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.

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5 from 580 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

Hello! I’m Sara!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    This soup is a keeper. I plan to make this again this weekend so I can freeze some. I made a double recipe; 1 head of cabbage was 8 cups. I also used ‘Better than Bouillon’ for the broth. I had some pineapple tomatoes that I needed to use so I chopped 3 of them and threw them in for good measure.

  2. Was very good loved loved it! Only put about 1/2 tsp of brown sugar in and one 8oz can tomato sauce, and two 8 oz cans of stewed tomatoes I would recommend the smell for busy mothers.

  3. This recipe is a crowd pleaser!! I always just do 1tbsp brown sugar bc 3 makes it wayyy too sweet. Just my advice. Amazing recipe!

  4. 5 stars
    I can’t remember if I already commented, but even if I did – I LOVE THIS! I’ve shared it with some friends and they love it too! It is 95 degrees today and I still had a craving for it and it is nearly finished! Easy, tasty, healthy. What more do you need? YUM!
    All I did differently today was add a bit of chopped celery because it happened to be available. It is great as is or with slight variations. ENJOY!
    Thank you for the “repeater” of a recipe that means I make it more than once)!

  5. 5 stars
    My granddaughter, 8 years old, and I made this. It was delicious. I used chicken broth instead of beef broth, 1/4 tsp. of thyme instead of a bay leaf and I added a 14.5 òz. can of petite diced tomatoes (granddaughter loves tomatoes). We enjoyed this dinner!

  6. 5 stars
    I made this exactly as described and it was absolutely DELICIOUS! It tasted like something my mother (who was a wonderful cook!) would make. This recipe is now in permanent rotation in my house. Thank you!

  7. What can I substitute the can tomato sauce with? I’m in Australia & have never seen can tomato sauce on the shelf.

  8. 5 stars
    This is wonderful,had all ingredients already,I swaped tomato sauce for stewed tomatoes , reduced the sugar and cooked rice separately for a low crab version. Was delicious and will make again !!

  9. We substituted a can of diced tomatoes and 1 can of tomato sauce instead of 3 cans of tomato sauce. It was great!

  10. 5 stars
    This soup is delicious. I think it’s even better than actual cabbage rolls! Thanks for this amazing recipe. I make this at least twice a month for dinner at my house. It’s a hit.

  11. 5 stars
    I absolutely love this recipe! Everyone has their adjustments, and mine are: substitute a large can of diced tomatoes for the sauce, and cook rice separately. Otherwise I make it as written and it’s my go to. Thanks so much!

  12. 5 stars
    Easy basic ingredients. I added Worcestershire. Next time I will cut back on the sugar like others commented. We ate it with garlic bread.

  13. 5 stars
    I didn’t add any sugar, better without it, also used brown rice, and sauteed the carrots with the onion, then added the garlic and cabbage to cook for a minute. Then added the rest of the wet ingredients with the rice..


  15. 5 stars
    The amount of flavor packed into this dish is amazing! Just finished making it for lunch tomorrow, but it already tastes amazing (let alone after resting for a couple of hours!)

  16. Best pot of cabbage roll soup I’ve ever tasted! And that’s saying a lot since I’m 74 years old and have fixed it many times before. Didn’t change anything except cut down on the brown sugar because I’m diabetic and used vegetable broth only because I thought I had beef broth, but I was out. Other than that made it just like you said. Next time I’ll make sure I have beef broth! Thank you!

  17. 5 stars
    This soup is amazing! I have made it over a dozen times as my kids cant get enough. A couple of changes I made are to sub 1 can of tomatoe sauce for a can of V8 juice and I also add some worstershire sauce as well.