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

4.88 from 16 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
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients 

  • 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 cracked black pepper
  • 24 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 15 ounces tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar

Instructions

  • 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!

Notes

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.

Nutrition

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
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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. Leslie says

    My aunt made the best stuffed cabbage and I have made a similar recipe to this but I added some raisins because she always had raisins in hers. Delish5 stars

  2. Ruth Knox says

    Oh my goodness, this is yummy! I made it today, and had no idea what to expect. I can see why this has been a family favorite for many years. It will be one of mine too. I actually made it with 99% fat free ground turkey, and only used half as much meet as suggested, and it’s perfect even with those changes. I’ll bet the left-overs will be even more yummy than the first meal. I could live on this stuff! Thank you for a magnificent, easy, cost-effective, and totally delectable meal.5 stars

  3. Jan says

    Made this for supper tonight. It was good, but a little too sweet. I will make it again though, but with a lot less brown sugar.4 stars

  4. Carey says

    I have been searching for a cabbage roll casserole recipe that is tangy and flavourful… so many others I’ve tried are bland. I doubled the spices since there’s 2 pounds of meat and while this hit the flavour mark I was looking for, I found that the rice was still crunchy after the recommended baking time. I used plain white long-grain rice, so in future I will definitely pre-cook the rice. Also, I may have sliced the cabbage more like 3/4 or 1-inch slices … next time I’ll go with the recipe’s suggestion of 1/2-inch slices or even smaller as what appears in the video. Thanks!

  5. V Wood says

    I made this just as the recipe says except I precooked my rice some and cut the cabbage leaves up larger and precooked that some as well. Was still very easy and fast. We all loved it. Thank you for taking the time to post this recipe. I will make it again.5 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      This is how we’ve always make it. Feel free to change things up and make it your own. The vinegar does a nice job of balancing the sugar in the recipe.

  6. Pam says

    Sounds great! Just wondering why you have to cook it for 90 minutes if the meat is already cooked when it goes in.

  7. Donna Cappello says

    I’ll be making and freezing this for my daughter, post baby. Is it correct that you put the casserole together and freeze with the uncooked cabbage? Thanks!

  8. Jo says

    This sounds yummy! Can’t wait to try it with my new gas range. I love cabbage rolls but haven’t ever made them. I chanced upon your recipes browsing for recipes. Thanks bunches!

  9. Terry Marie Toth says

    I love the sound of this recipe! I’m going to try it as soon as possible. I love cooking from scratch, but have some arthritis in my hands. This seems easy enough. I’m looking forward to tasting it and finding it delicious!❤️❤️❤️5 stars

  10. Lisa Brown says

    OMG! I’ll never roll another cabbage roll again! Good thing I’m a taster while I’m cooking, or I wouldn’t have gotten any this time! I’ll make more next time!5 stars

  11. James Stavola says

    I made this recipe and it was so delish. Everyone loved the dinner and many of us went back for 2nd and 3rd helpings. No leftovers here. I certainly will incorporate this one as being my go to recipe file.5 stars

  12. Susan says

    I have made this recipe a couple times before and am going make it again tonight! My husband and I love it! Only thing I changed from the the first time I made it was I used a little less sugar and left out the chili powder. Love this recipe. I will make it a part of my regular meal planning. Thank you for this recipe.5 stars

  13. Suzanne says

    Hi. Looks delish! Question–video shows tomatos mixed with tomato sauce, but recipe calls for tomatoes mixed in with beef. Which is it? Thanks.

    • Mary Younkin says

      Nice catch, Suzanne. I didn’t realize that step was wrong in the video. I recommend following the recipe as written, however, I’ll admit that it may not make much of a difference in this particular case as I’ve clearly made it both ways without noticing any changes.

  14. Elise says

    This was just what I was looking for! I wanted an easy way to have the taste of Cabbage Rolls without the work of making actual rolls. Unlike one of the other commenters, I didn’t find the recipe’s name confusing…..It perfectly describes the recipe…..
    Thank you for sharing a recipe that doesn’t use Tomato Soup. I’m gluten free so I can’t use canned soup. I did make a few changes when I made this but it wasn’t too much deviation from the original recipe.
    The one thing I would caution is to check the casserole at about 1 hr into the cooking time. I used fairly shallow pans so I got enough for a 9×13″ pan as well as a 9×9″ pan. Because it was so shallow, the rice was fully cooked after 1 hr. But it would totally depend on your pan and what kind of rice you use.
    Thanks for a great recipe. This is going into regular rotation.4 stars

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