Lamb and Rice Stuffed Grape Leaves


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.

close up view of a pile of Lamb and Rice Stuffed Grape Leaves on a white plate
Prep Time:
45 mins
Cook Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 30 mins
32 stuffed grape leaves


  • ½ pound ground lamb

  • ½ cup uncooked long grain rice

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

  • 1 tablespoon dried currants

  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts

  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 (16 ounce) jar grape leaves

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • juice of one lemon

  • 4 cups hot chicken broth

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, or as desired


  1. 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.

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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 (per serving)

250 Calories
16g Fat
18g Carbs
10g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 250
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 16g 21%
Saturated Fat 3g 17%
Cholesterol 45mg 15%
Sodium 2485mg 108%
Total Carbohydrate 18g 7%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 10g
Vitamin C 9mg 43%
Calcium 181mg 14%
Iron 3mg 17%
Potassium 133mg 3%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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