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Hearty Hamburger Soup

This easy Hearty Hamburger Soup – filled with ground beef, barley, and tons of veggies in a tomato-beef broth – is a delicious and satisfying complete meal in a bowl!

Welcome to fall, y’all – my favorite season! I love the cool, crisp air, the colorful leaves, and (of course) the food, from apples to pumpkins to warm drinks to soup, soup, and more soup!

Although I absolutely love summer too and am sad to see it go, when I start to feel that first chill in the air, I start looking forward to making lots and lots of warm and comforting soup for the next several months.

First up this year is my mom’s hamburger soup, which is one of my family’s favorites. Oh, how we all loved it when she had a big pot of this soup simmering on the stove. We couldn’t wait for dinnertime!

And it’s so awesome that I still have her handwritten recipe, complete with jagged edges, cooking stains and all the notes she made as she perfected it over the years!

The tomato-y beef broth is so flavorful and, along with the ground beef and barley, this soup is loaded with tender good-for-you veggies: carrots, celery, onion, garlic, mushrooms, potatoes, and cabbage.

This soup is very easy to make, too! You’ll need to spend about 20 minutes or so prepping and chopping all of the vegetables, but then you just brown the ground beef, add everything else to the pot, and let it simmer for about 1½ hours.

And when I said my mom made a big pot, I mean a big pot. You’ll want to use an 8-quart pot so you have plenty of room. There were five of us in our family, and there was always enough for two nights worth of dinners.

If your family is smaller, you could always halve the recipe – but I say make a whole batch and either share some with friends, family, or neighbors or freeze the leftovers for some quick and easy dinners or lunches later!

ladle of hamburger soup being taken out of the pot

Ingredients you need:

  • Olive oil
  • Lean ground beef (90% lean or higher)
  • Water
  • Roasted beef base (such as Better Than Bouillon (#notsponsored))
  • Canned crushed tomatoes
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Dried parsley
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Mushrooms
  • Cabbage
  • Potatoes (red, white, or Yukon Gold)
  • Medium barley (not quick barley)
  • Salt and pepper

Here’s a quick look at how to make Hearty Hamburger Soup:

two images showing the steps to make hearty hamburger soup
two images showing the steps to make hamburger soup
two images showing how to make hamburger soup
one image showing how to make hamburger soup

Tips & Tidbits:

  • I like to use lean ground beef (90% lean or higher) for this recipe so that there is a minimal amount of excess fat to remove, but you could use ground beef with any percentage of fat (just be sure to drain off the extra so your soup isn’t greasy).
  • For the potatoes, I prefer to use a waxy potato (like red or white) or a semi-waxy potato (like Yukon Gold) because they tend to hold their shape better than starchier potatoes like Russets, which can fall apart.
  • For the barley, I use regular medium barley (not quick barley) because I think it has a better texture. If you only have quick barley, be sure to add it later on in the cooking time (check your package for the time needed) because it cooks much faster.
  • You could use 5 teaspoons powdered beef base or 5 beef bouillon cubes (this is what my mom used) in place of the roasted beef base – or you could just use 10 cups of beef broth in place of the water and beef base.
  • I think the combination of vegetables in this soup is perfect (because that’s how my mama made it!), but you could really add any vegetables that you like.
  • To freeze: once cooled completely, place in freezer-safe containers or freezer bags and use within 2 to 3 months (just thaw and reheat, and add some extra beef broth if needed).
  • This is absolutely delicious the day you make it…but can I say that might even be a little better the next day?!!
close up of a spoonful of hamburger soup being taken out of the bowl

Although this soup is already a complete meal all by itself and you don’t really need any side dishes, it does pair very nicely with a loaf of crusty bread and/or a side salad.

More soup recipes are coming your way soon. Until then, check out some of the soup recipes I’ve already shared (some links are below to get you started)!

I hope you try this recipe for Hearty Hamburger Soup and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

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Hearty Hamburger Soup

This easy Hearty Hamburger Soup – filled with ground beef, barley, and tons of veggies in a tomato-beef broth – is a delicious and satisfying complete meal in a bowl!
5 from 2 votes
Print Recipe Rate/Comment Pin Recipe
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 400
Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef, 90% lean or higher
  • 10 cups water
  • 5 teaspoons roasted beef base, such as Better Than Bouillon
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
  • 2 cups diced celery
  • 2 cups sliced carrots, ⅛ inch thick, I do a half-moon shape (cut the carrot in half lengthwise and then slice)
  • 2 cups diced onions
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 6 cups chopped cabbage, about 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups peeled and cubed red, white or Yukon Gold potatoes, about ½-inch cubes
  • ½ cup medium barley, not quick barley
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • In an 8-quart stock pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and season with salt and pepper (I use 2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1 teaspoon pepper, but season to your own taste). Cook the ground beef until it is no longer pink and lightly browned. Drain off any excess grease.
  • Add the water, roasted beef base, crushed tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, and parsley; stir to combine.
  • Add the celery, carrots, onions, garlic, mushrooms and cabbage.
  • Bring to a boil; reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • After the 20 minutes, add the potatoes and barley. Continue simmering, covered, for an additional 70 minutes until the vegetables and barley are tender.
  • Taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed.

Notes

  • You could use 5 teaspoons powdered beef base or 5 beef bouillon cubes in place of the roasted beef base – or you could just use 10 cups of beef broth in place of the water and beef base.
  • For the barley, I use regular medium barley (not quick barley) because I think it has a better texture. If you only have quick barley, be sure to add it later on in the cooking time (check your package for the time needed) because it cooks much faster.
  • To freeze: once cooled completely, place in freezer-safe containers or freezer bags and use within 2 to 3 months (just thaw and reheat, and add some extra beef broth if needed).
Did you try this recipe? I’d love to see it!Mention @nowcookthis or tag #nowcookthisrecipes!

Recipe Rating




Carole M Giles

Thursday 18th of February 2021

Delicious!

Michelle

Thursday 18th of February 2021

Thank you so much, Carole!

Karisty

Saturday 21st of November 2020

Such an easy delicious soup. Thank you Michelle!

Michelle

Saturday 21st of November 2020

Thanks so much, Karisty! So happy you enjoyed it!