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 540 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
    Made this last night for the first time & WOW my whole family agree that we were all highly impressed with how delicious it was.
    I haven’t been that excited about a soup recipe in a while so needless to say THIS IS GOING ON THE ROTATION MENU!!!

    *Chef Kiss 🤌🏻

  2. 5 stars
    My wife likes cabbage rolls and then I stumbled across this recipe! I made it a while back and it is in our regular dinner rotation now because she loves it. I like that it’s easy to make and makes her happy. I find white rice gets mushy after storing in the refrigerator. We buy a rice that’s between brown and white, that still has the rice bran intact. It doesn’t need extra cooking time and didn’t turn to mush. That said, whatever rice you have will work and taste wonderful. Some French or sourdough bread on the side and hello food coma! Perfect on a cold night.

  3. 5 stars
    Delicious!!! Made this for dinner last night and YUM!!! Made 2 big pots, even enough for freezing! I used left over cooked rice and added it in for the last few minutes (just to heat through) and I also added a few cups of diced tomatoes. I also let mine cook for 1 hour as I found the cabbage was still hard so it needed more time. Yummy!!! Thanks again!

  4. Very good! I used veggie crumbles instead of beef, and I think it may absorbed the liquid, so I could eat it with a fork lol. Still good though. Next time, I’d put them in at the end, or add more fluid. I also used 2 tbsp of sugar instead of 3, and it was plenty

  5. Tomorrow will be my second time making this absolutely delicious soup! I followed the recipe with one exception I only had brown rice so I added the cooked brown rice. My husband was skeptical when I told him what I was making but immediately said after eating it the first time that this is definitely a keeper.
    Thank you so much for this awesome recipe!

      1. I don’t care for rice and have been a long time user of Farro. I love it’s nutty flavor and al dente type texture and it’s way healthier than rice! We buy Trader Joe’s 10-minute Farro, so that we don’t have to wait so long for it to get done (it’s like a healthy & delicious version of Minute Rice). You can find other brands of “quick-cook” or “pre-cooked” Farro, or you can also buy the traditional Farro if you don’t mind the wait for it to cook.

  6. 5 stars
    Love the simplicity of this recipe! I made this for dinner tonight. Already had a whole head of cabbage chopped, so I just doubled the broth and hit it with double the seasonings and added some crushed red pepper flakes for some heat. Tasted delicious. I served it with Jiffy mix cornbread on the side. My family loved it. Thank you!

      1. 5 stars
        Have made this recipe numerous times and the whole family likes it 👍
        I’m going to make this as a freezer meal and add the rice upon reheating to avoid the mushiness.

        1. 4 stars
          I guess I like it more acidic, I didn’t add the brown sugar, and added some rice wine vinegar and a touch of chili oil. Also added mushrooms and celery to the recipe.

  7. 5 stars
    Excellent! I added 1 can of totes, and 4 beef bullion cubes, because I only had one can of beef broth. Also didn’t have any dry rice, so I microwaved 1 bag of Uncle Bens long grain brown rice, and added it in the last 19 min of cooking! Delicious! I’ll definitely make again.

  8. 5 stars
    This was wonderful! My husband loves it, and so do I. Because we like our food spicy, I added 2 cans of tomato sauce and 1 can of Habanero Rotel. I will definitely make again!! So good. Thank you!

  9. 5 stars
    I’ve been making this recipe for a couple of years now. One of my favs. I don’t change much. I prefer to use ground turkey. I do add a beef boullion cube or two for more intense beef flavor instead of adding salt. I add a little extra carrot and cabbage. Small tweaks. This is indeed a real winner!

  10. I’m out of rice, so I’m subbing egg noodles, we will see how it goes. My house smells delicious already so I’m sure it will be fine 😋