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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.

a bowl of hamburger soup on a marble surface

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 lean ground beef so that none/very little 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
a photo of labelled ingredients for easy hamburger soup recipe

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.

sauteing onions and celery and browning beef in a soup pot for easy hamburger soup

In a large soup pot, sauté the onions and celery in olive oil until softened. Add in the garlic, and brown the ground beef.

adding tomato paste, potatoes, and diced tomatoes to a soup pot for hamburger soup recipe

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!

Helpful tips

  • 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 lean ground beef (use up to 95% lean if you like), 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.
close-up of a pot of easy hamburger soup with a ladle

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.

a bowl of hamburger soup on a marble surface
4.92 from 60 votes

Easy Hamburger Soup

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!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion chopped
  • 2 sticks celery chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 heaping tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (28 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 over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes, until softened.
  • Stir in the garlic, followed by the beef. Cook until the beef has just browned, stirring occasionally (about 5 minutes). You shouldn't need to drain much fat if you're using lean ground beef, but feel free to drain some/most of it if desired.
  • 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.


Calories: 258kcal, Carbohydrates: 31g, Protein: 22g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 47mg, Sodium: 904mg, Potassium: 1232mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 319IU, Vitamin C: 22mg, Calcium: 87mg, Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

© Salt & Lavender Inc. Content and photographs are copyrighted. Sharing this blog post is much appreciated, but copying and pasting full recipes without authorization to social media is strictly prohibited.

Leave a star rating and comment below!

This recipe was originally published on January 30, 2019. It’s been tweaked to be even easier, tastier, and has new photos!

Hi! I’m Natasha.

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4.92 from 60 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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  1. Sharon King says:

    5 stars
    I make this all the time. I add peas, corn and even green beans but I use plain tomato juice instead of diced tomatoes and I add water instead of beef broth. I usually dice up 5-6 russet potatoes ( we love potatoes) and a lb and a half to 2 lbs ground beef. I add salt and cracked pepper and some Italian spices. You can add just about anything you like to this soup and yum, it’s so delicious. My granddaughter asks me to make this about every time she’s comes over.

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m so glad you like it, Sharon!! Thanks for the tips! 🙂

  2. Susan says:

    5 stars
    I loved this soup!!! It was really fast and easy. Love that. I added mushrooms and baby spinach. Turned out great. I was wondering what the nutritional values are as well as how many calories are in it. It would help if this information could be included on all the other recipes. Thank you.

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I’m slowly going back and adding nutritional info to some of my recipes, but it takes time. Keep in mind with any recipe online it’s just an estimate. Calories will vary greatly depending on the actual ingredients you use and factors like whether your beef is extra lean or not, whether you drain excess fat, and so on. So, if you’re relying on the info for health/medical reasons, it’s best to weigh the actual ingredients you use and calculate it from there.

  3. Tammy (NE KS) says:

    Wonderful soup! Thanks. My husband loved it. I used red potatoes just because I had them and needed to get them used up.

    1. Natasha says:

      You’re very welcome!!

  4. Joycelyn says:

    Soup looks perfect for our cold spell ahead, and will definitely make it but wonder if you’ve ever added barley to the recipe and if it alters the taste in any way?
    Only ask as dear husband loves barley in soups as he feels barley in winter soups makes those soup, a soup. I always laugh at hearing that one but what can I say, he’s a man!

    1. Natasha says:

      Hey! Haven’t tried that but I think it would be good. It may take longer though! Let me know how it goes.

  5. Nancy says:

    5 stars
    Yes! Souper quick n easy and as many commentators say above, add-ons only make it better. Next time, cannellini beans, some spinich, maybe leftover hot sausage.

    Thank you for the inspiration, I’m now doing my shopping with quick meal combos in mind.

    1. Natasha says:

      I am so glad you enjoyed the recipe and that the comments have given you some inspiration! 😀

  6. Renée Martin says:

    5 stars
    All I have to say is MMMMMMM! A tired teacher thanks you!

    1. Natasha says:

      You are very welcome!! 😀

  7. Adrianna says:

    Great recipe! My family loved it. I added a bit of corn and peas for some extra colour and flavour.

    1. Natasha says:

      Awesome! ♥️

  8. Hannah says:

    5 stars
    The perfect soup for someone with chronic illnesses! (Or someone tired from long work day) I have several chronic illnesses so I have VERY limited energy so I need quick and simple recipes when I cook once a week and that’s exactly what this is and best of all… it is DELICIOUS! You only need to chop 3 ingredients, everything is cooked in one big pot, and the seasoning in the recipe is on point so no need to tweak ANYTHING. Just perfect! I doubled the recipe so my husband and I will be eating this soup for a good week or two and we aren’t mad about it.

    1. Natasha says:

      I am so happy that this worked out for you, Hannah!! 🙂

  9. Laura says:

    5 stars
    I made this soup over the weekend, exactly as stated and it was fantastic. I used your instruction for the Instant Pot and it was a big hit in my house. Looking forward to making it again, especially now that Winter is coming.

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m so happy to hear that, Laura!!

  10. Christina says:

    Hello, making today, looks sooo delish! Of course do t have every ingredient do substituting a few things! Can you please tell me a few alternatives ingredients? Like spinach at the end? Can corn or a Substitute for diced tomatoes? Thanks so much! Will let you know how it goes:)

    1. Natasha says:

      Hi! Hmm.. I think spinach added in the end would taste good. This soup is pretty versatile, so I think you could add plenty of different veggies and it would still taste good. The tomatoes are the base for the soup, so that concerns me a bit. I always keep diced tomatoes in my pantry since there’s so many uses for them. Maybe if you have a can of tomato sauce?

    2. Jennifer says:

      We add a bag of frozen veggies to it, and sometimes put it over Orzo pasta to make it more filling