Shoney’s Cabbage Beef Soup Recipe Full Guide

There’s something incredibly comforting about a hearty bowl of soup, especially when it’s packed with wholesome ingredients. Shoney’s Cabbage Beef Soup Recipe is a classic that brings together the rich flavors of tender beef, fresh cabbage, and a medley of vegetables. Whether you’re looking for a warm meal on a chilly day or a satisfying dish to feed a crowd, this recipe is a perfect choice. Let’s dive into the origins, ingredients, preparation, and tips for making the best Shoney’s Cabbage Beef Soup.

The Origins of Shoney’s Cabbage Beef Soup

A Southern Staple

Shoney’s, a beloved restaurant chain in the southern United States, has been serving up comfort food since 1947. Known for its home-style cooking, Shoney’s Cabbage Beef Soup quickly became a favorite among patrons. The soup’s appeal lies in its simple, yet flavorful combination of ingredients that provide a satisfying and nutritious meal.

The Popularity of Cabbage Soups

Cabbage soups have a long history in various cuisines around the world. From Eastern European cabbage borscht to Korean kimchi jjigae, cabbage is a versatile vegetable that adapts well to different flavors and cooking methods. Shoney’s version combines the hearty goodness of beef with the nutritious benefits of cabbage, making it a well-rounded dish.

Ingredients for Shoney’s Cabbage Beef Soup

Core Ingredients

To make Shoney’s Cabbage Beef Soup, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small head of cabbage, chopped
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes (canned or fresh)
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Optional Add-Ins

To enhance the flavor and texture of your soup, consider adding these optional ingredients:

  • 1 cup potatoes, diced
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Fresh parsley for garnish

Preparing Your Cabbage Beef Soup

Browning the Beef

  1. Heat the Oil: In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the Beef: Add the ground beef to the pot, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Cook until the beef is browned and no longer pink. This should take about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Season the Beef: Season the beef with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. Stir to combine.

Sautéing the Vegetables

  1. Add the Onion: Once the beef is browned, add the diced onion to the pot. Cook until the onion is translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add Carrots and Celery: Add the sliced carrots and chopped celery. Sauté for another 5 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften.

Combining and Simmering

  1. Add the Tomatoes and Broth: Stir in the diced tomatoes, beef broth, and water. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  2. Add the Cabbage: Once the soup is boiling, add the chopped cabbage. Reduce the heat to low and let the soup simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and the flavors have melded together.
  3. Optional Add-Ins: If using, add the diced potatoes, Worcestershire sauce, and bay leaf. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes.

Final Touches

  1. Taste and Adjust: Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper if needed.
  2. Remove the Bay Leaf: If you added a bay leaf, be sure to remove it before serving.
  3. Garnish and Serve: Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with fresh parsley.

Tips for the Best Cabbage Beef Soup

Choosing the Right Beef

For the best flavor, choose ground beef with a bit of fat content, such as an 80/20 blend. The fat helps to enhance the soup’s richness. If you prefer a leaner option, you can use ground turkey or chicken, but keep in mind the flavor profile will change slightly.

Fresh vs. Canned Tomatoes

Both fresh and canned tomatoes work well in this recipe. If using fresh tomatoes, make sure they are ripe for the best flavor. Canned tomatoes are a convenient option and often provide a more consistent taste.

Adjusting Thickness

If you prefer a thicker soup, reduce the amount of water or broth. For a thinner soup, add more broth or water as needed. Remember, the cabbage and other vegetables will release some liquid as they cook, which will naturally thin the soup.

Enhancing Flavor

To deepen the flavor of the soup, consider adding a splash of red wine or a tablespoon of tomato paste when you add the tomatoes. These ingredients add complexity and richness to the broth.

Health Benefits of Cabbage Beef Soup

Nutritional Powerhouse

Cabbage is a low-calorie vegetable that is packed with nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin K, and dietary fiber. It’s also known for its antioxidant properties, which can help reduce inflammation and support overall health.

Protein-Rich Beef

Ground beef provides a good source of protein, essential for muscle growth and repair. It also contains important nutrients such as iron, zinc, and vitamin B12.

Balanced Meal

With the combination of protein from the beef, fiber from the vegetables, and the hydrating broth, Shoney’s Cabbage Beef Soup is a balanced meal that can help keep you full and satisfied.

Variations of Cabbage Beef Soup

Spicy Cabbage Beef Soup

If you like a bit of heat, add a diced jalapeño or a pinch of red pepper flakes to the soup. This will give it a nice kick without overpowering the other flavors.

Vegetarian Version

For a vegetarian version, replace the ground beef with a plant-based ground meat substitute or use lentils for added protein. Use vegetable broth instead of beef broth to keep it vegetarian.

Creamy Cabbage Beef Soup

For a creamy twist, add a cup of heavy cream or coconut milk towards the end of cooking. This will create a rich and velvety texture.

Slow Cooker Method

If you prefer a hands-off approach, you can make this soup in a slow cooker. Brown the beef and sauté the vegetables on the stovetop, then transfer everything to a slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.

Serving Suggestions

Pairing with Bread

Shoney’s Cabbage Beef Soup pairs wonderfully with crusty bread or dinner rolls. The bread is perfect for soaking up the flavorful broth.

Adding a Salad

For a complete meal, serve the soup with a side salad. A simple green salad with a tangy vinaigrette complements the richness of the soup.

Storing and Reheating

Store any leftover soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat on the stovetop over medium heat or in the microwave. The soup can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.


Shoney’s Cabbage Beef Soup is a delightful and hearty dish that brings comfort and satisfaction with every spoonful. Whether you’re making it for a family dinner, a cozy night in, or a gathering with friends, this soup is sure to impress. With its rich flavors, nutritious ingredients, and easy preparation, it’s no wonder this recipe has stood the test of time. So, gather your ingredients, fire up the stove, and enjoy a bowl of this delicious soup.

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FAQs About Shoney’s Cabbage Beef Soup Recipe

Can I use other types of meat in this soup?

Yes, you can substitute the ground beef with ground turkey, chicken, or even pork. Each will bring a slightly different flavor to the soup.

How can I make this soup gluten-free?

The ingredients in this recipe are naturally gluten-free. Just make sure to use a gluten-free beef broth if you’re avoiding gluten.

Can I add other vegetables to the soup?

Absolutely! Feel free to add other vegetables such as bell peppers, zucchini, or green beans. This is a versatile recipe that can accommodate a variety of vegetables.

What is the best way to reheat the soup?

Reheat the soup on the stovetop over medium heat, stirring occasionally until heated through. Alternatively, you can reheat it in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl.

Can I make this soup in advance?

Yes, this soup actually tastes better the next day as the flavors have more time to meld together. Make a big batch and enjoy it throughout the week.