Classic Tomato Soup

May 23, 2016
Nothing says comfort more than a warm bowl of tomato soup. The sort of dish you want to make in a matter of minutes. Fussy recipes need not apply

“My greatest strength is common sense

I'm really a standard brand, like Campbell's tomato soup or Baker's Chocolate”   ~ Katharine Hepburn

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There's beauty in the simple, the ordinary, the familiar

We hung around the house this past Sunday.  Another picture day in Iowa, we slept in, made pancakes, and took little Z for a long walk.

It's on walks like this one that we wonder out loud if we're ready to start the search for another dog

For dinner, fresh bread baked in the oven, while a pot of soup simmered on the stove-top.  Nothing fancy, instead, one of the classics: a simple tomato.

That afternoon our neighbor's swung open the garage door, and their band played for a few hours. My goodness, they are pretty incredible. By the time they'd finished, nearly all of the neighborhood had wandered over to listen, along with several people simply passing (or driving) by

It was such a beautiful weekend, filled with simple pleasures, people, and furry creatures that I'm so very thankful for

Nothing says comfort more than a warm bowl of tomato soup. The sort of dish you want to make in a matter of minutes. Fussy recipes need not apply

Tomato soup is like the little black dress of soups. Unadorned and paired with a grilled cheese sandwich, it's a comfort food classic. Dressed up with simple garnishes, it makes for a sophisticated start to any dinner party.

For years I've floated between two recipes.  Nordstrom's famous tomato basil, as well as this version from Barefoot Contessa.  While they're both delicious, I've landed on a new favorite for our every-days

The best way to make a soup like this is with slow-roasted tomatoes that are fresh from the garden, along with homemade chicken stock that's been simmering on the stove-top for hours.  But when life is busy, it's really hard to find the time (especially during the week).

If the goal is to make a soup that tastes like Campbell's, you'll either be slightly disappointed or pleasantly surprised.  Made with pantry ingredients, it's a simple recipe, and ready in under thirty minutes.

It's just as creamy or not-creamy as you'd like it to be.  The recipe notes include a few ideas for making it heartier or spicing it up

We enjoy it so much that I made a big pot to freeze the left-overs

Nothing says comfort more than a warm bowl of tomato soup. The sort of dish you want to make in a matter of minutes. Fussy recipes need not apply

The original recipe calls for an (optional) bit of cream to finish, but I'm usually inclined to keep it straight tomato.  Certainly, if you prefer, you can soften it up later with a splash of cream, or a scoop of thick, luxe cream skimmed off the top of a can of coconut milk (a little goes a long way)

Serve it with a pinch of cracked black pepper and a shrinking of fresh herbs, fresh peasant bread with melted cheese for dipping, and a salad on the side

As with most things that are simple and good, with each passing day, it only got better 

A few additional notes about the recipe:

If you cream your soup in the blender, be sure to purée in small batches and crack the lid slightly.  Once you start blending, steam can build up, and if the lid is on tight or the blender is too full, hot soup will spray all over the kitchen(!)

Splendid Table has some recommendations for the best in canned tomatoes

Substitute coconut milk for the cream and Earth Balance buttery spread for the butter to make this a vegan soup



~ Adapted from The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook by Tom Douglas

Classic Tomato Soup


  • Soup
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thin
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed with the side of a knife and peeled
  • 2 (28 oz) cans whole tomatoes in juice
  • 1 cup water
  • cup heavy cream (or coconut cream)
  • 2 tsp fine grain sea salt + more as needed
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper + more as needed
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes, more or less depending on your tolerance for heat
  • ¼ tsp celery seed
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano (or ½ tsp fresh oregano, chopped fine )
  • 1 Tbsp natural sugar, optional

  • Brown Butter Croutons
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 slices European-style rustic bread crusts removed, cut into 1" cubes (~ 30 to 36 cubes)
  • Fine grain sea salt + freshly ground black pepper


Tomato Soup

  • In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent (~ 5 minutes)
  • Add the tomatoes, water, cream, sea salt, red pepper flakes, celery seed, oregano, and sugar
  • Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and simmer for 15 minutes
  • Remove from the heat and puree in batches in the container of a blender.
  • Return the soup to the pot and reheat to a simmer, seasoning to taste with more sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • Brown Butter Croutons
  • Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  • Heat the butter in a small pan over medium heat and cook, stirring often, until the butter is golden brown and aromatic, about 3 minutes after the butter melts
  • Remove from the heat
  • Put the bread cubes in a bowl and pour the brown butter over them, tossing to coat
  • Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and toss again
  • Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet and place it in the oven
  • Bake until the croutons are toasted and golden (~ 20 minutes) stirring occasionally
  • Remove the pan from the oven

  • Finish and Serve
  • Serve the soup hot, garnished with the croutons
Serves: 6
Nutrition + Show
Calories 322
Total Fat 20.2g
Saturated Fat 11.2g
Carbohydrates 29g
Fiber 4.9g
Sugars 5.6g
Protein 5.7g
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  • Reply CourtneyLynne April 22, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    Omg can we say yum?! I just love tomato soup. I will have to give your recipe a try. Deliciousness

  • Reply Sarah Bailey April 22, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    I must try this! I am auch a fan of a good tomato soup (most definitely my favourite when done correctly). Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Reply Kelly Hutchinson April 22, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    5 stars
    There is nothing better than a bowl of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich! This recipe sounds amazing!

  • Reply Jennifer April 22, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    This looks like some seriously delicious comfort food. Perfect with a nice grilled cheese on the side. My hubby just had shoulder surgery, and his throat is a bit sore still. I may have to try this out as he’s been requesting some homemade soup to soothe his throat, and tomato is one of his favorites.

  • Reply Anvita April 22, 2017 at 10:43 pm

    I am a lover of Tomato Soup. I would love to try this recipe for sure. BTW, I love those pics, sharp and crisp

  • Reply Censie Sawyer April 22, 2017 at 11:28 pm

    YUM! I need to try this recipe. I have mad e a lot of soups but I have never made a Tomato soup. This recipe looks delicious but also really easy to make. Thanks for this yummy recipe idea.

  • Reply Rebecca Swenor April 23, 2017 at 3:02 am

    5 stars
    This classic tomato soup recipe sounds delicious. We don’t have tomato soup to often so I will have to make this for my family with grilled cheese sandwiches of course. Thanks so much for sharing these awesome recipes.

  • Reply Yaya April 23, 2017 at 6:03 am

    I’m quite soup novice and this recipe looks like something even I can conjure up. You can’t go wrong with a good tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich.

  • Reply Katrina April 23, 2017 at 7:02 am

    There’s nothing more british than a good old Tomato Soup with some croutons on the side! Roll on 6 months to Winter time cuddled up around the fire with a nice bowl of this 🙂 It sounds heavenly

  • Reply Nadine Cathleen April 23, 2017 at 7:24 am

    5 stars
    Bookmarked 🙂 I love tomato soup with cream on top! Have usually just used the ready to eat ones but this recipe sounds great and easy – will give it a try!

  • Reply Lynndee April 23, 2017 at 8:37 am

    That looks delicious! My husband loves tomato soup big time. Never thought of garnishing it with croutons though. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Reply Jenn Borget April 23, 2017 at 9:55 am

    5 stars
    Yummm! This looks delicious! My family loves tomato soup with grilled cheese and I’m always looking for new recipes to try out with them!

  • Reply Lauren April 23, 2017 at 11:22 am

    I have never made tomato soup which is one of my favorite soups. I will have to try your recipe which looks absolutely delightful.

  • Reply Ashleigh April 23, 2017 at 11:24 am

    You literally cannot beat tomato soup on those cold nights or when you’re feeling poorly. It’s my all time favourite!

  • Reply Jaime Nicole. April 23, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    There is something very comforting about homemade tomato soup. This looks like a fantastic recipe.

  • Reply Claire April 23, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    I love making soups but I’ve always resisted making tomato soup because I actually really enjoy the heinz version (with a little added chilli flakes) but this recipe sounds so good I may have to give it a go

  • Reply Mary Edwards April 23, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    5 stars
    Now I’m craving a bowl of this. With Ritz crackers. And a grilled cheese!

  • Reply Ana De- Jesus April 23, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    It sounds like an idyllic scenario and tomato soup is the best comfort dish to suit the relaxed mood. I like the idea of making a vegan alternative as I have some left over coconut milk.

  • Reply HeidiDee April 23, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    That looks fantastic! And anything that is a faster cook is a winner with me!

  • Reply David Elliott April 23, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    My daughter loves almost all tomato soups that there are. We will have to try this out sometime.

  • Reply Mimi Green April 23, 2017 at 9:49 pm

    Your soup looks pictures perfect. With our temps dipping down into the 50’s again this classic tomato soup is right on time.

  • Reply Prateek Goel April 24, 2017 at 12:23 am

    5 stars
    I like tomato soup a lot! And true\ly agree with your line “Dressed up with simple garnishes .. it makes for a sophisticated start to any dinner party.” It looks so perfect…….. Today my dinner will start with tomato soup!

  • Reply Ravi April 24, 2017 at 12:33 am

    Tomato soup has been my favorite and also Tomato Juice:).. This post gives me yet another reason to have it more!

  • Reply Elizabeth O. April 24, 2017 at 12:42 am

    It sounds like it was a lovely day altogether. A band playing, a long walk, and this classic favorite for dinner! WOW! My day has been made if I were there. I think it’s nice to think about fostering as well, it’s a good way to help out the fur babies get ready for their forever homes. Thanks for the tomato soup recipe.

  • Reply Carol Cassara April 24, 2017 at 12:44 am

    I have been told both ways. When you make some carbonara or anything with white sauce a little spoonful of tomato sauce will help bring out it’s flavor. The same goes when you’re making red sauce. This tomato soup looks delightful! I would love to try and make this for me and my husband.

  • Reply Anosa April 24, 2017 at 3:17 am

    Nice recipe! Another one to look forward to cook this weekends. Will definitely share this to my friends as well.

  • Reply Sara April 24, 2017 at 4:09 am

    This tomato soup looks delicious! We make tomato soup every Wednesday for our school lunch program. The kids just love it! Your recipe is a bit different than ours, so I might try to adapt a few new ingredients this week.

  • Reply robin rue April 24, 2017 at 4:40 am

    I am not a big soup person, but when I do, tomato is the only kind I eat. Paired with a grilled cheese, it’s one of my favorite meals.

  • Reply Alli Smith April 24, 2017 at 4:43 am

    5 stars
    I completely agree that tomato soup is the little black dress of soups and it’s one of my favorite soups. Add a grilled pimento cheese sandwich and it’s my favorite meal on a rainy or cold day. I even like it on a hot day. Can’t wait to try your recipe!

  • Reply Jeanette April 24, 2017 at 8:31 am

    I’m not a big Supeter with the exception of tomato soup. I love tomato soup. I have never tried making it myself but I can’t wait to try it.

  • Reply Tonya Wilhelm April 24, 2017 at 8:31 am

    5 stars
    I bet this tomato soup tastes so much better than the ones out of a can or box! I would have never thought of all those ingredients to bring up the flavor. I think this would be a great soup to try over the summer. Thanks.

  • Reply Christy Maurer April 24, 2017 at 9:00 am

    Tomato soup is just so satisfying in the cooler weather. I love it with grilled cheese! I hope to try your recipe soon!

  • Reply Ellen April 24, 2017 at 9:10 am

    Ahhh this tomato soup looks great. I would love to have a bowl of that just about now, awesome!

  • Reply Stephanie Jeannot April 24, 2017 at 9:11 am

    Oooh! Warm and hearty. Just my kind of meal for the family. Tomatoes at that are my favorite thing to eat. Yummy!

  • Reply Amber Killmon April 24, 2017 at 9:18 am

    It’s rainy and dreary today and this tomato soup would be the perfect pick me up. Your photos are stunning.

  • Reply lisa April 24, 2017 at 9:33 am

    I love a good classic tomato soup. There are days that my kids just ask for tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.

  • Reply Jeanine April 24, 2017 at 9:34 am

    This looks SO delicious. My kids love soup, and I have never before tried my hand at tomato. Would love to give this a try!

  • Reply Chelsea Elizabeth April 24, 2017 at 9:57 am

    This sounds so delicious! And I love tomato soup. It’s a classic that never grows old. Amazing with a crusty loaf!


  • Reply Victoria April 24, 2017 at 10:02 am

    This looks delicious. I love tomato soup during the winter months. However, since our weather isn’t always spring-like here I guess its not to late for me to make some now.

  • Reply Carol Speake April 24, 2017 at 11:12 am

    The color of the soup is just amazing. I’m a big fan of homemade tomato soup. My husband is a big soup lover and I’m always looking for new recipes to make for him. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  • Reply Erinn S April 24, 2017 at 11:24 am

    I have always wanted to attempt my own tomato soup. I have never made my own soup. Would be great with different types of tomatoes in season

  • Reply Laura April 24, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    Tomato soup is my absolute favourite! You can’t beat tomato soup and fresh crusty bread, it’s comfort food at it’s best! This one sounds delicious!

  • Reply Kira April 24, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    Definitely love a classic tomato soup! Never tried making it myself though as I’m a typical heinz kinda girl when it comes to tomato soup! Maybe it’s the ext thing to try!

  • Reply Amanda Kee April 24, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    I love tomato soup! It’s one of my weaknesses. It’s just such a classic dish and with grilled cheese. I feel right at home! I am going to have to try out your recipe for sure. It looks amazing! Homemade is so much better than store bought for sure!!!

  • Reply Bella April 24, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    Oh my this recipe looks absolutely delicious! I love tomato soup! Also wanted to say that your pictures are beautiful!

  • Reply Claudia Krusch April 24, 2017 at 6:11 pm

    Tomato soup is one of my favorites for lunch. I like to have it with a grill cheese sandwich. I will have to give this one a try.

  • Reply Angie Scheie April 24, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    Yum! Tomato soup IS the Little Black Dress of soups (love the analogy) and it’s also my very favorite. Nordstrom’s soup is my go to during the winter and I’ll usually just buy it there in bulk and bring the jars home ;). This recipe looks fantastic and Seattle is giving me plenty of rainy days still that it would be perfect for. Pinning!

  • Reply Jacqui S April 24, 2017 at 9:33 pm

    5 stars
    I have three favorite soups. French Onion, Broccoli and Cheese and yep. Tomato soup. Which my son laughs at me because I do NOT like tomatoes. lol. I try to explain its the texture I don’t like, but Soup and sauce? I’ll take it! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Tiffany April 24, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    Hello Allison,

    I absolutely love your content. I was never really a fan of tomato soup, but the looks of yours is enticing hahaha!

  • Reply Ana Ojha April 24, 2017 at 11:02 pm

    5 stars
    I’m a huge fan of your cooking. I wish if you would have been my neighbor so that I could get a chance to enjoy your delicacies every day. This tomato soup looks incredibly delicious and easy to make. Thanks Allison for sharing another awesome recipe from your bucket!

  • Reply Nora April 25, 2017 at 1:46 am

    Oh, I love tomato soups! Your soup looks super delicious. Maybe I should cook some later this week? 🙂 Btw your photos are gorgeous!

  • Reply Lynn April 25, 2017 at 2:00 am

    5 stars
    I love tomato soup. It reminds me of days when I was a little girl and cold winter nights. I am going to make this true comfort food soup and some grilled cheese sandwiches to go with it. Yum!

  • Reply Kelly April 25, 2017 at 2:03 am

    I love tomato soup! With a toasted cheese sandwich, that’s my perfect lunch. Love the easy recipe

  • Reply Tiana April 25, 2017 at 2:40 am

    though i am not a fan of tomato soup because i find most very bland, i might try this one out. thanks for sharing

  • Reply Angela Milnes April 25, 2017 at 3:46 am

    This recipe for soup looks so tasty. I love tomato soup it’s one of my favourite flavours especially when I’m under the weather. I will be pinning this!

  • Reply Victoria Lola April 25, 2017 at 4:20 am

    5 stars
    OMG! Where is the love button now? This looks so tasty I’m so hungry. I love tomato soup but this method is different from how I make mine; I’m going to try your method…..thanks for sharing yours :*

  • Reply Melanie April 25, 2017 at 4:56 am

    This does look and sound delicious and freezing left overs is a great idea, well that’s if there are any anyway. I have always been a fab of tomato soup but have never made my own.

  • Reply Dusica (Didi) April 25, 2017 at 5:47 am

    The way you prepare this simply and your images it’s like I can almost smell it and feel the taste. I enjoy just watching it.

  • Reply Jenny April 25, 2017 at 5:55 am

    You can’t go wrong with a batch of homemade soup, this looks delicious.

  • Reply Tami April 25, 2017 at 7:22 am

    Oh one of my favorite pastimes is dipping bologna sandwiches into tomato soup. I’m not sure why I don’t eat the combo as an adult other than my family doesn’t care for it. I think I’m gonna give this recipe a try and treat myself on occasion. They can find something else to eat. Then again, they may learn to like it, huh?

  • Reply Tamara April 25, 2017 at 10:06 am

    It’s REALLY pretty. Such a gorgeous color. It’s cold and rainy here so I’d like this with homemade bread.. or maybe grilled cheese!

  • Reply Paula Schuck April 25, 2017 at 10:38 am

    5 stars
    What a beautiful looking bowl of soup! Tomato soup is such a comfort food item. Served with grilled cheese on a rainy day would be amazing.

  • Reply Sally April 25, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    Both my husband and daughter love tomato soup, and I have tried a few recipes over the years some have been a disaster and others ok. I have lost the one that they both loved so am on the look out for a new recipe. I am going to try this one thank you

  • Reply Georgia April 25, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    Thank you for this recipe. Sometimes all I need for a quick lunch is a good soup with a piece of ciabatta, yum!

  • Reply Eloise April 25, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    I LOVE tomato soup, one of my all time faves (right there with leek soup!) I’ll have to give your recipe a shot, thanks for sharing… and I won’t forget the fresh baked bread : )

  • Reply Mellissa Williams April 25, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    5 stars
    You just can’t beat proper Tomato Soup and yours looks so delicious! I would definitely try this.

  • Reply Jennifer Thornhill April 25, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    5 stars
    I have such great memories with tomato soup! My mom would always make me a grilled cheese to dip in it. Thanks for a new recipe to try!

  • Reply Pam Wattenbarger April 25, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    I love tomato soup, especially in the winter when it is cold and dreary outside. This version sounds like it would hit the spot.

  • Reply stephanie April 26, 2017 at 5:13 am

    You can’t beat a classic tomato soup – it’s one of my favourites x

  • Reply Melanie April 26, 2017 at 6:49 am

    Such a fan of tomato soup..simple yet tasty. This recipe will deffo be added to my list 🙂 x

  • Reply Tiffany April 26, 2017 at 7:56 am

    5 stars
    This tomato soup looks SO good! I love tomato soup and my kiddo loves to dip her pizza into it- something we discovered was amazing at Whole Foods the other day. Thanks for sharing this recipe I will be trying it out! 🙂

  • Reply Carla April 26, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    This looks so good! I’ve gotta make some tomato soup for lunch this week!

  • Reply Gemma April 26, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    This looks perfect and like you said you can freeze it and have a easy dinner one day when you’ve had a long day at work. Will have to give this a try, perfect for my batch cooking Sundays.

  • Reply Helen Costello April 27, 2017 at 10:11 am

    What a great colour! 45 minutes is no time at all for such a great soup. Perfect for a windy day like today.

  • Reply Amy Stead April 27, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    I’m partial to a good tomato soup so this is perfect for me! I love the idea of using coconut cream too as I’m vegetarian. I know you mention chicken stock, I often make my tomato dishes with vegetable stock. A previous commenter mentioned above that their kid loved to dip pizza in it. Well we always make a nice toasted brucetta with garlic and tomatos to accompany our dishes. I would try this with your sour dough recipe 🙂

  • Reply Vlad April 28, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    5 stars
    I kept buying tomato soup from the grocery store — but this time I’m gonna try making it on my own (good thing I said ‘I’ll TRY’ lol).

    It seems so easy yet I feel like my kitchen will go boom HAHA!

    Looks delish xx Brilliant pictures!

  • Reply Lindsey April 28, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    I am not a fan at all of a tomato soup. But knowing that this is one of your creations, I am some what tempted to try. Damn you and your amazing recipes.

  • Reply Candice Nikeia April 28, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    I love this so much! I love how rich you make this traditional soup! Yummy!

  • Reply Kathy Myers April 28, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    I love homemade tomato soup, especially with a grilled cheese sandwich. This recipe looks easy enough I could try it!

  • Reply Ritu Sharma April 29, 2017 at 1:45 am

    Tomato soup is my favourite one, will sure try this recipe.
    Loved it.

  • Reply Charlotte April 29, 2017 at 3:58 am

    My children love tomato but I have never made it from scratch. I am going to try this!

  • Reply Karen Jolly April 29, 2017 at 9:25 am

    This classic tomato soup looks tasty and they’re easy to cook. This is great!

  • Reply Luci Coo April 29, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    This looks for delicious. I am always looks for a way to have tomato soup that doesn’t have a lot of junk in it. I am going to pin the recipe and try to make it for a rainy day.

  • Reply Elena April 29, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    5 stars
    This may sound weird but I have never tried tomato soup. After seeing your photos I am convinced to try it. Thanks for sharing!!!

  • Reply Mal April 29, 2017 at 6:46 pm

    4 stars
    Oh, thanks for sharing! I do love the classic tomato soup as well! My version is a bit different; I don’t add water as I find the juice from canned tomatoes to be enough to dilude it, I also don’t add sour cream, I rather keep it straight tomato. Also, no sugar – tomatoes are usually quite sweet anyway and I want to keep it savoury!

  • Reply Elena Nemets April 30, 2017 at 11:20 am

    Oh, definitely worth trying! It looks so colorful and should be equally tasty too!

  • Reply Erica April 30, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    I’m typically not a big fan of Tomato Soup, but after reading this article I think I might just give it a second try. You’ve made it look so delicious! I’ll let you know how it goes.

  • Reply Jessica April 30, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    That soup looks amazing! We love grilled cheese with tomato soup. We also do tomato soup with tater tots or garlic bread to change it up a bit. I will have to try making our own tomato soup.

  • Reply Olivia Thristan May 1, 2017 at 7:08 am

    5 stars
    Oh wow, this looks amazing! I am going to make this tomorrow as it looks AMAZING! x

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