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Chilled Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

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tomato soup

This recipe was inspired by a chilled tomato soup I had at a restaurant recently that tasted brighter, sweeter and more intensely of tomatoes than any other tomato soup I’d ever tried. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was in it, so I asked the waiter and he told me the secret ingredient was orange juice. The orange juice highlighted the sweetness of the tomatoes and livened up the taste of the soup without calling any attention to itself. Brilliant! Now that you know, you’ll taste it but ask anyone to guess what’s in it and they’ll have no idea — they’ll just love it.


You could definitely make this soup with fresh tomatoes since they’re in season but I cheat and use Pomi boxed tomatoes. They’re all natural and don’t contain citric acid or additives like the canned variety; they also don’t need to cook as long since they don’t have that “tinny” taste from the can. You might be able to find them at your regular grocery store — my local Giant carries them right near the canned tomatoes — or you can always find them at Whole Foods. (If you can’t find them, it’s fine to use canned tomatoes; just cook the soup about 10 minutes longer.)


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.


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


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


Toss in some fresh basil leaves.


Then cover and simmer for about 25 minutes.


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


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!


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!


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Chilled Creamy Tomato-Basil Soup

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 1/4-inch rounds
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 2 (26 oz) boxes Pomi chopped tomatoes or 2 (28 oz) cans crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups water
  • 1-1/2 cups orange juice, preferably not from concentrate
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 10 leaves fresh basil, plus more for garnishing soup
  • 1/3 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.
  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

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  • 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, 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.

Reviews & Comments

  • Used fresh tomatoes

    • — Alice on October 6, 2018
    • Reply
  • 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!

    • — Natalie on June 15, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Natalie, It’s fine to leave it out. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on June 16, 2018
      • Reply
  • 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.

    • — Sandy on July 3, 2017
    • Reply
  • Can I make this with sour cream instead of heavy cream?

    • — Ziesi on September 11, 2016
    • Reply
    • Hi Ziesi, for the best results, I’d stick with the heavy cream here- sorry!

      • — Jenn on September 12, 2016
      • Reply
  • How much is a serving size? One cup? Total recipe 6 cups?

    • — Stella on August 9, 2016
    • Reply
    • Stella, I think a serving would be more like 1 1/2 cups. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 9, 2016
      • Reply
  • 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.

    • — KL Gaylin on January 11, 2016
    • Reply
  • 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!

    • — Mrs T on August 18, 2015
    • Reply
  • I’ve recently started to eat paleo. It’s hard to give up grains, but this soup works. Good in winter and summer.

    • — coco kaminsen on March 19, 2015
    • Reply
  • 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.

    • — Rachel on February 2, 2015
    • Reply
  • 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.

    • — Carolina on December 4, 2014
    • Reply
  • Doesn’t the oj make the cream curdle?

    • — Eg on August 7, 2014
    • Reply
    • Nope 🙂

      • — Jenn on August 7, 2014
      • Reply
  • 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.

    • — Anne Murphy on March 2, 2014
    • Reply
  • Just as the recipe called for and ADDICTIVE – cold or warm!

    • — Amy C on November 8, 2013
    • Reply
  • The tomato soup looks delicious. I am going to beg my wife to make some soon. Thank you.

  • 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?

    • — Rachelle on August 6, 2013
    • Reply
    • Hi Rachelle, You’d need about 3-1/4 lbs. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 6, 2013
      • Reply
  • 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.

    • — Danita on August 4, 2013
    • Reply
  • With tomatoes in season, would you recommend any particular variety? I’d like to try this with garden- or farmers market fresh.

    • — Norm on August 4, 2013
    • Reply
    • Hi Norm, Just the sweetest, ripest ones you can get your hands on 🙂

      • — Jenn on August 4, 2013
      • Reply
  • Can this be made with low fat half and half instead of heavy cream?

    • — Renee on August 3, 2013
    • Reply
    • Hi Renee, I’d stick with the heavy cream…just maybe use a little less.

      • — Jenn on August 3, 2013
      • Reply
  • 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?

    • — Mimi on August 2, 2013
    • Reply
    • Hi Mimi, You’d need about 3-1/4 pounds.

      • — Jenn on August 4, 2013
      • Reply
  • 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.

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

      • — Jenn on August 2, 2013
      • Reply
  • I want to make this for 3 people and if I cut all ingredients in half would the recipe work?

    • — Karen on August 2, 2013
    • Reply
    • Yes, absolutely!

      • — Jenn on August 2, 2013
      • Reply
  • Is this soup also good cold?

    • — Virginia Mitchell on August 2, 2013
    • Reply
    • Hi Virginia, This soup is meant to be served cold. For a hot version, check out my classic tomato soup.

      • — Jenn on August 2, 2013
      • Reply
  • This sounds delicious, I wonder if it could be served warm?

    • — Tami on August 2, 2013
    • Reply

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