Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls are like the classic cabbage rolls but with a huge shortcut to dinner! This is How To Make “Real” Lazy Cabbage Rolls with minimum effort! Get your baking dish out and try this cabbage roll casserole! 

image of unstuffed cabbage rolls on a plate with sour cream and dill

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These old-fashioned cabbage rolls are like mama’s, only the cabbage leaves aren’t boiled or rolled! These unstuffed cabbage rolls are called lazy cabbage rolls in Ukrainian and this cabbage recipe is a cinch to make! It doesn’t get any easier than tossing uncooked rice, meat, tomato sauce, and cabbage together to bake! 


Looking for more Polish or Russian Recipes? Here is an authentic Polish Pierogi Recipe or try our classic Rolled Cabbage Rolls Recipe! And if you love cucumbers you need to try these homemade Polish Dill Pickles!

Cabbage Rolls vs. Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

Unstuffed cabbage rolls are all the cabbage roll flavors minus all the stuffed filling and rolling! That’s right, no boiling cabbage leaves or steaming the rice, or even fiddling with the meat! Everything goes into a baking dish uncooked and bakes in the oven to that aromatic cabbage roll you love! It’s like the gluten-free, low-carb version of traditional cabbage rolls but totally filling and like the way mom makes it! Call it Lazy Cabbage Rolls because it’s literally the name for them!

unstuffed cabbage rolls recipe

Cabbage Roll Casserole

This is my mother-in-laws lazy cabbage rolls recipe. It’s the easiest lazy version that I’ve come to love. There is no need to pre-cook the rice or sauté anything! Everything is literally tossed in a baking dish (casserole-style) and baked to tenderness, super EASY one-pan dish! Speaking of pan this steaming mouthwatering cabbage meal is a genius way to feed a crowd easily! And leftovers are just as good!

Now don’t get me wrong I love easy cabbage rolls too but it’s not as easy as this unstuffed cabbage roll version. If you’re looking for a minimal prep dinner to satisfy that stuffed cabbage roll craving, then these are a must-try!

unstuffed cabbage rolls baked as a casserole


Can you Make-Ahead?

Prep is very quick for these unstuffed cabbage rolls. And since this one-pan dish comes together with raw ingredients and spices I do not recommend making this dish in advance.

What are Lazy Cabbage Rolls?

Lazy cabbage rolls are the easy way to make stuffed cabbage rolls but with big shortcuts. Unstuffed cabbage rolls involve no rolling or boiling cabbage leaves. The cabbage is rather cooked along with all the ingredients in an informal way but, yet has all the cabbage roll flavors.

How Long Do Cook Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls?

Oven-Baked unstuffed cabbage rolls: toss all ingredients together in a large baking pan. Bake in a pre-heated 370°F for 2 hours.

How to make Stovetop unstuffed cabbage rolls: to make unstuffed cabbage rolls on the stovetop brown the ground pork with onion. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer covered over med-low heat for 60-75 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Can I make this on the Stovetop?

To make a one-pot cabbage roll dish simply brown the ground pork with onion. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer covered over med-low heat for 60-75 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve unstuffed cabbage rolls with a dollop of sour cream and fresh dill.

How To Store Cabbage Rolls:

Refrigerate covered for up to 5 days. Freeze leftovers.

To Freeze:

Place fully cooked and cooled cabbage rolls into a freezer bag and keep frozen for up to 3 months.

To Reheat: thaw overnight and reheat on the skillet until liquid evaporates and is heated thoroughly.

What to serve with Lazy Cabbage rolls?

Cabbage rolls are best with sour cream and a garnish of fresh dill. Since lazy cabbage rolls already have a tomato sauce filling it is best to stick with a dairy-based dip rather than ketchup. Cabbage rolls are the main course meal in itself so it is best to pair this with pickled vegetables or fresh salad and don’t forget hearty Russian Black Bread.

How Much Does This Recipe Serve?

Our family of 8 has eaten this casserole twice with 2 servings leftover serving 18 people in total (with leftovers.)

Ingredients for Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls:

  • 2 pounds of cabbage, chopped (1 head of cabbage)
  • 2 pounds ground pork, beef, chicken, or turkey.
  • 1 cup uncooked white rice (Jasmine or Basmati rice but for healthier variation brown rice.)
  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 12 oz (which is 1 1/2 cups) of any tomato sauce diluted with 2 cups of water (use canned tomato products or your favorite spaghetti sauce!)


  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic salt


How To Make Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls in a Casserole with a Step-by-Step Photos:

1. Place the cabbage, ground meat, raw rice, carrots, and onion into a large disposable baking pan.


2. Add the diluted tomato sauce, olive oil, and spices. Mix everything thoroughly.


unstuffed cabbage rolls in a casserole to be baked


3. Bake covered in a 350°F oven for 2 hours.

Tips for Cabbage Rolls:

  1. Swap out the meat for ground turkey or beef.
  2. For healthier cabbage rolls choose leaner meat and whole grains, such as brown rice.
  3. This recipe is for uncooked rice for parboiled rice adjust the liquid and cooking time per package instructions.
  4. Freeze leftovers and reheat them on the skillet!
  5. Make on the stovetop in 6-quart pot, if you don’t have a large baking pan!

More Easy Dinner Recipes:


Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 18 servings
Author: Alyona Demyanchuk
Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls are all the classic flavors of cabbage rolls but with a huge shortcut to dinner! Mom calls them Lazy Cabbage Rolls in Ukraine. This Cabbage recipe is so easy to make since your tossing uncooked rice, meat, tomato sauce, and cabbage together to bake! 


  • 1 20x12 large baking pan (or a 6 quart pot)


Easiest Lazy Cabbage Rolls Recipe:

  • 2 lbs shredded cabbage (1 head)
  • 2 lbs ground pork
  • 1 cup uncooked rice (Jasmine)
  • 2 carrots (julienned)
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 12 oz (1 1/2 cups tomato sauce) diluted with 2 cups water
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic salt


How to make Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe:

  • ingredients for unstuffed cabbage rolls in a large baking pan
    Place the cabbage, ground meat, raw rice, carrots, and onion into a large disposable baking pan.
  • how to make unstuffed cabbage rolls
    Add the diluted tomato sauce, olive oil, and spices. Mix everything thoroughly.
  • how to bake unstuffed cabbage rolls
    Bake covered at 350°F for 2 hours.


  • This is the large baking pan that I use for this casserole. Costco has the same size in disposable foiled pans.
  • Calories: this recipe served 8 people for 2 meals in a row with a leftover of 2 servings making it 18 servings in total. 

Nutrition per serving

Serving: 1servingCalories: 219kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 10gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 36mgSodium: 723mgPotassium: 336mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 1269IUVitamin C: 21mgCalcium: 37mgIron: 1mg

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    • John

    Making now, sounds delicious! Should it be covered in the oven?

      • Alyona Demyanchuk

      Yes, I do cover this casserole when baking.

    • Joan

    Can I use minute rice

      • Alyona Demyanchuk

      You could, but I’m thinking it may get mushy since uncooked rice works great for this cabbage roll casserole.

    • Marg S

    So easy and so delicious!!

    I live alone and I think cooking is really too much of hassle since I’m only feeding myself. I don’t mind eating the same things a few days in a row and I look for recipes I can batch cook on the weekend.

    I cut this recipe in half and I cannot tell you how fantastic it turns out. I use the coleslaw in a bag, add some extra julienned carrots. Mix it all up and you are good to go.

      • Alyona

      What a great tip!

    • Bonnie

    We like more rice and was wondering how to in reserve amount of rice without ruining outcome

      • Alyona’s Cooking

      Hi Bonnie, the meat cooks down, and the rice increases after being cooked so I think these proportions work great. I’d try it as written and if you still prefer more rice just decrease the meat next time around.

    • craig

    This is a great recipe. We made it once following the instructions and it made a lovely meal. The second time we substituted soured cabbage, and added a cup of cooked bacon which was also lovely. Thanks Alonya 🙂

      • Alyona’s Cooking

      Sauerkraut and bacon sound delish, Craig!

    • Inna

    I tried this recipe before and it’s so good and best thing super fast.. after several months I finally found this recipe again. Thank u for making our mom lives easier.

      • Alyona’s Cooking

      I’m glad to hear that, Inna. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a feedback:)

    • Olga

    Wow it’s that easy??? Perfect!

    What if I cut the recipe in half? Will it still make a good amount?

      • Alyona’s Cooking

      You could but keep in mind that the cabbage does cook down once stewed so it may not appear as full after baking.

    • Tanya

    Alyona, Thank you for sharing your awesome recipes. I”ve made several and they all turned out very delicious. My family doesn’t like cabbage rolls, but likes the lazy cabbage rolls. Yes, I know, go figure. I like your spin on this recipe, bake instead of frying. I will be trying this soon. Thank you!

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