How to Make Tomato Soup (Quick and Easy)
Learn how to make the easiest Homemade Tomato Soup! Say goodbye to the canned stuff. We are using a different set of cans (canned tomatoes) to make a much more flavorful soup! This recipe results in a creamy, smooth, and rich soup. It comes together in about 20 minutes! Make a few grilled cheese sandwiches and dinner is done! Originally posted November 14, 2011.
Creamy Tomato Soup
The other day at dinner, our 3-year-old Valentine burst out with a passionate, “Why is bread so good??” She was enjoying a buttery dinner roll.
It’s a timeless question that every muffin-topped woman has asked herself, I believe. Curse you and your delicious ways, bread!! Why, why are you so good??
How’s everybody’s quarantine baby coming along? You know, the food baby that you’ve been working on since you’ve been sitting at home for the last 5 months. I know you.
I remember the first time I gained weight. It was when I lived in Peru teaching English one summer in college. My Spanish was meh. I was super homesick. And a lot of the time I was bored to tears. What else was there to do besides buy cookies from the bajillion street vendors??
My weight gain also might have stemmed from inactivity. This was 2007, the year the final Harry Potter book was released. My mom, bless her heart, purchased a copy and mailed it as fast as she could, but that still put me about 2 weeks behind the rest of the world. Unacceptable. Eric and I were “on a break” at the time (false: I broke up with him before leaving for Peru and then had to come crawling back. Don’t worry. I groveled.)
Anyway, he still liked me enough to help me find a 100% illegal website that had the entire book typed out in full. I sat for HOURS on end in a tiny internet cafe, feeding coins to the manager, my eyes bloodshot from staring at the screen. I’ll never forget the day when I was reading, and Ron left, and I had to go teach my class before I could come back to see if Ron ever came to his senses. Longest day of my life, you guys.
(Actually that’s not true. A few months later when I asked Eric if he wanted to get back together, instead of sweeping me into his arms and kissing me, he said he needed a couple days to “think about it.” Those were probably the longest days of my life! I’m pretty lucky he took me back after my 15 pound cookie weight-gain situation. He must really love me, guys. 😉)
Quick Tomato Soup Ingredients
Here are the basics! All quantities given in the recipe below.
- Olive oil. You can substitute oil for butter if you like.
- Medium or large onion. You’ll be chopping this. Try chopping with goggles on to prevent tears! I always do this!
- Whole tomatoes, canned
- Fire-roasted diced tomatoes, canned. You can use regular diced tomatoes, but they won’t sound as amazing as you read the label, getting them ready to dump into your pot. Just say it with me. FIRE-ROASTED!
- Chicken Broth
- Heavy cream. You’ll find heavy cream in a carton in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, near the milk.
- 3 cloves garlic
- Fresh Basil. Yes, you can substitute dried basil, but fresh basil gives it that extra punch of flavor.
- Black pepper
- Red pepper flakes
- Dried basil
- Dried oregano
How to Make Tomato Soup
I’m not lying when I say that this is one of the most no-brainer dinners out there. I have no problem with Campbell’s and have definitely used canned tomato soup when feeding kids, because it’s just so easy. But if I’m going to be eating the tomato soup, I want something a little more special. The good news is that it is SO easy to get really nice flavors from a couple cans of tomatoes. No fresh tomatoes necessary! (All instructions also given in the recipe below.)
- Start off by sauteing an onion in some butter or olive oil. Did I lose you already? Did we just go from “easy dinner” to sobbing into your chopped onion? I get it. Fine, leave it out if you want. You can add onion powder. But if you can get through the tears, chop an onion.
- Next, garlic. Use fresh if you have it, or use the kind in the jar. Or add in a pinch add some garlic powder. Fresh is best but sometimes you gotta git er done! See note for details.
- Add spices to the onion and garlic: I like salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, oregano and basil. I like a whole lotta oregano but you do you!
- Add in a can of whole tomatoes (or you can use crushed tomatoes) and a can of fire roasted diced tomatoes. I LOVE the flavor that fire roasted tomatoes bring. It adds this smokey dimension that is just really lovely. If you can’t find them (are tomatoes low in stock at your store? They are here in CA) then regular diced tomatoes will do fine.
- Add the chicken broth and turn the heat up to high.
- Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook an hour (or however long you choose, see below).
- Blend the soup. Use an immersion blender! If you use a regular blender, see the recipe below for tips on how to do it.
- Add in some cream to thicken it up. Anywhere between 1/2 cup and 1 cup is perfect!
One time my sister Nikki told me that she always ignores soup recipes when they say to “simmer.” As soon as all the ingredients are in, and it is hot and cooked, she serves it. (Nikki does not like being in the kitchen, can you tell? haha!) There is something to be said for getting the job done quickly, and hey, no one in her family has starved yet. But it’s true that soups get tastier the longer all the ingredients have to sit together and hang out. The flavors deepen.
The same goes for this tomato soup. If you have time to let it simmer (say, 45 minutes or any hour), that’s great. Those flavors will indeed deepen. But if you only have time for a 10 minute simmer, it’s still going to taste pretty amazing with your grilled cheese.
After simmering however long you choose, blend it up. Please buy an immersion blender for this task. It is SO much easier than transferring all your hot soup to a regular blender. Never fear, it can be done! But an immersion blender will save you a lot of hassle. If you use a regular blender, see the recipe below for tips on how to do it so that you don’t end up with hot tomato lava splattered all over your kitchen.
Once all your soup is blended, add in some cream to thicken it up. Anywhere between 1/2 cup and 1 cup is perfect!
What tomatoes do you recommend using for Creamy Tomato Soup?
This recipe calls for canned whole tomatoes and canned diced tomatoes. Using fresh tomatoes is a whole different recipe that I haven’t made yet! To me, Tomato Soup is meant to be quick and easy, so we’re skipping fresh and going with the canned. Trust me, you won’t regret it. It’s so good!
Can I use fresh tomatoes rather than canned?
Yes you can, although I haven’t tried it yet so can’t give you too many specifics. You are going to want to roast your tomatoes. Take about 3 and ½ pounds fresh tomatoes, roughly chop, drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper, and roast on a pan for about 30 minutes at 450. Then broil for a minute to give them char, and use the tomatoes in place of the canned tomatoes in this recipe!
Topping ideas for Homemade Creamy Tomato Soup
- Drizzle some cream into each serving bowl of soup. (That’s what I did in the photos, yes please)
- Garnish with parsley, basil, or fresh oregano
- Sprinkle with oyster crackers or saltines.
- Cheese, of course! Shredded or even cubed is my fav.
Can you add cream to tomato soup without curdling?
Yes, just keep the heat low! I always add the cream after the heat has been turned off entirely. To avoid curdling on any soup recipe, do not let soup made with dairy come to a rolling boil! A very low soft simmer is fine. But an angry rolling boil will curdle your soup faster than you can say lumpy.
My sister Nikki told me the other day that she was in a hurry to get the last remaining vegetables in one of my creamy soups softened, so she brought it to a boil. She called me, laughing, to “confess.” The entire soup curdled. (Why my sister felt she needed to confess is beyond me. Am I a kitchen tyrant??) So just remember, to all the Nikki’s out there in a hurry, no rapid boils for soups with milk or cream in it. Think low and slow.
How do you thicken up tomato soup?
The best way to thicken tomato soup is to cook it longer and wait as the tomato juices evaporate and reduce into a nice thick soup. This doesn’t take too long if you’re using canned tomatoes like we are.
The other best way is to add in a little bit of cream at the end. It gives your soup that luxurious, rich texture we all love.
And voila! The easiest tomato soup, 10x better than canned soup, and only about 10 minutes longer to make. Dip your grilled cheese in and you’re on your way to heaven. Unless you’re Valentine, actually. Tonight we noticed that she was just eating her grilled cheese and not dipping. Eric told her she should dip. She said, “I tried that before…and I never want to do it again.” We died laughing. 3 year olds. You can’t reason with them.
What to eat with Quick Tomato Soup
Grilled cheese is the obvious answer! But let’s not limit the humble tomato soup. There are lots of other directions you can go! Mostly to do with bread and cheese. This is not an apology. Tell your quarantine food baby to accept herself for who she is.
- Grilled Cheese
- Soup and salad is a classic for a reason. Try this Raspberry Avocado Salad, or this Apple Gorgonzola Salad.
- Buttery breadsticks
- Dip these Cheddar Bay Biscuits into your soup! Match made in heaven!
- Crusty One Hour French bread or French bread from the store. Toast it!
- Eat it with some sweet cornbread!
- with Oven roasted sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts
- with Ultra Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits
- Add some cooked orzo pasta straight into your soup
- Serve a size of buttered egg noodles (kids love this)
- Serve with simple quesadillas
- It would be killer with this Garlic Rosemary Skillet Bread
- Try tomato soup with Reuben Stuffed Crescent Rolls or Bacon and Pepper-Jack Stuffed Crescent Rolls
- Or just regular homemade Crescent Rolls!
- How about with these Bacon and White Cheddar Scones?
- Serve with these Puffy Bacon Twists
So basically, salad or roasted veggies are your saving grace if you want to avoid bread and cheese. But honestly, if you want to avoid bread and cheese, maybe you shouldn’t make tomato soup. Cheesy carbs and creamy soup are just a match made in heaven, and a tragedy when they cannot be united!!
More soup recipes you will love!
- Roasted Butternut Squash Soup << this is a huge crowd favorite. The apples give it the perfect zing.
- 30 Minute Pea Soup (From a Bag of Frozen Peas) << turn that bag of peas hanging out in the your freezer into dinner!
- Easy Cheddar Cauliflower Soup << this is one of my favorite soups of all time! Cheddar ftw.
- Simple Asparagus Soup << I love cream of vegetable soups. Asparagus lends an amazing flavor.
- Creamy Zucchini Soup with Popcorn Garnish << popcorn in soup? Don’t knock it til you try it!
- Red Pepper Soup with Black Bean “Meatballs” << this soup is really fun and different!
- Zuppa Toscana Copycat (Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup) << like at Olive Garden, but even tastier!
- Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup from The Kitchen Girl
- Moldovan Borscht (Chicken and Vegetable Soup) from Cook on a Whim
- French Onion Soup from Sweet Tea and Thyme
And just for fun, here is the original photo I took of this soup back in 2011 when I first posted this recipe. I thought my little cream hearts were sooooo cool, ha! I posted it just a few weeks after starting my blog in October 2011. Time flies! But Tomato Soup love lasts forever. Amen.
Homemade Creamy Tomato Soup Recipe
- 3 tablespoons olive oil or butter
- 1 onion, medium or large
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
- 1 28-oz can whole tomatoes, *
- 1 15-oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 4 cups chicken broth, **
- 1/2 to 1 cup cream
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
- Heat a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add the oil or butter. When the oil shimmers (or the butter melts), add 1 chopped onion.
- Season with 1 and 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon dried oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon dried basil.
- Saute until the onions are lightly browned, 5-8 minutes.
- Add 3 cloves of minced garlic (about a tablespoon) and saute for 1 more minute.
- Add the can of whole tomatoes (with juices) and the can of diced tomatoes (with juices). Add 4 cups chicken broth.
- Turn the heat up to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Once it boils, turn the heat down to a low simmer and cook for at least 10 minutes, or up to 45 minutes if you have the time.
- Turn off the heat and use an immersion blender to puree the soup. If you do not have an immersion blender (why, why??) then let the soup cool for a couple minutes before transferring to a blender. You will have to do it in a few batches. Do not fill the blender to the fill line; add less than you think. The soup is very hot and will expand when blended, which could overflow your blender and splatter you with molten hot lava tomato soup. The other thing I recommend is to take out the little spout at the top of the blender and hold a towel over the top of the lid while blending. This will allow steam to escape and you will be able to avoid tomato soup Pompeii.
- Once all the soup is blended, heat it back up again on the stove if necessary. Turn off the heat and slowly stir in 1/2 to 1 cup cream.
- If you want, chop up about 1/2 cup basil and stir it into the soup, or top each serving with fresh basil.
- Serve warm with grilled cheese sandwiches! If you want you can cut sandwiches into tiny "croutons" and put them in your soup like in the photos. But…they get soggy pretty much right away. So unless you are taking photos of your soup to put on the internet, I say just dip your sandwich!
More recipe favorites to check out!
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