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5 from 4 votes

Authentic Dolma Recipe (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

An easy recipe for dolma or stuffed grape leaves that's healthy and hearty. Check out the video and tutorial on how to make stuffed grape leaves. 

Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 45 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mediterranean, Turkish
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 270kcal
Author: Shadi HasanzadeNemati


  • 1 jar grape leaves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions finely chopped
  • 1 cup short grain rice
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup parsley chopped
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • Boiling water


  • Heat the olive oil in a pan and saute onion until translucent. Add in the rice and cook for just a few minutes.   
  • Then add the tomato paste, cinnamon, dried mint, sugar, pine nuts, parsley and salt. Stir well and cook for about 5 minutes. Turn the heat off.
  • Lay flat a grape leaf on a clean surface. Place about 1 tablespoon of the rice mixture on the leaf and then start rolling. To roll, fold in left and right side, then the bottom and then roll tightly into a cigar. Please watch the video for the complete tutorial.
  • Cover the bottom of a large pot with grape leaves from the jar and place stuffed grape leaves in the pot to cover the bottom.
  • Layer the dolmas on top of each other and nestle them tightly next to each other to make sure they won't open up when cooking. When all the dolmas are in the pot, pour 1/2 cup vegetable oil over the dolmas. Shake the pot a bit to make sure the oil goes all the way to the bottom of the pot. Gently pour boiling water over the dolmas until it barely covers them.
  • Place a plate upside down on the stuffed grape leaves and cover with a lid. Place the pot over medium high heat until the water starts simmering. Turn the heat on low and cook covered for about 45 minutes.
  • To see if the dolmas are cooked, take one out of the pot and let it cool for a minute. Bite it and if the rice is cooked and soft, the dolmas are ready.
  • Serve cold with some yogurt and lemon.



  • Vegetarian dolmas are usually served cold with some plain yogurt. 
  • You can store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 7 days. 
  • Dolmades freeze very well. Store them in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat, you can either use the microwave or heat them in a sauce pan with just a little bit of water. 
  • You can find grape leaves online or at Mediterranean, Middle Eastern or Turkish stores. 
  • Don't over stuff the grape leaves, a good rolled dolma should be as thick as an index finger. 
  • Don't forget to place a plate on the dolmas before turning the heat on. This will keep the stuffed grape leaves intact and will make sure that don't open up. 
  • Dolmades are made with short grain rice, please don't use substitutes like cauliflower rice for this recipe as the flavor, texture and the amount of moisture would alter the results. 
  • The rice is cooked only halfway when you prepare the filling and will finish cooking when it's stuffed in the grape leaves. Therefore, it's important to use rice that doesn't get too large or long when cooked. I suggest you use short or medium grain rice such as jasmine rice. Avoid basmati rice since it gets longer and longer when cooked and might stick out of the grape leaves. 
  • When you start making this vegetarian dolma recipe, go ahead and use the whole jar of grape leaves. A complete jar of grape leaves gives you more than enough dolmades but you can simply freeze the leftovers and enjoy them later. 


Calories: 270kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Sodium: 154mg | Potassium: 96mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 263IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg