Cheeseburger Soup

This easy cheeseburger soup is a huge family favorite. This is one dinner that everyone will be on time for.

Everyone loves all the chunks of lean meat, veggies, cheesy broth and the toppings. My family likes to top the soup with shredded cheese, crumbled bacon, sliced pickles, fresh tomato and homemade hamburger bun croutons. The sky’s the limit with toppings, so use your imagination!

Actually, the croutons are my favorite part of the whole soup. They’re slightly sweet, buttery and crispy crunchy. Their flavor and texture compliment and top the soup perfectly, in my humble opinion. 🙂

They’re really easy to make and only take about 10 minutes to prepare and bake. I make them before I start the soup so they’re all done and ready when the soup finishes.

Cheeseburger Soup

Did you see the cheeseburger soup Diners Drive In and Dives featured. It looked really delicious and, to tell you the truth, added a lot of inspiration for the recipe I’m sharing with you. The things I found most interesting in regards to the soup on the TV show were:

  • The chef that created and prepared the recipe for DDD, grilled the hamburger on a flat grill. This created pieces of burger that had that nicely browned edge on them. Guy seemed to really like how that translated when those pieces were in the soup.
  • The soup also had chunks of fresh lettuce in it. I’m the kinda person who takes the lettuce off my burger because I don’t like the way the texture changes the lettuce when it gets warm. Probably just me. So I, obviously, don’t add lettuce to my soup. Judging from Guy’s reaction on the show I think I might be in the minority.
  • If you’re feeling brave enough to try the lettuce, chop it coarsely and add it to the soup when you add the half and half and cheese. Oh, and if you do try it, please let me know how you like it! I’ve got to say, Guy’s generally got great taste!

Before I created this recipe I used a cheeseburger soup recipe Southern Living featured. In fact, I made that recipe for years and really liked it. Then I decided I wanted a chunkier, richer a bit more flavorful version, so I came up with this recipe. The original recipe had some fresh carrots and herbs in the soup which didn’t seem to go on a cheeseburger to me, so I omitted them. I also added a can of petite diced tomatoes, which I think really adds some great flavor that makes sense on a cheeseburger.  The base of the soup originally was chicken stock. Again, I don’t get why you’d use chicken stock to make a soup that tastes like a cheeseburger? Beef broth makes a lot more sense to me in this soup. I really think this simple change made a huge improvement in the flavor of this recipe.  I also added Beef flavored Better than Bouillon. I love the depth of flavor it adds to soups.

My mom thinks I should call this Cheeseburger Chowder. She tells me this isn’t a soup, but rather a chowder.  She’s probably right! What do you think?

Cheeseburger Soup

Recipe Notes:

You probably won’t need to add any extra salt to this soup. “The Better than Bouillon”, beef broth and the cheese all contain plenty of sodium.

As with any recipe, I taste it when it’s finished cooking, then adjust the seasonings (especially the salt and pepper) before serving.

If you are sensitive to salt,  I’d suggest using a low sodium beef broth.

Again, notice that I do not add any extra salt to this soup. I don’t mean to nag, but too much salt can easily ruin the whole pot of this delicious soup!

Meat options…..

I think this recipe is equally delicious made with lean ground beef or ground turkey. When I make it with ground beef, I use a 93/7 mix. If you’re looking for a lighter soup or, just want a healthier version, the ground turkey is a delicious way to go!

Cheese options……

 This soup can be made with natural cheddar cheese or a processed cheese, such as Velveeta.

I like the taste of this soup best when it’s made with natural cheddar. The broth ends up being thinner when you use the natural cheese over the processed, but for me the improved taste is more important.  Honestly, it’s really delicious made with either cheese.

I use extra sharp cheddar in this recipe because I feel like it gives me extra flavor. If you prefer mild or medium cheddar, feel free to substitute.

Cheeseburger soup Velveeta….

The processed cheese melts into the broth a bit more easily and produces a creamier texture in the finished soup.

If you use Velveeta, an 8 ounce box will give you the 2 cups you need for this recipe. Cut it into small cubes before adding it to the soup.

Cheeseburger Soup

Cheeseburger Soup Crock Pot…...

This recipe is great to make in the crock pot. This is perfect for those times when you’re going to be busy most of the day but still want to come home and have an amazing soup for dinner. You can do it easy enough!

  • Follow the recipe instructions below for the first part of steps 1 and cook the hamburger or turkey, the onion. and the garlic on the stove top.
  • Then, add the cooked hamburger or turkey, onion, and garlic to a crockpot. Then add the beef broth, tomatoes with their juice, Worcestershire, black pepper, “Better than Bouillon”, and potatoes.
  • Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6 hours or until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.
  • Add the half and half and 2 cups of cheese, cover and cook on high for 30 minutes or until heated through.

Cheeseburger Soup Gluten Free….. 

If you’d like to make this soup gluten free, omit the flour. Add a cornstarch and water slurry before you add the cheese and half and half.

To make the slurry, whisk together 3 tablespoons of cold water with 3 tablespoons of cornstarch in a small bowl. Whisk the mixture into the simmering soup.

Bring the mixture to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat and add the cheese and half and half. Heat the soup until cheese is melted. If you cook it too long the starch in the cornstarch can break down and will no longer work as a thickening agent.

Replace the regular hamburger buns with your favorite gluten free hamburger buns and proceed with the recipe.

Cheeseburger Soup

Bacon Cheeseburger Soup…..

I generally always cook 1/2 a pound of bacon to use as a topping for this cheeseburger soup, but when my family requests Bacon Cheeseburger soup I cook a whole pound. I add 1/2 a pound to the soup and reserve the other half to be served as a topping.

Cheeseburger Soup Paradise…..

To convert this easy cheesburger soup into Cheeseburger Soup Paradise just add sauteed mushrooms and bacon to the base of the soup.

I generally add 24 ounces of fresh mushrooms, saute them in the Dutch oven after browning the beef or turkey, and remove them when they’re soft and tender to a plate. Then proceed with the onions and garlic. I add them back to the soup at the same time I add the beef or turkey back to it.

Cheeseburger Soup

Taco Soup…..

This recipe can easily be converted to an amazing Taco Soup. Here are the modifications:

  1. Change the Cheddar Cheese to Pepper Jack.
  2. Add to the Dutch oven when you add the beef broth (at step 2 in the directions below):
  • 1 (15 Ounce) Can Black or Pinto Beans, drained and well rinsed
  • 1 (4 Ounce) Can Green Chiles
  • 1 (15 Ounce) Can Corn, drained
  • 1 Envelope Taco Seasoning, Mild or Spicy

      3. Add to the Dutch oven after you add the half and half cheese (at step 3 in the directions below):

  • 1 Cup Sour Cream