Classic Tomato Soup

5 stars based on 4 votes


This is my favorite tomato soup, and it’s so easy. The only chopping involves some onions, garlic and basil, and the rest comes out of cartons and jars. Top with croutons and serve with good bread or grilled cheese sandwiches.

Classic Tomato Soup

Servings: 10


For the Soup

  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 3-1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 (26-ounce) boxes Pomi chopped tomatoes (or canned diced tomatoes; see note)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt
  • ground black pepper

For Garnish

  • Fresh chopped basil
  • Seasoned croutons
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


  1. In a large nonreactive pot (see note), heat the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat. When butter is melted, add the onions and cook over medium-low/medium heat, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent. Do not brown. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes more, stirring to be sure garlic does not burn. Add the flour and continue cooking and stirring for 1-2 minutes more.
  2. Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, sugar, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat while stirring to make sure that the flour is not sticking to the bottom or sides of the pan. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.
  3. Use a hand-held immersion blender to puree soup until very smooth. Alternatively, let the soup cool slightly and puree in batches in a blender. Be sure to crack the lid or remove the center cap to allow steam to escape. Rinse the pot and return the soup to pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper (it depends on the chicken broth you use, but I usually end up adding about a teaspoon more salt and several grinds of pepper). Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with fresh basil, croutons, and a generous sprinkling of Parmigiano- Reggiano if desired.
  4. Note: If you can't find Pomi boxed tomatoes, use canned. Just be sure to cook the soup a little longer, about 40 minutes.
  5. Note: A nonreactive pot is made of a material that will not negatively react with acids. Glass, stainless steel or enameled pots are all safe to use. Nonstick pots are also okay but be sure there are no scratches in the non-stick coating.

Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    I heard about your blog in January when my mother in law was sent to the Pallative Care Ward. She couldn’t eat anything that wasn’t puréed and was losing her enjoyment of food due to lack of variety.

    I made several of your soups for her, starting with this one. I reduced the sugar to 1 Tbsp by mistake and it was still fabulous. I left out the garnish but followed the directions otherwise.

    I love that it’s not a cream of tomato soup so this has become my new go-to tomato soup. Delicious, healthier and more affordable than canned soups.

    - Dawne on March 26, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Thank you so much for posting all your recipes! :) I tried the tomato soup & it was really delicious. I feel your site has been a God send as I am taking radiation treatment for cervix cancer & I lost my appetite, but thanks to your good soups I can enjoy some good meals every day.
    Best Regards Darlene

    - Darlene Askjemd on January 3, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Oh my gosh this soup is soooo good! I’m a skeptic but now reformed. This is the 3rd soup I’ve made and they’re ALL delicious. How many stars can I give this one?

    My daughter made some fresh croutons with garlic infused olive oil and we enjoyed. Thank you.

    - virginia tate on December 16, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    My son needed a soup recipe for a cookery lesson at school so we browsed the selection here and settled on this recipe. Considering he’s a bit of a novice the soup turned out amazing. Took a bit of work trying to convert some of the measures into what we are more familiar with in the UK, but it all turned out lovely.

    - Lee Ingold on September 11, 2014 Reply
  • I made this soup tonight, and it is delicious! I skipped the flour altogether, and it turned out still smooth, creamy, and perfect. I also added just a splash of milk at the very end as a few other reviewers suggested! I also added oregano and basil while the soup was simmering. Thanks for an incredible, easy tomato soup recipe!

    - Cyndi on May 13, 2014 Reply
  • This recipe was really easy to make and was delicious. I served it with grilled cheese croutons which made it into a meal.

    - Fran on December 19, 2013 Reply
  • Just a note to say that ‘all natural’ does not qualify the healthiest food — Tomatoes are about the heaviest pesticide-sprayed of all Produce, so I buy only Organic Tomatoes, in all its forms — will skip the Pomi ‘all-natural’ brand.

    - naggy maggy on December 6, 2013 Reply
    • According to La Cucina italiana magazine: “Pomi Tomatoes are grown in Italy without pesticides, herbicides and without the use of genetically modified seeds. Unlike many other canned tomatoes, Pomi is packaged without preservatives, added water, citric acid or any additives. Pomi has just one ingredient: tomatoes. Pomi contains no added salt. Pomi is 100% all natural and comes in a box (Tetra Pak) which makes it BPA-free.”

      - Charles Baker on February 2, 2014 Reply
  • Love this soup. The only substitution I made was to use my own canned tomatoes.

    - Janet lester on November 14, 2013 Reply
  • Can’t wait to try this. The canned version just doesn’t work for me anymore but i do love grilled cheese and Tomato soup

    - kelly almasy on November 7, 2013 Reply
  • I just made this Classic Tomato Soup today, along with grilled cheese sandwiches, and it is awesome! My son always wants tomato soup but I won’t buy the canned stuff due to the crazy high sodium content. Thank you for this recipe and also for introducing me to boxed tomatoes…there is a huge difference in flavor! I never thought about a “tinny” flavor before in canned tomatoes, but after having the boxed tomatoes I now notice a tinned flavor in the canned. This is a keeper recipe – yum!

    - Julie on November 6, 2013 Reply
  • ok…so i was in a big hurry and wanted to make this soup…totally misread the recipe…left out the flour…added only one onion…less butter/less oil…long story short, it was STILL delicious…i think if you need to make it gluten free, leaving out the flour is fine (i did it accidentally). am curious what the flour would have “done” to the soup? i also had some basil, so i threw that in at the beginning…used my immersion blender and it was nice and thick enough (no different consistency than a canned tomato soup)…added some cream at the end–just a touch, but added a bit more on the reheat the next day. i think it’s delicious. and it’s the third tomato soup recipe i’ve tried–best by far!

    - kim on October 18, 2013 Reply
    • So glad it came out, Kim! The flour just thickens it a bit.

      - Jenn on October 18, 2013 Reply
  • Another amazing soup! This is the second soup recipe I’ve made (I made the summer vege soup a couple of days ago) and it is sooooo good. I may become known as the soup lady in my home because I think I have to try another one of your fabulous soup recipes soon!

    - Connie on September 25, 2013 Reply
  • Love this soup. The only changes I make are using vegetable stock as we’re vegetarian and sometimes I use whole tomatoes that I roast in the oven and puree. Great soup for a dull winter day.

    - Sri K. on March 14, 2013 Reply
  • I am not a fan of soup, but this soup is awesome! I have made it several times and usually freeze half. With grilled cheese, it’s a great weeknight meal. Thanks so much for all the great recipes!

    - Amy on March 13, 2013 Reply
  • I add a pinch of red pepper flakes with the onions for just a little kick, perfect with grilled cheese

    - Mary Thompson on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • First time to make tomato soup from scratch and it was a hit.

    - Carolyn on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • I completely omitted the butter and the soup was fantastic. Was feeling adventurous and added hot sauce and a dash or two of Old Bay Seasoning. Used the Pomi tomatoes and loved them. Served with grilled sourdough and Swiss cheese with an olive relish.

    - Julie on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • During tomato season I make a tomato base mix that becomes tomato soup or a variety of sauces during the deep winter. That’s my shortcut for making wonderful tomato soup or pasta quickly.

    - Ed on February 8, 2013 Reply
  • Wonderful recipe. Some toast triangles topped with Gruyere would be perfect with this!

    - KD` on June 28, 2012 Reply
  • I added a tsp, or a few tsp’s, of dried basil to this soup too. It has replaced my previous go to tomato soup recipe.

    - Dani on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • Perfect for a cold, snowy night. Thank you

    - @nola727 on May 21, 2012 Reply
  • I really liked this soup though it is even better with a little bit of half and half in it. Thanks for all that you do!

    - Sherri on May 18, 2012 Reply
  • This is GOOD soup. My wife and I made it the other day, and we both think it’s great. It’s not the easiest recipe in the world (for us, anyway), but it’s worth it.

    At first we thought that 3 1/2 cups of onion might be too much, but we decided to try the recipe as is. It worked out fine. Try it, you’ll like it.

    - Rich on March 29, 2012 Reply
  • […] It is so good with a crunchy piece of bruschetta or grilled cheese sandwich on a cold day.  He forwarded me this recipe that he found on the fabulous Once Upon a Chef blog, and then a reminder, and then a nudge that it would probably be really good.  It was. I made it over the weekend and wouldn’t change a thing.  You can get the recipe here. […]

    - The best tomato soup on March 20, 2012 Reply
  • This looks incredible! I really appreciate the tidbits about using nonreactive pots and avoiding canned tomatoes.

    - Emily on March 12, 2012 Reply
  • This is very similar to a soup I make almost weekly – try adding some a few diced carrots when you soften the onions. It makes the soup sweeter. And I always add dried basil as well as a fresh garnish. Great recipe.

    - Karen on March 10, 2012 Reply
  • Comforting and delicious! I want to try this recipe at home!

    - Claudia on March 5, 2012 Reply
  • Add a splash of milk or cream at the end – YUM!

    - Amy on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • Always love a great tomato soup recipe.

    - Tracy Fender on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • I love a pureed tomato soup and your recipe looks wonderful! Definitely a soup to warm up with after some sledding!

    - mjskit on February 9, 2012 Reply
  • Ok so ever since I was a child when I got sick my mom would make me tomato soup (campbells canned) and either pp&j or grilled cheese. This recipe is worthy of breaking tradition – once i made this and 1. Saw how easy it was 2. Tasted how good it was 3. Husband approved – never going back to the can! Thank you for the recipe!

    - Maria on September 19, 2011 Reply
  • Been looking for a great ‘real’ homemade tomatoe soup! When the kids were little, it was ‘Ma-how about red soup & yellow sandwiches for supper’. Kids are grown and gone, but still talk about red soup & yellow sandwiches. May just have to have this for Sunday lunch with those grilled cheese! Plenty of snow here yet in Nebraska!

    - Madeleine Madsen on February 11, 2010 Reply
  • Ah wow this looks delicious! I wish we had snow as well :(.

    - Natalie on December 10, 2009 Reply
  • I love the name of your blog! Does Whole Foods sell the Pomi tomatoes too?

    - Melissa on December 9, 2009 Reply

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