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Food & Recipes

This Hamburger Soup Recipe Is Hearty Comfort in a Bowl + Preps in Just 15 Minutes

Plus, the best pot to cook soup in and chef cooking secrets.

You can make any chilly day a bit warmer with a steaming bowl of soup — they’re nourishing, comforting and so easy to customize depending on whatever you’re craving. One of our favorites: hamburger soup. Loaded with sautéed vegetables, diced potatoes and golden-brown ground beef, this hearty meal has all the flavors of a classic burger in soup form. Even better: We found an easy hands-off recipe that’s thick, flavorful and preps in a flash. Ready to indulge? Keep reading for everything you need to make delicious hamburger soup.

What is hamburger soup?

Think of hamburger soup as a type of beef stew. The dish gets its quirky name from its star ingredient: ground beef. But instead of a bun, this soup combines beef stock, ground beef and an assortment of chopped vegetables and seasonings. “Hamburger soup is an easy one to do,” says Brian Theis, recipe developer and cookbook author. Classic hamburger soup includes “a pound or more of your preferred hamburger meat, some beef stock (vegetable also works), pearl barley, onions, celery, carrots, garlic, crushed tomatoes, then herbs like thyme, basil, oregano. Worcestershire and even a sweet addition such as brown sugar or honey are welcome. You might add potatoes and/or cabbage.” This makes hamburger soup so easily versatile and perfect for raiding the kitchen and using up any leftovers.

Is it different from chili or cowboy soup?

Though they may be similar, hamburger soup is actually different from its Western counterparts. Traditional chili is made with ground beef, beans and lots of spice, but you wouldn’t find potatoes, carrots or celery in it. Cowboy soup, on the other hand, is a cross between the two, blending Tex-Mex flavors like ranch style beans, corn and spices with ground beef and potatoes. Hamburger soup is more savory than spicy and a bit healthier with the added vegetables.

For more classic comfort dishes, read these for Crockpot Scalloped Potatoes and Chocolate Gravy

The best pot to cook hamburger ou in

hamburger soup: dutch oven

When it comes to cooking soup, the choice of pot can be a tricky decision to make. From classic stovetop options to modern appliances, there’s a wide array of pots and cookers available to suit every preference and cooking style. Ultimately, you can’t go wrong with any, but our favorite pot for hamburger soup is a Dutch oven.

Dutch ovens evenly distribute heat for rich flavor. These non-stick pot with a fitted lid is great for stews, sauces, soups and other dishes that require moist-heat cooking. With hamburger soup, a Dutch oven’s heavy bottom lets you easily brown ingredients and mix thick textures.

Related: How to Clean a Dutch Oven — Even the Stubborn Burnt Bits

Another popular option is the Crockpot or slow cooker, ideal for when you want to set it and forget it. This allows the flavors to strengthen for hours.

Chef secrets for making hamburger soup

Hamburger soup is easy to make, but we asked professional chefs for their easy tricks that guarantee delicious results:

1. Get the base right

“To be true to a traditional hamburger soup recipe, you want to use a Latin sofrito — onion, celery and carrot — rather than a Cajun mirepoix — onion, celery and green bell pepper,” says Theis. Also important: Sauté these vegetables first before adding in the beef.

2. Go for this ground beef

“Use lean ground beef (90%+), but if you do use anything lower, make sure to really drain the fat,” says Dana Ehrlich, founder and former CEO of Verde Farms. After frying the beef, he recommends you “save the fat and reuse it as an alternative to canola or vegetable oil in your next meal.”

3. Thicken your soup

For a thicker soup, Theis suggests “pearl barley, or if you prefer, lentils,” When cooked, barley releases a gel-like starch into the broth.

4. Add water to stock

“If you run out of stock, add water and a bit more salt to taste,” says Theis. Surprisingly, it soaks up the same amount of flavor.

For more easy soup tips, click through for how to use ricotta cheese in soup and how to remove soup fat with ice cubes

Easy hamburger soup recipe

Hamburger soup is surprisingly simple to make at home, and it’s mostly hands-off! This easy recipe from Natasha’s Kitchen blends canned tomatoes in beef broth for a rich, tangy flavor.

Hearty Hamburger Soup

hamburger soup


  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 sticks celery, thinly sliced
  • 1½ lbs. lean ground beef, 85% or leaner
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 28-oz. canned diced tomatoes
  • 8 cups beef broth
  • 2 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1½ tsp. salt, to taste
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 Tbs. fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish


  • Active Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings
  1. Preheat a 5½-qt dutch oven or stock pot with olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, carrots and celery into the pot. Sauté the veggies until softened.
  2. Add the ground beef, breaking it apart as you go. Cook it until it turns golden brown.
  3. Stir in the diced tomatoes, minced garlic, tomato paste, potatoes and beef broth. Season with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.
  4. Bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Season to taste and serve garnished with chopped parsley.

Storage tips

Hamburger soup is a great make-ahead dish and even develops more flavor while stored. To keep it fresh, store it in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Customize your hamburger soup

You can throw more than just vegetables into hamburger soup! Just like ordering a hamburger, personalization is a great way to enhance your bite. Here, some fun tweaks that will take your hamburger soup to the next level.

1. Add macaroni or rice

Toss in cooked macaroni or rice to create a more substantial and filling soup that’s perfect for a chilly evening.

2. Go Tex-Mex with spices

Turn up the heat by infusing your soup with Tex-Mex flavors. such as store-bought taco seasoning or blending chili powder, cumin and paprika.

3. Top with cheese

This one’s a hamburger staple! Top some freshly shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack over each bowl before serving.

4. Swap out the meat

Experiment with different proteins such as ground turkey or vegetarian meat that suit all dietary preferences.

For more comforting soup recipes, read through these stories:

Escarole and Beans Soup Is Pure Comfort in a Bowl — Easy Recipe Preps in Just 20 Minutes

The Copycat Cracker Barrel Soup Recipe Helping Women Lose Extra Pounds + Boost Total Health

For Tastier (and Healthier) Tomato Soup, Use Tofu Instead of Heavy Cream — Here’s How

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