Nourishing Soup Series: Cheeseburger Soup (with bacon and pickles, oh yeah!)

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Cheeseburger Soup Recipe is just what it sounds like, including the bacon and pickles - so healthy, kid-friendly, and simple :: via Kitchen Stewardship

One of our favorite sitcoms poked fun at old folks’ homes last season and showed a main character sipping “lasagna in a glass.” He was very impressed that it tasted “just like the real thing!”

I can’t imagine whizzing lasagna into an Italian smoothie, pasta and all, and stuffing it in a glass, but last week I did teach you how to remake fajitas in a soup pot, and this week we’re putting a whole cheeseburger, pickles and all, into a bowl of soup…so maybe I’m not all that far from crazy after all.

We’ve made and enjoyed this cheeseburger soup many, many times, but I had to make sure I made it one last time before posting, partly to make sure I had the description written perfectly and mostly so I could take some good pictures, since I’d never slowed down enough on a regular dinner to snap any.

Cheeseburger Soup Recipe is just what it sounds like, including the bacon and pickles - so healthy, kid-friendly, and simple :: via Kitchen Stewardship

It’s a hit with children and adults alike (and you can leave the pickles out if they bother you). I took cheeseburger soup to a friend having her sixth baby last spring, and she also asked for the recipe – so if someone with 5 kids and a newborn is going to bother to make it, you know it’s easy and delicious! You might want to make a double batch right off the bat just so you have leftovers for lunches or the freezer.

We had our neighbors over to share the pot of soup in the pictures, and they gave the best skeptical review a cook can receive: “Especially when I saw the pickles, I didn’t know if I’d like it, but I’m going to need this recipe!” I also had to kidnap the last lonely bowl of leftover soup from the pot before anyone went back for thirds just so I had something to take photos of the next day:

Cheeseburger Soup Recipe is just what it sounds like, including the bacon and pickles - so healthy, kid-friendly, and simple :: via Kitchen Stewardship

I adapted the recipe from Simple Food {for winter} by Shannon of Nourishing Days – it’s one of four recipes we’ve enjoyed from the book (and I just put a half dozen more on my to-make list while browsing the table of contents). I’ve cut the meat and added beans, reverse engineered the ketchup, and added some additional vegetables (and optional rice; Shannon’s book is grain-free). Good thing I had cooked rice on hand and tossed it in at the last minute the other day or this would have been a very boring, picture-less post!

As it is, don’t you just want to pin this?  Winking smileCheeseburger Soup Recipe is just what it sounds like, including the bacon and pickles - so healthy, kid-friendly, and simple :: via Kitchen Stewardship

As I mentioned in the last monthly newsletter, “Secrets found in a weekly pot of soup,” the ability to freeze, thaw, and reheat marvelously is one reason to make a big pot of soup at least once a week. Check out the newsletter here for the other 9 reasons, and be sure to sign up for the newsletter to get my current freebie.

Are you ready for a cheeseburger in a bowl, without the mushy bun?

Cheeseburger Soup Recipe is just what it sounds like, including the bacon and pickles - so healthy, kid-friendly, and simple :: via Kitchen Stewardship

5.0 from 1 reviews
Cheeseburger Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Note: Ingredients often use affiliate links to Tropical Traditions, but obviously you should shop for the best price and try to keep your dollars local when you can.
Serves: 6
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions, diced
  • 3-4 stalks celery, diced
  • ~4 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 lbs. potatoes or turnips, diced (~6 medium, unpeeled is fine)
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, minced, or ¼-1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1-2 tsp. salt, to taste
  • ⅛-1/2 tsp. pepper, to taste
  • 2 c. home-cooked kidney or white beans (or 1 can), or cooked lentils
  • 4+ c. beef or chicken stock (up to 8 cups)*
  • ⅓ c. tomato sauce or 2 Tbs.tomato paste
  • ½-1 Tbs. honey or molasses, optional
  • ¼ c. yellow mustard (prepared)
  • 1-2 c. grated cheddar cheese (I prefer sharp)
  • Optional add-ins:
  • 2 c. cooked brown rice
  • chopped broccoli
  • shredded zucchini
  • sauteed mushrooms
  1. Crush garlic and allow it to sit to activate its health benefits.
  2. In a large pot, brown beef over medium heat. Add onions and celery and cook until translucent.
  3. As you chop them, add the carrots and potatoes/turnips, then stir in the crushed garlic, salt and pepper. Cook 1-2 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Add the beans or lentils, stock, and tomato sauce/paste.
  5. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 10-15 minutes or until vegetables are soft.
  6. Stir in optional sweetener and mustard; taste to see if more salt is needed.
  7. Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese until it is melted. (It's okay to leave the heat on if you need to keep the soup warm to serve.)
  8. Serve with chopped dill pickles, cooked and crumbled bacon, additional shredded cheese, sour cream, and any other “burger” toppings you enjoy, like raw onion, green olives, mushrooms, avocado, etc.
*With only 4 cups broth, the soup will be thick, very much a “stoup.” If you add any of the optional add-ins, you'll need at least 6 cups broth, and it will still be very thick.
Goes great with biscuits or homemade rolls (why not homemade hamburger buns?). We enjoy a grain-free cheesy biscuit from A Whole Food Holiday or the gluten-free version of my mom's homemade biscuits that I've been working on.
Adapted from Simple Food {for winter}.

Other Nourishing Soups:

Cheeseburger Soup Recipe is just what it sounds like, including the bacon and pickles - so healthy, kid-friendly, and simple :: via Kitchen StewardshipShare with friends – first the post, then a big pot of soup!


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Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post to Nourishing Days, Tropical Traditions, and a Whole Food Holiday from which I will earn some commission if you make a purchase. See my full disclosure statement here.

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23 Bites of Conversation So Far

  1. Sara says

    So, do you use the optional sweetener? Just curious as to your preference. Looks really good. I’m going to make it tomorrow for dinner. I have lots of broth to use:o) Better get some beans soaking…

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    I do most of the time, but if I forget it, no biggie – it’s just in there because I reverse engineered “ketchup” from the original recipe and ketchup is always sweet. Doesn’t need it though! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  2. Jesilee says

    Making this right now, and wanted to note that your directions skip over adding the broth I’m going to add cubed butternut squash to mine, instead of potatoes. This represents the fries one has with the burger, right? :)

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Butternut squash fries, sounds great! :)

    And arg, I hate when I skip a step like that. Updating the recipe now, thank you for pointing that out!!

    :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Oh, I see it – it’s “stock” in step 4. :)

    [Reply to this comment]

  3. Nicole says

    I made this tonight and Paleo-fied it (or I guess, more technically, Primalized it, since cheese isn’t Paleo). I used one pound turnips and one pound sweet potatoes and skipped the beans (and the sweetener). In my opinion, the bacon and pickles are what makes the recipe! Wow, was this good!

    [Reply to this comment]

  4. casey says

    I wrote a long comment but my email wasn’t valid so it got erased so here is the abridged version :).

    I made this on Monday and it was fine. Tuesday night I pulled the pot out and there was a layer of grease/fat on top. I skimmed off as much as I could but there was still a lot left. Once i reheated it wasn’t bad but I just ate the last bowl for lunch and it was super greasy. I had to keep wiping off my spoons because it felt greasy in my mouth. Did I miss a skimming/draining step?

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Hey Casey,
    I’m thinking it just really depends on the fat content of your meat – I usually am using grassfed which is pretty lean, so I use the grease to cook the onions and it’s no big deal. I hope you were able to get more fat off the top the next day! I would say next time, drain most of the grease from the meat after you brown it. :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

    casey Reply:

    Yes everytime it went back in the fridge I was able to scrape more off. I actually have no clue the fat content of the meat I used as it was patties I dug out of my freezer but I usually don’t buy anything over 90/10. I think next time I will probably brown the beef in a separate pan but still cook the veggies in the grease but drain everything before it goes into the soup pot.

    [Reply to this comment]

  5. says

    Oh my gosh, I have been looking for this recipe! I made it when you first posted it and then I saw the email today and got so excited! My kids don’t eat soup ever and I made this and they ate lots of soup! Thank you so much!

    [Reply to this comment]

  6. says

    Can’t wait to try this! Back in the day, when I ate terrible food, I used to love the cheeseburger pizza with the pickles on it (Godfather’s Pizza in Nebraska is the usual place I’d get it, they even used to provide it to the dining halls a few times a month in college). So this sounds equally amazing, only WAY healthier!

    [Reply to this comment]

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