My velvety smooth tomato soup recipe has an intense tomato flavor that’s balanced with a common pantry staple. This soup spends just 30 minutes on the stove, making it ideal for weeknight dinners or snow day lunches. Recipe includes a how-to video!
The Coziest, Most Perfect Homemade Tomato Soup Recipe
Soup weather is upon us, and I’m here for it. Not only do soups guarantee easy clean-up (one pot from start to finish!), they’re also incredibly hearty and cozy and perfect for sweater weather. Sometimes they’re just what your soul needs on a cold day!
Today’s tomato soup recipe is all of those things and more; it’s quick and easy to make, packed full of tomato flavor, and beautifully balanced, thanks to a few key ingredients we’ll discuss below (including one that might surprise you!).
As with my homemade salsa, pizza sauce, and marinara sauce, I opt for canned tomatoes in this tomato soup recipe, which means it’s perfect for these cold-weather nights when juicy summer tomatoes are a distant memory. I know some of you may be tempted to use fresh tomatoes, but I have several very good reasons for not using them, which you can in the frequently asked questions below.
Let’s dive in!
What You Need
Every ingredient in this tomato soup recipe was meticulously chosen to create a balanced symphony of flavor in every spoonful — seriously! While I do mention a few substitutions, it’s best to stick with the recipe as written for the best results.
- Butter. This is the base of our smooth, flavorful soup. Stick with unsalted because ideally we control the salt ourselves.
- Onion & garlic. For depth of flavor and some natural sweetness, we’ll start this soup out with some sautéed onion and garlic.
- Flour. A small amount of flour enriches the soup, contributing to the velvety smooth flavor and consistency.
- Chicken broth. You can use low-sodium or regular chicken broth. If you use regular, just watch your salt–you may not need as much. If you use low-sodium, you may need to add more salt before serving. Always do a taste test before adding additional salt! For a vegetarian option, you can substitute vegetable broth.
- Tomatoes. Use canned, whole peeled tomatoes. San Marzano are a great choice, but I can’t always find them. Crushed tomatoes typically don’t perform as well or as consistently due to additives, but you can use them in a pinch. I don’t recommend using fresh tomatoes for tomato soup for several reasons, which you can find further down in the post.
- Basil. I recommend fresh basil for optimal flavor. Shred your basil so it’s in fine strands that easily blend into the soup.
- Sugar. Adding sugar doesn’t make this soup sweet; instead, it counteracts the acidity of the tomatoes. You may be tempted to skip this, but it’s necessary for a balanced flavor (I use this trick in many tomato-based recipes, including my baked ziti!).
- Cream. Just a touch of cream makes this soup velvety smooth without being too creamy or heavy (if you’re looking for a creamy soup recipe, check out my potato soup!). Substituting milk could make your soup curdle, so stick with cream for this one.
- Baking soda. While seeing a box of baking soda may be a bit unexpected, this ingredient is a key player in today’s recipe. Many tomato-based soups and sauces are notoriously acidic. Cream and sugar are often used to counteract this, but too much can throw off the delicate balance of flavor and even overpower the robust tomato flavor that we actually want! A pinch of baking soda balances things beautifully while keeping the acidity from the tomatoes from being overpowering (we still use sugar and cream, but just enough to flavor properly!). I picked up this technique from Cooks Illustrated (sorry, no direct link since it’s behind a paywall!) and I’ve never looked back.
SAM’S TIP: Some tomato soup recipes call for carrots, which can help sweeten the soup and detract from the acidity of the tomatoes. Personally, I don’t care for this method, and instead I opt for a combination of onions, a pinch of sugar, and baking soda instead.
Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Tomato Soup
- Melt butter in a large, non-reactive pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened and translucent, stirring often. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
- Evenly sprinkle flour over garlic and onions and cook, stirring constantly, until smooth. Cook for another 30-60 seconds before adding the tomatoes (including any juices!).
- Crush the tomatoes with your spoon until no large chunks remain (alternatively you can hand-crush your tomatoes before adding, but crushing in the pot works just as well!). Scrape the bottom and sides of the pot to make sure you didn’t miss any.
- Stir in seasonings and bring your soup to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes uncovered.
- Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth.
- Add cream and baking soda. The soup will foam a bit after you add the baking soda, this is normal! Stir until color is uniform (it will lighten in color slightly) and soup is cohesive. Check seasonings by taste-testing before serving.
SAM’S TIP: If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can just puree the soup in batches using a traditional blender and then return it to the pot to finish.
Frequently Asked Questions
This is always controversial topic and I’m sure I’ll get some pushback, but the truth is that some recipes should always be made with fresh tomatoes (like bruschetta), while others (like homemade pizza sauce) do better with canned tomatoes. I prefer using canned tomatoes for this soup, and here’s why:
Canned tomatoes are more uniform in flavor and will give you more consistent results. Fresh tomatoes will almost always give you a watery soup, even if they taste delicious straight off the vine (not to mention truly excellent tomatoes are usually only available a few months out of the year). Your results and flavor will vary significantly with fresh tomatoes and, if you do choose use them, you should ideally roast and peel them first.
To put it simply: for consistency, texture, flavor, and ease, I recommend canned tomatoes for tomato soup.
This soup recipe honestly tastes good as-is (with a mandatory sprinkle of fresh parm, of course). Fresh herbs, cheese, sour cream, cheese crackers, croutons, or even crumbled bacon are also all great additions for tomato soup! For an extra cozy meal, serve this tomato soup in a homemade bread bowl or with a side of grilled cheese or breadsticks for dipping.
If you reduced the amount or eliminated the baking soda, sugar, or cream, or if you cooked your soup in a reactive (aluminum, cast iron, or copper) pot, your soup may become acidic.
Always make sure you’re using a non-reactive (stainless steel or enameled metal) pot when cooking tomatoes, and taste-test, adding more baking soda, sugar, or cream if your soup needs it.
More Recipes You Might Like
Let’s bake together! I’ll be walking you through all the steps in my written recipe and video below! If you try this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube and Facebook
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 cups sweet or yellow onion diced (about 2 medium-sized onions) (400g)
- 1 ½ Tablespoons minced garlic about 5 cloves (10g)
- 1 ½ Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 28 oz cans whole peeled tomatoes I like to use Cento or other brands of San Marzano when I can find them (two 793g cans)
- 2 cups chicken broth (473ml)
- ¼ cup finely sliced basil
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ⅓ cup heavy cream (80ml)
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- Shredded or grated parmesan cheese for topping
- Place butter in a large pot over medium heat and cook until melted.4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- Add diced onion and cook until translucent.3 cups sweet or yellow onion
- Add garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds).1 ½ Tablespoons minced garlic
- Sprinkle flour into the pot and use a spatula to stir until no lumps remain. Continue to cook another 30-60 seconds.1 ½ Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Add tomatoes and their juices, crushing and smashing them with your spatulas and scraping the bottom of the pot as you add them until no large pieces remain.2 28 oz cans whole peeled tomatoes
- Stir in chicken broth, basil, sugar, salt and black pepper and stir well.2 cups chicken broth, ¼ cup finely sliced basil, 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar, ¼ teaspoon table salt, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Bring soup to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.
- After simmering, use an immersion blender to puree the soup until completely smooth (alternatively, puree the soup in batches using a traditional blender and then return to the pot).
- Stir in cream and baking soda, stirring until smooth, cohesive in color, and not foamy. Taste-test and add salt and pepper as needed.⅓ cup heavy cream, ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- Portion into bowls and serve topped with grated parmesan cheese. This soup is excellent for dipping grilled cheese or just served with a side salad and some crusty artisan bread!Shredded or grated parmesan cheese
TomatoesThis recipe was specifically written for canned whole tomatoes, as home-grown or fresh tomatoes simply (and perhaps counter-intuitively) do not guarantee the same flavor and results (you can see my post for more information on this).
Heavy creamHeavy cream, whipping cream, double cream, or heavy whipping cream will work well in this recipe. I don’t recommend using whole milk or anything with less fat as it could cause the soup to curdle. While I have not tried this recipe with full-fat coconut milk, I suspect it could work as a non-dairy alternative.
Baking sodaI found that the tomato flavor was too acidic even with the granulated sugar and cream to help balance the flavor. A tiny pinch of baking soda works wonders to mellow the taste without diminishing the distinct tomato flavor.
StoringStore in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. This recipe also freezes well and will keep frozen for several months.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.
Simply incredible. This, coming from someone who doesn’t like tomato soup (from a can), but who’s wife does. I wanted to treat her to something, but I prefer to do everything homemade. So I stumbled upon this and decided to give it a try and it was amazing. I loved it. Devoured it. It was perfect in every way and was exactly what I was looking for. Thank you!
I am so glad everyone enjoyed it so much, Brian! 🙂
I have never been able to counter the acidic taste in tomato soup until I tried the baking soda in this recipe. It’s genius! I used half the sugar and added a couple of dashes of hot sauce and it was perfect. I’ll definitely be keeping this recipe!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it so much, Nicole! 🙂
Going to try tonight.
Just curious what the baking soda is for and if it’s necessary so I know next time.
Hi Angela! It’s actually very important here. I cover this topic in the post. 🙂
Miriam Rose Blanar
I only have diced tomatoes. Would that work? My husband loves tomato soup.
Hi Miriam! They will work, but you won’t get the same flavor. The whole peeled tomatoes really are the best and if you can wait until you can get them I would definitely recommend doing so. 🙂
Miriam Rose Blanar
I did use the diced tomatoes and it tasted very good, but I will try whole tomatoes next time. Thank you!
Have you made this dairy free before? Butter is okay but not sure about cream. Love all you’re recipes, they’re my go to for everything!
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Hi Sophia! Unfortunately we don’t have experience with dairy-free recipes. Sometimes coconut cream can be substituted for heavy cream, but we’re not sure how that would work here 🙁
I made the tomato soup twice, it is delicious and so easy to make…Love this
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
We’re so happy you enjoyed it, Sue 😊
Made this as shown, and it turned out great. Lots of onion and generous amount of garlic. How can you go wrong? Did not have fresh basil, so put in a bit/1 tsp of dried. Did not want to add too much, as you can’t take it out and have found that dried herbs can overpower the dish. Next time, and I will definitely make this again, I might tuck a few bay leaves in. I did add baking soda as I wanted to rely on your expertise and tips. Have sampled it this morning, YUMM, and will serve it tonight for a light dinner with baked brie (wrappedin crescent rolls). My version of grilled cheese kicked up a notch. Always a perfect pairing with tomato soup. Happy to see the soup freezes well, especially after adding the cream. Thanks for the inspiration and a great recipe.
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
We’re so happy you liked the soup, Peggy! It sounds like the perfect pairing for your gourmet grilled cheese–yum! Enjoy ❤
This is delicious! Thanks for a solid recipe! I ended up using half and half (because that’s what I had and the kids were begging for homemade tomato soup) and it turned out great!
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
We’re happy it turned out for you, Laurel! Thanks for giving our recipe a shot 😊
Best tomato soup ever. I used diced tomatoes and didn’t have enough fresh basil so I used about 1tbsp dried and the few leaves from the dying basil plant at the end lol. I paired it with homemade sourdough grilled cheese. Everyone loved it and I will be saving this recipe. Thanks!
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
We’re so happy everyone loved it, Lark! We can’t think of a better combo than tomato soup and grilled cheese. Enjoy! 😊
Just checking…..will fat free half and half work? If not, no big deal. the amount of heavy cream isn’t much. Thank You
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Hi Ruth! It could work, but there is a chance it may make the soup curdle. It also won’t be as velvety in texture. Hope that helps!
This is by far the best tomato soup I’ve ever had. I have shared it with several others and they asked for the receipt.
Thank you for this recipe I will be making it weekly and thank you for working to put all your information and recipes out for us to enjoy. Looking forward to the next one!
I made this today as written but added a bit more heavy cream. Very good. I had it with goat cheese end mushroom quiche.
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
That sounds like a delicious combination, Natalie! We’re so happy you enjoyed the soup ❤
Hi Sam, another great recipe! Easy and absolutely delicious!! Made exactly as written.
I’m so happy to hear this, Pat! Thank you for letting me know how you enjoyed! 🙂
You never indicated when to put in the chicken broth. That would have helped.
Hi Susan! I’m not sure what you mean, step 6 states to add the chicken broth and the video shows and discusses adding the broth as well.
I love tomato soup and order it everytime I go out somewhere that has it. I’m so happy to have this recipe. It also gave me a reason to buy an immersion blender. I followed it exactly and it is absolutely the best, freshest tasting tomato soup I have ever had! Thanks so much! I know you put a lot of time into developing your recipes and they never dissappoint!
I am so, so happy to hear that you enjoyed, Kim! Thank you so much for trusting and trying my recipes, that means a lot to me and I really appreciate it! <3
I used fresh tomatoes, blanched and peeled, with a heaping tbsp of tomato paste. Simmered for 50 mins – 1 hr. The result was delicious, smooth, rich, and velvety. It was not overly acidic, so I omitted the baking soda. Basil and parmesan were also omitted. Just good old-fashioned tomato soup with saltines. Yum.
So glad you enjoyed, Mary! 🙂
Hi Sam, made your tomato soup recipe for dinner tonight. It was delicious! Everyone loved it.
I did want to mention that it seems that you left out adding the chicken broth in the written recipe? I looked twice but didn’t see it. Not a big deal – it’s kind of intuitive and I did watch the video too. But just thought I’d mention it.
Thanks for the recipe!
I am so thrilled to hear that everyone enjoyed, Kelly! Taking a look about the accidental chicken broth omission, thank you for pointing that out to me, definitely something I want to get fixed, thank you!! <3
I loved the tomato soup recipe….Made exactly as printed. I too noticed you did not mention the broth and though I was losing it. My husband and I really enjoyed it and it was enough for a couple more servings. Served it with grilled cheese sandwiches. Have also passed it on to several friends. Thanks again Sam!
This was my first try at making a homemade tomato soup and this recipe is a keeper!
It was super easy and doesn’t require a lot of ingredients, not to mention how quickly it comes together. I am allergic to dairy and because of the holidays my grocery has not restocked the dairy free heavy cream.
So I used a extra creamy oat milk, keeping my fingers crossed that it would not curdle. It turned out delicious. I will however try it with the non dairy heavy cream next time. Thanks for another delicious recipe!
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
We’re so happy it was a hit for you, Missy! Thanks for letting us know how the oat milk worked. Enjoy! 😊