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Classic Tomato Soup

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Made from pantry staples, this tomato soup is delicious topped with croutons or paired with grilled cheese sandwiches.

how to make tomato soup

Adapted from Fine Cooking magazine, this vibrant tomato soup made from canned tomatoes is my go-to in the fall and winter when fresh tomatoes are out of season. Top the soup with croutons, fresh basil, and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano – or, for a heartier meal, serve it with gooey grilled cheese sandwiches.

What you’ll need to make Classic tomato soup

How to make Classic Tomato Soup

In a large nonreactive pot, 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.

how to make tomato soup

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 to 2 minutes more.

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.

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.) Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Stir in remaining 3 tablespoons of butter.

Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with fresh basil, croutons, and a generous sprinkling of Parmigiano-Reggiano.

how to make tomato soup

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Classic Tomato Soup

Made from pantry staples, this tomato soup is delicious topped with croutons or paired with grilled cheese sandwiches.

Servings: 10
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 45 Minutes
Total Time: 60 Minutes


For the Soup

  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 medium yellow onions, chopped (about 3½ cups)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For Serving (Optional)

  • Fresh chopped basil
  • Croutons
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


  1. In a large nonreactive pot (see note), heat the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-low heat. When the butter is melted, add the onions and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent. Do not brown; reduce heat if necessary. 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 to 2 minutes more.
  2. Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, sugar, thyme, 1¼ teaspoons salt and ½ 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 the heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer for about 40 minutes.
  3. Using a hand-held immersion blender, purée the soup until very smooth. (Alternatively, let the soup cool slightly and purée in batches in a blender. Be sure to crack the lid or remove the center cap to allow steam to escape.) Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with fresh basil, croutons, and Parmigiano-Reggiano, if desired. (Nutritional information below does not include optional garnishes.)
  4. 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.
  5. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The soup can be frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost the soup in the refrigerator for 12 hours and then reheat it on the stovetop over medium heat until hot.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (10 servings)
  • Calories: 212
  • Fat: 13 g
  • Saturated fat: 5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 19 g
  • Sugar: 10 g
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Protein: 6 g
  • Sodium: 682 mg
  • Cholesterol: 20 mg

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.

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  • Hi Jenn We absolutely love this soup and I’m making it again today because it’s a snowy cold day here. I am going to serve it with grilled cheese sandwiches. My question is I have a red pepper starting to expire but still usable. And I’m wondering if I could use that in the soup. My husband isn’t crazy about red or green peppers but I know when I blend it he won’t notice it. I’m just wondering if it will change the flavour profile too much?

    • — Judy on January 28, 2023
    • Reply
    • That should work just fine, Judy. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 30, 2023
      • Reply
      • I actually roasted the pepper and then added it. You don’t even notice it but you get a flavour boost (and dare I say, extra veggies?) :0)

        • — Judy on January 31, 2023
        • Reply
        • Glad it came out nicely!

          • — Jenn on January 31, 2023
          • Reply
  • Love your recipe!
    I added some thin sliced carrots and cooked rice just to make it more substantial. Also added a bit more seasoning (I like a little spice). Very yummy!
    Thank you!

    • — Jojo on January 28, 2023
    • Reply
  • This is most definitely a classic, comfort meal. It was so delicious and will become a regular part of my menu prep.

    • — Sparks Cooks on January 21, 2023
    • Reply
  • Made this for the first time and followed the recipe except added some chopped basil frozen in ice cubes from my garden. It was so good. Now my new tomato soup recipe

    • — Riley on January 13, 2023
    • Reply
  • i have lots of leftover cherry tomatoes that I didn’t use. Do you think I could substitute your recipe with them?

    • — jeanne on January 3, 2023
    • Reply
    • Sure, that should work Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 4, 2023
      • Reply
  • Absolute best tomato soup ever! I have made many, including many other classic recipes. And I have even roasted the tomatoes for other recipes, but this was better. Such a smooth, subtle and wonderfully rich, well balanced, tomato flavor. It helps using really good tomatoes (I use Alta Cucina). And it helps having a very powerful blender (Vita Mix) to make it very smooth and creamy. Thank you, Jenn, your recipes are always outstanding!

    • — Derek on December 30, 2022
    • Reply
  • So yummy! My grandchildren and husband LOVED it!!! Definitely a favourite, had it with grilled cheese for a perfect weeknight dinner!

    • — Noreen R on December 9, 2022
    • Reply
  • Ok to used crushed tomatoes instead? That’s what I have in pantry now…

    • — Carolyn on December 8, 2022
    • Reply
    • Sure, Carolyn, that should be fine. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 9, 2022
      • Reply
      • Jenn, i recently had tomato soup with ginger in a restaurant. It was a surprisingly wonderful combination. How might I adapt this recipe to incorporate ginger? I’m ready to experiment and I thought since your recipes are fantastic, you’d be the one to ask. Thanks!

        • — Barbara on March 9, 2023
        • Reply
        • Hi Barbara, I’d use about 1 tablespoon of minced ginger and cook it with the onions. I’d love to hear how it turns out!

          • — Jenn on March 10, 2023
          • Reply
          • Jenn,, I did one pot with ginger and one without so I could compare. Both were delicious. The ginger added a nice kick. My husband preferred your classic. With grilled sharp cheddar on salted ciabatta it was a great meal for a cold, dreary night.

            • — Barbara on March 10, 2023
          • Sounds like a delicious meal (with or without the ginger) – thanks for reporting back!

            • — Jenn on March 13, 2023
  • I’m out of yellow onions. Can I substitute with red onions?

    • — Hiba Ijaz on December 1, 2022
    • Reply
    • Red onions will work here. Enjoy! 🙂

      • — Jenn on December 1, 2022
      • Reply
  • I made this yesterday after a chilly day of yard work. I used five cloves of garlic. So good!!!!

    • — Mary Ann McNaughton on November 11, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hey, Jenn. This is funny, but I bet this has happened to you. I got it in my mind to make my fav tomato soup recipe from Fine Cooking. After looking online for it with no go (not realizing they had gone under) I bloody looked through all of the issues (going way back to early 00s.) with no luck. Thankfully I came across your reference to it in your adaption. So, is your adaption pretty close to the original? It does ring a bell. If you happen to know the date of the Fine Cooking you got this recipe from, I’d really appreciate it. Meanwhile, I’m going to try your recipe. Many thanks.

    • — Julie on October 27, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Julie, I wish I could help but I don’t know what issue that recipe came from. I do believe that my recipe is fairly close to the original though I don’t know exactly what tweaks I made. Hope you enjoy this version if you make it!

      • — Jenn on November 1, 2022
      • Reply
    • Hi, Julie. The recipe is from issue 91 of Fine Cooking. Sorry, I don’t know the date. FYI, there is a Fine Cooking Community group on Facebook and through that you can get access to nearly all the past issues.

      • — Kay on December 26, 2022
      • Reply
  • Easy to make and very good. More than the sum of its parts. Used Costco San Marzano canned tomatoes which were perfect for this recipe.

    • — Diana on October 27, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hello Jen,
    With the abundance of fresh tomatoes from the local farmers markets can you use fresh tomatoes this for this recipe? If so what type of tomatoes or adjustments would you make.
    Love all of your recipes & how you include pictures for every step. It’s helpful for 1st time recipes.

    • — Catherine Podkul on October 10, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Catherine, You can use fresh tomatoes here without any adjustments. And I’d stick with your standard varieties (tomatoes om the vine, roma, beefsteak, etc.). Hope you enjoy (and so glad you like the recipes)!

      • — Jenn on October 10, 2022
      • Reply
  • Made this for the first time. Need a little comfort food once in awhile. Simple to make not many ingredients. Doesn’t have that heavy acidity taste like most tomato dishes. Highly recommended.

    • — Spencer on October 1, 2022
    • Reply
  • Made this for the first time. Need a little comfort food… what an awesome dish.

    • — Spencer on October 1, 2022
    • Reply
  • We have made this recipe around 4-5 times. It is delicious and not complicated to make. It is ready in one hour and is so perfect for a nice lunch or dinner. Especially nice on a day when a little extra TLC or comfort is needed. Thank you Jenn for a wonderful recipe! We appreciate it very much!

    • — Cheryl Skornik on September 13, 2022
    • Reply
  • Oh my God! This soup is amazing! I tried tomato soup at an Italian restaurant I worked at and always wanted to try and make it myself. Unfortunately the recipe the cook gave me was very vague and I never tried to make it. Thank you so much for the wonderful recipe!

    • — Svetlana on May 12, 2022
    • Reply
  • Enjoyed this soup very much, and I will make it again. I had added more onion, and garlic than the recipe, and next time I definitely won’t try that. Thank you!

    • — Trevor Christiansen on March 27, 2022
    • Reply
  • Really yummy! Simple ingredients and great flavor!

    • — Eileen on February 16, 2022
    • Reply
  • Best tomato soup EVER!!
    Ally in NJ

    • — Ally-O on January 27, 2022
    • Reply
  • Loved this soup! I added a half cup of half & half and the entire family devoured it.

    • — Kelley Rose on January 27, 2022
    • Reply
  • Jenn,
    Is this the exact same recipe as your previous soup recipe which called for Pomi tomatoes (with the exception of canned v boxed tomatoes)? I loved that exact recipe and would love to have it again.


    • — Lee on January 20, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Lee, Yes, this is the same recipe; I switched the type of tomatoes called for because many readers were having a hard time finding the Pomi tomatoes. If you can get them, feel free to use them. The amount of tomatoes in the canned version is slightly different than the Pomi tomatoes, but the difference is minuscule, so I’d just stick to the recipe. Hope that clarifies!

      • — Jenn on January 21, 2022
      • Reply
      • Thank you for your prompt response. This is our all-time favorite tomato soup recipe. And we enjoy your cookbook. Thank you.

        • — Lee on February 5, 2022
        • Reply
  • The instructions were easy to follow and the tomato soup was very good. I especially enjoyed the generous amount of onions called for in the recipe as well as the choice of thyme for the seasoning herb.

    • — Sarah on January 5, 2022
    • Reply
  • This soup is part of our regular rotation. So easy and so delicious!! Thank you for all of the awesome recipes, Jenn!

    • — Stefanie on December 20, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, do you prefer the canned tomatoes to your previous recipe using Pomi chopped?

    I’ve been making it for years. It is by far the BEST tomato soup recipe I’ve tried and the only one I make now! Thank you for a great recipe!

    • — Kathy K on November 3, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Kathy, Honestly, they are equally good. I only changed it because the boxed tomatoes can be hard to find.

      • — Jenn on November 3, 2021
      • Reply
  • Jenn, can I use a gluten free alternative for the flour?

    • — Michele on October 7, 2021
    • Reply
    • Definitely!

      • — Jenn on October 7, 2021
      • Reply
  • This is a simple, tasty comfort soup that is perfect when I don’t have a lot of time. I omit the butter, use chicken stock, and sometimes add basil and a teaspoon of crushed red chili peppers for a little bit of kick. Thanks for another winner!

    • — Karen on September 3, 2021
    • Reply
  • Absolutely delicious! The only modification I made is to use 5 cups of chicken stock and 1 cup of whole milk to make it a little creamy. So simple and satisfying!

    • — Kathy on August 22, 2021
    • Reply
  • This tomato soup is delicious! Some of us add a few tablespoons of cream to our bowls just because we like it that way but it’s not needed to be good. Thank you for the recipe.

    • — Joanne on July 16, 2021
    • Reply
  • Delicious!

    • — Rosie on June 15, 2021
    • Reply
  • Could I use frozen roma tomatoes instead of canned? I have lots in the freezer from last years crop and I’m trying to find a good use for them. Any other suggestions would be appreciated!

    • — Kerrie on May 13, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure Kerrie, I think that should work without any modifications. Please LMK how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on May 13, 2021
      • Reply
  • I made this for the first time tonight, and it didn’t disappoint. My only change is that I omitted the butter. Simple, tasty and healthy. Thanks Jenn!

    • — Karen on April 12, 2021
    • Reply
  • Absolutely fabulous tomato soup. Have made numerous times.

  • I made this soup tonight and served it with the French Lentil Salad with Goat Cheese and some toasted olive bread. It was a delicious and light vegetarian meal that was easy to prepare.

  • Hi Jenn, I really want to try this delicious sounding recipe for an upcoming visit from my stepdaughter, however, she is allergic to onions! How can I compensate for them in this recipe? Garlic?
    Thanks so much! Love your blog and your recipes!

    • Hi Millie you could use up to five cloves of garlic to compensate for the onions in this but I wouldn’t use any more than that or the soup will be too garlicky. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!

  • Another awesome and flavourful recipe – thanks, Jenn!

    • — Lorraine Rossi Marier
    • Reply
  • Great tasting soup my self and family loved

  • I made this for supper tonight and my family loved it! I didn’t have thyme so I left it out as I wasn’t sure what I could use as a substitute.
    I loved that the recipe called for ingredients I usually have in the pantry and it was perfect selection for a cold snowy day!

  • Just made your classic Tomato Soup. Nice. An overnight rest on my outdoor porch in the pot I simmered it in was in the plan. I also added a carrot and russet potato that the immersion blender simply loved the challenge. The flavor and consistency were top drawer. Five stars and a snow moon.

  • Just finished this for tomorrow’s lunch. Absolutely delicious! The flavor of the tomatoes is so good (used Cento Italian canned). I added a bit of cream at the end only as I had some I needed to use. It mellowed the tomatoes just a bit. So good! I’m sure it will be even better tomorrow! Thanks, Jenn!

  • Hi Jenn!
    this recipe looks delicious – what are your thoughts on using a vegetable stock?
    I am HUGE fan – thank you so much for all of your amazing recipes!

    • Hi Lisa, It’s perfectly fine to use vegetable stock here. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

  • Love this soup! Forgive me if I have overlooked this info, but what is the serving size? Thanks for all the great recipes!

    • — Jennifer Howell
    • Reply
    • Glad you like it. I would guesstimate that a serving is about 1-1/2 cups.

  • Just made this for the first time and it is amazingly delicious! I used San Marzano canned whole tomatoes which I think makes a huge difference in flavor. I will definitely be making this again! Thank you for sharing all these recipes. I’ve yet to try one that I did not like.

    • — Danette Harlow
    • Reply
  • This was very good. The fresh basil is a wonderful addition. I had some fresh vegetable broth so used that. Now I know why I don’t enjoy canned soup. Fresh is so much better.

  • I haven’t made this yet but plan to after all the great reviews. We are vegetarian, so I will sub in veggie stock for the chicken stock. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

  • I’ve been making this recipe for years and glad to see it featured on the blog email today. I add fresh or frozen basil at the end. The quality of the tomatoes used makes a big difference in flavor. If you can afford San Marzanos or other tomatoes from Italy, their flavors are more intense than American-grown canned tomatoes, and greatly improve the soup.

  • I’m always at a loss when it says “salt to taste”, how much should I start with 2 teaspoons? Thanks, Ally-O in NJ

    • Hi Ally, Although the ingredient list just says salt, if you look at the instructions in the recipe, you’ll see that it calls for 1-1/4 teaspoons. The only salt to taste is after you’ve prepared and blended the soup. At that point, if you feel like you need more salt, I’d start with just a pinch. Hope that clarifies and that you enjoy!

      • Thanks Jenn! I only looked at the ingredients , DUH! 🙂

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