In this post: Slow cooker cabbage roll casserole tastes just like cabbage rolls – without all the work! Let this casserole simmer in the crock pot all day and enjoy it for dinner.


Fall is the perfect time of the year to make comfort foods in a slow cooker! The yummy scent that fills the house as dinner gently simmers makes the cool fall months feel extra cozy. One of my favorite comfort foods is cabbage rolls – but they’re tricky and time-consuming to make. So, I combined some recipes to make this slow cooker cabbage roll casserole (also referred to as unstuffed cabbage rolls). Learn to make this recipe for yourself with step-by-step instructions below!

Slow cooker cabbage casserole in a white bowl.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

This slow cooker cabbage roll casserole recipe:

  • is quick and easy to make
  • doesn’t require fancy equipment or hard-to-find ingredients
  • is totally adaptable to many dietary restrictions or allergies

What is Cabbage Roll Casserole?

Cabbage roll casserole is like a deconstructed – or unstuffed – cabbage roll. Cabbage rolls are cabbage leaves wrapped around ingredients like meat, tomato sauce, and veggies. So, cabbage roll casserole is all of those delicious ingredients but instead of wrapping everything up into rolls, it’s cooked up like a big stew!

Ingredients

  • Ground chicken: or ground turkey, pork, or vegan “meat.”
  • Red onion: though milder than white onions, red onions still add their own unique flavor to this dish.
  • Garlic: adds a pungent, tangy spice.
  • Salt: this basic seasoning brings out the flavor of the herbs as well as the cabbage.
  • Thyme: a mild but versatile taste; it’s earthy, lemony, minty, woodsy, and more depending on what it’s paired with!
  • Hungarian paprika: less smokey and spicy than other paprika varieties.
  • Black pepper: adds a smokey, spicy flavor.
  • White rice: adds volume and texture to this casserole.
  • Cabbage: green, red, or savoy cabbage work best.
  • Canned tomatoes: great for soups, stews, and casseroles like this one!
  • Strained/crushed tomatoes: the base of the sauce.
  • Oregano, paprika, and parsley: seasonings for the sauce.
  • Sugar: you can trade this and the above two ingredients for a jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce.
Cabbage roll casserole in a white bowl with an ornate silver spoon in it.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Meat – use ground beef, chicken, turkey, pork, or vegan “meat” crumbles.
  • Red onion – switch for white or yellow onion.
  • Spices – experiment with the spices you like to use. Other ideas include basil, garlic salt, brown sugar, onion powder, and cayenne pepper.
  • Sauce – trade the strained/crushed tomatoes, oregano, paprika, parsley, and sugar for a jar of pasta sauce.

How to Make Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Casserole

  1. Spray your slow cooker with cooking spray.
  2. Spread the raw ground meat along the bottom of the slow cooker.
  3. Add the onions, garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, and thyme.
  4. Layer in the cabbage and rice.
  5. Pour the diced tomatoes on top.
  6. Mix the sugar, oregano, and parsley into strained/crushed tomatoes. Pour the mixture over the other ingredients.
  7. Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
  8. When done, remove the lid, stir, and serve warm!
Cabbage casserole in a bowl with a vintage spoon.

Serving Suggestions

Recipe Tips

  • Avoid using Napa cabbage because it gets mushy when cooked in the slow cooker.
  • You can replace the sugar, oregano, paprika, parsley, and strained/crushed tomatoes with a jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce!
  • Don’t overcook this casserole or the rice will become mushy.

Storage Instructions

  • Refrigerator: place leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Freezer: store the leftovers in an airtight container or freezer bag in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Slow cooker cabbage roll casserole in a white bowl.

FAQs

Is cabbage roll casserole a soup recipe?

No, this slow cooker cabbage casserole recipe is not a soup recipe. But, you can make it into a soup recipe by using more broth and cutting your ingredients up smaller.

Is cabbage roll casserole vegan?

Cabbage roll casserole is not vegan. But if you swap the meat for vegan “meat” or beans, you can make the casserole vegan.

Can I make this recipe in the oven?

Yes, you can make this recipe in the oven as long as you cook the meat and cabbage before putting the casserole together. Bake at 350F for 30-60 minutes (depending on how much liquid you add and whether or not you add rice).

Can I make cabbage casserole with raw meat?

I use raw meat in this casserole so I dirty fewer dishes. However, I’ve seen many people cook their meat in a pan first – it’s all up to personal preference! If you decide to cook your meat beforehand, make sure to drain it well and also adjust the slow cooking time accordingly.

Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Casserole

Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Casserole

Yield: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 15 minutes

Tastes like cabbage rolls but so much easier to make!

Ingredients

  • .5 kg/1 lb ground chicken, turkey or pork
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp Hungarian paprika
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup uncooked white rice
  • 4 cups chopped cabbage
  • 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 28 ounce can strained/crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp each oregano, paprika, parsley
  • 1/2 tsp sugar

Instructions

  1. Spray your slow cooker with cooking spray.
  2. Spread the raw ground meat along the bottom of the slow cooker.
  3. Add the onions, garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, and thyme.
  4. Layer in the cabbage and rice.
  5. Pour the diced tomatoes on top.
  6. Mix the sugar, oregano, and parsley into strained/crushed tomatoes. Pour the mixture over the other ingredients.
  7. Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
  8. When done, remove the lid, stir, and serve warm!

Notes

  • Avoid using Napa cabbage because it gets mushy when cooked in the slow cooker.
  • You can replace the sugar, oregano, paprika, parsley, and strained/crushed tomatoes with a jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce!
  • Don’t overcook this casserole or the rice will become mushy.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 370Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 114mgSodium: 880mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 8gSugar: 13gProtein: 33g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily via Nutrifox.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

What are some of your favorite comfort foods? Do you like to make recipes in the slow cooker?

shannon photo and sig oct 2022

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14 Comments

  1. Thank you Shannon for this reciepe. I have been looking for one like this. I have heard it called Unrolled Cabbage Rolls. My husband and I were raised on cabbage rolls since our parents are of Eastern European descent. Cabbage rolls showed up at every holiday and family event. I make and freeze cabbage rolls every summer when our garden produces too many cabbages to consume. It is quite time consuming. I am going to give this recipe a try. It looks delicious.

  2. My Pittsburgh husband and his kin introduced me to cabbage rolls. I found a similar recipe and we love it. Has anyone tried the crock pot liners so you don’t have to wash them?

  3. I’m not a huge fan of cabbage but all wrapped up in these other flavours I think I will love it. I can’t wait to try it!

    P.s. found you via Time to Sparkle!

  4. This is my second time making this. The first time I made it and had a bowl and threw the rest in the freezer, just bringing it out again recently. If you add some stock (water would probably work too) when you reheat, it makes a wonderful cold-weather meal! Trying it this time on high for 4 hours instead of low. Nice easy recipe, thanks.

  5. Great recipe! I added a teaspoon of caraway seeds and half a teaspoon of fennel seeds. I browned my ground pork and beef first just to get rid of some of the fat. Thanks for a great recipe😊