Here is my decades old family favorite recipe for the BEST spicy hamburger vegetable soup filled with meat, vegetables, and tons of flavor.
Hamburger Soup is Food for the Soul
Maybe it is my age. Maybe it is my “meat & potatoes” palate. Maybe it is my humble, Southern roots. Whatever the reason, I consider hamburger soup a staple. Something that I cook at least once a month (more in colder months). Something that everyone loves (even those who tend to eat “fancy food” lol). It is just, for lack of a better term, food for the soul.
Hamburger Soup is In a Class of Its Own
Hamburger soup is really hard to find in a restaurant or get for take out. My grocery store (Publix) has weekly soup rotations, one of which is a vegetable beef soup. This is a close cousin to hamburger soup, but it tends to be more of a “vegetable soup” with beef added. Typically, the beef is small bits of sirloin rather than ground beef or “hamburger meat” as we over-50’s often say:-) The bottom line is that hamburger soup is an old fashioned soup that we seasoned home cooks have made for years (usually without following a recipe).
Hamburger Soup Can Be Made Spicy (or Not)
My spicy hamburger soup is for those whose palates CRAVE spicy, well-seasoned food with kick and heat. If this is you, this soup will be SO up your alley. If your palate craves milder less kickin’ dishes, this soup can be toned down for your tastes, too. I share in the notes below how to tweak this recipe to go from a spicy version to a regular version. It is SO customizable it is not even funny! If you prefer not tweaking this recipe, you can go to this easy, old fashioned vegetable soup recipe that I share on the blog.
My Favorite Soup Making Tools & Tips
Any time I make soup or stew, I use some handy tools and tips for making it easier. Here are my favorites:
- These steam bags are the easiest, quickest method for pre-cooking potatoes and carrots before adding to soup. I always do this, as potatoes and carrots will not fully cook if added to soup raw. They should be cooked or almost fully cooked first.
- An immersion blender is way easier than a blender. It makes for quick & easy blending of whole tomatoes into crushed. It is also great for soups where you need to puree a portion of the soup for creaminess (as in this yummy lentil soup).
- Large 1/5 gallon food storage containers are the easiest way to store large batch soup safely. It is never safe to stick a slow cooker in the fridge, as it is too deep for food to maintain a stable temp throughout. Large, flat containers are best.
- Slow cooker liners are a soup maker’s best friend. First, the slow cooker just needs a quick easy wash when these are used, as no burned or sticky food will touch the slow cooker liner. Second, the soup can be “lifted” and transferred to the storage container easily rather than poured from the slow cooker.
How to make this soup milder/less spicy:
- Use regular V-8 instead of spicy
- Use original Ro-Tel instead of hot
- Omit the hot sauce and red pepper flakes
- Reduce the amount of (or omit) Worcestershire, A-1 steak sauce, and soy sauce
Handy substitutions for ingredients in this soup:
- frozen vegetables (10-12 oz bag) can be used in place of the fresh ones
- ground turkey can be used instead of ground beef
- canned broth can be used or broth made with boiling water and bouillon cubes
- simply potatoes (diced with onions) can be used in place of fresh diced potatoes
Note: If using a bag of frozen vegetables, I sauté them for a bit with the browned meat so that they will soften a smidge before adding to the slow cooker or soup pot. I always cook potatoes (Simply Potatoes or fresh) in a microwave steamer pouch before adding to the pot; otherwise, they will be hard. I link to the bags I use in the notes above.
How to make this soup ahead.
You can make this soup partially ahead by browning the meat the day before and finishing the soup the next day. But otherwise, this soup is so easy, there is no need for any other make ahead prep. This soup is actually better a day or two after it is made; it only gets better with a bit of time for the flavors to meld.
How to serve this spicy hamburger vegetable soup.
This can be served with saltines, which is how I grew up eating almost any soup you could imagine. This soup is also FAB with this is jalapeño pimento cheese cornbread. I also serve it often with this crunchy slaw that everybody loves or with my personal fave~blue cheese horseradish coleslaw. DELISH!!!!
I’d love to hear from you if you try this. If you make tweaks, share them in the comments so we can all see how you made the soup for your family. As always, thanks so much for stopping by. Be blessed, and stay savvy!!!
- 1 1/2-2 pounds ground chuck or beef
- 2-3 potatoes, diced (or 1/2 bag Simply Potatoes diced with onions)
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 cup chopped onion (I used chopped frozen)
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 envelope Lipton onion soup mix
- 1 1/2 cup frozen white corn
- 1 TB Worcestershire sauce
- 1 TB A1 Steak Sauce
- 1 can green beans, cut into halves (or 1 cup frozen)
- 2 cans Rotel tomatoes
- 1 can Campbell's tomato soup
- 1 1/2 - 2 cups V-8 juice (Spicy Hot is my fave)
- 1 can beef broth (this is roughly 2 cups; add more if needed)
- 2-3 dashes hot sauce or to taste
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 TB butter
- kosher salt & ground pepper to taste
- Put ground beef in skillet, season with kosher salt & ground pepper, and cook over medium heat until almost brown.
- Add garlic the last minute or two of browning.
- Remove from heat; drain fat and sprinkle dry onion soup on top.
- Pre-cook potatoes and carrots to almost done. I use Ziploc Zip 'N Steam bags and cook 4 minutes on high.
- Add butter to potatoes and carrots; let sit until butter melts.
- Stir potatoes and carrots until coated with butter.
- Add potatoes, carrots, and green beans to the skillet with meat.
- Sprinkle vegetables with salt and lots of pepper.
- Add all remianing ingredients - bring soup to a boil.
- Reduce heat, and simmer at least an hour.
- May transfer to a slow cooker; cook on high 4 hours or low 7 hours.
Amount Per Serving Calories 373Total Fat 18gSaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 81mgSodium 860mgCarbohydrates 26gFiber 3gSugar 7gProtein 26g