Hungarian Cabbage Noodles with Caramelized Cabbage and Onions is the ultimate comfort food and definitely so much more than the sum of its parts. Cabbage and onions are slowly caramelized in butter until they become a mellow and fragrant, golden brown and then tossed into homemade egg noodles. So simple, but so sublime!
Hungarian Cabbage Noodles - Káposztás Tészta (pronounced ka'-pos-tash tes'-ta) are most lovingly known in our family as Kapoosta Choosta. Don't you think anything with a name like that HAS to be great? My grandfather's parents were Hungarian immigrants, and my grandmother learned how to make noodles and other Hungarian dishes. I don't know if anyone else calls it Kapoosta Choosta or if it was just my grandmother's Americanized way of saying it. Either way, when Hungarian Cabbage Noodles are on the table for dinner, everyone's happy!
I will share a little story about my rolling pin. My Hungarian great-grandfather came into my grandmother's kitchen one day when she was newly married and saw her rolling noodles. Finding her common, American-style rolling pin (an empty beer bottle) not quite up to the job for rolling noodles or pastries, he went out to the yard, found a suitable branch, and made her a new rolling pin, in the style of the old country, completely by hand. No machines, just a saw, a knife, and some sandpaper. I was lucky enough to have that rolling pin passed down to me, and it's still the only one I ever use.
Don't be intimidated by rolling out your own noodles. It's very easy and doesn't take much time other than the time it takes to rest and dry out the rolled dough. Grandma's biggest tip for a successful noodle was kneading. The more kneading, the better the noodle. I have found this to be true. If I am in a hurry, I make the dough in the food processor and the noodles turn out just fine. When I take the time to make them in a stand mixer and give them a good 10 minute kneading with the dough hook, they turn out with a smoother texture.
After the dough is kneaded, it is left to rest for about 20 minutes. Then it is divided into parts and rolled out to the desired thickness. Grandma liked her noodles thick and substantial, while Grandpa liked his very thin. For these Hungarian Cabbage Noodles the dough shouldn't be too thin. 1 /16 of an inch is good. After the dough is rolled out, it is left to rest for a few hours on a kitchen towel or a floured surface until it dries out somewhat. It should be dry enough that the pieces won't stick together when they're cut, but not so dry that when you cut the noodles, the dough breaks.
A famous Hungarian dish, and popular in Eastern Europe, there are many different variations from family to family. Some cooks use only cabbage, while some use cabbage and onion. Many cooks use only one onion, but I love the rich flavor that extra caramelized onions brings to the dish so I increase mine to one to two pounds of onions for three pounds of cabbage. Some cooks grate the cabbage then salt it to release excess juices before cooking. I prefer thinly slicing mine and caramelizing them in butter without salting them.
Don't underestimate the humble cabbage, especially in the hands of a Hungarian. They have a way of taking the modest cabbage and turning it into something glorious. Slowly sautéed in butter, it becomes rich, fragrant, mild, and utterly delicious.
Hungarian Cabbage Noodles with Caramelized Cabbage and Onions - Káposztás Tészta
For the Noodles
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 6 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the cabbage and onions
- 1 small head of cabbage, about 3 pounds.
- 1 to 2 pounds onion (see note)
- 1 ¾ sticks butter
- Salt and pepper
For the Noodles
- In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, eggs, and salt.
- Knead by machine for 10 minutes until a smooth dough is formed. It should not be sticky or too dry.
- Add a small amount of flour or water as necessary to form a smooth dough.
- Remove dough from machine and knead several times on the counter.
- Cover the dough in plastic and let rest for 20 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces.
- Roll out each piece on a floured surface, dusting the dough generously with flour, into a circle approximately 12 inches in diameter and about 1/16 of an inch thick.
- Let the rolled out dough rest on a floured surface for several hours until it is dry but still pliable.
- When the dough has dried, stack the circles of dough on top of each other and cut into 1 inch squares.
- When the cabbage and onions are finished, cook the pasta squares in boiling, salted water until tender but still al dente, about 10 minutes.
- Drain the pasta squares, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Combine with the cabbage and onion mixture, adding a little reserved pasta water if necessary.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Combine thoroughly and serve.
For the cabbage
- Slice the cabbage in half.
- Cut each half of cabbage into three wedges.
- Remove the core.
- Thinly slice the cabbage.
- Melt 1 stick of butter in a large pan.
- Add the cabbage and 1 teaspoon salt.
- Cook, covered, on high for a few minutes. Then reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring often, until cabbage is golden brown.
For the onions
- Cut the onions in half and thinly slice.
- Melt 6 Tablespoons of butter in a large pan.
- Add the onions.
- Cook, covered, on high for a few minutes. Then reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring often, until onions are golden brown.
- Combine the carmelized cabbage and onions. Add cooked drained pasta and combine. Add a ladle or two of the pasta water to thin the cabbage and onions and help them adhere to the pasta.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
The amount of onion is up to your personal taste. Some cooks use onions, and some don't. Many cooks will use one large onion per head of cabbage. I like the rich flavor that caramelized onions bring to the dish, so I use up to 2 pounds of onions for a 3 pound cabbage.
- Cuisine: Eastern European
Cookie Monster says
It tastes as good as it looks. I couldn't stop eating, wow.
Thanks Cookie Monster!
Thank you for stopping by my blog! This is a fantastic and I am bookmarking this to try it! I love learning about new kitchens and food.
Thanks Katerina! So do I!
Cara Wahlgren says
How many do you think this will serve? I'm having about 10 people to dinner and I'm wondering if I should double this
It makes about 2 of the smaller serving dishes as seen in the first photo. So depending on what you're serving with it, doubling it might be a good idea for 10 people. Hope you enjoy it!
Proper recipe. I'm personally against the onions. BTW in Hungarian it's not ka-pu’-stash it's more
like ka'-pos-tash. Hungarian accents the first syllable almost always. The middle vowel is an o sound as in the US pronunciation of police.
Yes, you're right! Thanks for the tip, Balázs!
Michael Timar says
Very nice recipe! In our village in Hungary, most cooks grate and salt the cabbage first. Then they use lard to cook it. It tastes amazing too!
Thank you, Michael! Yes, my aunt cooks it that way as well. It is one of our family's favorite dishes 🙂
What makes this better is to be eating some while reading the recipe. Like you said every family might have their own variation. My wife started me with it the way I always make it now. Fry up some sliced szalonna
(bacon) then I saute the cabbage and onions in the bacon grease. then crumble up the bacon and mix it in with it. Yummo!! Next time, I will definitely add more onions.
I go by the philosophy that a recipe is like a road map, there is always point A to B, but there a few different ways of getting there,
I will admit to using packaged noodles, usually bowtie. I don't have a processor, so making the noodle by hand is a little tough. I do however make by hand my nokedli for my csirke paprikas
Thanks, Scott. I've made it with the bacon fat and it was awesome! I fully agree with your philosophy, there are so many variations from cook to cook. We each fine tune our recipes to our own taste.
My grandmother was 2nd generation Hungarian (her mother was an immigrant) and she called her huge boiling pot a “kapoosta” pot. So I wonder, would that have meant noodle pot? Or cabbage pot.... 🙂
Hi Stephanie! I think it means cabbage pot 🙂 Hungarians do have a lot of cabbage dishes!
My mom learned to make cabbage noodles from my Hungarian grandmother and your square noodles are just like she made. Your recipe is the only one I have seen with that type of noodle. This was always one of our favorite dishes along with chicken paprikash. Thank you for bringing back some happy memories.
Thank you for the lovely comment, Ruth. I feel so connected with my grandmother when I make this dish. A lot of my memories of her revolve around food. Making her recipes and sharing them with my family is a special remembrance of her. You're very welcome.
I remember square noodles on kitchen towels draped all around my grandmother's apartment. She never used onions, but I'm intrigued.
I wasn't old enough to remember how she made the noodles, but know she didn't have a processor. Any tips?
Hi Amanda! My grandmother would also roll out her noodle dough and leave it to dry on kitchen towels, covering the kitchen table. She didn't have a food processor either - of course she was making noodles long before processors were invented. She just mixed up the dough by hand and kneaded it for about 10-15 minutes. She taught me that the longer you knead the dough, the better the noodle will be. I do notice a difference in the noodle when it has been kneaded longer, however I'm rarely patient enough to do it for very long. When I want my noodles to be their very best, I use a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook to give the dough a longer kneading.
Many Hungarian cooks don't use onions in this dish, however I love the flavor they add.
Thanks so much for sharing your memories! It's made me remember my grandmother's kitchen as well!
Elaine Defelice says
Thank you for the recipe. I’ve been
making this dish about 40 yrs. I thought I forgot part of it, but, in reading your recipe I remember years back I cut down on the butter and never looked back. Well, the butter is back. Next time I will follow your recipe.
Also, I learned cream of green bean soup from
a Hungarian friend. It was delicious. It had milk and sour cream and green beans. That’s all I remember. Do you have any thoughts on this recipe? Thanks for allowing me to go down memory lane.
Elaine, I'm so glad you stopped by! Isn't it a wonderful dish? I try to use as little butter as I can, but to get the best caramelization of the cabbage and onions, that can't be too little.
I've had some lovely cream of green bean soup. One was totally smooth and pureed, the other was creamy and smooth but with whole pieces of green beans. They were both delicious. A little onion and garlic were sautéed in butter or bacon fat then green beans and broth were added. It was simmered for an hour or two then thickened with a roux and a very liberal addition of sour cream. The very smooth one was pureed in the blender. One had fresh dill added, the other did not. Does this sound similar to your recipe?
It was lovely hearing from you, Elaine!
We usually eat this with polish sausage
Sounds delicious - a perfect combination! Thanks, Daniel!
This recipe looks fantastic, but the rolling pin...I'm speechless. And jealous! What an incredible and magical family story and heirloom to have.
Awww, thanks so much, Amy! It's so special to me. My father now makes them. Hopefully his grandchildren will treasure them as much as I do!
I am going to try and make this recipe today. My grandparents are/were Hungarian and grandmother did all the cooking but the only thing she didnt make was this - it was my grandfather's territory. I think its because he had the patience LOL. He never wrote the recipe down but I saw him making many times. He died about 8 years ago and my grandmother is now in a nursing home at 98 with a bit of dementia (cant blame her at 98). I have avoided making it I think because I was worried I would ruin it as I have such fond memories of it. Seeing I am stuck in isolation I thought now would be the time to try it. This is the first recipe I have read that looks like what I remembered seeing him doing. So I am going to give it a try. I'll update you later.
My grandma's cream of green bean soup was amazing! I miss that but they grew all their own green beans which definitely made it special. She kept her green beans whole and used a bit of bacon fat. YUM
Thank you for the blog!
Beth, I hope it turns out well for you. That green bean soup sounds wonderful! You can't beat home grown! Thanks so much and stay healthy!
Sonia Ksiazek says
This looks delicious. I have a cabbage I need to use up in the refrigerator. It is a red cabbage but I think that should be fine. My husband is of Polish background so there are similarities. He however can’t have gluten. I wonder if the noodles can be made using a blend of gluten free flour. I would probably just have to experiment. My father was Palestinian and I noticed the dishes you have the food in is the Palestinian pottery. I am curious how you have acquired them.
Hi Sonia! I haven't tried gluten free flour, but I am curious as to how they turned out. My husband is Palestinian, and I picked up the dishes while living in Amman for a time. They are really a part of our family's daily meal time and quite beautiful! Thanks so much!
Just made the noodle dish according to my Hungarian mum’s recipe-no onions, salted cabbage, extra salt and drained off moisture squeezed out of the cabbage which is then fried, but a couple spoonfuls of sugar added to the almost crisp cabbage at the very end of frying it. The result is truly caramelized! Then my mum used to serve it with a sprinkling of granular sugar and loads of freshly ground black pepper on each plate. We used to eat and eat until we couldn’t move!
My husband has to be GF, I use any GF flour and proceed exactly the same as with reg white flour, and it turns out so well, and doesn’t taste as ‘GF’ as other GF products
Sounds wonderful, Judit! My grandmother didn't use onions either. I like the sweetness they add which is similar to your adding sugar.
This was awesome!!!!
We gobbled it down and were more more more!!
So happy you liked it, Brian! Thanks so much!
Deborah Quitt says
Favourite dish in the whole world!!
My grandmother from Hungary would cook this for me when I was growing up.
Aw, so happy you liked it, Deborah! It's definitely a favorite with my family as well! Thanks so much!
Absolutely delicious! It takes a while to caramelize the onions but if your patient it pays off with extraordinary flavors in the end. We served with grilled bratwurst. Thanks for sharing . This is now added to my comfort food list.
So happy you liked it, Lola! It's definitely comfort food! Thanks so much!
Kelly, I’ve been making this dish for many years. Now my grandsons love it as well & I've taught them oldest (13) how to make it. My grandmother was Hungarian & died when I was eleven.
I’ve always used packaged noodles & wanted to try to make my own with gluten free flour. They came out fantastic! I used ‘Cuc4Cup’ brand.
I also still make her ‘Knuckle’ soup. I’m not sure, She may have been saying a work meaning noodle because there were NO knuckles involved! . It was a chicken broth with dumplings made with butter, egg & farina. To this day, I can’t recuperate from a cold without a bowl or two.
Do you have a strudel recipe? I remember her technique, but no one wrote down the recipe for the dough. Thanks so much for the noodle recipe & instructions!
Such a wonderful tradition to pass down to your grandsons, Theresa! My grandmother also had funny names for things, but I didn't think to ask about it while I had the chance. I don't have a recipe for strudel, my grandmother was more of a pie baker. What I've seen of rolling out the strudel dough was pretty fascinating. Thanks so much for your comment! xo
Hi Kelly. Káposztás csusza. Your granny was right. Csusza (choo saa) is the name of these square shaped noodles. People can say I'm gonna make some csusza tészta. 🙂
We never put onion in it just kaposzta and use pork lard instead of butter. Just original Hungarian-made please 🙂 I do not like with sugar just salty with ground pepper. But as we say in Hungary As many houses, so many customs. Means as many household as many versions.Good luck and it was heartwarming reading your recipe. 🙂 Sll the best
Wow, thanks Andrea, for answering that question I've been wondering about for so long! As my grandfather was Hungarian and my grandmother was English/Scots/Irish, I didn't know if she made up her own word for it or not. So nice to finally know!
Delicious! We added kielbasa. OMG over the top.
Thanks for sharing.
That sounds fabulous, Lola! Thank you!