This easy and delicious tomato soup recipe is perfect with a grilled cheese or served on its own. This is a simple recipe with simple ingredients and it tastes so much better than canned soup!
When you make your first batch of homemade tomato soup, you're going to be surprised by how easy it is. You'll be amazed by the intense tomato and basil flavor and smooth, creamy texture.
This is truly the best tomato soup, so much better than canned!
There's no need to add dairy or cream to this soup, the texture is silky and smooth without it. However, if you love a bowl of really creamy tomato basil soup, feel free to drizzle in whole cream.
I almost always served gooey grilled cheese sandwiches on the side. Although I also love a simple green salad with tomato soup.
Just 8 simple ingredients are needed to make homemade tomato soup.
Tomatoes: If you're wondering if you can use canned tomatoes, the answer is yes, absolutely! In fact, I prefer canned over fresh for the best tomato soup. The flavor of fresh tomatoes varies, but whole canned tomatoes consistently have the same concentrated flavor.
The quality of canned tomatoes varies by brand, however, and the least expensive option on the shelf rarely tastes the best. Brands I usually like include Bianco DiNapoli, San Merican (previously called San Marzano), Mutti and Cento.
Water: You don't need to spend money on store bought broth. And, you don't need to spend time making homemade broth. Water works really well for tomato soup and lets pure tomato flavor shine through.
Butter (or olive oil): For the best tomato soup, use salted butter. Salted butter gives the soup a creamy, rich flavor and texture. It also makes the soup taste less acidic.
If you'd like a lighter soup, then use extra virgin olive oil. You'll need to add more salt and possibly a pinch of sugar to give the soup richer flavor.
Basil: Fresh basil is essential. Dried basil has very little flavor and won't add noticeable flavor to the soup.
Oregano: Dried oregano adds subtle oregano flavor, which is perfect for this soup.
Garlic & onion: Don't skip either, they add a layer of rich flavor to the soup. If you really love basil, you can add more than the recipe specifies.
Salt: The recipe recommends ¾ teaspoon table salt, but it's likely you'll need to add more salt to boost the flavor of the soup.
How to Make Tomato Soup
Step 1: Saute the onion and garlic. The onion should be soft and lightly browned.
Step 2: Add an entire can of whole canned tomatoes.
Step 3: Add water, fresh basil, dried oregano and salt. Bring to a simmer and simmer rapidly for 20 minutes.
Step 4: Let the soup cool slightly. Puree in a blender until the soup is very smooth.
For exact ingredient measurements and instructions, see the recipe card below.
Tomato Soup Variations
This soup needs nothing else added (except maybe more fresh basil!) However, if you'd like to try a few variations, here are some ideas.
Pasta: It's best to cook the pasta separately then add it to the soup. Otherwise, the pasta will absorb too much broth as it cooks. You can add small shapes like cooked orzo, ditalini or pastina (star shaped). You can also add cheese-filled tortellini.
Beans: After pureeing the soup, heat a can of drained, rinsed beans in the broth. White beans are especially good.
Greens: Add a few handful of baby spinach, frozen spinach or thinly sliced kale.
Meatballs: Small meatballs taste best in this soup. The easiest way to add meatballs is to use store-bought, pre-cooked frozen meatballs. Simmer them in the finished soup until heated.
Spice: Add heat with red pepper flakes or hot sauce.
Pesto: You can swirl pesto into your bowl of soup, or serve fresh bread and pesto on the side.
Cheese: Grate parmesan, cheddar or Fontina cheese into the finished soup.
Croutons: Top each bowl of soup with crunchy croutons
Frequently Asked Questions
This tomato soup recipe is made with canned tomatoes. The quality of canned tomatoes varies and can affect the flavor of the soup. Brands I recommend include Bianco DiNapoli, San Merican (previously called San Marzano), Mutti and Cento.
Although it's tempting to use fresh tomatoes, I really recommend using canned tomatoes for tomato soup. Canned tomatoes consistently taste the same and have a more concentrated flavor.
Fresh tomatoes vary wildly in how ripe, sweet and flavorful they are. Even in the summer. Fresh tomatoes can also be watery or have a lot of seeds.
Whole peeled tomatoes packed in juice tend to have the best flavor and the best texture for pureeing. They are the least processed type of canned tomato. However, if you only have a can of crushed tomatoes on hand, it can work in a pinch.
Using butter (instead of olive oil) helps make the soup less acidic. Also, a pinch of white sugar is another way to make tomato soup taste less acidic. Start by adding ¼ teaspoon of white sugar. Simmer for a few minutes, then taste again and add more sugar if needed.
This soup is surprisingly creamy, especially if you make it with butter instead of olive oil. One of the reasons it's so creamy is that a high powdered blender (like a Vitamix) does a really good job of giving soup a smooth, velvety texture.
However, if you want to make creamy tomato basil soup, then add ½ cup of whole cream to the soup after it has been pureed. Taste the soup and add more cream as needed.
To thicken the soup, you can add two slices of white bread to the soup before you puree it in a blender. Cut the bread into small cubes. Let the cubes of bread soak in the soup for 3 minutes until very soft. Then, puree the soup.
You can also thicken soup with a cornstarch slurry. After the soup has been pureed and is back in the pot, whisk together 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of the soup broth in a small bowl. Pour this back into the soup, whisking to blend it in. Simmer the soup very gently to thicken.
Yes, just use olive oil instead of butter to saute the onion, or use vegan butter.
There's no need to spend money on broth. I find that store-bought broth affects the flavor of this soup and takes away from the pure tomato flavor.
No, fresh basil is essential. Dried basil has only a fraction of the flavor that fresh basil has.
- Quality canned tomatoes: For the best tomato flavor, don't buy the least expensive can of tomatoes or the generic store brand. The quality of the ingredients really matters in a simple recipe like this one. Less expensive brands of whole canned tomatoes tend to have less tomato flavor and taste more acidic.
- Use butter, not olive oil: Salted butter gives the soup a creamy, rich flavor and texture. It also makes the soup taste less acidic.
- Garnish with fresh basil: The recipe only calls for 6 basil leaves, but make sure to thinly slice additional basil and use it as a fresh garnish over the bowls of soup.
What to Serve with Tomato Soup
- Grilled cheese sandwiches
- BLT sandwiches
- French fries or tater tots
- Green salad
- Toasted bread or garlic bread
- Bread and pesto
Storage and Reheating
Tomato soup will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can warm the soup gently on the stove or in the microwave.
The soup can be frozen up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator. For faster defrosting, set the sealed container of soup in a bowl of cold water until the soup begins to break up. Transfer the soup to a pot and gently warm on the stove.
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More Recipes for Tomato Lovers
Easy Tomato Soup Recipe
Easy and delicious tomato soup with intense tomato-basil flavor. This dairy-free soup is incredibly creamy! Made with simple ingredients and easy instructions, but so much better than canned soup. Perfect with a grilled cheese or served on its own.
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 30
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 4 to 6 servings 1x
- Category: Soup
- Method: Simmer
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegetarian
- 3 tablespoons salted butter*
- 1 cup thinly sliced yellow onion (about one medium-sized onion)
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped or thinly sliced
- One 28-oz can of whole peeled tomatoes with juice
- 6 cups water
- 6 basil leaves
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¾ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
*You can use extra virgin olive oil instead of butter, but the soup won't have the same rich flavor and creamy mouthfeel. However, if you prefer a lighter soup then olive oil is a good choice. Read the notes section below for tips on adding more flavor to tomato soup made with olive oil.
- In a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, melt the butter or heat the olive oil.
- Add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Lower the heat to medium-low if necessary to keep the onions from burning or the butter from browning.
- Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more.
- Add the can of tomatoes with the liquid.
- Add water, basil, oregano and salt.
- Bring to a simmer.
- Once the soup is bubbling, simmer rapidly for 20 minutes without a lid.
- Let the soup cool for at least 10 minutes. Hot liquid and steam in a blender will expand and put pressure on the lid, so be careful. Only fill the blender ¼ full and hold the lid tightly as you blend. Start on the lowest speed, then gradually move it higher.
- Blend the soup in small batches (2 cups at a time) until very smooth. I usually blend each batch for about 1 minute.
- Combine all of the blended soup in the soup pot. Taste and add more salt as needed (I usually add ¼ teaspoon more).
- Garnish with thinly sliced fresh basil.
Olive oil vs Butter
Salted butter gives the soup a richer flavor and a creamier texture. If you choose to use olive oil instead, the soup might taste slightly acidic. You can add white sugar, ¼ teaspoon at a time, to mellow the acidity. You'll also need to add more salt to boost the flavor of the soup.
This soup keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It can be frozen up to 3 months.
Keywords: tomato soup, easy tomato soup, homemade tomato soup