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This crockpot cabbage casserole is a delicious and healthy dish that is going to turn your whole family into cabbage lovers!  The combination of meat, brown rice, and slightly crunchy veggies can’t be beat and addition of soy sauce is icing on the cake.  Throw in the fact that the recipe is super simple and you’re going to want to make it over and over again.

Crockpot Cabbage Casserole

Contributing post from Jill @ The Galactagoddess

If there is one thing that is predictable about children, it is that they are unpredictable! Our now four year old used to be the best eater, now he’s super picky!

I’m not sure if it’s an influence thing…

“Tell the teachers that I don’t like applesauce.”
“Buddy, you do like applesauce. You ate a huge bowl the other day!”
“But so-and-so doesn’t eat applesauce, so I don’t want to either.”

Or a control thing…

“I don’t like that.”
“Buddy, it’s always been one of your favorites.”
“Well, I don’t like it anymore.”

Whatever it is, it drives me crazy!! So these days, when I find a healthy meal that not just one, but BOTH of my children “wolf down” I know that it’s a keeper…at least until next week. 🙂

This crockpot cabbage casserole recipe is a winner with my whole family.  It’s one of my all-time favorite meals from my childhood, and I’m so happy to translate it into an easy crock pot recipe that my children enjoy it as much as I do!

Crockpot Cabbage Casserole

Crockpot Cabbage Casserole

Yields 6-8 servings


  • 1 pound of ground beef or ground turkey
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
  • 1 medium head of cabbage, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup brown rice (uncooked)
  • 3 cups beef broth or chicken broth


  1. In a very large pot, brown ground meat and onions with olive oil. (If you choose to use ground beef, you can omit the olive oil.)
  2. Remove pot from heat and add cabbage, carrots, salt, and pepper.  Stir to combine.
  3. Spray crockpot with cooking spray.
  4. Place rice in the bottom of the crockpot.
  5. Pour meat/cabbage mixture on top of rice.
  6. Pour broth on top.
  7. Cover, and cook on “low” for 4-6 hours.
  8. Stir before serving.

Serve with soy sauce…and apple sauce 🙂

To Freeze

Label your freezer bag. Add all ingredients EXCEPT for brown rice and chicken broth to bag. Remove as much air as possible, seal and lay flat in your freezer for up to three months. When ready to cook, thaw, spray crockpot with cooking spray, place rice in the bottom of the slow cooker, add ingredients from freezer bag, and pour broth on top.  Cook on “low” setting for 4-6 hours. Stir before serving. Serve with soy sauce.

This crockpot cabbage casserole recipe fills a 6-quart crockpot to the brim and yields A LOT of food, so if you have a smaller slow cooker or are cooking for less people I recommend completing Steps 1&2 and freezing half of the cabbage/meat mixture for later.  Cut the amount of rice and broth in half.  Keep the cooking time the same. 

Crockpot Cabbage Casserole

Thoughts or questions? Please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.

Jill Petrush RodgersJill Petrush Rogers is a full-time working Mama to two very active little boys. After becoming a Mama, she realized that her mission is to help others meet and/or exceed their own personal breastfeeding goals.  And so, she became a Certified Lactation Counselor.  You can follow Jill’s personal journey on her blog The Galactagoddess and on Facebook.


  • Leona Vontom says:

    Sounds Great , will try this !! Leona Vontom Thank You ,

  • JH says:

    Would it be ok to add other veggies too? If so, what would you suggest?

    • Kelly says:

      I think it would be OK, but I love it as-is. It’s also A TON of food, so if you add more veggies you might need to decrease something else to fit it in your crockpot.

      • Lesley says:

        When you freeze, do you have to brown the meat first or just put it in the ziplock? Also, do you thaw and brown first before putting in the crockpot or just just put all ingredients in raw and start the crock pot? Thank you!

  • Bridgett says:

    Could you just add the ground beef to the crockpot without browning it first? I’ve seen other recipes on this website that call for that, and I LOVE the convenience factor in it!! Just wondering if this recipe could be done that way as well?

    • Kelly says:

      Yes, I think it would work. If you freeze it ahead of time, I would put the beef at the top of the freezer bag so it’s the first ingredient dumped into the crockpot.

  • Meg says:

    I’m new to the “prepare your dinners ahead” movement, but I live the idea! For this recipe, should I cook the cabbage before freezing it or can I freeze it chopped and raw? Thanks in advance!

  • Meg says:

    *love not live

  • mark says:

    Looks great, do you think I could substitute white rice for the brown?

  • Michelle says:

    I made this yesterday and it was delicious, I put in only 1 carrot (my daughter doesn’t like them) and added a can of diced tomatoes. It was amazing! Used ground turkey….

    • Kelly says:

      Yay! Thanks for letting me know, Michelle.

    • I love the variation idea, I’m going to try both ways. When you added your can of diced tomatoes, just curious, did you use plain or one with seasoning. I know one is like garlic, onion, and some season ing or something… I don’t have any on hand to read 😉

  • vivian says:

    Okay I know this is probably obvious to everyone else, but I am not much of a cook! To freeze, do I brown the meat and cook the veggies, cool down and then freeze? Or am I freezing everything raw? Thank you!

  • Kim says:

    1) My ground beef is already frozen so do I just place it in the bag as a big block?

    2) If it’s not browned first (I saw in the other comment to place it at the top of the bag so it’s on the bottom of the crockpot), do you think it will make the recipe greasy b/c I won’t be draining the grease? It’s 90/10.

    3) Thank you for ALL these recipes. You are a sanity saver!!!

    • Kelly says:

      You can either add it to the bag frozen or add it the day of cooking. I don’t think it really matters where it ends up in the crockpot. At 90/10 you’ll be fine.

  • Donna says:

    I made this last night and it is a keeper. Is there a way I can share it on Facebook to my friends?

  • Julie says:

    Do you have calorie, fat, fiber, carb count on any of your recipies? We are on a low carb lifestyle.

  • Chris says:

    Hi! I’m so excited to try this recipe because I have an abudance of cabbage from my CSA and this looks like a great way to use it up! I’m planning to freeze and then cook in the crockpot but I’m a little confused on how to prepare this meal to freeze. The directions talk about browning the beef and onions only (without the cabbage, carrots, and S&P) but I’m confused about how I would do that if it’s all combined in a freezer bag. Do you do a bag within a bag? I tend to follow recipe directions explicitly and just want to make sure I’m doing the right thing! Thanks for any clarification you can provide!

    • Kelly says:

      Honestly, I would just freeze it all in one bag raw. If you want to brown the ground beef and onions ahead of time, go ahead and do that and combine everything in one bag after it cools.

  • I don’t have a question. Just saw this amazing recipe and plan on trying it as soon as I can get to the store and buy the ingredients. I’m planning on looking through some more of your recipes. I saw that this was one of your family favorites. Do you have any others? I guess I did have a question. LOL

  • Barbara says:

    Love the look of this recipe. I really want to add it to my pinterest folder but cannot work out how and can’t find it in your slow cooker pinteret account. Could you tell me how I do it please? have got to this through another site.

    • Kelly says:

      You can copy the link and add it to Pinterest or repin from my account (@kellymcnelis).

    • Lounette Brown says:

      Barbara, there is an app that you can download for free that gives you an icon to save any page to pinterest. Search for free download pinterest app and you should get a page that has a link for your type of internet access (phone, windows, computer etc.)

      Good luck.

  • Brittany says:

    Do you cook the rice before you put it in the crockpot?

  • Caisy says:

    Which broth do you recommend using?

  • Debbie says:

    What type of brown rice – minute or regular? I had trouble with another recipe that called for rice. Had the wrong rice (called for parboiled) and the rice never completely cooked.

  • Becky says:

    I have to be honest. I just got home. The kitchen smelled wonderful having simmered my first batch of this casserole and…it is terrible. It looks just like your picture. I followed the directions perfectly and it is the blandest, least flavorful thing I’ve ever tasted. I am actually a really good cook, but I don’t know if salt and pepper will fix this. I’m so disappointed b/c I have two more frozen bags of it in the freezer.

    • Kelly says:

      That is so weird, Becky. We love this recipe!! Did you serve it with soy sauce? That should add the extra salt that you’re looking for.

  • Paula says:

    I loved this recipe, but in the end found it wanting something in the spice department. I saw someone mentioned adding tomatoes to it, which I considered as well. However, I am not sure I want to do that. Any suggestions? My mind is drawing a blank. Thank you so much for these recipes. I have fond them exceedingly easy, and yummy!

    • Kelly says:

      Did you serve it with soy sauce? That was the kicker that pushed it over the edge for us. Loved it!!

    • Dorrit sederstrom says:

      This reminds me of an old Russian recipe my mother and grandmother used to cook. I’ve made it for my family as well, just not in the crock pot. The only suggestion I would make is add ketchup. It makes it a bit sweet and adds good flavor.

  • Cari says:

    Can you cook it for longer than 6 hours? I like recipes I can leave all day when I’m at work – – which would typically mean 8-9 hours….

    • Kelly says:

      Yes, definitely. Especially if you have a smaller crockpot (4 quarts or less) or your crockpot has a longer cooking time. My 6-quart is very high powered and keeps the contents simmering the whole time.

  • Tiffany says:

    So I love the flavors in this recipe and was excited to try it. I just made it today and followed recipe exactly and cooked for 5hrs on low. It turned out completely mushy )-; the carrots were mush and cabbage over cooked to non existence and rice was basically a purée. I’m so sad because I love the flavors. Has this ever happened to you? Maybe I should use less beef broth? Or I was thinking of just making on the stove. Idk but I’m bummed.

  • Kelly says:

    Hey Kelly,
    Just want to thank you for so many wonderful ideas.
    Looking forward to trying all of them!

  • Jennifer says:

    I’m excited to try this! After reading other’s comments, I’m planning to brown my beef with some Chinese Five Spice powder to spice it up.

  • Cathy says:

    I made this tonight and it’s delicious! I have a large crock pot and it was done in 4 hours. 🙂

  • Travers says:

    Stay at home sometimes working dad here who found out the hard way what happens if you want to be critical of your wifes cooking, you get to do it yourself 😉 These recipes look and sound amazing and they are easy to do. I made the cabbage casserole yesterday and it was a huge hit with everyone. Today slow cooker chicken curry. Thanks for the great recipes.

  • Patricia says:

    So let me get this right, all ingredients are raw and put into plastic bags and frozen until ready to go in the crockpot?

  • Tracy says:

    My son has Autism. He is allergic to every thing under the sun from grain, nuts, dairy, dyes….and more. I’ve had to get very creative over the years. I was excited to see he would be able to eat the ingredients in your recipes! My question is can I substitute quinoa for the rice in your cabbage casserole? He can’t eat rice but he can quinoa.
    Tracy – Sellersburg, Indiana

  • Lynne says:

    Did you just shake the soy sauce over the finished cooked meal? I bet this would be good with chicken and chicken broth too. Have you tried it with chicken?

    • Kelly says:

      I place the bottle of soy sauce on the table so each person can add to their liking. I’ve never tried with ground chicken, but it would probably be good.

  • Jennifer says:

    I wonder would tomato soup be good instead of broth??

  • Vicki says:

    This is a wonderful fall recipe. It is everything I love-inexpensive, healthy, and warming on a crisp day. As an “aside”- canned tomatoes, a bit of Worcestershire, an a Tblsp or two of brow sugar can be added to make it more like a cabbage roll. A spoonful of sour cream can also be added to your bowl when serving to make it really decadent. Thank you so much for the recipe.

  • Sarah D. says:

    When I lifted the lid to serve up this delcious smelling concotion, I discovered that the brown rice was completely hard. Ordered pizza, turned up to high and hoped it would cook before bedtime so at least we can eat it tomorrow. 🙁

  • Tracie says:

    I make this recipe all the time!! Although, I do use 2 15.5oz cans of salt free tomato juice and 1 cup water instead of 3 cups water. I call it “deconstructed cabbage rolls”. It is an adaptation of a “cabbage roll soup” that a supervisor brought to a function at work over a decade ago! I fell in love with the simplicity of the recipe and adapted it to the Crock Pot. It is super simple and tastes wonderful. I’ve also added a bag of drained sauerkraut (A deviation my mother used to do when making cabbage rolls. She would put a layer of ‘kraut over the top of the rolls right before she put them in the oven to bake.)
    Another deviation is to omit the water and serve over mashed potatoes. Yes, I know that isn’t as healthy as rice BUT it’s what I grew up with! It’s also how I like my cabbage rolls! LOL
    I hope you all try this one, it really is delicious!!

  • Michele says:

    I love this recipe, but thought I would share my variation. The first time I made it, I thought it needed a little more seasoning. So the second time I made it, I used 2 or 3 homemade Italian sausage (casings removed) and browned with the ground turkey and onions. This was just enough to turn the tables for 4/5 of my family to a family favorite (the last one is hopelessly devoted to pizza). Now i brown a 2lb ground turkey (like the ones from costco) and a tray of italian sausage and use 1/2 for this recipe and the other 1/2 for homemade lasagna (with no-bake noodles, of course 🙂 Thanks for the recipe!

  • Kabri says:

    Just made this – in fact, just took a sneak taste. I think it tastes just like the filling of a good fried Chinese egg roll! The soy sauce is great, and it’s funny you mention apple sauce because I always eat egg rolls with the Chinese sweet & sour – so I understand why you said something sweet! Thanks!

  • Erin says:

    Hi! I realize this is probably a silly question, but approximately how many cups of cabbage are in a medium head of cabbage? I currently live overseas, and the cabbage here is massive – at least double, if not triple or even quadruple the size of cabbage in the US! I have no idea how to guess what a medium cabbage in the US might be, so if you could give me an approximate number of cups, that would be great! Thanks!

  • Carol says:

    So do j use instant rice for this?

  • Connie B. says:

    Can I use my Seal a Meal?

  • Kamiko says:

    this is basically inside out cabbage rolls, NOMS! i cant wait to try it, with a side of Cranberry sauce!

  • Kim says:

    Do you have nutrition info for this recipe?

  • Amanda says:

    Is there any nutrition information on this, like calories per serving, protein , etc?

    • Kelly says:

      Hi Amanda! At this time I’m only able to provide the nutritional information for the recipes in my eCookbooks. It takes me FOREVER to calculate it! Sorry about that.

  • Kristy says:

    we make this in australia – although we use chicken noodle soup mix, & 1-2 teaspoons of curry powder. It’s really yummy

  • Kelly says:

    I am not sure why, but my rice never cooked. I ended up having to throw it in a pot on the stove (after cooking on low for 6 hours and high for an hour after realizing the rice wasn’t near done). Now I’m hoping to salvage the dish (smells great, all I did was add a can of tomato soup to make the flavor more like cabbage rolls but that was after the rice wasn’t cooked, 6 hours into the dish) but I am disappointed the rice never cooked. If it the flavor is good, next time I’d just add cooked rice in at the end because I don’t trust the crockpot to cook the rice.

  • Monica says:

    I made this and was surprised at how incredibly delicious it turned out! I am on the candida diet, so I modified it a little with less rice (brown rice soaked overnight), no carrots and added a green pepper, a leek, some okra and green beans. It turned out perfectly, can’t wait to make it again! Thank you for sharing.

  • Kelli says:

    Could this recipe be made with cabbage leaves instead of a whole cabbage?

    • Kelli- I think it would depend on the quantity. The cabbage lets off some water, so it is taken into account for the cooking time, etc. Are you thinking about using less leaves?? Or just leaves of a larger cabbage?

  • I love making this! I add celery and I spice it up a bit with red pepper flakes. I also prepare the rice separately. I serve the cabbage mixture over the rice. I top it off with Sriracha. This is too spicy for most kiddos, but it is so good for the adults who love flavor!

  • Corey Clark says:

    Silly question but when halving the recipe how much brown rice and broth?

  • Missy says:

    My family loves this recipe. We substituted pork for the beef and added chopped apple to it an hour before it was done. Yummy !

  • Janna says:

    This sounds amazing, I am going to make it tonight. What is your instagram Kelly?

  • Nancy says:

    We thought this was extremely bland. We ended up adding some salsa and some other seasonings. This will not be a keeper for us.

  • Michael says:

    Do you have to make this frozen? Do you have any suggestions for buying all the ingredients and making the dish on the spot?

  • Toni says:

    This might be a stupid question but do I drain the grease off the meat?

  • Michael says:

    I prepared the meal and cooked it for six hours in my 6-quart slow cooker. It mostly turned out all right, but the rice turned out mushy. I had it on warm for about 2 hours after the cook time, not sure if that’s what did it (had a roommate turn it to warm because I was out watching the Cubs win the World Series lol). Luckily, the rice was on the bottom, so I was able to separate it from the rest of the food. Next time I might do a cup of rice, and make sure to only do it for four hours. I might just cook another pot of rice to go with this batch. I saved the mushy rice in a separate container in case I change my mind, but I don’t really like my rice soft and mushy.

    I bought a 28 oz can of diced tomatoes with green chiles to put in it, but chickened out because i was concerned there would be too much juice. I know not to be concerned with that in the future.

    Also, the dish is really good with Sriracha. I also have soy sauce, but thought the Sriracha would add a nice kick.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Reading the comments…have not made this yet but plan to do so…loved some of the ideas here too. It occurs to me that if you are using beef that is NOT grassfed…you will not have that awesome flavor that only grassfed beef has…also, buffalo about the same. I find turkey rather tasteless in recipes when starting from the ground meat…so I can see how it might need some help…but chicken is awfully nicely flavored. Just recently began using the organic Bone Broth types from Walmart…they are surely awesome in anything I have used them in!! Made hamburger soup today…have always liked it…but oh my, use the beef bone broth instead of the water and to die for!! So my advice for more flavor…use bone broth!!! The old timers just put the meat with bones in it (stew or roast or whatever)….my mom always made soup from leftover roast or steak, baked in the oven a half a day or so…of course, those bones added flavor…think of all we have thrown out of our kitchens that we should not have…but the good news is people are coming back to this!!

  • lisa says:

    Hi Kelly, Just used this recipe as my base. I decided to only use the crock pot and brown the ground beef and onions first. I also added a jalepeno, garlic, spicy seasoning, 2 cans of tomatoes….I reduced the amount of rice and used only 1 can of beef broth. It’s delicious!! And so easy! Thanks for the base recipe! 🙂

  • Erin says:

    Can you use Quinoa instead of rice?

  • Cheri says:

    I made this dish for my family last night and found that the rice came out very gummy at the end of the cooking time, and that it is very bland in taste as far as the seasoning goes so after cooking i added soy sauce as suggested and siracha sauce which helped, it does indeed make a very large batch so with the leftovers i am going to try to make pancakes out of it by forming the mixture into patties dipping in egg and then in panko crumbs and then do a slight fry on them and us as a side dish. Wish me luck!!!!!!

  • Meg says:

    How do you serve it with apple sauce? On the side? Over the top? I’ve got apple sauce to use but I am perplexed about how to use it!

  • […] Crockpot Cabbage Casserole — OK, OK. I know I’m throwing a weird one at you right off the bat, but bear with me.  I found this one a couple years ago when I was on a healthy eating, whole foods, 21-day fix kick.  Fat lotta good that did me, amiright?  Anyway, this really is delicious.  I up the amount of meat to 1.5-ish lbs since my grocery store seems to only sell packages larger than one pound.  I also tend to add more carrots than called for.  Definitely don’t skip the soy sauce condiment when you serve it!  And it goes great with the world’s best applesauce. […]

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