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Favorite Hamburger Stew

I got this hamburger stew recipe from a woman at our church, Lois Henry, when I needed a way to use up our bounty of home-canned tomatoes. My husband loves it, and I like that it's easy to warm up for a carefree dinner in the winter months. —Marcia Clay, Truman, Minnesota
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. Cook: 65 min.
  • Makes
    16 servings (4 quarts)


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 4 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) stewed tomatoes, undrained
  • 8 medium carrots, thinly sliced
  • 4 celery ribs, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup uncooked long grain rice
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper


  • In a Dutch oven, cook beef and onions over medium heat until meat is no longer pink, breaking it into crumbles; drain. Add the tomatoes, carrots, celery, potatoes, water, rice, salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 30 minutes or until vegetables and rice are tender.
  • Uncover; simmer 20-30 minutes longer or until thickened to desired consistency.
    Freeze option: Freeze cooled stew in freezer containers. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Heat through in a saucepan, stirring occasionally; add a little water if necessary.

Test Kitchen Tips
  • Using lean ground beef instead of beef that’s 80% lean saves 45 calories per 4-ounce serving of beef. Lean ground beef is also 29% lower in saturated fat.
  • Depending on your region, sweet onions may only be available during the warmer months of the year. You can use regular yellow onion in the soup recipe.
  • Do you remember these classic stews from Grandma's kitchen?
  • Nutrition Facts
    1 cup: 191 calories, 7g fat (3g saturated fat), 35mg cholesterol, 689mg sodium, 21g carbohydrate (8g sugars, 2g fiber), 12g protein.


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    • Karen
      Jan 30, 2021

      I have this recipe but it uses barley instead of rice. Great!!!!!

    • candysmom101
      Jan 29, 2021

      This is very close to a recipe I created when our children were small. There was a well-known soup called "Chicken and Stars" that the kids liked, likely because it had tiny little stars like the ones you're looking at for the reviews. So instead of stars, I'd use 3 different shapes of pasta (unlike potatoes, you don't have to peel pasta!). Really a quick, easy dish to prepare. Another Marcia

    • Hareim
      Jan 29, 2021

      Can I use crockpot or slow cooker for the Hamburger stew ?? Temp / time ??

    • Diana
      Nov 30, 2020

      This is a great go to recipe. I use crushed tomatoes instead of stewed I also omit the potatoes - the rice is more than filling (IMO). I'm wanting to try ground turkey next time. Very filling and feeds a lot of people. Freezes well!

    • Snowowl1961
      Nov 29, 2020

      No comment left

    • Judith
      Nov 29, 2020

      I call this SUGGESTION STEW. There are many good suggestions in the reviews. I add some fresh thyme, clove of garlic, and a tsp of Worchestershire sauce. Sometimes I use corn instead of rice (omit water) I'm going to try barley as suggested below,. I like that idea. Oh, and sometimes I use ground pork or chicken breast. Add a couple of cups of broth or tomato juice to make it more soup-like and feed more people. I like to serve corn bread with it. This is a good recipe for a starter cook. Make it as is the first time and then get inventive.

    • Buffycar
      Nov 29, 2020

      I made something similar and only had a bit of ground beef. I made tiny meatballs then added diced tomatoes potatoes carrots and beef broth. I called it meatball stew and the kids had no idea we had nothing in the cupboards at the time. They still will ask for it. This is so hearty and filling!

    • Dana
      Nov 29, 2020

      No comment left

    • Nanagram8
      Nov 29, 2020

      My mother made a similar soup and called it Venus De Milo. This soup was very popular and requested frequently. The only different ingredients were, orzo and frozen mixed veggies. Delicious!

    • Janet
      Nov 29, 2020

      My mom made this back in the 50s when I was a kid, usually with less ground meat and plenty of veggies--never any rice. She did, however, use her own canned tomatoes. It's been a fave of my own family, too, sans rice. I make about half of the recipe with the full amount of potato, garlic, and add whatever veggies are hanging around the fridge or freezer. That usually means corn, and beans of some sort--green beans or limas often showing up. I use a beef bouillon cube or two instead of ordinary salt, and a can of Ro-Tel for part of the tomatoes, As others have complained, it's a fairly bland dish and some green chili perks it up, without making it particularly spicy. My DH would eat it weekly, but monthly is more like its place in our meal rotation, since even a half recipe guarantees there will be leftovers.