We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Hobo Soup?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Hobo soup is a classic soup, really predating the hobo. Stories of the famous “Stone Soup” where three traveling soldiers trick a town into providing ingredients to make soup can be seen as inspiration for the various itinerant travelers, who often got from one town to another by riding trains. Hobo soup would essentially be a blend of ingredients, gleaned from people kind enough to donate to hobos, or in some cases ingredients liberated (stolen) from people’s gardens.

The ingredients for each hobo soup will vary according to what a company or person wants to put in it. A few things tend to be standard, like navy beans, onions, potatoes, and various herbs. Hobo soup might also contain carrots, celery, bell peppers, leeks or turnips. The soup as made by hobos would depend greatly on what ingredients they had available. Occasionally a little salt pork, ham, bacon, or bits of canned or corned beef might flavor the soup. Generally, though, many versions of the soup were and are still vegetarian and are very tasty.

The soup is rumored to have been discovered by a reporter from Minnesota in the 1950s. He decided to market the delicious soup he received from others while in search of a story about hobos, and now, Hobo Soup is still a brand in addition to being a type of soup. In the recipe for the canned version, artificial smoke flavor is added, which to some is distasteful. It’s meant to replicate the taste of making this soup outdoors over campfires, but isn’t quite the same.

It can be very hard to find this soup in stores. You’ll generally have to order cans online from places like the Vermont Country Store. Ironically, this soup that generally came to hobos free of charge is very expensive as compared to most store brands of soup. For instance, you’ll pay just under $10 US Dollars (USD) for three cans of the stuff. $10 USD in the grocery store can purchase about 5 cans of soup, more if they’re on sale.

You might be better off making your own hobo soup, and you’ll find many recipes to help you with this. Most require sautéing some vegetables first, especially with a little bit of onion prior to adding the other soup ingredients. You can use a little bacon sautéed, and the grease from the bacon to impart more flavor to the soup. If you use dried navy beans, you need to begin the night before by soaking them. You can take a little shortcut here by using canned navy beans instead.

The end result is a delicious and healthy soup that in vegetarian form is very low in fat. Hobo soup can be a perfect and satisfying soup for cold days or nights. It’s excellent served with crusty bread, or use it as a lunch soup or afternoon snack for kids coming in from outdoor play in the cold.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon174969 — On May 11, 2011

We love Hobo Soup, a tradition in my family since childhood. In the summer we invite guests and tell them to bring a can of food along with them.

We use a dutch oven over an open fire and have started a base with a variety of items but chicken base seems to be a favorite. When each guest has arrived they open their can and add it to the pot. In the end, although never the same, it has always been delicious.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.