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

Cheeseburger Soup

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

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.

After you try this recipe, try my Chicken Nugget Air Fryer Recipe for Kids!

My son Paul wrote a real cookbook!

Chef Junior Cookbook

He and 4 friends have published a cookbook by kids, for kids, all healthy foods — Chef Junior.

This recipe is one that inspired him to tweak it for the book!

If you want to see how kids write to kids and get some fab bonuses for supporting these 5 teen authors, buy the book and then redeem the bonuses the kids created!

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

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!

Cheeseburger Soup

The ability to freeze, thaw, and reheat marvelously is one reason to make a big pot of soup at least once a week.

RELATED: How to make any soup in the Instant Pot.

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

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cheeseburger soup

Cheeseburger Soup

  • Author: Katie Kimball
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 35 mins
  • Yield: 6 1x


  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions, diced
  • 34 stalks celery, diced
  • ~4 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 lbs. potatoes or turnips, diced (~6 medium, unpeeled is fine)
  • 24 cloves garlic, minced, or 1/41/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 12 tsp. salt (Use the code kitchenstewardship for 15% off of your first purchase), to taste
  • 1/81/2 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)*
  • 1/3 c. tomato sauce or 2 Tbs.tomato paste
  • 1/21 Tbs. honey or molasses, optional
  • 1/4 c. yellow mustard (prepared)
  • 12 c. grated cheddar cheese (I prefer sharp)
  • Optional add-ins:
  • 2 c. cooked brown rice
  • chopped broccoli
  • shredded zucchini
  • sauteed mushrooms

ship kroger


  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}.

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Other Nourishing Soups:

Cheeseburger Soup

Share with friends – first the post, then a big pot of soup!

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

About The Author

29 thoughts on “Cheeseburger Soup (with bacon and pickles, oh yeah!)”

  1. Love this soup! We make this all the time; it’s a go to when we have a crowd to feed. The pickles are a must in this house! I’ve even added some pickle juice right to the soup in addition to topping with pickles. We’ve used ground elk in place of beef; definitely needs added fat if using a leaner meat like this. I’ve also browned the meat and done the rest in the crock pot. Like all of Katie’s recipes this is super flexible and always tasty!

    1. Carolyn @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Thank you so much for sharing your review Ashley! Glad you’ve enjoyed this recipe!

  2. One of my most favorite recipes of yours! We make it all the time and is great for company, too!!

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  4. 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!

  5. I made this tonight, and it was superb! Even my finicky toddler liked it. Thanks for another great recipe! 🙂

  6. 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!

  7. 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?

    1. 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

      1. 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.

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  9. My CSA basket is abundant with Bok choy this time of year. I use it (white parts) in place of onions & celery.

  10. 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!

  11. 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? 🙂

  12. Had it last night and it was fabulous. So filling and I made double so we have lots of leftovers!

  13. 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…

  14. Excited to try this! I’m due with my 3rd in 3.5 weeks so if this is as good as you say it is I may need to make a pot for the freezer 🙂

  15. Clarification please – yellow mustard, is that prepared mustard or ground mustard?
    Looks yummy, thanks for sharing.

  16. Katie, this soup looks fabulous. I love cheeseburger chowder type soups, but they always have so much dairy and no real veggies…this looks perfect!

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