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Runza Casserole

A comforting bake that pays homage to the treasured Nebraskan sandwich.

You could say there are two types of people in this world – people who know and love Runza and people who haven’t yet had one. In case you’re one of the latter, I’ll give you a little explanation – a Runza is a bread pocket that’s stuffed with beef, cabbage or sauerkraut, and onions. Think savory, filling, beefy hot pocket, but even better. The sandwich has old German-Russian roots but is most popular in Nebraska where you can find multiple restaurant chains that serve it but all you really need to know is that it’s good and our Runza Casserole pays homage to it in a comforting baked dish that’s family-friendly and super simple to make.

Believe it or not, you only need six ingredients to make this tasty casserole. There’s no bread to worry about here, just a stand-in of refrigerated crescent rolls which provide a delicious buttery and doughy base and top for a sandwich feel. And then there’s the filling, which is just ground beef (seasoned to perfection of course), onions, and cabbage that are cooked together into a tender and flavorful medley.

The only other component is cheese, because, well, casseroles and cheese just seem to belong together, and trust me that melty mozzarella is the perfect unifier here. It doesn’t alter the flavor much, but it just adds that stringy, melty comfort that only cheese can.

And that’s it! It’s a quick bit of stovetop work to brown the ground beef, and then you layer the crescent rolls, beef mixture, cheese, and more crescent rolls and bake. So simple, but so very satisfying. It’s Runza flavor through and through but in a way that makes it easy to feed a crowd… or just a few people who might want second servings (and I promise that with this, that’s kind of inevitable).

Serves 6

20m prep time

20m cook time

Rated 4.4 out of 5
Rated by 174 reviewers
  • 2 pkgs refrigerated crescent rolls (do not separate rolls)
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cups green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Mozzarella cheese, grated
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. Unroll one tube of crescent rolls but do not separate, and place sheet in bottom of prepared baking dish. Bake 5 minutes.
  3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, season ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Drain fat as needed and push meat to outer edges of skillet.
  4. Add butter to center of skillet. Once melted, add onions, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring for 2 minutes.
  5. Add cabbage and let cook down until wilted, about 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning as needed.
  6. Spread mixture over baked crescent rolls. Top with mozzarella and remaining sheet of crescent roll dough.
  7. Bake until top is golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Pip and Ebby.

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