Traditional Turkish Dolma Recipe (Yaprak Sarma)

A delicious and flavorful dish made with grape leaves that are filled with a mixture of rice, herbs, and spices.

By xp5u9
December 20, 2022
Rating: 0.00

Traditional Turkish Dolma recipe, also known as Yaprak Sarma, is a popular dish that has been enjoyed by Turks for centuries. This savory dish is made by rolling grape vine leaves that are filled with a mixture of rice, herbs, and spices, and covered with olive oil and lemon juice.

The history of dolma dates back to the Ottoman Empire when it was served during palace feasts. Today, it remains a staple in Turkish cuisine and can be found on menus all over the country. Its unique blend of spices and flavors makes it a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

What is Traditional Turkish Dolma (Yaprak Sarma)?

If you’re a fan of Turkish cuisine, you’ve likely heard of dolma, a popular dish that is made with stuffed vegetables or leaves. One of the most beloved variations of dolma in Turkey is yaprak sarma, which translates to “stuffed vine leaves.”

One reason why Yaprak Sarma has become so popular is that it can be adapted to suit different tastes and preferences.

Traditional Turkish Dolma Recipe

What Are the Traditional Turkish Dolma Recipe Origins?

The origins of Yaprak Sarma can be traced back to the Ottoman Empire, where it was considered a delicacy among the ruling class. Today, it remains one of Turkey’s most beloved dishes and is enjoyed by people all over the world. The preparation process involves rolling each grape leaf around a small amount of filling and then cooking them in boiling water until they are tender.

Health Benefits of Using Grape Leaves

These thin and tender leaves are packed with numerous health benefits that make them an excellent addition to any diet. From aiding digestion to promoting healthy skin, here are some of the most notable benefits of grape leaves.

One of the most significant advantages of grape leaves is their ability to aid in digestion. They contain high amounts of dietary fiber, which helps regulate bowel movements and prevent constipation. Additionally, grape leaves have been shown to reduce inflammation in the digestive tract and relieve symptoms associated with conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Another benefit of grape leaves is their antioxidant content. These leaves contain high levels of polyphenols – powerful antioxidants that help protect your body against free radicals and oxidative stress.

Today grape leaves dolma recipe is a popular dish across the globe and can be found in Balkan, Middle Eastern, Southern Caucasian, North African, Persian, Mesopotamian, Israeli, Turkish, and even Central Asian cuisine.

How to Make Grape Leaves Turkish Dolma (Yaprak Sarma)?

To make Yaprak Sarma, you will need to start by preparing the grape leaves. You can either buy them already prepared or pick them fresh from the vine. Once you have your grape leaves ready, it’s time to prepare the filling. This typically includes rice, onion, garlic, parsley, dill, mint, and tomato paste. You can also add ground beef or lamb if desired.

After you have mixed all of your filling ingredients together in a bowl, it’s time to start assembling your Yaprak Sarma.

The rice is usually soaked first, in warm water for 30 minutes before cooking. The dolma is then closed up into a tight ball or roll, and the ball is cooked until the rice is soft and the mixture is fragrant.

Traditional Turkish Dolma Recipe (Yaprak Sarma)

A delicious and flavorful dish that is enjoyed by the whole family.
Servings 6
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes


For the filling

  • 1 lb grape leaves
  • 2 cup white rice uncooked
  • 2 onions finely chopped
  • 1 cup tomatoes (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • ½ cup parsley finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp dried mint
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • tsp salt
  • 3-4 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cup water

For the sauce 

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tomato diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp fresh mint
  • tbsp tomato paste


  • To prepare Yaprak Sarma, start by boiling a pot of water. Once the water is boiling, add the grape leaves and let them cook for approximately 4 minutes. After that, rinse the grape leaves with cold water, drain them, and set them aside for later use.
  • One of the key steps to making perfect Yaprak Sarma is soaking the rice in warm water for 30 minutes before cooking. After 30 minutes have passed, drain off any remaining water from the bowl and rinse the rice thoroughly with cold water.
  • In a medium saucepan heat olive oil over medium heat gently sauté the chopped onion until turns golden brown, then add the rice, and spices and pour water in the saucepan. Stir the mixture well before covering it and cooking it gently for approximately 10 minutes.
  • To prepare Yaprak Sarma, lay a grape leaf flat on a dish with its shiny side facing downwards. Scope a teaspoon of stuffing onto the part near the stem. Fold both sides inward and roll the wrap upwards in a cigar-like manner. Ensure that it's not too loose or too tight. Repeat until all the filling or leaves are used up.
  • Arrange the Yaprak Sarma leaves in the pot, stacking them if necessary. Drizzle lemon juice and oil over the leaves. To prevent them from unfolding during cooking, place a plate (upside down) on top of the leaves. Pour enough boiling water over the Yaprak Sarma to cover them completely.
  • Heat the water until it boils, then cover the pot with a lid and lower the heat to medium or low. Let it cook for 40 minutes.
  • Serve warm and add plain yogurt on the side. Enjoy!
Calories: 436kcal
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: Turkish
Keyword: Dolma, grape leaves, Vegetarian

Explore More Sarma Recipes?

Did you make this traditional Turkish dolma recipe (Yaprak Sarma)?

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