This hamburger soup recipe is a simple and hearty meal made with ground beef, potatoes, and a delicious tomato broth. It's a budget friendly complete meal that makes excellent leftovers!
You may also like my Instant Pot Hamburger Soup recipe.
Why you'll love it
Hamburger soup is one of those classic American comfort food dishes that's easy to like and friendly on your wallet! You can't go wrong with this cozy soup that has ground beef, potatoes, and a tomato broth that's big on flavor.
The best part of this soup is how easy to make it is. It's also full of inexpensive ingredients, and it's an extremely versatile and flexible recipe. You can simply toss in whatever veggies you have on hand that need using up, and it'll taste great.
What is hamburger soup?
- As for the name, it's called hamburger soup because of the ground beef, which is sometimes referred to as hamburger meat. This soup doesn't actually taste like hamburgers, and it's essentially a satisfying and simple ground beef soup. It's sort of like a quick and easy alternative to Beef Stew.
What you'll need
- Olive oil, onions, and celery - sautéing these essentials creates the perfect base for this hearty soup
- Garlic - we're using three cloves to add depth of flavor
- Ground beef - adding protein makes this soup a complete meal. I like to use 95% extra lean ground beef so that none of the fat needs to be discarded during cooking
- Tomato paste and diced tomatoes - using both varieties gives the soup great texture and taste, and tomatoes are a classic complement to ground beef
- Beef broth - amps up the flavor even more than using water. Use homemade or store-bought
- Potatoes - Russets are my choice, but in a pinch yellow or red will be fine
- Italian seasoning - the herbs in Italian seasoning like oregano, thyme, and rosemary are the final touch in this tasty broth. Feel free to use fresh herbs instead
- Salt & pepper - if you use regular broth vs low sodium, you won't need to add much salt, but be sure to use enough
Did you know?
- A 32 oz carton of beef broth equals 4 cups. Just pour the entire thing in for this recipe!
How to make hamburger soup
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
In a large soup pot, sauté the onions and celery in olive oil until softened. Add in the garlic, and brown the ground beef.
Add in the tomato paste followed by the diced tomatoes, broth, potatoes, and Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil, and then let bubble gently for 20 to 25 minutes.
Substitutions and variations
- If you don't like having pieces of tomato in your soup, use petite diced tomatoes or sub the diced tomatoes for tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes, and then add more broth or water to thin if needed.
- You can throw in any vegetables from your fridge, or you can use frozen chopped mixed vegetables (for example, corn, green beans, carrots, or peas). A handful of spinach added when the soup is nearly done cooking would be terrific!
- I used Russet potatoes, but feel free to sub with a different kind. I really like using Russets in soups because they fall apart easily since they're a starchy variety.
- I use extra lean (95% lean) ground beef, so I don't find it necessary to discard any of the fat. This saves a bit of work, and the little bit of fat that's left over gives the soup a flavor boost! You can drain the fat if you want. I certainly recommend draining some out if you use regular ground beef, or the soup will end up oily.
- Depending on what kind of tomatoes you use, your soup could be less vibrant than the photos. That's totally ok!
Leftovers and storage
- This hamburger soup makes fantastic leftovers, and they'll keep in the fridge for 3-4 days in an airtight container.
- For best results, heat up in a saucepan slowly over a low heat.
- It also freezes well. Consume within 3 months of freezing for best results.
More soups with ground beef to try
Do you like hamburger soup? Will you give this recipe a try? Let me know in the comments below! You can also tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram.
Easy Hamburger Soup
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion chopped
- 2 sticks celery chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 pound extra lean (95% lean) ground beef
- 2 heaping tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 (28 fluid ounce) can diced tomatoes with juices
- 4 cups beef broth
- 2 large Russet potatoes peeled & diced
- 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Add the olive oil, onion, and celery to a large soup pot. Sauté for 5-7 minutes, until softened.
- Stir in the garlic, followed by the beef. Cook until the beef has browned, stirring occasionally (about 5 minutes). You shouldn't need to drain much fat if you're using extra lean ground beef, but feel free to drain some/most of it if desired (I didn't drain any).
- Stir in the tomato paste, then add in the diced tomatoes, beef broth, potatoes, and Italian seasoning.
- Increase the heat and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat a bit so it's gently boiling. Cook for 20-25 minutes. You can cook it a little bit longer to intensify the flavor if you wish.
- Season with salt & pepper as needed and serve immediately.
- Serves 4-6.
- Anything from about 1 to 1.5 pounds ground beef will work.
- Got an electric pressure cooker? Try the Instant Pot version of this recipe.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.
This recipe was originally published on January 30, 2019. It's been tweaked to be even easier, tastier, and has new photos!
This was excellent and so easy to make! I added carrots, 1 tbsp of Worcestershire, and tripled the Italian seasoning. I used better than bouillon beef broth. Thank you for another great recipe to add to my rotation 🥰
Thank you so much! Glad you enjoyed it! 😀
Added zucchini, carrots and sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes…delish!
Made this as directed except added some roasted diced green chilies I didn’t want to go to waste. It just adds mild heat to the soup. Delicious!! Thanks for the great recipe!
Love that idea!! You're very welcome, Erin! 😀
Becky Acosta says
Great soup! Just made it and my husband had seconds! I used 2 lbs 96% lean beef, 4 potatoes and added a can of corn (drained). Turned out so good! Thanks for another recipe to add to my rotation:)
You're very welcome, Becky! 🙂
Great recipe! I used spaghetti sauce instead of diced tomatoes and I added a red pepper. This soup is really easy to make and hard to mess up.
Thanks so much!! 🙂
Lenny Wentworth says
Quick soup. Very nice and flavorful.
Held back on the salt & pepper and used Harissa and umami at the end. I cooked 1lb chub of 80/20 separately, cooked onions, celery and mushrooms in ghee via Instant Pot. added meat, potatoes, peas and carrots, seasoning, tomatoes, chicken and beef stock that was open.
high pressure for ten minutes (we live at altitude)
Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says
So happy you enjoyed it, Lenny!
My husband loved the soup! I used one can of fire roasted diced tomatoes and one regular. Will definitely put it in the rotation.
Can cream be added to this recipe?
Absolutely! I think that would be delicious. I'd probably add 1/2 cup to start, towards the end of the recipe, then add a little more if you decide it needs it.
I Love This SOUP
Thank You So Much For The RECIPE
You're very welcome!
Lori Tinjum Johansen says
Making this as we speak. I didn't include celery (the hubster hates it) or beef broth (used 4 cubes instead), doubled the garlic because we love that punch and doubled the potato. Just had a little sneak preview and have to say it's very flavorful! It's been rainy and windy here in NW Minnesota today, so it was absolutely perfect. I'll be making it again soon. <3
Lori Tinjum Johansen says
Forgot to add that I also threw in some freshly picked corn and green beans for more texture and color. YUM!
I'm so happy you're enjoying it so far, Lori! Stay warm! 🙂
Jutta Carnation says
Hi there. Could i make this in the crock pot instead?
I'd still brown the beef in a skillet, but yeah, throwing the ingredients into a crockpot should work. 🙂
I made this tonight and it was delicious! The seasoning makes it so comforting. I gave the kids bread sticks and they loved it! Hidden veggies for the kids! Winning!
That's great to hear, Erin!! So glad it was a hit with the family.
This is by far my favorite soup. I've made it several times and am making it again today.
That's great to hear, Laura!! 🙂 Appreciate you taking the time to write me a comment. XO
P. Wilk says
I added chopped cabbage, diced carrots, fresh parsley & red wine, plus extra hamburger as my husband is a meat lover. Due to food intolerances, I left out the onion & garlic. Still was very tasty; will make it again.
Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says
Glad you both enjoyed the soup!
What is the size of one serving? Looks amazing!
Hi Joy! Thank you! So, it's 1/6 of the recipe. As to what that is in grams/ounces/etc., I have no idea, unfortunately. I am not a trained nutritionist, and I just provide the estimate the recipe card software calculates for me.
I've made this 3 times now, it's super delicious! Thank you so much for all your great recipes, I'm trying the cheeseburger soup tomorrow and am super excited!!
Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says
Amazing! Thrilled you enjoy the recipes and really appreciate your support. Enjoy the cheeseburger soup 🙂
Willie Roach says
My Mom used to make Hamburger soup all the time & we loved it. I used your recipe but added a few ingredients. I added 1/2 chopped green pepper, 3 carrots, 5 chopped mushrooms and 1 cup of corn. I also mixed the hamburger with some ground moose meat. It's simmering on the stove right now and looks & smells great. Can't wait to have it for supper. Thanks for sharing your recipe !!!
Awesome!! You're welcome. Love those additions! Thanks for your review!
I made this earlier in the week and my family has been enjoying it for several days. Delightful taste! I added cabbage to my soup as the directions suggested to add any vegetable. Holds up great even after three days.
Fantastic!! 🙂 I'm so glad to hear that. Thanks for your review, Donna!
Making it now I used frozen vegetables and added a can of corn. Will serve with jalapeño cheddar bread that I made earlier.
I made this a couple weeks ago, I added carrots and green beans to it as well, absolutely delicious. I have hamburger in the fridge I need to use, so will be making it again!
Excellent!! I'm so glad you liked it and are planning on making it again. Thanks for your review, Cindy! 😀
Can I let it simmer all day? I'm just wondering if the potatoes will turn mushy?
Yes, if you let it simmer that long they will fall apart and the veggies will go mushy.
Can i use crushed tomatoes or tomatoe soup instead of tomato paste?
Sure! I think the crushed tomatoes would work. The tomato soup may change flavors a bit but should be fine if that's all you've got. Enjoy!
Jeffrey See says
Crushed tomatoes work just fine. We are making batch #2 tonight. We are adding more potatoes, and I add fish sauce to enhance the umami. Last time we had beef stock on hand and didn’t think it was beefy enough. Added the stock and viola! Fantastic soup!
Do u have to use italian seasoning?a
No... but then I would probably add some herbs/spices to give it more flavor.
I made this tonight and it was delicious!! I added Smoked Paprika and used The “No Salt” in place of regular salt. It came out perfectly and my our family absolutely loves it!!! 😊
Excellent!! So glad to hear it, Patti! 🙂
EVELYN C VASQUEZ says
This was delicious! I didn't have tomato paste, so I used a can of tomato sauce. When I plated it, I put a few cubes of Velveeta in the bottom of each bowl. It melted nicely and added creaminess
I'm so happy you enjoyed it!!
Making it right now! Smells and looks so good! My family can't wait for dinner time! Serving it with garlic toasted hamburger buns! Thanks for the yumminess!
You're very welcome, Amy!! Hope everyone loves it. 🙂 Love the garlic hamburger buns idea.
darlene hoover says
I am planning on this for one day this week i only need to pick up a few ingredients
Hope you enjoy it!! 🙂
I'm making it for dinner. It's on the stove simmering. Looks so good!
Hope you enjoy it, Cindy! 🙂
Tracy from Texas says
This is one of my most favorites. It’s so easy and like you say forgiving. I always throw in carrots and extra celery. My question is if this soup freezes well. Thank you sharing your great recipes!
I'm so glad you liked it! Yes, I found this soup freezes well. 🙂
Lynn Tirawi says
I am planning to make this soup , I was wanting to know if the celery is a must or could you substitute for green bell pepper ?
Hi Lynn! You can make the substitution. Hope you enjoy the soup! 🙂
I actually held out on the diced tomatoes and did 1 chopped jalapeno, 1 whole onion, 1 red bell pepper and since I love celery I added 2 extra stalks. This soup is excellent and very versatile.
Have made this about a dozen times. .its one of our favorites and so easy to make. Thank you!!
Wow that's awesome!! 😀 I'm so happy it's one of your favs.