Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Soup

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Unstuffed cabbage roll soup has all the great flavors of traditional cabbage rolls, without all the fuss.  It’s hearty, beefy, and full of veggies.white bowl full of Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Soup

Cabbage rolls.  They’re pretty tasty.  But, if you’ve ever tried to make them, then you know they can be quite tedious.  They’re cabbage leaves stuffed with a flavorful beef and rice filling; smothered in a sweet and tangy tomato sauce; and baked until tender.

This recipe has all those flavors in easy to make form.  Soup!

white bowl full of Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Soup

This soup has a rich, sweet, and tangy tomato based broth.  It’s loaded with vegetables.  And, it’s hearty from beef and rice.

It’s a perfect healthy cold weather meal.  A huge 2 cup serving has less than 250 calories, but you’d never guess that.

white bowl full of Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Soup

This recipe makes a lot of soup.  And, that’s a good thing because this soup makes great leftovers.  The hubs and I had it for dinner one night, then made several lunches out of it.

As the rice sits it will keep absorbing more of the broth.  So, the leftovers will be thick like a stew.  I loved it.  But, if you prefer a thinner soup consistency, you may want to add a little more broth or tomato sauce to thin it out a bit.

Check out the step by step recipe video for Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Soup below.

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bowl of soup with ground beef, cabbage, vegetables, and rice

Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Soup Recipe

4.97 from 97 votes
Unstuffed cabbage roll soup has all the great flavors of traditional cabbage rolls, without all the fuss.  It's hearty, beefy, and full of veggies.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


Servings 6 (2 cup) servings
Calories 242 kcal


  • 1 lb. extra lean ground beef I used 96% lean
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 5 cups chopped green cabbage about half of a medium sized head
  • 4 cups 32 oz. low-sodium beef broth
  • 3 cups tomato sauce (24 oz.)
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup uncooked white or brown long grain rice
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 3 tbsp. packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice


  • In a large soup pot, add the beef and place over medium-high heat. Break it apart with a wooden spoon. Add the onion. Cook about 8 minutes until the beef is brown, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the garlic. Stir and cook 1 minute.
  • Add the cabbage, beef broth, tomato sauce, carrots, rice, bay leaves, brown sugar, salt, oregano, and pepper.
  • Bring to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to simmer and cover the pot. Cook until rice is tender (25 minutes for white rice and 45 minutes for brown rice).
  • Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the lemon juice. Let the soup rest uncovered for 10 minutes to thicken up before serving. Remove the bay leaves before serving.


Nutrition information based on using brown rice.


Serving: 2cups | Calories: 242kcal | Carbohydrates: 34.4g | Protein: 19.8g | Fat: 3.5g | Saturated Fat: 1.4g | Fiber: 5.4g
Course Dinner, Entree, Main Course, Soup
Keyword beef and cabbage soup, beef and rice soup, cabbage roll soup, healthy soup recipe
Cuisine American
Author Amanda Finks


3 image collage with text showing Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Soup

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  1. 5 stars
    I just made this soup and I love it! I may try adding the rice a little later next time since I think the cabbage takes a bit longer than the time the rice needs to cook. I may also try adding some golden raisins, too.

  2. 5 stars
    This soup is delicious! I am now making it for the third time this month for my mother who just had surgery! My boyfriend, who was sure he wouldn’t like it because of the cabbage, loves it also! I’ve actually started doubling the recipe in the hopes of freezing some, but it never lasts long enough to freeze!

  3. 5 stars
    Made this yesterday, 09/29/2016. Spiced it up with just a little bit more of the spices , but this was outstanding. I had no brown sugar but used a 1/4 teaspoon of granulated sugar. This is a perfect dish for a cold rainy day like it was yesterday.

  4. Current status: cooking this amazing soup. The house smells wonderful! I cannot wait to dish this up for dinner! God bless! And thanks for sharing your recipe!

  5. 5 stars
    Seriously, this might be one of the best soups I have ever eaten! Even my kids devour it! I use ground turkey and add a bit of extra brown sugar so you can taste the sweetness.

  6. I made this last night. I followed the recipe exactly except I only added 1 tbsp of brown sugar, but honestly, it was a little bland. I was able to fix it by adding a few things. First, I added a sauteed green bell pepper. Then I added a tbsp of Worcestershire sauce and a tsp of paprika. It was excellent after these additions and even better the next day!

    1. 5 stars
      I left the brown sugar out as we are diabetic and it’s not something I use in stuffed cabbage either. It’s just delicious. Anyone who loves cabbage should really enjoy this thick soup….It’s so easy and quick. Enjoy !!

  7. 5 stars
    I have made this soup a few times in a crock pot. We love it . But, I keep the rice separate because it does turn to mush. We just put the rice in a bowl and add the soup on top

  8. 5 stars
    This is a delicious soup, I made similar , I placed all my ingredients in my crockpot on low 5 to 6 hours it turns out very good

    1. When did you add the rice? I was wondering if I should add
      More liquid (broth) to compensate for cooking the rice? I think the dish will be tastier if the rice is cooked with it

  9. 5 stars
    THIS was delicious, followed recipe exactly but added 1 small can mushrooms (sorry, I add them to everything without even thinking) and a few shakes of crushed red pepper…. WONDERFUL! Savory and sweet, hearty yet light… Thank you!!!

  10. 5 stars
    Tried this tonight. My kids all loved it. Added 1 c less sauce to make it really thick as that’s what they like!

  11. 5 stars
    I’ve made a few of your recipes now and none have disappointed! This soup is fantastic! thank you for sharing and thank you for putting the nutrition facts as that’s something i track!

    1. Hi Katie,
      I have’t tried it. But, I would imagine it could be done. I think if the rice was cooked in a crock pot for 8 hours, it would probably turn to mush. So, if I was going to try it in a crock pot, I would probably try adding the rice about half way through the cooking time.

      1. When cooking in a crock pot, I would suggest cooking the rice separately, adding a scoop of rice to the bowl then ladle the soup over it. 😀 I also like corn with cabbage, so I’m going to add a little to the soup!

        Cindy Cormier

      2. 5 stars
        This is great in the crockpot. We are lo carb & do not add the rice or brown sugar. Still amazing. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Hello!
    I love cabbage in soup. It adds such wonderful flavor and sweetness! I will definitely try this recipe! Thanks for posting it!!

    On another note, I use my decice vertically and in this position, a popup ad blocks part of your recipe. I have to keep scrolling up and down to check on ingredients. I press the X which usually makes ads go away but it didn’t work here. The ad goes to the side when I use my device horizontally, but then I can’t see the whole recipe at once like I can with a vertical view. Any suggestions?


    1. Thanks Joan. I hope you like the soup! I’m not sure what’s going on with the ad. I will contact my ad manager and see if we can figure it out. Thanks for the heads up!

  13. Stuffed cabbage is by far my favorite recipe my mom makes and one of the few that I have tried to recreate at home. It just seems like so much work and if it didn’t come out like my mom’s I would probably be devastated. But this unstuffed cabbage soup looks like it would be a perfect match without all that extra work. I will definitely be trying this soon!

    1. Oh thank you Jessica! I hope you do try it. I agree, cabbage rolls are a lot of work. This soup is a great short cut!

    2. 5 stars
      Hi Jessica,, this cabbage soup is SOO easy and quick to make, and delicious !! Once you have done all your prep. It’s throw it together and let it simmer. I have ALWAYS cooked everything this way ( prep first) and believe me it’s the best way, and if you follow a recipe, you’re less apt to forget any ingredients. Good luck.

  14. I love everything about this soup. It’s the perfect comfort soup, and I love cabbage but it’s so under utilized!

    1. Hey Jodie! We gobbled it up within a week so I didn’t get a chance to freeze any. But, I really think that it would be just fine for freezing. I would transfer it from the freezer to the refrigerator for a day to defrost. Hope you like it!

    2. 5 stars
      Yes, it would freeze fine. I’m making it right now and will freeze some if there’s any left. Usually make the stuffed cabbage but it takes so long as I usually make about 45 of them. This dish is simple and yummy. Enjoy !!

About Amanda Finks

I’m a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist living in Zionsville, IN. I’m an avid cook, travel nerd, & lover of good food! I’m trained in Food Science & recipe development. It’s my mission to bring you the BEST recipes your whole family will love!

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