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

4.99 from 377 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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    1. If you’re planning to freeze it, you may want to consider adding the rice later when you thaw it so it doesn’t soak up all the liquid!

  1. Could this be made in the slow cooker? What would the timing be? Mine has the capability for browning the meat first ….

    1. That should work fine, I’d say 4 hours on low and add the rice during the last 30 minutes or so. This is an estimate as I haven’t tested the recipe in a slow cooker!

  2. 5 stars
    All these comments loving the recipe but changing or adding something. I’ve never been good at improvising and follow recipes to the tee. My husband and I loved it!! He had a second helping and is looking forward to having leftovers for another night.

  3. 5 stars
    Love this recipe! It is one of our favorites! I add a few extra carrots and for the rice, I add a package of Rice-a-Roni long grain and wild rice with the seasoning packet. It gives the recipe a great taste and the rice in the package is 1/2 cup. I also season the Hamburg with garlic salt, onion salt and salt and pepper as I always do when browning Hamburg . And drain the Hamburg. DELISH!

  4. Love this recipe. It is one of our favorites! I add a few extra carrots and for the rice, I use a package of Rice-a-Roni long grain and wild rice with the seasoning packet and it gives it a great taste. The rice contents in the package is 1/2 cup. I also season the Hamburg with onion salt, garlic salt, salt and pepper, as I always do when browning hamburg! DELISH!

  5. Can you also add saurcraute to the soup ? I always have that mixed in with my cabbage rolls that I cook on top of the stove

    1. Yes! I’ve added sauerkraut to this recipe and it doesn’t hurt it at all! 🙂

      Has anyone froze this recipe to have for later?

      1. 5 stars
        The best recipe. Everyone asks me for it! My 2 yr old and 6 month old grand babies love it! The only thing different is I used ground beef with brisket. Perfect the way it is! And yes it freezes great!

  6. 5 stars
    Very good recipe! I used ground venison because that’s what I have and didn’t put rice it. My three kids ate it and liked it, which is huge. Thanks so much for posting the recipe.

  7. After following the recipe and directions, at the end during taste test I found it needed more flavor because it was mostly sweet with some saltiness. I ended up adding basil, Italian seasoning, more garlic and turmeric. And for some reason turmeric really pulled all the flavors together. But I really like and appreciate the base recipe as it gave me a new dinner idea to serve so thank you! 🙂

    1. I use 90% lean beef where there’s very little grease left in the pan so I don’t drain it. If you are using beef with a higher fat content and there is excess grease you should drain it!

  8. This soup sounds delicious. I have a question. You post nutrition but it doesn’t say how many per serving for the calories count just the number . Is that the whole pot of soup? I also found this in another post you did and advise you put how many servings for the calories count as this helps me out and others that count their calories intake.

    1. To allow for a bit longer and lower heat cook method , to allow the flavors to meld as you mentioned. I will consider adding the rice after the vegetables are nearly cooked.

  9. 5 stars
    This recipe is SO DELICIOUS, easy to make and the ultimate comfort food. I give this recipe 5 Stars. Simple, yummy and comfort in a bowl.

  10. 5 stars
    This was delicious. The only thing I added was a can of sauerkraut towards the end and simmered it a bit more to meld. Easy way to enjoy stuffed cabbage without all the work. Thank you for posting. Your recipes are always so delicious.

  11. 5 stars
    I added mint and dill and made a vegan version using beyond meat grounds and beyond meat balls. I also subbed beef broth for veggie broth and the tomato sauce for diced tomatoes and used a can of tomato paste. Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe!!

  12. 5 stars
    Delicious! I like a lot of tomato flavor, so instead of the tomato sauce, I cooked down a can of tomato paste (reduces the raw taste) and made up the difference in volume with cans of fire roasted diced tomatoes and one can of diced tomatoes with habañeros. I browned the beef and drained it, THEN added the onions and garlic (double garlic). I added some ground thyme and some cumin. I went outside while the soup was simmering, came back in and really caught the scent of the cumin. Oh no! Too much? But the cumin really made this soup sing! Also halved the sugar (diabetics here). This is a great recipe. Thank you so much!!!

    1. 5 stars
      Replying to my own post because can’t edit, apparently. I also did not use rice. Making it again today! Thank you again.

  13. 5 stars
    This recipe is so amazing and delicious that I have made it twice in the past two weeks. My boyfriend said this was the best thing I have made so far. It is such a hearty and flavorful soup. I love how easy it is to make and that you can cook everything in just one pot. Thank you for sharing!

  14. Absolutely delicious and easy to make. Perfect for a cold day for your hunter. We used ground Elk burger instead of beef since we had it on hand. Definitely will make again.