This simple, healthy, and easy Hamburger Soup recipe is pure comfort in a bowl, and it has stood the test of time for generations! Loaded with ground beef, vegetables and potatoes, the one pot meal can be made on the stovetop or in the slow cooker for a simple weeknight dinner.
The Best Hamburger Soup Recipe
My Great Aunt Bee has helped carry on my grandmother's memory by sharing with me some of the recipes that they enjoyed together. This easy Hamburger Soup is the one dish that Aunt Bee has talked about the most, and she has continued to make it (along with her friends and family) long since my grandmother passed away.
What is Hamburger Soup?
Hamburger soup is a hearty and nourishing one pot meal that's made with ground beef (also called "hamburger" meat), vegetables and often potatoes, macaroni (or other pasta), rice or barley. The base is typically a thin beef or tomato-based broth, but you can also find creamy versions (sometimes called Cheeseburger Soup). This Hamburger Vegetable Soup also includes plenty of garlic, oregano, thyme, bay leaf, and crushed red pepper flakes for a little bit more flavor!
How to Make Easy Hamburger Soup
I always prepare a big pot of this hamburger vegetable soup in a Dutch oven on my stovetop because it's very easy and it comes together quickly. This isn't one of those soups that takes hours to simmer on the stovetop. Instead, if you can brown some ground beef, you can handle this soup! That said, you can also adapt the recipe for the slow cooker, so you'll find those directions below if you prefer the Crock Pot method.
Ingredients for Hamburger Vegetable Soup
- Ground beef
- Can of diced tomatoes
- Green beans
- Beef broth and water
- Tomato paste
- Oregano, thyme, bay leaf, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper
- Fresh parsley
- Brown ground beef, onion and garlic. Drain off fat.
- Add vegetables, potatoes, broth, water and seasoning. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low; cover, simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Crockpot Hamburger Soup
To prepare the hamburger soup in the slow cooker, brown the beef, onion and garlic in a skillet and drain off fat; transfer to the slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients, cover, and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or on HIGH for 2-3 hours.
What to Serve with Hamburger Soup
This old-fashioned vegetable beef soup recipe is really an entire meal in one pot! You don't necessarily need any additional sides, but here are a few options that go well with hamburger soup if you'd like to round out your meal:
- Southern Buttermilk Biscuits or Drop Biscuits (shown here)
- A crusty loaf of No-Knead Bread
- Garlic Bread
- Soft Dinner Rolls
- Corn Muffins or Skillet Cornbread
- Pumpkin Bread or 2-Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins
- Virginia Spoon Bread
- 3-Ingredient Beer Bread
- A green salad dressed with Italian Balsamic Vinaigrette or Buttermilk Dressing
- Wedge Salad
This is a great make ahead meal that you can prepare in advance and then stash in your refrigerator or freezer for quick meals later in the week. The hamburger soup will last in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. If freezing, be aware that the potatoes may become mushy when thawed.
My grandmother's recipe is obviously very basic. I have tweaked it over the years on many different occasions, depending on the ingredients that I have on hand. Here are a few additional ideas to put in Hamburger Soup:
- Hamburger Soup with Cabbage: this is one option that my grandmother actually used regularly. You can see my Slow Cooker Cabbage Soup recipe here, which is really just a modified version of this soup.
- Noodles or Pasta: in lieu of the potatoes, add a few cups of cooked macaroni, egg noodles, rotini or other pasta of choice.
- Rice or Barley: both of these short grains make a nice addition to the soup as well! Stir in a few cups of cooked rice or barley at the end of the cooking time.
- Try adding more of your favorite seasoning, such as turmeric, paprika, chili powder, or even a dash of curry powder.
- Fresh herbs! A bit of fresh parsley is the perfect way to brighten up the soup at the very end. My memory of my grandmother's food is that it was always garnished with fresh parsley! Feel free to use chives, rosemary, or other fresh herbs of choice.
Tips for the Best Hamburger Soup Recipe
- Cut the carrots into a fine dice so that they're soft by the time the potatoes are done. You don't want hard, crunchy carrots in your soup, but you also don't want to have to overcook the potatoes in order to give the carrots time to finish.
- Simmer the soup just long enough for the potatoes to become tender. This typically takes about 15-20 minutes. If you simmer too long, they can become mushy.
- Adjust the heat by using more or less red pepper flakes.
- Depending on the broth that you use, you might need more (or less) salt and pepper. Just taste and season until it's exactly how you like it!
More Old-Fashioned Soup Recipes to Try
- Beef Barley Soup
- Easy Chicken Noodle Soup
- Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
- Lentil Soup
- Crock Pot Vegetable Soup
Grandmother's Hamburger Soup
- 2 lbs. ground beef
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 carrots, peeled and diced
- 3 ribs of celery, diced
- 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, not drained
- 2 cups green beans (I use frozen cut green beans)
- 4 large red potatoes (about 1½ lbs. total), diced into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4 cups beef broth or beef stock
- 2 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- Pinch crushed red pepper flakes (or more, to taste)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Brown the beef, onion and garlic in a large pot over medium-high heat. Drain, and return to pot.
- Add carrots, celery, tomatoes, green beans, potatoes, tomato paste, broth, water, bay leaf, oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender (approximately 15-20 minutes). Remove from heat; stir in parsley. Season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary. Remove bay leaf before serving.