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
4.97 from 158 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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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
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  • 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


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


  • 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.


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


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.
4.97 from 158 votes

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 Nilsson is the creator of Spend With Pennies, where she creates easy, comforting recipes made for real life. With a passion for nostalgic flavors and simplified techniques, Holly helps busy home cooks create delicious meals that always work. She is also the author of “Everyday Comfort,” which promises to inspire even more hearty, home-cooked meals.
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Recipe Rating


  1. I have made cabbage rolls casserole twice,it’s delicious .This appealed to me as my rolling skills are not great.
    The cheese in the top is a nice touch.Even my Polish sister in law enjoyed it!

  2. This was so good and satisfying . A great way to use up the cabbage I planted this year. Thanks for sharing. I’m gonna need more cabbage!!

  3. I love to cook. Probably because i love to eat. im making your cabbage roll casserole tonight.

  4. Great with sour cream and sauerkraut. Loved the end texture, and though it took a while to prepare, made enough for many meals.

    1. Sorry it didn’t work out for you, as you can see from the reviews most readers have had great success. I can’t say for sure what went wrong as we love this recipe.

  5. I have yet to try the receipes, I’m Looking forward to trying them. I am interested in Healthy receipes

  6. I have finally found a way to get my picky 7 year old to eat cabbage rolls!!!!! The only changes I made were I didn’t have the tomatoes, but I did have a jar of spaghetti sauce so I used that and the only rice I could find in my pantry was a box of rice a roni Mexican style rice. I also chose to mix everything except the cheese together before putting in the oven. Those substitutes aside this was delicious nd will most definitely be going into my meal rotation! Thank you so much for sharing.5 stars

    1. It freezes beautifully. Simply place it in a container and seal it well. I defrost in the fridge overnight and bake until heated through.

  7. This recipe was delicious! I used 1/2 lb. of bulk Italian sausage in addition to the ground beef. It added so much additional flavor!5 stars

  8. Hi Holly,

    Can I just use cheese on top instead of mixing it with milk & egg? I am curious as to why the milk & egg are mixed into the cheese. Thanks …. ☺ Is it to stretch the amount of cheese used?5 stars

  9. Can you give nutrition info on this? Particularly calories and carbs (with the low-carb cauliflower version?) It looks great.

  10. Great base recipe. Loved the idea of cabbage. Made a couple taste amendments though. I added white wine a little vegetable broth and salt and pepper to the Cabbage while cooking to give it flavor. I also added adobo, sazon (a common Latino seasoning kind of like seasoned salt), and Worcestershire to the beef rice mixture. I also made a vegan batch, subbing black beans for the beef and a homemade vegan cheese sauce for the topping. Both were delicious. :)

  11. this was awesome!  i used 14 oz tomatoes with basil garlic and onion and 14 oz tomatoes with green chiles.  i also used smoked paprika.  hubs loved ir!5 stars

  12. Love this recipe. Son in law is lactose intolerant so we leave off the cheese and it’s good that way as well. We make it with the cauliflower instead of the rice.5 stars