Instant Pot Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls [Video]

Catalina Castravet
By Catalina Castravet
5 from 4 reviews

Beef Cabbage Recipes Instant Pot Recipes Recipes

Cook time Cook time: 20 minutes

Instant Pot Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls is a comforting dish packed with beef, herbs, spices, and vegetables all cooked in seasoned tomato sauce. All the flavors of the classic dish, with no rolling required!

The Pressure Cooker is my best friend when it comes to delicious, hot meals with almost no effort like this Pork Stew and Firecracker Chicken. You can even make desserts in there, like this Instant Pot Oreo Cheesecake!

Instant Pot Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe

Instant Pot Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls is an effortless way to enjoy this traditional Eastern European dish. It has all that hearty goodness such as rice, tender veggies, and beef in an herbed tomato sauce. Except, you don’t have to roll individual leaves.

In addition, this is a quick and easy recipe to prepare. It only takes 20 minutes in the pressure cooker to make this dish, making it a convenient dinner option on a busy day.  

Aside from being tasty and satisfying, it also freezes really well. If you’re into meal planning, whip up a big batch, separate what you need for dinner, and freeze the rest. Also terrific for feeding a crowd!

What are Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls?

They’re basically deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Rolls! Like the original version, it has meat (usually beef) and grains (brown or white rice) all cooked in tomato sauce with herbs, Worcestershire, and cabbage.

But for this one, there’s no need to stuff leaves one by one. Instead, we chop up the cabbage and cook it along with all the other ingredients.

What cabbage should you use for Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls?

Use regular green or white. They’re hardy, which means the IP’s intense heat and pressure won’t turn them into mush. Don’t use the red ones because they tend to bleed color into the sauce, rendering it unappetizing to look at.

Savoy is too delicate for this cooking method. I also love how the green and white varieties turn sweeter as they cook!

How to make homemade Instant Pot Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls?

  1. Sauté. First, crumble the beef and cook with the aromatics for about 3 mins. using the Sauté function of the IP. Then, add the herbs and cook a little more. Lastly, stir in the chopped vegetables along with the water, tomato paste, Worcestershire, and diced tomatoes.
  2. Add rice. Just press it down lightly on top of the meat and veggies until it’s covered with liquid. DO NOT stir.
  3. Cook. Next, set to High for 20 mins. Afterward, vent until all pressure is released.
  4. Serve. Enjoy hot with a dollop of sour cream on top, sprinkled with chopped dill.

 Recipe Variations:

  • Make it Low-Carb: Use raw, plain cauliflower rice.
  • Use other grains: Try this with steel-cut oats or quinoa!
  • Make it spicy: Stir in some red pepper flakes or cayenne for heat.
  • Vegetarian version: Swap out the beef with vegan ground meat or chopped cremini mushrooms.
  • Use other meats: If you want it lighter, use ground chicken, pork, or turkey.
  • Add veggies: This dish is a great way to use up any leftovers you have in the fridge! Add some chopped carrot, spinach, etc.

How do you serve Instant Pot Unstuffed Cabbage rolls?

For more protein, try it with some Kielbasa on the side. It’s also wonderful with home-baked Dinner Rolls, Cornbread, and crusty Beer Bread. Perfect for soaking up all that delicious sauce!

Topping Suggestions:

Go the classic route by scooping it into bowls, then top with a dollop of Greek yogurt or sour cream, and sprinkling fresh, chopped dill on top. You can also stir in some parmesan and top with cheddar and mozzarella for a cheesy twist. For richness, swirl in some heavy cream!

Can you make Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls in the Slow Cooker?

Sure! The only difference is that I like adding cooked rice at the end, instead of cooking it raw with the rest of the dish. To make this in the slow cooker, simply put everything in the pot, give it a good stir, and set it to High for 3 hours. or on Low for 8 hours.

Can you make Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls on the stove?

Yes, you can make it using a regular skillet or a Dutch oven. Follow the recipe as directed until you’ve added the cabbage. Simmer until the sauce has reduced, the beef is cooked, and the veggies are tender. Similar to the slow cooker, I prefer using cooked rice instead of raw for this method.

How to store leftovers?

First, cool it down completely. Then, transfer to a container and refrigerate. Keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. It’s better to consume it as early as you can, though, so the rice and veggies won’t get too soggy in the sauce.

How to freeze it?

Before transferring to an air-tight container or baggies, make sure everything is cool. Then, place it in the freezer and store for up to three months.

To thaw, defrost in the fridge overnight, or on the counter for a few hours. You can also submerge the sealed baggie in water to thaw it out faster.

Reheat by microwaving until hot. You can also do it in the skillet on low until heated through.

More Instant Pot Cabbage Recipes:

Recipe Tips: 

  • No need to brown the beef for this dish. It’s fine if there are still some pink pieces in there since it’ll all get cooked under pressure.
  • Not confident with cooking raw rice in the IP? Make it separately, and just stir it in at the end.
  • Also, if the dish ends up with too much liquid for your liking, turn on the Sauté mode and simmer to reduce.
instant pot unstuffed cabbage rolls

Instant Pot Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

Instant Pot Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls is a comforting dish packed with beef, herbs, spices, and vegetables all cooked in seasoned tomato sauce.
5 from 4 votes
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Coming to Pressure:: 15 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 657kcal
Author: Catalina Castravet


  • 2 lbs cabbage (medium-coarsely shredded)
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked white rice (or brown rice - rinsed & drained)
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill (finely chopped)
  • Greek yogurt or sour cream (for serving)


  • Press Sauté and once IP display says Hot, coat woth the oil and add the onion, cook for 2 mins.
  • Add garlic, stir and cook for 3 minutes.
  • Add meat, thyme, oregano, rosemary, paprika, salt and pepper, break with a wooden spoon and cook for 5-7 minutes. Meat will still be pink.
  • Add cabbage and stir.
  • Add broth, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste and diced tomatoes, stir to combine.
  • Add rice and do NOT stir, lightly press it down into the mixture to submerge.
  • Cancel Saute. Close and lock the lid, set pressure vent to Sealing and press Pressure Cooking on High for 20 minutes. Instant Pot will take about 15-20 minutes to come to pressure.
  • Once done cooking, do a quick releasr by turning pressure vent to Venting position.
  • Open carefully, stir in chopped dill and serve with sour cream or greek yogurt.



Calories: 657kcal | Carbohydrates: 73g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 107mg | Sodium: 1173mg | Potassium: 1389mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 934IU | Vitamin C: 76mg | Calcium: 183mg | Iron: 7mg
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This sounds easy yet delicious meal. Love to try the only thing I will replace is the beef, as I don't eat beef I will use chicken. Cant try and share with my family.


Kita Bryant

I have got to try this! I love using my instant pot for cooking.



I had a German neighbor who used to make the best Cabbage Rolls. I'm missing them so much, I will have to try this easy recipe of yours out!



This is ultimate comfort food, Love this instant post unstuffed cabbage rolls. great meal.



Such a warm and comforting dish. Love that it is easy to make in instant pot. Looking forward to trying your recipe.


monica y

I got an Insta Pot for the holidays, so glad to find this post so I can try this recipe soon, looks so delicious and something my family would enjoy


Anosa Malanga

I have cabbage in my fridge and I don't want it to rot so I am searching for some good recipes to try on. Thanks for this!


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