Skip to Content

Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Skillet

Please share

Get the flavor of cabbage rolls without the work. Unstuffed cabbage roll skillet is a quick and easy one pan dinner that makes cabbage roll goodness possible on a weeknight.

Plate of cabbage roll skillet meal topped with melted cheese and served with buttered bread.

If you love cabbage rolls, but don’t like taking the time to make them, this is the recipe for you. This cabbage roll skillet dinner with rice and ground beef gives you all of the flavor with a fraction of the work.

This economical and tasty dinner is a great way to feed your family.  A pound of ground beef is stretched with rice and plenty of healthy cabbage making it possible to feed the whole family for under ten dollars.

Plus you can get the flavor of grandma’s stuffed cabbage rolls without the effort and only 1 dirty pan!

Ingredients including ground beef, cabbage, onions, cabbage, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, beef broth, etc. ready to be made into an unstuffed cabbage roll skillet meal.

I was first introduced to cabbage rolls when I asked family members for favorite recipes. My husband’s uncle Greg sent over a guide for how he make golumpki (or gotabki depending on who you ask.)

I gave them a go and they were delicious, but to be honest they were also a fair amount of work. So despite enjoying them, I haven’t made them again since.

However I have made versions of this casserole version several times.  It is a lot quicker to make and every bit as flavorful.

Making this skillet version means you can have it on a weeknight. It’s a great way to make a whole meal in one pot.

We usually just serve it on its own, or maybe add a little buttered bread. You really don’t need much else.

Tips and tricks

Make sure to use a large enough pan. The cabbage cooks down quite a bit but will take up a lot of space to start with.

Use a pan with a lid. That will help the rice and cabbage to cook evenly.

I’ve used both an enameled cast iron braiser and covered saute pan with great success. Use whatever you have, but you are going to want at least 3.5 to 4 quarts if you have a pan that big.

Do yourself a favor and core the cabbage and cut it into nice bite sized pieces while it’s raw. It will make serving and eating it much easier.

Possible Substitutions

Not into white rice?  Use brown rice or quinoa instead. Just be sure to adjust the amount of beef broth and cook time accordingly.

Could you use a different kind of greens? Sure, but cabbage’s mild flavor and sturdy leaf really is ideal.

A cabbage cousin like bok choy or napa would do well. Kale would alter the flavor, but would likely be delicious if you love the heartier greens.

Dinner plate with serving of unstuffed cabbage roll skillet dinner topped with melted cheese and served with buttered bread.

You can have fun playing with the seasonings as well. I generally stick with marjoram or oregano, and some garlic. 

Those are flavors my family loves. My husbands uncle suggests mixing and matching some of the following: celery seed, thyme, nutmeg, ground mustard, ground cumin, garam masala, or cloves.

If you want, you can use bulk sausage instead of the ground beef. That is a great way to add big flavor without any more work.

Cabbage roll skillet meal served on white plate with remaining skillet in the background.

I don’t usually add sugar, but if you generally add it to your cabbage rolls feel free to add some here too. Use this recipe as a jumping off point and then alter it to taste like your favorite cabbage rolls.

The cheese topping is not at all traditional, but makes it super delicious. Plus a layer of melted cheese helps me sell almost any meal to my family. Feel free to leave it off if that’s your preference.

More great cabbage recipes:

  • Bacon wrapped beer braised cabbage is a tasty side dish that can be made in the oven or on the grill. Either way, the cabbage is tender and loaded with flavor.
  • Cheesy cabbage casserole is a lot like cheesy potatoes, but with cabbage instead. The cabbage bakes in a creamy cheese sauce and it is all topped with buttery cornflake crumbs to make it extra tasty and comforting. d
  • Cabbage and potatoes are a classic combination for good reason. My recipe includes some Parmesan cheese to take them to the next level.
  • Instant Pot cabbage, kielbasa, and potatoes is another great all in one meal. The sausage adds so much flavor to the mix and dinner is done in no time.

Or try southwest chicken and rice skillet meal for another tasty all in one pan meal. It is loaded with tex-mex flavors and a bit of cheese.

Now get this perfect one pan un-stuffed cabbage skillet dinner on your menu and let me know what you think!

Plate of cabbage roll skillet meal topped with melted cheese and served with buttered bread.

Cabbage Roll Skillet Meal

Servings: 8 Servings
Author: Carlee
Get the flavor of cabbage rolls without the work! Un-stuffed cabbage casserole is a quick and easy one pan dinner that makes cabbage roll goodness possible on a weeknight!
4.88 from 16 ratings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 1 Tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 cup long grain white rice uncooked
  • 28 ounce canned diced tomatoes
  • 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon marjoram or oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 head cabbage small to medium
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella


  • Heat the oil in a deep sauté pan, dutch oven or braiser over medium heat. Add the ground beef, salt and pepper.  Brown the beef and drain any extra grease.
    1 Tablespoon cooking oil, 1 pound lean ground beef, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Add the diced onion and cook until translucent. 
    1 onion
  • Add the rice and toast for a minute or two. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, soy sauce, beef broth and seasonings.
    1 cup long grain white rice, 28 ounce canned diced tomatoes, 8 ounce can tomato sauce, 1 Tablespoon soy sauce, 1 cup beef broth, 1 teaspoon marjoram or oregano, 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Cut the cabbage into bite sized pieces and add to pan.  
    1 head cabbage
  • Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.  If it starts to look dry, add a bit more broth or water. If after 20 minutes it looks a little loose, simmer for a few minutes with the lid off.  Adjust the seasoning to your taste.
  • Sprinkle with mozzarella and either put the lid on to melt or place under the broiler for a minute or two to brown.
    1 cup shredded mozzarella


Feel free to play with the seasonings to match your favorite cabbage roll flavors. 
The cheese is optional, but I find it makes it more popular at my dinner table.
You can try using sausage instead of the ground beef for a quick boost of extra flavor.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 4 days. You can freeze it for longer storage, but it will be a little bit watery when defrosted.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 268kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 23gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 57mgSodium: 834mgFiber: 5gSugar: 8g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Cooking With Carlee” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

Loved this recipe?Pin this recipe for later & follow @cookingwcarlee for more

Please share

Recipe Rating

Big Rigs 'n Lil' Cookies

Friday 7th of August 2020

We had this for dinner tonight. Two thumbs up from us! Yum!


Saturday 29th of August 2020

YAY! I am so glad you liked it!


Thursday 12th of September 2019

I love this idea! Stuffed cabbage takes so long to make and I'm sure it tastes just as good!


Saturday 14th of September 2019

This is soooooo much faster!

Amy (Savory Moments)

Thursday 5th of September 2019

I love cabbage rolls and making them in a skillet is a great shortcut!


Monday 9th of September 2019

It cuts out the boiling and rolling part which saves so much time!


Tuesday 3rd of September 2019

I hated stuffed cabbage as a kid but maybe I would like this!


Monday 9th of September 2019

Tastes evolve and you can change the seasoning to your taste. We make ours taste almost like lasagna ;-)

Sue Lau

Tuesday 3rd of September 2019

Makes quick work of a laborious meal!


Monday 9th of September 2019

It really does