30-Minute One-Pot Cabbage Rolls — An EASY recipe for unstuffed cabbage rolls that’s FAST and full of FLAVOR!! Tastes like the real thing, minus the work! Hearty comfort food that’s perfect for busy weeknights!!
Easy Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls
I have fond memories of my Polish grandmother making cabbage rolls and the whole family enjoying them in her dining room complete with floral wallpaper. Her cabbage rolls were delicious, but boy did she ever slave over them. Meticulously rolling them up and so many steps and so many hours.
Ain’t no one got time for that. At least not me.
Enter: this easy recipe for deconstructed cabbage rolls that’s made in one pot and is ready in 30 minutes. It’s a perfect weeknight family dinner when you need to get something on the table fast.
This is hearty comfort food that the whole family will love and will keep you full for hours. It’s naturally gluten-free as a bonus.
There are layers of flavors and textures, including onions, garlic, ground beef, cabbage, rice, tomatoes, Worcestershire, paprika, and a pinch of cayenne.
Tip: For all the cabbage fans, please check out my Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Soup and my Slow Cooker Corned Beef Cabbage, too!
What’s in Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls?
For these unstuffed cabbage rolls, you’ll need:
- Olive oil
- Ground beef
- Sweet Vidalia onion
- Green cabbage
- Cooked rice
- Canned diced tomatoes
- Tomato sauce
- Worcestershire sauce
- Kosher salt and pepper
- Granulated sugar
How to Make Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls
Add the olive oil to a large Dutch oven along with the ground beef and onion. Cook until the beef is browned and the onion is softened. Add the garlic and cook another minute or so until fragrant.
Add in the remaining ingredients and cook uncovered for a few minutes until the cabbage begins to wilt.
Then, pop the lid on and let the mixture simmer until the cabbage has softened.
Once cooked through, garnish with fresh parsley and serve!
Do I Have to Add Sugar?
No, the sugar is optional. I sometimes add it in if I feel the mixture is too acidic from the tomatoes.
Can I Freeze Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls?
Yes, cabbage rolls can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Tips for Making Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls
Rice – To save some time, I use packaged precooked rice in these cabbage rolls.
You can also make the rice yourself, of course.
However, major heads – don’t try to make this unstuffed cabbage rolls recipe with uncooked rice as there’s not enough liquid in the pot for the rice to absorb.
Thick Stew-like Consistency – This cabbage rolls recipe is not as brothy as a cabbage roll-inspired soup but could venture into soup territory if you add another can of tomato sauce.
I’d call it hearty stew texture as written.
Not Spicy – Note that the cayenne doesn’t make the dish spicy but rather gives it some flavor because let’s face it, a head of cabbage can be bland and no one wants bland food.
However, if you’d like it to read spicier, feel free to shake out a bit more cayenne.
Pin This Recipe
30-Minute One-Pot Cabbage Rolls
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound ground beef, I used 85% lean
- 1 medium/large sweet Vidalia onion, diced small
- 3 to 4 garlic cloves, finely pressed or minced
- one small/medium head green cabbage, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 4 cups cooked rice, use two 8.8-ounce bags precooked rice to save time
- one 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice, do not drain
- one 15-ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 to 3 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste; divided
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- ½ to 1 teaspoon paprika
- pinch or two of cayenne pepper, optional and to taste
- pinch granulated sugar, optional and to taste
- 2 to 4 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely minced
- To a large Dutch oven, add the olive oil, ground beef, onions, and cook over medium-high heat to brown the beef, crumbling it with a spatula as it cooks and stirring frequently to ensure even cooking. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes or as necessary until beef is cooked through and onions are soft.
- Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant; stir frequently.
- Add the cabbage, rice, tomatoes with juice, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, 2 teaspoons salt, pepper, paprika, and stir to combine. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes or until cabbage begins to wilt a bit and tomato juice is gently boiling.
- Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and allow to cook covered for about 10 minutes or until cabbage is as tender as desired. Stir once or twice while simmering.
- Taste, and if desired, add additional salt, optional cayenne (doesn’t make it spicy, makes it not bland and adds flavor), optional pinch of sugar (balances the acid from the tomatoes), and stir to combine.
- Garnish with parsley to taste and serve immediately.
- Recipe will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
©averiecooks.com. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.
More Easy Dinner Recipes:
15 Best Fast and Easy Soup Recipes – Warm up with these easy soup recipes! Most are ready in under 30 minutes and perfect for busy weeknights! Hearty, comforting, and so good!
Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Soup — A hearty comfort food soup recipe the whole family will love. If you think that soup can’t be a meal, guess again! This Crockpot cabbage roll soup is chock full of bacon, ground beef, green cabbage, rice, carrots, fire roasted tomatoes, and more! Perfect for chilly weather, busy weeknights, and the leftovers freeze great!
Slow Cooker Stuffed Pepper Soup – Stuffed peppers in hearty soup form and made in your slow cooker! Peppers, onions, ground beef, tomatoes, and rice in this easy comfort food recipe!
The Best 30-Minute Lasagna Soup — All the flavor of lasagna minus the work! Loaded with juicy tomatoes, sausage, and topped with melted cheese! Easy, hearty, comfort food that’s perfect for busy weeknights!
Easy 30-Minute Kale, White Bean, and Chicken Soup — The soup is easy, ready in 30 minutes, hearty, and healthy. It’s packed with flavor, texture, and even for those who think that soup can’t make a meal, this one will change your mind!
Easy 30-Minute Minestrone Soup (Olive Garden Copycat) — This minestrone soup recipe takes just 30 minutes to make and it’s way better than what you get at Olive Garden! Homemade always wins in my book!
Easy 30-Minute Turkey Noodle Soup — Have leftover Thanksgiving turkey? Make this turkey soup!! It’s easy and tastes like grandma’s homemade chicken noodle soup, but with turkey!!
Originally posted April 4, 2018 and reposted with updated text January 27, 2023.