Old-Fashioned Vegetable Beef Soup

Old-Fashioned Vegetable Beef Soup

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 3 hrs
Total: 3 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 10 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
458 Calories
14g Fat
16g Carbs
63g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10
Amount per serving
Calories 458
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 5g 26%
Cholesterol 144mg 48%
Sodium 304mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 16g 6%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 63g
Vitamin C 13mg 64%
Calcium 99mg 8%
Iron 8mg 43%
Potassium 1230mg 26%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This old-fashioned vegetable beef soup is a flavorful and satisfying dish that will feed a large number of people, makes great leftovers (if you have some), and freezes beautifully to have soup ready at any time. The combination of beef, vegetables, rice, and potatoes, cooked with a little fatty and smoky bacon drippings, makes this beef soup a little special and the perfect comfort food on a cold night.

The recipe calls for onions, carrots, green beans, potatoes, and rice, and can easily be adapted to your liking, substituting other vegetables or replacing some amounts with family favorites. Serve this dish with biscuits or crusty bread on the side and a good amount of grated Parmesan cheese on top.


  • 2 tablespoons bacon drippings, or vegetable oil

  • 4 pounds beef shanks

  • 2 quarts cold water

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

  • 1 small onion, chopped

  • 5 carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick

  • 1/2 pound fresh or frozen green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces

  • 1 pound red potatoes

  • 2 ribs celery, thinly sliced

  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes

  • 1/4 cup long-grain rice

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Old-Fashioned Vegetable Beef Soup ingredients

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  2. Heat the bacon drippings or oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat.

    Oil in a pot

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  3. Add the beef shanks and cook, turning, until well browned on all sides.

    Beef shank cooking in a pot

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  4. Cover the beef with the water. Bring to a boil over high heat.

    Beef and water in a pot

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  5. Add the salt, pepper, and onion to the beef pot. Cover and simmer for 2 hours.

    Add salt, pepper, and onions to the beef pot

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  6. Add the carrots, green beans, potatoes, celery, tomatoes, and rice into the beef-and-onion mixture. Cover the pot and simmer for about 1 more hour.

    Add the carrots, green beans, potatoes, celery, tomatoes, and rice into the beef-and-onion mixture

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  7. Remove the bones from the soup and pull off all the meat. Discard the bones, dice the meat, and add it back to the soup.

    Remove the bones from the soup and retrieve all the meat

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  8. Taste the soup and adjust the seasonings, as needed. Stir in the parsley.

    Old-Fashioned Vegetable Beef Soup, with parsley, salt and pepper

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  9. Serve hot and enjoy.

How to Store the Soup

This soup keeps well for a few days and is a great dish to freeze:

  • Store the soup in the refrigerator for up to three days.
  • Freeze it for up to two months in individual containers.
  • If you know you will be freezing the soup, cook the vegetables until just tender. They'll be less likely to fall apart on reheating. Make sure the soup is completely cooled before you freeze it.


Beef shanks, also called soup bones, add excellent flavor to soups and stews and are also the irreplaceable base for making beef stock. Beef shanks usually offer a generous amount of meat and add texture to vegetable soups like this one. If the bones you're using seem to be low on meat, add a pound of diced beef chuck or round and sear it along with the beef shanks.

Recipe Variations

  • Use pearled barley instead of rice.
  • Feel free to swap out or add other vegetables like parsnips, rutabaga, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, corn, or leafy greens like kale or spinach.
  • You can use store-bought beef stock instead of water, just be sure to buy unsalted or low sodium, and taste the soup before you add any additional salt.