Love stuffed homemade cabbage rolls but short on time?

We’ve got you covered with this Cabbage Roll Casserole! Layers of tender cabbage, rice, and meat in a zesty tomato sauce.

Made with simple ingredients, this cabbage casserole is so easy to toss together and can be made ahead of time (on the weekend!). The family and the cook will love this simple and comforting dish!

Cabbage Roll Casserole in a bowl with dish full in the back

A Cozy Cabbage Roll Casserole

  • This casserole is also known as lazy cabbage rolls and it’s so simple to make!
  • All of the flavor of our favorite easy cabbage rolls without the fuss rolling or cooking whole leaves.
  • This makes a hearty family sized meal and reheats and freezes well.
  • This casserole can be made low carb by swapping the rice for riced cauliflower.
  • Top it with the optional cheese (or don’t if you’d prefer).

Ingredients in Cabbage Roll Casserole

Green cabbage is used in this recipe. It is chopped and cooked which means no peeling leaves or rolling. You can use other types of cabbage in this recipe but cooking time might need to be adjusted slightly.

The traditional ingredients in the cabbage roll filling from my grandmother’s recipe make an appearance in this recipe! Ground beef, ground pork (or use all beef), rice, and spices are combined with a zesty tomato sauce.

The optional topping in this recipe is loved by all. A unique cheese mixture forms a flavorful brown crust and while cheese is not traditional in cabbage rolls, we do love it on this casserole. If you’d prefer, it can be left off.

process of adding ingredients together to make Cabbage Roll Casserole

How to Make Cabbage Roll Casserole

Enjoy all the flavors of traditional cabbage rolls without all the work and fuss.

  1. PREP MEAT SAUCE – Cook meat and onion garlic per the recipe below. Add remaining sauce ingredients and simmer.
  2. COOK CABBAGE – While meat is cooking, chop and fry cabbage.
  3. ASSEMBLE – Mixe the rice into the meat sauce and layer with cabbage in a casserole dish.
  4. BAKE – Top if desired and bake until browned and bubbly.

If you’d like to cook this in the crock pot, we use this Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Casserole recipe.

Cabbage Roll Casserole with a spoon

Make Ahead and Leftovers

Leftover casserole will keep in the refrigerator for 4 days or can be frozen.

This is also a great casserole for doubling and freezing. The dish can be frozen either before or after baking. They will keep in the freezer for 3 months.

To bake from frozen, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bake as per the directions in the original recipe (you may need to add about 15-20 minutes if the casserole is cold from the fridge).

Got Cabbage? (Lucky you)!

Did your family love this Cabbage Roll Casserole? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below! 

Cabbage Roll Casserole in a bowl with dish full in the back
4.95 from 84 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Cabbage Roll Casserole

Cabbage Roll Casserole combines layers of meat sauce, rice, and cabbage all topped with cheese and baked in the oven!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients  

  • 1 pound lean ground beef or pork , or ½ pound of each
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 28 ounces diced tomatoes 1 can, including juice
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon salt & pepper each
  • 2 cups cooked rice (white or brown)
  • 1 large head cabbage 12-14 cups
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon dill optional

Topping

  • 2 cups Gruyere cheese or monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup milk

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Brown beef or pork, onion, and garlic over medium heat until no pink remains. Drain any fat. Stir in diced tomatoes (including juice), tomato sauce, tomato paste, & seasonings. Simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes until thickened.
  • Remove from heat and add cooked rice.
  • Meanwhile, chop cabbage into 1" squares, rinse and shake dry. Heat oil in a skillet and add ½ of the cabbage and 2 tablespoons of water. Cook just until softened (about 10 minutes). Repeat with remaining cabbage.
  • Place ½ of the cabbage in a 9x13 casserole dish. Top with ½ of the meat sauce. Repeat layers. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.

Topping

  • In a small bowl combine cheese, egg, and milk. Remove foil, top casserole with cheese mixture, and bake uncovered for an additional 20 minutes.

Notes

Use lean ground beef or pork or a combination of the two.
This recipe calls for 2 cups cooked rice which is approximately cup uncooked long grain white rice. If you have a tiny bit more or less, this recipe will still work well. Cauliflower rice can be used and should be precooked so it doesn't make the casserole watery.
Cabbage can be steamed, boiled, or fried. We prefer frying for easy prep and flavor. If boiling or steaming, ensure the cabbage is drained well. The cabbage will soften a bit as it bakes but you'll want to ensure it's fairly tender before adding to the casserole.
The cheese topping is optional (but delicious!). If you skip the cheese topping, bake covered for the last 20 minutes so the top doesn't dry out.
4.95 from 84 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 428 | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 647mg | Potassium: 827mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 929IU | Vitamin C: 71mg | Calcium: 463mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Beef, Casserole, Dinner, Entree, Main Course
Cuisine American

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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Comments

  1. This sounds delicious! I live on my own, so i would love to make it then freeze into single portions for later. Do you know if that would work? Could i just reheat from frozen in either the cooker or microwave or would i need to thaw it first? really not a good cook lol but i’m trying to branch out!

  2. Delicious. It made a VERY full 10″ x 15″ pan. I doubled the eggs, milk and cheese for the top. Next time I will make half a recipe.

    1. As long as it fits in your dish it should be fine. If not, you can certainly cook this dish in a 9×13 or other baking pan too!

  3. If I choose not to use cheese, do I still mix the milk and egg and pour on top and bake for another 20 minutes?

  4. A little Polish lady gave me a tip about the cabbage and I’ve never boiled it again when making cabbage rolls. Take a head of cabbage and wrap it really well in saran wrap and then foil. Put it in the freezer and leave it there until 1-2 days before you plan to use it. Put in a shallow dish in the refrigerator to thaw. When you unwrap it, you can easily core it. Carefully roll back each leaf and trim the stalk, if necessary. Freezing the head of cabbage means you can stock up on it when its in season and prices are lower. But the best part is no more burned fingers from hot cabbage.

    1. I’ve done this for years, I too learned this trick from a very “seasoned” cook. No one believes me how well this works until they try it for themselves. 

  5. I made this tonight using combo of ground beef and pork (roughly 2 lbs), brown rice and adjusted seasonings according to amount of meat I used. I also added more tomato sauce, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes. This dish was amazing and can feed a small army lol. Will def save this and make again. Thank you!!

  6. when it says it makes eight servings, how big are the servings? Is it eight four ounce , six ounce eight ounce servings? I need to know in advance because I’m going away and leaving this behind, bagged into individually pre-cooked servings for my s/o. Since I plan to be gone two months, it’ll be nice to cook eight full servings for a 6’2″ handicapped guy. Mini-servings will mean he’ll finish out 16 ounces with cookies or chips otherwise.

    Thanks for helping me save him from himself!

    1. :) This makes 8 good sized portions (approx. 1 1/2 cups) but can vary based on the exact size of your cabbage. You can certainly adjust the portion sizes in each bag as you see fit!

  7. As the lady above, we always put a layer of sauerkraut on the bottom of the pot and again on top of the cabbage rolls before cooking them and then poured tomato juice on top of the tomatoes and kraut. I had a friend once, (a man) who would put polish sausage in the sauerkraut on the bottom of the pan. It was like a treat to get one or more of those tasty coins when you put that sauerkraut on top of your mashed potatoes. I wish I had some now, but, cooking for one, it just doesn’t come out right, darn it. and don’t think I have enough room in the freezer for all that I am used to making!!

  8. I made this tonight and it was very good. However, it definitely needed salt. You should update the recipe to have 1/4-1/2 tap salt. Other than that it was delicious.

    1. I found that to be true, as well. However, I will say the left overs the next day tasted much better to me than on the night I cooked.

  9. just made this meal for supper. I followed the recipe and added everything. I found it missing something. It was kinda bland not a lot of flavor. I really love stuffed cabbage rolls or pig in a blanket, but this didn’t even come close. I do really love this site, so I will keep trying different recipes.

    1. I just made this 2 nights ago and I have to agree it’s missing something, not much flavor. Has anyone added spices or anything to add flavor?

  10. I made this tonight…in the oven now. I made it low carb by substituting 8 ounces of mushrooms (that I pulsed in my food processor until they were fine) in place of the rice. Will check back after dinner to let you know how they turned out!