Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Casserole is a true comfort food go-to.

Nothing makes me think of my childhood and family more than Cabbage Rolls.

Growing up with Polish grandparents, they made an appearance at every occasion, from Christmas to Easter, weddings to baptisms!

On days when I don’t have the time to create cabbage rolls, I’m so glad I have a quicker version of this age old favorite that still delivers all the flavor I expect from the original dish!
Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole on a plate


I’m sure most of you have enjoyed homemade cabbage rolls before. They’re delicious and truly a comfort food (not to mention budget friendly).

When I just don’t have the time to fiddle with boiling/freezing cabbage leaves and making the rolls, I turn to this simple lazy cabbage roll casserole.

There are a few steps in this recipe, but it is really easy to make!  You’ll create a quick meaty sauce and while it’s simmering you can soften the cabbage in pan.  Once softened, just simply layer and bake.

For the meat sauce layer I use a mixture of ground beef and pork because I find it gives the best flavor.  Any ground meat will work, I’ve even subbed in ground turkey if it’s all I have on hand.  If you do use ground turkey, I’d suggest adding in a beef bouillon cube to add some extra flavor.

Ingredients for Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole in a dish

I love the chunky tomatoes in this recipe but if you prefer a smoother sauce, you can simply substitute another can of tomato sauce for the tomatoes.  Be sure to remove the bay leaf from the sauce before stirring the rice in, while it adds good flavor, it’s not good to eat! Long grain rice is traditionally used, but you can also sub in brown rice.  Another tasty option is to substitute cauliflower rice in place of long grain rice make it lower in carbs and incorporate more vegetables into your meal!

The cabbage can be prepped ahead of time by chopping into ½” chunks and refrigerating in a zippered bag. Cabbage will keep for at least a week this way and is so convenient to have on hand (and also great to toss into vegetable soups and stir fries).

Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole in a dish with a spoon

Another great thing about this cabbage roll casserole is that it can be prepared the night before (or in the morning) and then simply baked before serving. This makes it the perfect meal for guests and busy school nights!

This recipe does freezes perfectly so if you’re empty nesters or have a small family, this can be divided into 4 portions and frozen for future – a perfect meal ready and waiting!

Your family will absolutely love this Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole and you will love how easy it is! Homemade, ‘holesome’, hearty and healthy – the new definition of 4-H!   It will quickly become a family favorite!

Ingredients for Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole in a dish
4.92 from 194 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Casserole

Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole is a true comfort food go-to. Nothing makes me think of my childhood and family more than Cabbage Rolls.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 8 servings
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  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • 1 onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 can tomato soup
  • 28 ounces diced tomatoes 1 can, with liquid
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 ½ cups cooked rice (brown or white)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 head cabbage chopped, (approx. 8 cups)


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9x13 pan.
  • Brown ground beef, ground pork, onion and garlic until no pink remains. Drain any fat.
  • Add tomato sauce, tomato soup, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley, dill, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Simmer covered for 10 minutes. Remove bay leaf and stir in rice.
  • Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add cabbage and cook until tender-crisp.
  • Place half of the cabbage in the pan. Top with half of the beef/rice mixture. Repeat layers ending with beef/rice.
  • Bake uncovered 25-30 minutes or until hot & bubbly.



Store covered leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days. 
This casserole will keep in the freezer for 3 months.
To bake from frozen, thaw overnight in the fridge & bake as per the directions in the original recipe. 


4.92 from 194 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 320 | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 55mg | Sodium: 548mg | Potassium: 1055mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 700IU | Vitamin C: 62.1mg | Calcium: 110mg | Iron: 4mg

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

Course Casserole
Cuisine American

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Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole on a plate and in a casserole dish with writing
Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole with writing


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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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Recipe Rating


  1. Love this recipe – made it today with a twist – used chorizo and sweet Italian sausage, then added shredded cheddar cheese to the top before baking – turned out great!

  2. This turned out AWSOME! It was so good and so easy to make. I did make it on the stove instead of the oven. I will definitely be making this again.5 stars

  3. My granddaughter made this recipe tonight and we absolutely loved it. Will definitely be making it again. Thank you so much for the recipe!5 stars

  4. That was easy to make and absolutely delicious.
    I altered a bit….didn’t have enough diced tomatoes so I added some stewed tomatoes. I omitted the dill, parsley, and bay leaf, but it was fantastic!
    Definitely will make it again.5 stars

  5. And then when do we put in the rice? I’m not seeing this in the instructions. Please clarify. Thanks!

    1. The rice is added in step 3: Add tomato sauce, tomato soup, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley, dill, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Simmer covered for 10 minutes. Remove bay leaf and stir in rice.

      I hope this helps Lucy!

  6. I’m a little confused… where are we browning the ground meat? In a pot? Are we transferring the meat to the casserole dish for baking later?

    1. Hi Lucy, you can find this info in step 2: Brown ground beef, ground pork, onion and garlic until no pink remains. Drain any fat.

  7. Really easy to make and tastes very good – as if there are a lot more ingredients in it. We really enjoyed it and will make again.5 stars

  8. This is one of my favorite recipes I have found on Pinterest! It is so yummy that I am making it again. I LOVE cabbage rolls, but the work is so much more arduous than this recipe and you get the same great taste. Love it!!!5 stars

  9. I’ve made this about 5 times and it’s great as it is. I’ve played around with the recipe as well, adding green bell pepper with the cabbage and sauteing together and also adding in mushrooms with the meat and rice. I’ve skipped using the tomato soup due to the dairy in it every time and works out well.5 stars