I have a grape vine with a lot of fresh leaves so I thought I'd make stuffed vine leaves. I'm going to precook the filling, so the final cook only needs to be enough to cook the leaves. Most recipes for stuffed vine leaves cook for long enough to cook the filling as well, so I can't get an idea of how long the leaves need. Other recipes are based on oven cooking them until crispy. I'm planning to simmer them in a covered pan or steam them over some new potatoes, as I can do that outside to avoid heating the house (we're having a heatwave here). I expect to par-cook/blanch the leaves first as apparently that makes them easier to roll.

So how long do vine leaves themselves take to steam/simmer?

3 Answers 3


As you're going to blanch the vine leaves until they are easy to roll, no additional time is needed to cook them...

If you add cold ingredients like cheese to the filling or if you freeze them, it's a good idea to steam them a bit more for perfectly warm and properly cooked Dolmades...

  • So "easy to roll" = "good to eat"? Having never cooked and rarely eaten them that's what I didn't know.
    – Chris H
    Commented Jul 1, 2018 at 11:51
  • Yup. I do freeze mine, so I still steam them to heat them up though as it's easier to make a large batch than a small batch so if this is your first batch, I'd advise you to do the same or blanch them 10 seconds longer if you intend to eat them cold.
    – Fabby
    Commented Jul 1, 2018 at 12:04
  • 1
    In the end the filling cooled a little while I was fiddling about (plus I added cold cheese) so a few minutes steaming was needed by the filling. They turned out rather nicely, but my rolling technique could use some work!
    – Chris H
    Commented Jul 2, 2018 at 10:21
  • 1
    I'm happy they turned out well for you! Question upvoted so more people can find something that'll work for them.
    – Fabby
    Commented Jul 2, 2018 at 16:48

The leaves don't need any cooking at all. You can eat them raw, you can wrap filling in raw leaves, you can wrap filling in blanched leaves, you can wrap filling in leaves which have been canned and cooked to mushiness in the process - anything goes.

In practical terms, blanching first will make it easiest on you and the next cook. Raw leaves will tend to unroll with time, so if you store the prepared sarmas, they will get messy and the filling will fall out. If you cook them longer, you are just wasting time and reducing the taste. So, blanching is the sweet spot indeed. But you are not bound to it in any way.


Depends on the type of vine leaf. In my experience, some take 1 hour of simmering, while other types may take up to 3 hours.

You can always test the vine leaves to see if they are tender enough. They should break easily with a fork.

  • This seems very different to the other answers, which worked well for me. I wonder why.
    – Chris H
    Commented Apr 1, 2019 at 20:27
  • @ChrisH That's always the problem with an answer stating "X" without external evidence. One person comes along stating X (without evidence), another says Y (idem), then which is the 'correct answer'? This site has that more than other SE sites. Just downvote if the answer seems insuffficient.
    – user34961
    Commented Apr 2, 2019 at 7:35
  • @JanDoggen I'm very reluctant to downvote answers unless dangerous, or provably technically wrong, especially with new users - so I'll leave it a little while to see if BahLeaves adds anything.
    – Chris H
    Commented Apr 2, 2019 at 8:29

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