Tomato Soup Recipe

October 11, 2020

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The best classic Tomato Soup recipe! It’s made with canned San Marzano tomatoes, rich butter and optional cream, flavorful onions and garlic, a savory broth, and herby, vibrant fresh basil. So much simple goodness in every bowl!

Single serving of tomato soup shown in a white bowl set over a wooden plate.

Best Classic Tomato Soup Recipe!

One of my favorite lunches is this homemade tomato soup from scratch paired with a sourdough grilled cheese for dipping. Talk about delicious!

This soup is so basic and so easy yet it’s so flavorful. It’s proof that the simplest ingredients brought together can create something perfectly delicious, well balanced in flavor, and just simply satisfying.

Building up flavor with ingredients that have concentrated flavor is key and this soup is brimming with them. The other great thing here is the decadent butter mellowing out the acidity of the tomatoes and enriching their flavor.

And you’ll love the smooth texture of this soup, it’s perfectly sip-able and cozy as can be!

Pair it with a sandwich, salad or a hearty protein for a complete meal. Or for a simple quick meal just pair it with fresh bread (I recommend my no knead bread) or cheese toast for dunking.

Overhead image of serving of tomato soup swirled with heavy cream.

Tomato Soup Recipe Ingredients and Substitutes

  • Unsalted butter: Salted butter works fine too, just add a little less salt to the soup. Extra virgin olive oil may be substituted for a healthier alternative.
  • Yellow onions: We use a fair amount here but their flavor is toned down some slightly since they are slightly caramelized. Red onions could be substituted.
  • Garlic: Fresh is preferred but pre-chopped bottled garlic is a second best option.
  • All-purpose flour: This is used to thicken the soup. If needed you could try a gluten free flour blend without xanthun gum or cornstarch.
  • Chicken broth: Vegetable broth works well too. I like to use low-sodium to have more control over added salt.
  • Canned San Marzano tomatoes: The ultimate canned tomatoes! I know these can be pricey so for an alternative try canned plum/Roma tomatoes.
  • Fresh basil: This is truly a highlight of this soup. No substitutes here.
  • Parmesan rind: You’ll love the hidden flavor this adds. Parmesan rinds are my favorite for soup. If you don’t happen to have one then just finish the soup with fresh grated parmesan.
  • Granulated sugar: I’ve also used honey here instead. The idea is just to balance any tartness with a hint of sweetness. You can even omit or adjust to taste as preferred.
  • Salt and pepper: Add to taste.
  • Heavy cream: This ingredient is optional based on whether or not you’re looking for a creamy tomato soup or just the classic. You really don’t need much about 1 Tbsp per serving goes a long way. Half and half is also a great option.

Image of ingredients used to make homemade tomato soup. Includes canned san marzano tomatoes, chicken broth, onions, garlic, basil, flour, sugar, butter, parmesan rind, cream, salt and pepper.

How to Make Homemade Tomato Soup

  1. Saute onion in butter: Melt butter in a large pot (6 quart) over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until slightly browned and caramelized, about 10 minutes.
  2. Saute garlic and flour: Reduce heat to medium, add garlic and saute 30 seconds. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute.
  3. Stir in broth: While whisking slowly pour in chicken broth. Cook and whisk until flour has blended in, about 1 minute.
  4. Add tomatoes and seasonings: Add in tomatoes, basil, parmesan, sugar and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a light simmer.
  5. Simmer: Reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer, stirring frequently (about every 5 minutes. Scrape along bottom of pot when stirring). Cook about 25 – 30 minutes until tomatoes start to break down.
  6. Puree soup: Remove from heat. Remove basil sprigs and parmesan rind. Puree soup, see options below.
  7. Serve: Serve warm adding a little cream to servings if desired.

Collage of eight images showing steps to making tomato soup in a large pot on the stovetop. Shows sautéing onions, garlic, flour in butter and adding tomatoes, broth and seasonings. Then simmering.

How to Puree Tomato Soup (2 Options)

  1. Puree soup with immersion blend (preferred option):  Remove soup from heat then use an immersion blender to puree soup until smooth.
  2. Puree soup with tabletop blender: Let soup cool slightly first, puree soup in batches and only fill blender jar halfway. Remove center insert from lid and cover with a clean kitchen towel before blending.

Image of tomato soup being blended with an immersion blender in a pot.

Can it be made in the slow cooker?

Yes. To do so:

  1. Saute onions with butter in a skillet as directed, then garlic. Add to a large slow cooker.
  2. Add broth, tomatoes, parmesan rind, basil, sugar, salt and pepper. Cover and cook on high 3 – 4 hours.
  3. Remove rind and basil. Puree soup with immersion blender.
  4. To thicken soup mix 2 Tbsp cornstarch with 3 Tbsp broth or water in a small bowl. Stir mixture into soup in crock pot and cook until thickened about 20 minutes longer.

Can it be frozen?

Yes this soup freezes very well. I’ve actually got some frozen now for lunches. To freeze:

  • Let soup cool.
  • Freeze in individual portions or larger portions based on how much you’ll thaw at once.
  • Be sure to leave 3/4-inch empty space at the top for soup to expand when freezing (otherwise dish can break).
  • Let thaw overnight in the fridge.
  • Reheat on the stove in a pot or saucepan over medium-low heat. Keep covered with a lid and stirring occasionally, until heated through.
  • Or reheat in the microwave, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

Image of white pot filled with tomato soup that's garnished with basil and pepper.

Can I use fresh tomatoes?

Yes. Fresh tomatoes will work well too:

  • Peel first. Cut an “x” on bottom and add to pot of boiling water until peels will peel away easily.
  • Use equal weight of fresh high quality, ripe tomatoes (the soup will only taste as good as what you put into it).

How to Make it Vegan

With a few simple changes you can make a vegan version of this:

  • Replace chicken broth with vegetable broth.
  • Omit parmesan rind, replace with vegan parmesan for serving.
  • Replace heavy cream with coconut cream.

Tips to Perfect It

  • Use best quality canned tomatoes for the best tomato flavor. San Marzano are best or use plum/Roma tomatoes.
  • Add fresh herbs, here basil is the perfect compliment.
  • Brown onions slightly for an extra boost of flavor, and use a fair amount of garlic.
  • Use flour to thicken the soup, otherwise it’s watery.
  • Simmer to soften tomatoes and blend flavors.
  • Blend very well to make it smooth and lump-free.

Ladle filled with homemade tomato soup.

Variations

Try my other delicious variations of tomato soup:

More Soup Recipes You’ll Love

Single serving of tomato soup shown in a white bowl set over a wooden plate.
5 from 1 vote

Best Tomato Soup

The best classic Tomato Soup recipe! It's made with canned San Marzano tomatoes, rich butter and optional cream, flavorful onions and garlic, a savory broth, and herby, vibrant fresh basil. So much simple goodness in every bowl! Makes about 10 cups.
Servings: 6
Prep15 minutes
Cook50 minutes
Ready in: 1 hour 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, cut into 5 pieces
  • 3 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (2 medium)
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic (6 cloves)
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 (28 oz) cans San Marzano tomatoes
  • 3 basil sprigs (13g), plus more chopped basil for serving if desired.
  • 1 (4-inch) parmesan rind
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar, or to taste*
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Heavy cream**, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  • Melt butter in a large pot (6 quart) over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until slighlty browned and caramelized, about 10 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to medium, add garlic and saute 30 seconds. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute.
  • While whisking slowly pour in chicken broth. Cook and whisk until flour has blended in, about 1 minute.
  • Add in tomatoes, basil, parmesan, sugar and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a light simmer.
  • Reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer, stirring occasionally (Scrape along bottom of pot when stirring). Cook about 25 - 30 minutes until tomatoes start to break down.
  • Remove from heat. Remove basil sprigs and parmesan rind from soup then use an immersion blender to puree soup until smooth***.
  • Serve warm topping servings with swirl of cream if desired and chopped basil.

Notes

  • *Honey may be substituted in place of sugar. Adjust this amount according to desired preference. I don't like it very sweet so 2 tsp is perfect for me. You can increase or even omit.
  • **Heavy cream not included in nutrition estimate as this is optional. Half and half will work here too.
  • ***If you don't have an immersion blender you can use a countertop blender. If doing so let soup cool slightly then puree soup in batches in blender (don't fill more than halfway full and remove lid insert and cover with a kitchen towel when blending otherwise steam will build up and lid can burst open).
  • If you want soup a little thinner you can add some more more broth at the end.
Nutrition Facts
Best Tomato Soup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 256 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Fat 12g18%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Cholesterol 30mg10%
Sodium 795mg35%
Potassium 861mg25%
Carbohydrates 32g11%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 14g16%
Protein 8g16%
Vitamin A 672IU13%
Vitamin C 36mg44%
Calcium 188mg19%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.