This cabbage roll soup has all the same flavors as classic baked cabbage rolls, but with way less work! This unstuffed cabbage soup is hearty, filling and the perfect choice for an easy dinner option.

If you love cabbage rolls, but don’t love all the work involved, this quick cooking cabbage soup is for you!

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A pot full of cabbage roll soup garnished with parsley.

Baked cabbage rolls are one of those nostalgic dishes that my grandma used to make. While I love the flavors, I don’t love all the work involved. Between boiling the cabbage, making the filling, wrapping everything up and then the bake time, it can turn into an all day affair! This cabbage roll soup has all the same flavors as the classic dish, but with a fraction of the prep time.

How to make cabbage roll soup

To make your unstuffed cabbage soup, you’ll need to start with some ground beef. I use 90% lean beef, it’s got great flavor but doesn’t make the soup overly greased. The beef is browned along with some onion before the rest of the ingredients get added to the pot.

Ground beef is the basis for cabbage roll soup.

After your beef is ready to go, everything else goes into the pot, including rice, carrots, tomato, spices and of course, cabbage. Bring the whole thing to a simmer and in about 25 minutes dinner is done!

Ingredients for cabbage roll soup including beef, cabbage, vegetables and spices, all in a soup pot.

What you end up with is a rich and hearty soup that has complex flavors. I know in many cases simmering a soup for longer helps to develop the flavors, but in this case you don’t want to over-cook the soup or else the rice will get mushy.

A bowl of unstuffed cabbage soup with bread and parsley.

There is so much going on here, between the meat, veggies and rice, that it’s really a complete meal in one pot. I do often serve this cabbage roll soup with a side of crusty bread or a green salad, just to round out the meal. Even my kids love this one, they didn’t even mind the cabbage pieces which normally they might not eat.

I often make a double batch of this soup just so we have leftovers to eat for a few days, that’s how good it is! It’s absolutely perfect for a cold night, and the quick prep time makes it ideal for a busy weeknight.

More soup recipes

Cabbage Roll Soup Video

5 from 579 votes

Cabbage Roll Soup

AuthorSara Welch
A pot full of cabbage roll soup garnished with parsley.
This cabbage roll soup has all the same flavors as classic baked cabbage rolls, but with way less work! This unstuffed cabbage soup is hearty, filling and the perfect choice for an easy dinner option.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Serves 6


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound ground beef I use 90% lean
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 4 cups coarsely chopped green cabbage
  • 2 carrots peeled, quartered and sliced
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 3 8 ounce cans tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup uncooked long grain rice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons parsley


  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the ground beef and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cook, breaking up the meat with a spatula, until beef is browned, approximately 4-5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the cabbage, carrots, beef broth, tomato sauce, rice, bay leaf and brown sugar to the pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Bring to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes or until rice is tender. Remove bay leaf and discard.
  • Sprinkle with parsley and serve.


  1. Recipe adapted from The Wholesome Dish.
  2. Not a fan of ground beef? Try ground turkey instead!
  3. You can substitute brown rice for white rice, but that will require about 20 more minutes of cook time.


Calories: 263kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 574mg | Potassium: 533mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 3555IU | Vitamin C: 21.5mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 2.5mg

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Making for a potluck at church. I added more brown sugar, and more beef broth it was kinda thick so I added a can of diced tomatoes. Saved the rice for last didn’t want mushy soup. Very good!

  2. 5 stars
    I’m eating right now!! DELISH!! I stuck to recipe except added 1/2 # of sausage to the hamburg meat. I didn’t have carrots, and used a 15oz tomato sauce. Definitely a keeper!! Daughter went back for 2nds…lol

  3. 5 stars
    This tastes EXACTLY like a cabbage roll! I opted out of the ground beef & used frozen meatballs for the “normal” one, & I was hosting a pescatarian, made it vegetarian with veggies broth & meatless meatballs, & it turned out spectacular as well! No complaints in this house!

  4. 5 stars
    Delicious! After cooking I added about a cup or so of sauerkraut to the soup pot. It really tasted like my mom’s stuffed cabbage. ❤️

  5. 5 stars
    This was DELICIOUS and is going on my soup rotation! I was a bit worried that the three cans of tomato sauce would make it too tomato-y for my taste, but it worked. I DID add an extra tablespoon of brown sugar, though, due to my worries. 🙂 Also added an extra cup of broth, after reading other comments. Still very thick, but that’s probably because I added more carrots and cabbage than called for. But I actually liked the thicker consistency. Two thumbs up from hubby and both sons AND from me!

  6. 5 stars
    I made this recipe a few months ago I’ve made it 5 times since, then I eat it for 3 to 4 days in a row as I am by myself. This has a flavor you cannot get tired of and it only gets better after a couple days. I probably upped all the quantities by a third, Sorry even when my wife was alive I couldn’t cook for 2 it was more like for 6. I substituted the tomato sauce for a 32 oz jar of marinara and added a 24 oz can of dice tomatoes. I also added 2 skinned chopped hot Italian sausages. This recipe is excellent as written my personal preference made me alter it just a little bit, but If you’re gonna make it own it! ;] I have given the original recipe to several people at work and some of my friends and they all thank me for this. So good job and thank you for a great recipe.

  7. 5 stars
    Super easy and super yummy! The whole family liked it and it really satisfied the cabbage roll craving I was having. Definitely going in the meal rotation!

  8. 5 stars
    Made this soup tonight. So good! I subbed one can tomato paste and two cans chopped tomatoes because that’s what I had on hand. Will make this again and again. Thank you for the delicious recipe!

  9. 5 stars
    EXCELLENT! I make quite a few recipes from Dinner at the Zoo and they are always 5 stars. I added a few more carrots because I had them in the frig. This was perfect for a cold snowy Sunday night in Tennessee.

  10. Excellent recipe. Everyone loved it. Followed the directions exactly. If anything might add a little more broth. It’s a very hearty soup!!

  11. 4 stars
    Yummy soup! Aside from adding 1T of Worcestershire sauce I followed the recipe exactly. The reason I gave it 4* instead of 5 is because I feel like it needs more broth. I will definitely make it again and increase the amount of broth when I do.

  12. 5 stars
    This recipe was even better than I had hoped. Full of flavor, healthy, and perfect for a quick meal on a rainy cold evening. Everything comes together quickly and when served with a nice bread it’s the perfect mid-week dinner. The only change I made to the recipe was to add in a tiny amount of red pepper flakes just to kick it up a bit. Definitely give this one a try.

      1. I typically use 90% lean beef which doesn’t need to be drained. If you’re using meat with a higher fat content you should drain it after it cooks!

  13. 5 stars
    First manny greetings from me Paul/ germany.
    This looks super tasty.
    Cabbage rolls are also something nice.
    But this soup still tops it.
    And you can get the ingredients everywhere, no need to spend a long time searching for specific ones.

    1. It should freeze well! You may want to stir in the rice right before serving after you reheat it, as the rice will soak up the broth of the soup in the freezer.