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

4.98 from 104 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 made this! I added three more cups of stock because I wanted a more soup like consistency. It also needed more salt. But it hit my craving just like my grandma used to make!

  2. 5 stars
    My family really enjoyed this soup. It was really good the day I made it and again as leftovers. I may add a little more rice (and liquid for it to absorb) next time….but it is not needed, just a preference.

  3. 5 stars
    I love this soup and have shared the recipe with friends. My mom always made them and this recipe tastes just like her roll-ups. I added more vegetables, celery, 2 cups of fresh spinach and fresh green beans, YUM!

  4. 5 stars
    This soup was AWESOME!!! 5 STAR RATING*****
    I followed the recipe and cooked it in my Ninja Foodie cooker. It tasted just like my homemade stuffed cabbage but in less time and less effort.

  5. 5 stars
    One of my favorite most requested to take to a potluck soup!! Easy to make with everyday ingredients. It’s fool proof!

  6. 5 stars
    This is a family favorite – even my young kiddos love it. After a few years of making this, there are a few tips/variations I’d suggest. I thinly slice and then chop the cabbage. I add the carrots and cabbage to the beef and onion mixture and sauté for a few minutes to help soften them in the cooking process. We also add a teaspoon of hot Hungarian paprika (or regular paprika). In addition to the lemon juice at the end, I add a Tablespoon of white wine vinegar. Finally, I cook the rice separately and then spoon the soup over rice in bowls.

    1. 5 stars
      This was excellent, followed the recipe exactly, apart from using the food processor for the cabbage (my basically adult boys prefer cabbage in coleslaw form). It was delicious, everyone enjoyed it thoroughly. Thank you for the recipe.

  7. 5 stars
    This is my go to recipe for cabbage roll soup. It is so much easier then preparing cabbage rolls. I do add chopped green peppers (wonderful flavor addition), and sometimes use a jar of spaghetti sauce instead of straight tomatoes. The lemon juice makes such a difference!! Thanks for such a great recipe.

  8. 5 stars
    I’d been craving stuffed cabbage for a long time but it’s a pain to make. This tastes just like the stuffed cabbage of my youth. I did need to improvise a bit, but the recipe seems flexible. I added about a tablespoon of red wine vinegar to get more of a sweet and tangy flavor. I had only one can of beef broth so I used chicken broth for the balance, and used crushed tomatoes since I didn’t have sauce. Delicious!

  9. 5 stars
    We loved this dish. It is better than a cabbage roll because of the wonderful broth. However, I cooked the cabbage, etc. without the rice, until cabbage was tender. I was using pre-cooked rice and knew that it would not have to cook for 25 minutes.

    Next day I added a little chicken broth (was out of the beef) and it was still delicious.

  10. 4 stars
    Made this with a lot of ingredients fresh from the garden, homemade tomato sauce, garden cabbages, etc. The dominating flavors are beef and tomato, so it’s a similar flavor to a lot of other beef/tomato soups. I added a lot more of the spices and it still feels like it’s missing a little something, but overall it’s tasty.

  11. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! I did add a little more brown sugar to taste as it seems to cook out as it cooks. Tastes exactly like cabbage rolls, but much easier for sure! I paired it with some crusty bread and fresh fruit.

  12. 5 stars
    Absolutely 5 STARS ! This is THE BEST cabbage roll soup recipe I have ever made!!! And I have made several… I don’t know what it is that makes it so special. Probably just the combination of all the right ingredients! This will be my go-to recipe forever! Believe me!!

  13. 5 stars
    I always add cauliflower rice and additional cauliflower florettes. Healthier than rice. Love this recipe. I do not use beef but I do use beeef broth

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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