This Cabbage Roll Soup is the perfect hearty, flavorful, cozy winter dinner that’s packed with beef, bacon, rice, and veggies! A quick and easy twist on traditional cabbage rolls.
I’m not a huge fan of cabbage, so I was absolutely shocked by how much I loved this cabbage roll soup. Trevor and I are completely obsessed! It’s hearty, smoky, and insanely packed with flavor. This recipe is basically a deconstructed version of cabbage rolls, but better, because it’s quicker and easier — no stuffing, rolling, or baking required!
What is cabbage roll soup?
Cabbage rolls are a humble meal that originated in Germany made up of cooked cabbage leaves stuffed with various fillings such as grains, meat, and veggies that are seasoned with garlic, onion, and spices. The leaves are rolled around the filling, then baked!
Cabbage roll soup is basically deconstructed cabbage rolls that have been turned into a soup! Take the same flavors and ingredients, but instead of stuffing, rolling, and baking, you’re making a one pot soup!
Ingredients vary from recipe to recipe, but this cabbage roll soup is loaded with rice, ground beef, bacon, sauerkraut, and more!
This one pot soup has simple ingredients that absolutely pack a flavor punch!
- Bacon – gives the soup a rich, smoky flavor. Bacon is the MVP ingredient if you ask me. The depth of flavor it gives can’t be beat.
- Ground Beef and Ground Pork – I love the flavors that this combination provides but feel free to use just one or the other if preferred.
- Cabbage – cored and chopped. Be sure to watch the video for a step by step guide on how to properly prepare your cabbage.
- Yellow Onion – adds a sweet, caramel-y flavor to the soup.
- Garlic – rounds out the other flavors with its subtle nuttiness.
- Paprika, Salt, and Pepper – this sweet, spicy seasoning blend may be simple, but it adds so much flavor to the soup.
- Tomatoes – use canned, diced tomatoes. Don’t drain them! The extra liquid goes into the soup to help form the broth.
- Condensed Tomato Soup – adds a sweet, very concentrated tomato flavor that mimics the tomato sauce you’d find in traditional cabbage rolls.
- Chicken Broth – the base for the soup. Feel free to use any broth you have on hand. Taste and re-season, as necessary, because different flavors/brands contain different salt content.
- Sauerkraut – gives the soup a perfectly acidic, slightly sour flavor that blends perfectly with the other flavors in this soup. This is my nod to Hungarian cabbage rolls. Don’t skip it! If you’re not a fan of sauerkraut, it’s very subtle, but adds a much needed tanginess.
- Brown Sugar – gives the soup a touch of rich sweetness to offset the tangy, acidic flavors from the tomatoes and sauerkraut.
- Rice – long grain white rice is perfect in soups. It has a higher starch content, so it remains light, perfectly chewy, and doesn’t clump or get mushy. I don’t recommend substituting a different variety of rice or grain, because cook time and the amount of liquid needed will vary.
- Sour Cream – optional for serving, but highly recommended! I love the extra creaminess and tangy, rich flavor it adds.
How to make
This hearty soup takes 20 minutes to prep and 40 minutes to cook! A well-balanced dinner ready in an hour? Sign me up!
- Add bacon to a large stockpot and cook until crispy. Crumble and set aside.
- Cut the head of cabbage into smaller pieces and prepare the rest of your ingredients.
- In the same stockpot, cook beef, pork, cabbage, onion, garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper until the meat is cooked through. Drain grease then add back into the pot.
- Stir in diced tomatoes, tomato soup, broth, sauerkraut, brown sugar, and rice.
- Simmer until the cabbage is tender and the rice is cooked, add in crumbled bacon, then serve and enjoy!
How to cut cabbage
Preparing cabbage for soup isn’t as hard as it may seem! Follow these simple steps:
- Wash a head of cabbage thoroughly with cold water and peel off any leaves that may be slightly brown or damaged.
- Place the cabbage stem side down onto a cutting board.
- Cut down lengthwise through the core at the bottom then separate the halves.
- Remove the core by cutting at an angle around it, lengthwise.
- Place the halves, flat side down, onto the cutting board then slice, starting on the side opposite the base to get slices of cabbage.
- Roughly chop slices into smaller pieces.
Be sure to watch the video for step-by-step visuals!
Can you make cabbage roll soup vegetarian?
You can make this soup vegetarian (or vegan), but you’ll be missing out on a ton of flavor from the meat — especially the bacon! For the best results, I recommend swapping the chicken broth for veggie broth, then using meatless varieties of the bacon, beef, and pork. To replace the smokiness from the bacon, you may even want to add in a splash of liquid smoke or soy sauce!
What to serve with cabbage roll soup
This soup is filling as-is but if you’re looking for some side dishes to serve alongside it, here are some ideas.
How to store
Leftover soup will last in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
To reheat, thaw in the fridge if frozen then microwave or heat on the stove until warmed through. Thin with additional broth, as necessary.
Can you freeze cabbage roll soup?
For the best results, let leftover soup cool completely before transferring it to freezer bags or an airtight container. It will last for up to 6 months in the freezer.
To reheat, thaw in the fridge before reheating on the stove or in the microwave. Thin with additional broth, as necessary.
Cabbage Roll Soup
Equipment for this recipe
- 8 slices bacon
- 1 pound ground beef *
- 1 pound ground pork *
- 1/2 head cabbage core removed and discarded, then remaining cabbage chopped (about 6 cups chopped)**
- 1 large yellow onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons salt plus more to taste (I used 3 teaspoons)
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes undrained
- 1 (10 oz) can condensed tomato soup
- 5 cups chicken broth plus more to thin, if necessary (soup gets thicker as it sits)
- 1 (16 oz) package sauerkraut drained
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3/4 cups long grain white rice
- Sour cream for serving
- Add bacon to a large stockpot.
- Cook until crispy over medium-high heat.
- Remove, crumble, and set aside.
- Add in beef, pork, cabbage, onion, garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper.
- Cook, breaking up the meat as you go, until the meat is cooked through.
- Drain grease.
- Replace back on the heat and stir in diced tomatoes, tomato soup, broth, sauerkraut, brown sugar, and rice.
- Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
- Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until cabbage is tender and rice is cooked, about 30 minutes.
- Stir in cooked and crumbled bacon.
- Taste and re-season and enjoy with sour cream!
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*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.