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Cheeseburger Soup

Melissa Knific
Cook Time:
30 mins
Prep Time:
20 mins

Chef notes

All the flavors of the classic American burger — juicy ground beef, sharp cheese, tomato, onion, pickles, ketchup and mustard situated between two sesame seed buns — are found in this comforting bowl of soup. 

The foundation is ground beef, just as the patty is central to a burger. Use a 90-percent lean blend, if possible (a higher fat percentage will work, but since the recipe is cooked in one pot, you might need to pour off some of the grease). From there, add beef stock for more flavor, and milk and Cheddar for a creamy richness.

While pickles always belong on a burger, they’re a little more divisive in soup. However, the chopped dill spears add some crunch and a little punch. This recipe also calls for a tablespoon of brine, but feel free to add more at the end. Create a toppings bar for eaters to make the bowl their own: Extra pickles, shredded cheddar, diced tomatoes and onions are a must, but ketchup and mustard are nice to have at the table, too, for an extra boost of flavor. Of course, don’t forget the toasted sesame croutons to bring it all together.

For other takes on the cheeseburger reimagined, try this spaghetti pie, this salad or these stuffed shells.

Swap Option: If you don’t want to buy a pack of hamburger buns, or don’t already have a couple on hand, feel free to substitute with 3 to 4 ounces of seeded white bread. In the end, any bread, sliced into similarly-sized cubes, will do.


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 seeded hamburger buns, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 pound 90% lean ground beef
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium celery stalks, diced
  • 1 medium white onion, diced, divided
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 2 cups 2% or whole milk
  • 2 medium vine tomatoes, diced, divided
  • 2/3 cup dill pickles, diced, divided, plus 1 tablespoon brine
  • 1/4 cup ketchup, plus more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard, plus more for serving
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 8 ounces (2 cups) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
Fulfilled by



In a medium pot set over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add bread cubes, tossing until coated. Toast, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer croutons to a plate.


Increase the heat to medium-high. In the same pot, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add the beef and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon and stirring occasionally, until it’s no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium. Melt in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, then stir in carrots, celery and half the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, 6 to 8 minutes.


Stir in the flour; cook for 1 minute. Pour in the beef stock and bring to a simmer, about 2 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pot to release any browned bits. Add the milk, half the diced tomatoes, ⅓ cup diced pickles, pickle brine, ketchup, mustard, salt and pepper. Return to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, until soup has thickened and vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.


Turn off heat. Stir in 1½ cups cheddar until melted. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. Ladle soup into bowls, and top with sesame croutons, and remaining onion, tomatoes, pickles and cheese. Drizzle with additional ketchup and mustard, if desired. Serve immediately.