Bosnian Cabbage Stew [Bosanski Lonac]

6 servings
45 min

You will love this delicious, belly-warming Bosnian Cabbage Stew recipe loaded with layers of chunky meat and vegetables. It's a no-stir "Set it and Forget it" kind of meal the whole family will love!

Savor every satisfying mouthful of this heart dish with its melt-in-your-mouth meat and fork-tender veggies, flavored modestly with herbs and spices. Pair this cabbage stew with your favorite homemade bread so you can polish off all that yummy broth!Making this hearty cabbage stew in an instant pot is a quicker and more modern way of cooking, but the result is still authentically awesome.

Bosnian locals call this savory stew Bosanski Lonac - literally "Bosnian Pot."  It is a well-known dish of the Balkan cuisine, and it's considered one of Bosnia's national dishes due to its humble history and the cooking method that gives it depth and richness of flavor! The traditional way of making this cabbage dish is in a clay or ceramic pot. And during the medieval times, you would see it in a pit or the fireplace. But don't fret! This recipe does not require a clay pot, nor would you be asked to dig a hole and cook it over the fire! Unless you want to, that is.

It may look like an ordinary stew on the surface, but the taste and texture is anything but! You will encounter several variations of this Bosnian stew out there.  But one thing that has not changed, regardless of regional origin or family recipe, is the use of layered meat chunks and vegetables simmered until all the flavors and juices extract into a flavorful broth!

Bosnian Cabbage Stew [Bosanski Lonac]
Recipe details
  • 6  servings
  • Prep time: 15 Minutes Cook time: 30 Minutes Total time: 45 min
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  • 1 medium cabbage head ca. 2lbs, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 lb beef stew meat
  • 1 lb pork stew meat
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 large tomato diced
  • 1 large carrot sliced
  • 1 bell pepper chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon Vegeta or salt
  • 1 large potato diced
  • 2 cups water or beef broth

Drizzle the bottom of an instant pot with two tablespoons of vegetable oil. Add half the cabbage and press down a bit with your hand.
Place the meat over the cabbage, then layer the chopped onion, tomato, carrot, pepper, and garlic.
Add the bay leaves, tomato paste, paprika, peppercorns, and Vegeta or salt.
Top with potato cubes and rest of the cabbage. Press down again. Pour in the water or broth.
Close the lid and steam valve on the instant pot. Cook on high pressure for 30 minutes, and then allow the pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes before a quick release.
Stir before serving. Serve sprinkled with fresh parsley if desired.
  • For the full recipe, your instant pot should be no smaller than 6 quarts.
  • Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
  • For Dutch oven and slow cooker cooking methods, please refer to the instructions in the blog post.
  • This healthy dish is gluten-free and low in carbs, but if you want it keto-friendly, omit the potato.
  • This dish reheats well. Stews taste better a day or two after cooking!
All that's Jas
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  • Tyler Betheny Asman Tyler Betheny Asman on Dec 22, 2021

    Hi! I don't see instructions in the blog post for non-instant pot preparation. Help? Thanks!

    • All that's Jas All that's Jas on Dec 26, 2021

      Hi Tyler, it is on the blog under Dutch Oven heading (expand the "table of contents" under the first photo and get there with one click). Of course, you can use any larger pot if you don't own a dutch oven. We also have instructions for the slow cooker. Let me know if you have more questions. :)