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Chilled Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

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A cool and creamy tomato soup with a surprise ingredient that brightens the flavor.

Two stemmed glasses of chilled creamy tomato basil soup.

This recipe was inspired by a fantastic chilled tomato soup I enjoyed at The Inn at Little Washington in Washington, VA years ago. It was the sweetest, brightest, and most intensely-flavored tomato soup I’d ever tasted. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what made it so good, so, curious about its unique taste, I asked our server who let me in on their little secret: orange juice. It sounds unusual, doesn’t it? But believe me, the orange juice brings out the tomatoes’ sweetness in the most delightful way, adding a bright, citrusy touch to the soup without stealing the show. Now that you know, you’ll definitely pick up on it. But, if you serve it to others without sharing the secret ingredient, they’ll simply marvel at how delicious it is, without being able to put their finger on exactly why.

“This soup was a very refreshing treat on a hot day. I really loved the brightness of the flavors – simple and delicious!”


What You’ll Need To Make Chilled Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

ingredients for chilled tomato basil soup

Step-by-Step Instructions

Begin with the garlic. Place each clove underneath the flat side of a chef’s knife and smash it with the palm of your hand — the peel will come right off. You don’t want to chop the garlic because it will burn if the pieces are too small. Next, roughly chop the onions and carrots and add everything to a large pot.

onions, garlic, and carrots in pot

Cook the onions, garlic and carrots in olive oil until softened and just starting to brown, about 15 minutes.

softened veggies in pot

Add the tomatoes, water, orange juice, sugar, salt, and basil.

Adding the tomatoes, water, orange juice, sugar and salt to the pot

Bring to a boil.boiling tomato basil soup

Cover and simmer for about 25 minutes.

soup after simmering

Purée the soup using a hand-held immersion blender (or in batches in a blender) until completely smooth.

blending the soup with an immersion blender

Stir in the cream. Don’t worry — there’s only a third of a cup in the whole pot. A little goes a very long way!

stirring in the heavy cream

Finally, chill the soup in the refrigerator until very cold. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with fresh chopped basil, or garnish with whole basil leaves if desired. Enjoy!

Two stemmed glasses of chilled creamy tomato basil soup.

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Chilled Creamy Tomato-Basil Soup

A cool and creamy tomato soup with a surprise ingredient that brightens the flavor.

Servings: 6
Total Time: 40 Minutes


  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch rounds
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 2 (28 oz) cans whole peeled tomatoes
  • 4 cups water
  • 1½ cups orange juice, preferably not from concentrate
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2½ teaspoons salt
  • 10 leaves fresh basil, plus more for garnishing soup
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft and just beginning to brown, about 15 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes, water, orange juice, sugar, salt and basil and bring the soup to a boil. Turn heat down to low, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes.
  3. Purée the soup with a hand-held immersion blender until completely smooth. (Alternatively, use a standard blender to purée soup in batches. Always be careful not to fill the jar more than halfway, and leave the hole in the lid open and loosely cover with a dish towel to allow the heat to escape.) Stir in the heavy cream. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and/or sugar if necessary. Note that the flavor of the orange juice is more pronounced when the soup is hot; once the soup is chilled, it will be more subtle.
  4. Transfer the soup to a container (or leave in the pot if you wish) and refrigerate until very cold.
  5. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with fresh chopped basil. Garnish with whole basil leaves if desired.
  6. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The soup can be frozen, without the cream, for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, add the heavy cream and stir until fully combined with the remainder of the soup.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 236
  • Fat: 12g
  • Saturated fat: 4g
  • Carbohydrates: 32g
  • Sugar: 22g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 3g
  • Sodium: 1349mg
  • Cholesterol: 18mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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  • OMG! The best tomato soup I ever made or ate! My husband didn’t want to wait for it to cool! Made it with no water, 2 cups veggie stock, farm fresh tomatoes and no cream. Soooo delicious! Thanks for another amazing recipe!

    • — Sharon S on August 9, 2023
    • Reply
  • This is a delicious soup and perfect for these very hot and muggy dog days of summer. Wonderful flavor, perfectly balanced. What a surprise adding orange juice would give to this recipe.
    Thanks. It’s a keeper.

    • — Victoria Roeser on August 2, 2023
    • Reply
  • I have a friend coming for lunch who is vegan. Any suggestions for a substitution for heavy cream in this recipe? Thanks.

    • — Esty on July 30, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Esty, you can either leave out the cream or use an alternative Some readers have commented that they’ve used Rich’s non-dairy coffee creamer (frozen) and Trader Joe’s unflavored non-dairy creamer. (Please keep in mind that I haven’t tried either of these.) Hope that helps and that you and your friend enjoy!

      • — Jenn on July 31, 2023
      • Reply
  • Thank you for posting this recipe. My tomato plants have been unusually prolific this summer, and I don’t think I can eat anymore caprese salad or marinara sauce! This is exactly what I needed.

    • — Elissa on July 29, 2023
    • Reply
  • This recipes sounds and looks right up my alley. I would like to know if I could substitute coconut cream in place of cows milk as I am unable to eat dairy. Thank you for all your beautiful, family friendly and delicious recipes. I have been a reader of your website for many years now.

    • — Jean Sanchez on July 27, 2023
    • Reply
    • Sure, Jean – or you could just leave it out. So glad you enjoy the recipes!

      • — Jenn on July 27, 2023
      • Reply
  • I can’t wait to try this. The orange juice makes sense to me. I’ve had “sangrita” in Mexico, which is a tomato and orange juice-based chaser for tequila.

    • — Michelle on July 27, 2023
    • Reply
  • I have made soup today to have tomorrow do I still add the cream before chilling or add it tomorrow before serving?

    • — Raewyn Boyd on March 10, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Raewyn, It’s fine to add the soup before chilling. 🙂

      • — Jenn on March 13, 2023
      • Reply
  • It was excellent hot and seemed even better the next day. After reading the comments, I cant wait to try and compare your hot recipe. I added chunks of fresh peeled tomato for added texture! My only notes for making again would be to hold off adding sugar until tasting because the OJ I used was very sweet! Family and neighbors loved it!

    • — Bob Wetzsteon on August 10, 2022
    • Reply
  • Can this be made with chicken broth instead of the water.
    Thank you

    • — Nanci on July 1, 2022
    • Reply
    • Sure, but I’d reduce the added salt a bit. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on July 1, 2022
      • Reply
  • This soup was a very refreshing treat on a hot day. I really loved the brightness of the flavors; simple and delicious!

    • My Mahjongg students LOVED this new recipe for gazpacho. Easy to make, bright color, slightly sweet, and delicious.

      • — Claudia on August 18, 2023
      • Reply
  • THere is a lot of salt called for – and we try to use very little. Will it still be good if we cut the salt in half?

    • Sure, and you can add more salt to taste before serving. Hope you enjoy!

  • Hi Jenn,

    If I don’t have fresh basil available, how much dried should I use?


    • I’d recommend about 1 teaspoon. Hope you enjoy!

  • What a delicious soup! The orange juice pairs nicely with the tomatoes and basil. I used the Pomi tomatoes as well as some cherry tomatoes I had roasted. Came out perfect. I have made dozens of tomato soups over the years and this is my favorite. I am making it my go to soup!

  • If I use fresh tomatoes, then can any variety like heirlooms work? Do I need to peel them?

    • Yes and yes. 🙂 Hope you enjoy!

  • Excellent and easy to make soup!

  • Jenn, for your fiery roasted tomato basil soup from the cookbook, can i substitute field tomatoes for plum tomatoes? Would there be a difference in taste? Love that soup.

    • Sure, Olga – that should be fine. 🙂

      • If you’re using fresh tomatoes, how many pounds would you recommend?

        • — Vanessa on August 27, 2022
        • Reply
        • Hi Vanessa, You’d need about 3-1/4 pounds. Hope you enjoy!

          • — Jenn on August 30, 2022
          • Reply
  • I make a lot of soups, but my wife says that this is the best yet. I’ve got to admit, it was pretty great.

  • I just posted before that this recipe is a 4.
    After it has chilled in the refrigerator overnight, it’s definitely a 5!

    • — Jennifer Bohannon
    • Reply
  • I made this with only 1/2 cup of fresh-squeezed orange juice. I cannot imagine adding 1.5 cups! That seems like it would be way too orange-y! :/
    I used two 32oz cans of crushed tomatoes.
    It was pretty good. I’m not a huge fan of tomato soup to begin with, but I think it’s A LOT better than canned.
    We ate it hot, but I’m interested to see how it will be chilled.

    • — Jennifer Bohannon
    • Reply
  • Love tomato soup. When I have an over abundance of tomatoes in my garden I freeze them and take out what I need for this soup all year. I use almond milk instead of cream and I can’t tell any difference. I double this recipe and freeze for future lunches or dinner.

    • Would love to make this soup- I’m not sure if the recipe says 2x28oz cans of tomatoes = 56 ozs in total or 28ozs in total.

      • — Jenny on October 22, 2023
      • Reply
      • Hi Jenny, sorry for any confusion. You’ll need two 28-ounce cans (so a total of 56 ounces). Hope you enjoy!

        • — Jenn on October 23, 2023
        • Reply
  • I live in Colorado and love tomato soup on a cold day! This recipe is great especially with a grilled, buttered telera roll. I did alter a couple ingredients to my liking…first I used fresh tomatoes and reduced the orange juice to 1/2 cup. I highly recommend trying this recipe!!

    • Reply
  • Used fresh tomatoes

  • Hi Jenn,

    I absolutely love your recipes and would really like to try this one, but I’m not able to have dairy. Do you think it would still work well if I left out the cream?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Natalie, It’s fine to leave it out. Enjoy!

  • I liked this soup, but for my palate the orange juice flavor was too strong. I may try next time with fresh squeezed juice (I did use not-from-concentrate) and reduce significantly to 1/2 cup rather than one and one half cups.

  • Can I make this with sour cream instead of heavy cream?

    • Hi Ziesi, for the best results, I’d stick with the heavy cream here- sorry!

  • How much is a serving size? One cup? Total recipe 6 cups?

    • Stella, I think a serving would be more like 1 1/2 cups. Enjoy!

  • I followed this recipe but also added fresh parsley and thyme. Served this hot with grilled cheese sandwiches for a cozy winter supper that everyone loved.

  • Very good! I used fresh tomatoes, because we have a ton of them right now. That said, I think I will adjust the recipe a bit next time to account for the sweetness/tartness/whatever of the tomatoes themselves. A little less sugar would have been better with the ones I have now, but it will always be different. I served the soup (hot) with fancy grilled cheese sandwiches. My family was impressed!

  • I’ve recently started to eat paleo. It’s hard to give up grains, but this soup works. Good in winter and summer.

  • Hi Jenn! This is my daughter’s favorite kind of soup. She always gets it to go from a place in town. I want to make this for her since all your other recipes are amazing!! Can I serve it warm? She will give me ‘that look’ if I give it to her cold.

  • 2% milk and serving it warm was just really just as good as the time I made it with heavy cream and served it cold. My family could barely tell the difference. Great versatile recipe for all seasons.

  • Doesn’t the oj make the cream curdle?

    • Nope 🙂

  • I made this recipe exactly as described and was not happy with the texture. However being an experienced cook I realised that putting twice through a sieve was all that was required. The resulting soup was perfect, a delightful flavour and a superb texture.
    Inexperienced cooks may not be aware of what is required re texture so I feel the recipe would be enhanced by this simple addition.

    I do thank you so much for this dish, my dinner guests loved it and I will make it again.

  • Just as the recipe called for and ADDICTIVE – cold or warm!

  • The tomato soup looks delicious. I am going to beg my wife to make some soon. Thank you.

    • — Frank D'Alessandro
    • Reply
  • This has my mouth watering!! What a beautiful soup inspired by the flavors of summer!

  • I would like to use fresh tomatoes – how many should I use?

    • Hi Rachelle, You’d need about 3-1/4 lbs. Hope you enjoy!

  • Orange Juice???? Yes..that would be amazing!

  • Made a half recipe of this yesterday to have on hand for weekend lunch and to take to work for lunch next week. 1/2 recipe made quite a bit of soup. Served with Rosemary bread from Trader Joe’s. I will cut down on the amount of OJ next time. I used 3/4 c. but it was a little too much orange flavor in the soup for my taste.

  • With tomatoes in season, would you recommend any particular variety? I’d like to try this with garden- or farmers market fresh.

    • Hi Norm, Just the sweetest, ripest ones you can get your hands on 🙂

  • Can this be made with low fat half and half instead of heavy cream?

    • Hi Renee, I’d stick with the heavy cream…just maybe use a little less.

  • Looks delicious,….anxious to try

  • I love tomato soup! Especially with grilled cheese 🙂 This looks awesome! Saving this recipe

  • Can’t wait to try this recipe! If I use fresh tomatoes, how many would I need?

    • Hi Mimi, You’d need about 3-1/4 pounds.

  • I am going to try this soup today. A restaurant in town serves the very best Tomato Basil Soup only hot and they won’t divulge the secret ingredients. other than tomato sauce, basil and cream. I am wondering if orange juice is the secret ingredient.
    Also, I would like to know if this soup is good served hot.

    • — Martha Harrison
    • Reply
    • Hi Martha, It is good hot, but I think it’s better cold. You might try my Classic Tomato Soup if you prefer hot.

  • I want to make this for 3 people and if I cut all ingredients in half would the recipe work?

    • Yes, absolutely!

  • Is this soup also good cold?

    • — Virginia Mitchell
    • Reply
    • Hi Virginia, This soup is meant to be served cold. For a hot version, check out my classic tomato soup.

  • This sounds delicious, I wonder if it could be served warm?

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