the recipe he just laughed and said the ladies make them and I don’t know the recipe….after I got home, I remembered the ingredients were printed on the front of the bld…..this was a great find for me and I brought home a 3 pack for supper for my brother….They had a beautiful weekend with the weather being in the 70’s and sunny and the crowd was huge, at least I know that the food vendors did well, we also got a rueben and it was excellent, too…..


  6. I use to live in Ohio and have been to the Sauerkraut Festival many times. I live in NC now and have been craving these cabbage rolls! Thanks for the recipe I cannot wait to try it!

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