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? (Nowadays if I lived there I would be way more excited about the fruit vendors. They came by every morning with a little song playing, like the ice cream man, and a guy would yell into a megaphone, MANGOMANGOMANGO, PIÑA PIÑA PIÑA (pineapple)!!!! Ah, those were the days. Where is my mango delivery man now??)
My weight gain also might have stemmed from inactivity. This was 2007, the year that 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 stupid English 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.)
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.
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 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 a while.
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!
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 cornbread!
- with Roasted veggies
- 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!!
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.
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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!
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