How to Roll Dolmades

Dolmades, or stuffed grape leaves, are easy to make once you get the hang of rolling them. Always try to start with larger grape leaves without holes or tears. This will help you practice and as you become more proficient, you can move on to the trickier leaves.

Place your grape leaf shiny side down so that the leaf veins are facing up. The veins will be on the inside of the roll and make for a neater appearance.

Grape Leaf on Cutting Board

Place your filling in the center of the leaf, near the bottom. I find 1 tablespoon to be a good start for filling amount. Use less for smaller leaves.

Grape Leaf with Filling

Then, fold up the bottom left and right sides at a bit of an angle. You want to cover the filling and try to start “squaring off” the leaf.

Grape Leaf Fold 1

Now, take the part with the filling and roll it over itself going toward the top of the leaf. (Just take that bottom point with your finger and roll it once toward the top of the leaf.)

Half-Rolled Dolmade

Next, fold in the sides. This can just be done at a straight angle. You want to enclose the filling so it doesn’t fall out either end. (Sorry for the blur.)

Dolma Packet

Finally, just roll the rest of it up toward the top. When you put it in the pan, make sure the seam side is down so that it doesn’t come undone while cooking.

Final Dolma Roll

Just one more word of caution. Make sure you don’t overstuff the dolma or roll it too tightly. Remember that rice expands when cooked, so you need to leave a bit of space for that to happen. If you don’t, you’ll have exploded dolmades… which is really rice soup with stringy grapes leaves floating around. Ick!

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