Jump to RecipeJump to VideoLeave a ReviewPin Recipe

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.

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. Serve each bowl with buttermilk biscuits, a skillet of cornbread, or a simple green salad.

Close overhead shot of a bowl of hamburger soup on a table with biscuits and salad

Hamburger Vegetable Soup

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.

A Recipe for Hamburger Soup

Hamburger soup is a hearty and nourishing one pot meal that’s made with ground beef (also called “hamburger” meat or “hamburg”), 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!

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a pot of lazy day hamburger soup. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Ground beef: also called “hamburger,” you can use any variety available. I typically reach for ground round (85% lean), but you can use ground chuck or ground sirloin (lean ground beef) if you prefer. Ground turkey or ground chicken also work well here. If using the chicken or turkey, you might prefer chicken broth or chicken stock instead of beef broth.
  • Onion, garlic, carrots, and celery: fresh vegetables that add flavor, texture, and nutrition to the pot.
  • Can of diced tomatoes: I like petite-diced tomatoes, which are just cut into smaller, bite-sized pieces, making it easier to scoop them up with a spoon.
  • Green beans: fresh or frozen is fine.
  • Potatoes: red potatoes, yukon gold potatoes, or peeled, diced russet potatoes is fine.
  • Beef broth and water: form the liquid base of the soup.
  • Tomato paste: thickens the soup slightly and adds rich tomato flavor.
  • Oregano, thyme, bay leaf, crushed red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper: spices that make the beef soup taste even better.
  • Fresh parsley: for a bright finishing touch.
  • Optional additional veggies: diced zucchini, frozen corn, and/or sliced fresh mushrooms.

How to Make Easy Hamburger Soup

I always prepare a big pot of this hamburger vegetable soup in a Dutch oven on my stove top 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.

  1. Brown ground beef, onion, and garlic. Drain off excess grease.
  2. Add vegetables, potatoes, broth, water, and seasoning. Bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to low; cover, simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Overhead shot of a ladle in a pot of hamburger vegetable soup

Crockpot Hamburger Soup

To prepare the hamburger soup in the slow cooker, brown the beef, onion, and garlic in a skillet and drain off the 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.

Serving Suggestions

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 the dish if you’d like to round out your meal:

Square side shot of bowls of hamburger soup on a white wooden table

Storage

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 fridge 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.

Two bowls of hamburger vegetable soup on a table with salad and biscuits

Recipe Variations

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. My cabbage soup recipe 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.
  • Extra veggies: while my grandmother didn’t necessarily add these additional vegetables, I often like to throw in some diced zucchini, frozen corn kernels, and/or sliced fresh mushrooms (all shown here). Frozen peas are also easy to toss in at the end.
  • Add more of your favorite seasoning, such as turmeric, paprika, chili powder, or even a dash of curry powder. A dash of Worcestershire sauce also pairs nicely with the beef.
  • 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.
Close up front shot of a bowl of hamburger soup with biscuits and salad in the background

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!
Close overhead shot of a bowl of hamburger soup on a table with biscuits and salad

More Hamburger Soup Recipes to Try

Square overhead shot of a bowl of hamburger soup

Grandmother’s Hamburger Soup

5 from 6 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
0 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings 18 cups
Calories 163 kcal
This simple, healthy, and easy hamburger soup is pure comfort in a bowl, and it has stood the test of time for generations!

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

  • Extra veggies: while my grandmother didn’t necessarily add these additional vegetables, I often like to throw in some diced zucchini, frozen corn kernels, and/or sliced fresh mushrooms (all shown here). Frozen peas are also easy to toss in at the end. She often included chopped cabbage, too.
  • 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.
  • Add more of your favorite seasoning, such as turmeric, paprika, chili powder, or even a dash of curry powder. A dash of Worcestershire sauce also pairs nicely with the beef.
  • 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.
  • 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!

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 163kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 13gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 175mgPotassium: 749mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 1916IUVitamin C: 11mgCalcium: 30mgIron: 2mg
Keyword: Hamburger Soup, Hamburger Vegetable Soup
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe was originally published in November, 2020. The photos were updated in October, 2022.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

Square overhead shot of hands serving a chicken pot pie recipe with biscuits
Overhead image of a bowl of chili mac on a dinner table with cornbread
Hands serving a platter of sheet pan sausage and potatoes

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. I love soup, and this one looks so delicious! I love that it’s really cozy and comforting, but healthy too! It’s wonderful that have you have someone like Aunt Bee to keep memories of your grandmother alive and to share those things together!

  2. Wow, this sounds almost like my hamburger soup! The only difference is that instead of the beef broth and the water, I use a large can of low-sodium tomato juice and a large can of low-sodium V8 juice. Oh, and 2 large diced potatoes…and no green beans…Okay, I DID say “almost” like mine! 🙂

      1. My grand mother made something like this only she added cooked elbo Macao just before serving other call it beef macaroni soup but we always called it hamburger doup alwah hit the spot after a day of sleddingor Ice hockey

  3. Hello!
    I’m a brand new cook (like making ramen was the extent of my skills a month ago), and your simple, affordable meals and easy to understand directions are a life-saver. I was thinking that beans actually sound good to add to this stew (would they be???) and if I got a normal can of black/white beans at the store, how/when would I incorporate them into the meal? Would I drain and rinse them first? Also, I love these one-pot kind of meals, could you possibly post more of them/link a few of them if you get a chance to respond please? Thank you!

    1. Hi, Alyssa! Congrats on learning to cook — you should be really proud of yourself for making the effort, and it will just continue to get easier!

      Beans would be a great addition to this soup (any kind that you like is fine). Definitely drain and rinse them first. You can go ahead and add them to the pot at the same time as the carrots, celery, tomatoes, etc.

      So many of the recipes on my site are made in one dish or one pot. You can use the search bar if you’re looking for something specific, or try browsing these links:
      – Dump-and-Bake Recipes: https://www.theseasonedmom.com/?s=dump
      – Slow Cooker recipes (these are often one-pot options): https://www.theseasonedmom.com/?s=slow+cooker
      – One Pot: https://www.theseasonedmom.com/?s=one+pot
      – Sheet Pan Dinners: https://www.theseasonedmom.com/?s=sheet+pan

      Those should get you started! 🙂

      1. Ah! I appreciate the fast response. Thank you so much for the links – I can’t wait to try them! You will probably be seeing me asking more newbie questions as I go. Thanks again and I hope you have a good day =)

    2. Lima beans or field peas are a delicious addition to a downhome soup like this. Draining or not draining is entirely up to you and your tastes.

  4. What a delicious-sounding recipe and such a wonderful photo, those tiny hands are just adorable.:)

  5. 5 stars
    I actually used 2lbs of ground beef, added 4 diced potatoes, an extra carrot and extra celery and 2 T of better than bouillon roasted beef base
    … Delicious!!!

  6. I’m curious about why you say to drain the tomatoes. I’m making it now. I thought there would be nutrients in the juice and would just add less water.

    1. Hey, Barb! I drain the tomatoes because that’s how my grandmother did it! 🙂 Honestly, you can certainly use the juice in the can, if you like. I think it might water down the broth a bit, but it’s not going to make a big difference either way. Enjoy!

      1. 5 stars
        Hi Blair, so I didn’t drain the tomatoes, and it didn’t water down the soup at all because I just adjusted the amount of water I used. I added a teaspoon of curry to it as well. It was yummy! Thanks for the recipe. 🙂

  7. I season this with just Herbs De Provence. and substitute broccoli for beans ….Ham soup… swap out hamburger, Herbs De Provence, and beef broth with ham, chicken broth, and nutmeg (1 tablespoon sounds like a lot but it is just right).
    ps We loved Yoder’s when we lived in Lynchburg, VA. We now live in Iowa and miss VA.
    do you take recipe suggestions?

    1. Hi, Rae! We were practically neighbors when you lived in Virginia! 🙂

      I love how you’ve adapted the recipe to make it your own. I bet your version is delicious.

      And YES — I love when readers share their favorite recipes with me, make recipe requests or offer suggestions. Feel free!

  8. 5 stars
    So incredibly delicious. Thanks for the recipe. It’s now a part of the weekly rotation, at least through the end of winter. My grandmother would definitely approve (and maybe say add okra)!

  9. Great recipe only thing I’d change is the cook time unless you like your veggies al dente. Other than that it was delicious and I will be making again!!

  10. 5 stars
    My guys loved the soup. It had a very ‘sweet’ flavor profile they all love. Do have suggestions to make it more savory? Worchesteshire? Soy sauce? Perhaps the cabbage helps?
    Thanks for your recipe .

    1. Hi, Mary! Yes, adding Worcestershire sauce would definitely give it some great umami, salty, savory flavor. That would be a delicious addition. Just start with a small amount and add it gradually until it tastes the way you like it. A little bit goes a long way! 🙂

  11. 5 stars
    Hello, Blair:
    Let’s just say that I used this recipe as a base. I made a few drastic changes to it, and it still came out great! This is a meal all by itself.
    So, Thank You for posting this one.
    Sandra W.

    1. Thank you, Sandra! I’m so glad that you were able to make it your own. That’s the best part of cooking! 🙂

  12. 5 stars
    My husband and I made this recipe today and we LOVE it! The only ingredient we left out was the garlic, as we are not fans of it.
    It’s a keeper!!!!!

    Thanks so much!