Layered Cabbage Roll Casserole

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Full of spiced ground beef and covered in tangy tomato sauce, cabbage roll casserole is a hearty stick-to-your-ribs meal. With all the flavor of the more labor-intensive Cabbage Rolls and a minimum of effort, this is a dinner time win.

You know those meals that are never pretty, but they are always tasty? The meals that your family requests and you cringe because you never really can get excited about “just a casserole” for dinner? This is one of them.

Layered Cabbage Rolls may not be the prettiest meal I make but it is nonetheless often requested by my husband.

Layered Cabbage Roll Bowls

Cabbage Rolls are one of my Sean’s favorite foods. This recipe simplifies the traditional rolled version down to just a couple of steps and despite appearances, they really are tasty! I’ve been making this version of cabbage rolls for years.

Along with how easy it is to put together, I also really like that I never have to worry about what side dishes to serve. This is an “all-in-one” meal that’s filling, hearty and completely satisfying.

That’s more than worth the trade-off of not having the most aesthetically pleasing dinner every so often.

Cabbage Roll Casserole

This method of making cabbage rolls is a little simpler than the traditional version that involves rolling tons of individual cabbage leaves.

Ground beef and onions are cooked with herbs and spices in the skillet, then layered on top of cabbage leaves in a casserole dish along with uncooked rice.

After mixing together a simple tomato sauce and pouring it over the cabbage rolls, the whole thing bakes in the oven in one dish. The flavors of the meat and sauce shine against the simple backdrop of tender cabbage and fluffy grains of rice.

All the flavor of classic cabbage rolls with a minimum of fuss!

Layered Cabbage Rolls

Layered Cabbage Roll Casserole is a very quick meal to put together and then it cooks in the oven through the busiest part of the day.

I usually prep two smaller pans and freeze one to cook on another day. If I have extra time on the weekend before a busy week, I might even prep a couple of pans of this casserole to pop in the freezer and have on hand for those hectic weekday nights.

This casserole freezes extremely well with little extra effort. Simply thaw the casserole completely prior to placing the frozen one in the oven and then bake as directed below.

Layered Cabbage Roll Casserole

Cabbage Casserole Recipe

My whole family loves cabbage rolls of all kinds but I typically don’t have the time or patience to stuff and roll cabbage leaf after cabbage leaf.

Over the years, I’ve found plenty of alternative ways to eat our favorite cabbage rolls without spending hours in the kitchen and I’m happy to share them with you.

The method I use that most closely resembles traditional rolled cabbage leaves stuffed with sausage or beef is the recipe I’m sharing below.

Instead of being rolled, cabbage leaves are layered for a casserole that slightly messier in appearance but just as delicious in taste as the rolled version.

Layered Cabbage Rolls are a favorite here!

This Stuffed Cabbage Casserole from Aggie’s Kitchen and this Twice-Cooked Bacon Cabbage Casserole from Kayln’s Kitchen are more great methods for whipping up a tasty cabbage casserole.

This Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Skillet is basically a cheater version of a cabbage roll casserole, requiring no rolling or baking and using cooked rice for a quick cooking time. I love making that dish whenever we’re craving cabbage rolls but are short on time.

My friend Holly’s Crock-Pot Cabbage Roll Soup is another great way to enjoy these flavors in an easy dinner option.

If you enjoy this Layered Cabbage Rolls recipe (or any kind of cabbage casserole), you’re also bound to go nuts for my 20 Minute Kielbasa, Cabbage and Potato Skillet meal and this easy Cabbage and Sausage Skillet.

And when it comes to hearty breakfasts, you can’t go wrong with Sausage Hash with Cabbage and Potatoes.

Layered Cabbage Roll Casserole is one of my husband's favorite meals!

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Layered Cabbage Roll Casserole

Layered Cabbage Rolls

4.49 from 37 votes
This shortcut version of classic cabbage rolls provides all of that traditional flavor with a minimum of fuss!
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Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 45 mins
Servings: 8 servings


  • 1 medium head of cabbage, sliced into 1/2" strips
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped small
  • 2/3 cup uncooked rice
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 24 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 15 ounces tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the cabbage across the bottom of a 9×13 dish (two smaller pans will work as well). In a large skillet, over medium heat, cook the ground beef along with the onion.
  • Drain any grease from the pan and add the rice, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to the skillet with the meat. Add the crushed tomatoes and stir to combine. Spread the meat mixture over the cabbage in the baking dish.
  • Mix together the tomato sauce, sugar and vinegar and pour over the meat and cabbage. Cover with foil and then bake for 90 minutes. Uncover and let rest for 5-10 minutes prior to serving. Enjoy!


FREEZER MEAL: Layer everything into the pan and when it has cooled completely, cover with foil or lids and freeze. 1-2 days before you plan to eat this, take it out of the freezer and place it in the fridge. Once thawed, bake as noted above.


Calories: 456kcal · Carbohydrates: 39g · Protein: 24g · Fat: 23g · Saturated Fat: 9g · Cholesterol: 81mg · Sodium: 786mg · Potassium: 984mg · Fiber: 6g · Sugar: 19g · Vitamin A: 598IU · Vitamin C: 54mg · Calcium: 117mg · Iron: 5mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @barefeetkitchen or tag #barefeetkitchen!

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{originally published 11/8/12 – recipe notes and photos updated 3/23/20}

Cabbage Roll Casserole

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Monica says

    Sounds great, Mary and much less tedious than making rolls. Do you think it would work with quinoa instead of rice?5 stars

  2. carol kluth says

    cannot get this recipe to print a printer friendly version. When I hit go to recipe, then print it jumps back to recipe. Then is you manage to get it to print it prints 11 pages. ugg1 help! I would like to print & and make this

    • Mary Younkin says

      Hi Carol, I’m not sure what’s going wrong there. I just printed it using the print button in the recipe card it is printed a standard recipe page.

  3. Diane Castonguay says

    OMG this was delicious and SO easy. I’m never rolling another cabbage leaf again!!! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. The seasoning is perfect!5 stars

  4. Jolee says

    I love this recipe! Growing up, making cabbage rolls was always such a labor intensive thing. This makes it easy and just as delicious! To make it a little closer to my childhood recipe, I substituted 1 can of condensed tomato soup for the tomato sauce and reduced the sugar to 1/4 cup. I also added a little sriracha to the sauce, but Hungarian hot paprika would also be yummy! Thanks for a great recipe!5 stars

    • Nikki Krakauer “JustTabandMe” says

      This recipe, sans chili powder, and adding diced tomatoes to the sauce, is close to my Polish MIL’s recipe. She added Campbell’s undiluted tomato soup as well, just prior to her death at 85. Now I’m her age, make this pot luck when possible, with the soup, and it’s always one of the first dishes to run out. I have to preprint recipe cards & take them with me! So I’m totally with you on that addition!3 stars

  5. Michael B says

    A wonderful recipe. I used ground pork instead of beef and canned tomato soup instead of the sauce. Also plain vinegar. Turned out almost exactly like mama’s “holubtsi” or cabbage rolls. Oh, as Ukrainians love to include dill on almost everything, I added some chopped fresh dill into the casserole dish. I reduced the sugar as well. Stupendous!4 stars

  6. Pat says

    This was absolutely outstanding! I can’t wait to make this again! I didn’t think the uncooked rice would cook but it did! This was one of the best things I’ve had in a long time!5 stars

  7. Mary says

    The true Lebanese way of making this is the same on some things. We do not precook meat an onions, just mix it in with the seasonings of garlic, allspice, cinnamon ,salt & pepper. Mix all together with the rice.

    Layers of cabbage, rice mixture, tomato sauce on the spread, another layer doing the same thing as the first layer. When done add more sauce, cover & bake at 350 until most of the juices have absorbed. Let sit before slicing up. Salad & pita bread makes a good side.

    This does freeze well.3 stars

    • Tammy says

      Nice, but that’s YOUR way. So rate the recipe not yours. If you didn’t like it then rate your taste not how YOU make it.

  8. GRACE baxter says

    I want to make a few batches to freeze off this layered casserole. DO I bake it before I freeze it or just put it and freeze the cabbage raw? THanks

    • Kathy says

      I made this on New Year’s Day and it was delicious! I used lean ground turkey and added some celery and Italian seasoning along with your spices. I put it in the crockpot in the order you suggested and didn’t stir. The tomato sauce mixture on top is so good! Thank you so much!5 stars

  9. Linda says

    I just made this layered cabbage dish tonight and my husband and I loved it! I left out the chili powder because we are not into spicy foods. The instructions were well written. I only used a pound of ground beef and put it over two layers of cabbage and it was still enough. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. It’s a keeper!
    Linda5 stars

  10. Margaret says

    This is the best Cabbage Roll Cassarole recipe yet. I prepared it as written. The only thing I did differently was stir it coming out of the oven so the rice that had been on top could finish cooking. I let it set for about 10 minutes and voila! Fantastic. Thank you!5 stars

  11. Suzanne M Lee says

    Thank you! We loved it. I made 2 smaller pans and froze one. They were both great. I did omit the chili powder but otherwise followed exactly.5 stars

  12. Me says

    This recipe did not specify instant rice or regular rice. I used regular rice. After an hour and half in the oven (like the recipe says) the rice was still hard. Had to throw the whole thing out and now we are stuck eating cereal for supper since it’s Christmas Eve and nothing is open. Thanks alot. Will not be trying anymore of your recipes!1 star

    • Mary Younkin says

      I can not fathom how your rice didn’t cook after an hour in the oven. Sorry to hear it didn’t work out for you, but it sounds like there was a bigger issue than the rice.

  13. Judy says

    I love cabbage rolls but seldom make them. This casserole is perfect! I used vegetarian crumbles instead of meat and reduced the sugar to 1/4 cup(per comments). I’ll certainly make this casserole again!5 stars