These lamb and rice stuffed grape leaves (dolmas) take some time and effort to put together, so maybe make a double batch. In restaurants these are usually meatless, but I love the lamb in these. No matter what you use, how much rice you use will affect how much liquid you need.

Recipe Summary

prep:
45 mins
cook:
45 mins
total:
1 hr 30 mins
Servings:
8
Yield:
32 stuffed grape leaves
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Ingredients

8
Original recipe yields 8 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Place ground lamb, rice, 1/4 cups olive oil, mint, currants, pine nuts, salt, pepper, cumin, cinnamon, oregano, and egg in a bowl. Mix together thoroughly with a fork. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

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  • Gently unroll and separate grape leaves. Rinse in cold water to remove brine. Drain. Reserve broken or less-than-perfect leaves to line pot.

  • Place grape leaves on work surface with smooth side down (ribs of leaves up). Place a rounded tablespoon of lamb-rice filling near bottom-center of grape leaf. Fold bottom sections of leaf over mixture, fold over sides, and roll toward the top of the leaf into a firm cylinder. Don't roll too tightly or leaves may burst when rice cooks.

  • Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil into pot; line bottom of pot with 1 or 2 layers of reserved grape leaves. Place dolmas in pot by arranging them along the sides, then working toward the center to cover the bottom. Leave enough space between dolmas to allow for expansion, but close enough to hold their shapes when cooking. If necessary, stack another layer on top of the first so they all fit. Pour in lemon juice and 2 teaspoons olive oil.

  • Invert a small plate and then a larger plate over the dolmas to weigh them down while they cook and prevent them from shifting. Pour in hot chicken broth. Bring to a simmer, uncovered, over medium-high heat. As soon as liquid is heated through and starting to bubble (2 to 4 minutes), reduce heat to low, cover the pot, and cook 35 minutes. Remove plates and check for doneness. Dolmas should look a bit puffed up, and a fork should pierce them easily. If not quite done, continue cooking without the weights: cover the pot and simmer until rice is tender, 10 to 15 minutes longer.

  • Serve warm or chilled. Garnish with curls of lemon zest, if desired.

Cook's Note:

You'll have more grape leaves than you have filling for, so just choose the biggest, most perfect leaves for your dolmades. Use extra leaves to line the pot for cooking.

Nutrition Facts

250 calories; protein 9.8g 20% DV; carbohydrates 18.1g 6% DV; fat 16.1g 25% DV; cholesterol 44.7mg 15% DV; sodium 2484.9mg 99% DV. Full Nutrition

Reviews (23)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
07/19/2017
This is the first recipe I tried when I began making dolmas, and it was such a good one that it has remained the only recipe I've used since. I double the ingredients so there is enough filling for the entire jar of grape leaves. What I do differently from the recipe is I finely chop some onion and saute it in olive oil along with the rice before adding it to filling ingredients. I've found this reduces the cooking time needed for the rice. I consider this my definite go-to recipe for anytime I'm planning to make dolmas. Read More
(7)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
08/31/2019
Ridiculous amount of salt doubling the recipe was enough for 16oz grape leaves. I’ve been making Lebanese dolma for 51 years I’m going back to rice, lamb, garlic and Lemon! Read More
26 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 23
  • 4 star values: 2
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
07/19/2017
This is the first recipe I tried when I began making dolmas, and it was such a good one that it has remained the only recipe I've used since. I double the ingredients so there is enough filling for the entire jar of grape leaves. What I do differently from the recipe is I finely chop some onion and saute it in olive oil along with the rice before adding it to filling ingredients. I've found this reduces the cooking time needed for the rice. I consider this my definite go-to recipe for anytime I'm planning to make dolmas. Read More
(7)
Rating: 5 stars
12/16/2015
Wonderful receipt... doubled the amount of rice and only used half of the grape leaves in the 16oz container... I could not stop my self eating. I would recommend it again and again. Read More
(4)
Rating: 5 stars
11/18/2019
This is my new "GO TO" for lamb and rice stuffed grape leaves. I've been making stuffed grape leaves for 50 years. Being a young bride who was learning to cook a lovely Lebanese lady shared her recipe and taught me to make them. Never thought of adding currants or cinnamon....yummy addition. Read More
(1)
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Rating: 5 stars
02/12/2020
what a Wonderful recipe, the only thing that did different was the pine nuts. "allergic" Fantastic. Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
07/22/2015
These are absolutely delicious! I normally don't like dolmas but these had so much flavor. Love the tangy lemon spices and lamb filling. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
07/23/2015
I usually have dolmas with just rice and they are pretty okay. But with lamb? Unbelieveable. So delicious can't wait for someone to make them for me again! Read More
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Rating: 5 stars
05/08/2019
Excellent start for this standard recipe and thanks to Chef John. I added one onion and a couple of garlic cloves. Also added some dill. Could not find currants but will next time. Seems like there is so much flexibility with this because of the multitude of flavors which are endless. Also did not use olive oil because of previous comments from others about the fat from the lamb and they were correct. I need to add a little more time to creating the sauce that goes on this. Traditional sauce is an egg lemon and broth juice which is whipped and spread over all. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
07/24/2015
Chef John's right about the time factor--these do take a while to roll up. But the lemon and lamb really take these to a whole new level. Brought them to a work event and people really loved them. I'm reserving the broth for another use---too good to toss! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
03/05/2018
Delicious! I did not use the currants but kept to the recipe otherwise. Really nice flavors! I am no stranger to making/eating grape leaves and these were some of the best BUT not better than my mom's lol. Thanks for another great recipe Chef!:) Read More
Rating: 3 stars
08/31/2019
Ridiculous amount of salt doubling the recipe was enough for 16oz grape leaves. I’ve been making Lebanese dolma for 51 years I’m going back to rice, lamb, garlic and Lemon! Read More