Traditional Armenian Dolma: A Savory Stuffed Delight

Traditional Armenian Dolma: A Savory Stuffed Delight

Armenian Dolma is a beloved staple in Armenian households, offering a comforting taste of tradition and the unique flavors of the region. This dish includes a filling mixture of ground meat, rice, and herbs lovingly wrapped in tender grape leaves, and can also involve stuffing various vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. The word ‘dolma’ comes from the Turkish verb ‘dolmak’ which means ‘to be stuffed,’ reflecting the essence of this satisfying meal.


  • 40-50 grape leaves, jarred or fresh
  • 500g ground beef or lamb (or a mix of both)
  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1-2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 3 tbsp olive oil


  1. Begin by preparing your grape leaves. If using fresh leaves, blanch them in boiling water for a few seconds until they become soft. If you’re using jarred leaves, rinse them thoroughly to remove excess brine.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground meat, uncooked rice, chopped onion, parsley, dill, mint, paprika, cumin, coriander, black pepper, and salt. Mix until well incorporated.
  3. Lay a grape leaf flat on a work surface with the vein side up and the stem end towards you. Place a spoonful of the filling near the stem end, then fold in the sides and roll the leaf up tightly, ensuring the seam is on the bottom.
  4. Repeat this process until all of the filling is used. Make sure not to overstuff the leaves to prevent bursting during cooking.
  5. Arrange the stuffed grape leaves in layers in a large pot, seam sides down. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice, then pour the broth over the top until the dolmas are just covered.
  6. Place a plate upside down on top of the dolmas to keep them submerged during cooking. Bring the pot to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce the heat, cover, and let cook for about 40-45 minutes until the rice and meat are fully cooked.
  7. Once cooked, remove the pot from the heat and let it rest for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the stuffed grape leaves from the pot and arrange them on a serving platter.
  8. Garnish with additional lemon slices and fresh herbs if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature as an appetizer or main dish.


Armenian Dolma is not just a dish; it’s a cultural experience. Each bite encapsulates the warmth and hospitality emblematic of Armenian cuisine. Dolma can be enjoyed on its own, as part of a mezze platter, or with a side of yogurt or tzatziki. Impress your guests or savor this dish with family, and take pride in creating an authentic Armenian experience in your own kitchen.

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