Classic Tomato Soup

Tested & Perfected Recipes

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

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

Ingredients

For the Soup

  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 medium yellow onions, chopped (about 3-1/2 cups)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes or 2 (26-ounce) boxes Pomi chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For Serving (Optional)

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

Instructions

  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, 1-1/4 teaspoons 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 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: 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.
  6. 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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Reviews & Comments

  • I use this recipe often but I always add a teaspoon of sugar, and instead of thyme, crumble crispy smoked bacon pieces over the top.

    • — Jane F Tatam on February 25, 2021
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  • I made this and is was delicious. I didn’t add the thyme because I don’t care for it. I added about 1/4 cup heavy cream because I had it on hand and it was great both with and without it.

    • — Patricia Thursby on February 25, 2021
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  • Absolutely delicious. I added a little more garlic and a 1/2 teaspoon of Cayenne for a little kick and it turned out wonderfully.

    • — Z on February 10, 2021
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  • First time making tomato soup and it won’t be my last. This was an easy recipe with excellent flavor. Big hit with my crowd.

    • — Karen on February 3, 2021
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  • Over the past year, I began cooking a lot more, and a friend introduced me to Once Upon a Chef’s best grilled chicken (the title is correct it is the best!). Since then I’ve made many of Jenn’s recipes, everything from Chicken Marsala to Pecan Shortbread cookies – and I received the cookbook as a Christmas Gift! My favorite recipes are the soups, and this tomato soup is at the top of my list. I LOVE tomato soup and had tried several recipes in the past, but this is really the first one I’ve loved – not too salty, satisfying and delicious! AND easy – I really like the photo of all the ingredients shown at the top of each recipe, and the detailed tips and instructions! Thank you, Jenn, I feel as though I’m a better cook thanks to you!

    • — Caroline on February 2, 2021
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  • A good tomato soup brings back memories of my childhood. This one is simple and delicious. I add a little cream or milk to make it just like my mum’s .
    Also great when you’re cutting calories..very satisfying! Thanks for another great recipe.

    • — Genevieve on January 31, 2021
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  • I love a good tomato soup recipe. Oddly enough whilst traveling through Central America I came across my favorite, simple and sweet with an added twist! A generous dollop of creme fraiche. This recipe is similar! Try adding this secret ingredient for a creamy silky finish.

    • — Zoë Flippen on January 29, 2021
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  • I love to make this soup for my boys. Its simple, quick and always a hit. I look forward to making this one with them when they’re older.

    • — Christi R Rose on January 28, 2021
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  • I got an immersion blender and have achieved freedom in my soup making. This tomato soup recipe is incredible, easy and delicious. My kids love it with a crusty bread or biscuits.

    • — J Lee on January 28, 2021
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  • I always made this soup using a different recipe but decided to give this a try this winter and it was a super success . My girls told me that this should be the To Go recipe hereafter anytime I make tomato soup. Fairly easy too.

    • — Madhuri Krothapalli on January 28, 2021
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  • This soup is so simple to make and tastes so good. I always have the ingredients on hand ; so when unexpected guests arrive around lunchtime I will often make a batch along with a grilled cheese. The recipe is perfect as is – no need to change a thing.

    • — Beverly on January 28, 2021
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  • I love this soup and have made it several times! I used to make the Panera soup, but this one is tons better! Serve with toasted asiago bread.

    • — Sarah P. on January 28, 2021
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  • If you don’t normally get excited about tomato soup, then try this recipe! I’m not a big tomato fan, but this soup has converted me. It’s a go-to staple in our household for cold winter nights now. Flavourful and filling without feeling heavy.

    • — Emma on January 28, 2021
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  • Hello Jenn @onceuponachef. I have been struggling to find the ‘right’ recipe for tomato soup and was so excited when you posted your recipe. I just made this soup for the family this week. I had canned diced tomatoes on hand and used those. I love getting comments from my family after I try something new. I got “it’s a bit thin”; “it’s a bit grainy”. I cooked it longer than you suggested for canned tomatoes, but was wondering if I should cook it longer for a thicker soup; maybe add paste; maybe strain the tomatoes before adding? Also, I used my immersion blender to get it very creamy, but it still had a ‘grainy’ taste, and the color was more orange than the red in your pictures. Is that possibly because I use ‘bad’ canned tomatoes? Should I search out the boxed tomatoes you suggested? The general consensus was that the soup was REALLY GOOD, but I am really hard on myself and would love to improve! I did add some white pepper to kick it up a notch, and stirred in some locatelli cheese to give it a more ‘creamy’ taste…both great additions for my family! Thanks again for sharing your recipe!

    • — Vincent M Tarantino on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Vincent, sorry to hear that you found this to be a bit grainy and thin. You can thicken it up by using less broth (I’d go with 4 to 5 cups.) And while an immersion blender is very convenient, sometimes it doesn’t get all of those small bits. If you want it to be completely smooth, I’d use a traditional blender. Just remember to remove the center knob in the lid of the blender to let heat escape while you blend it. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on February 2, 2021
      • Reply
  • The recipe makes a lot of luscious tasting tomatoey goodness due to the addition of butter,used two 28 oz. cans of organic dice b/c they were already in my pantry then cooked 10 mins. longer as per recipe and served with sour dough grilled cheese sandwiches.So much better than opening a can! Thanks Jenn.

    • — lowandslow on January 28, 2021
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  • I made this last night! It was fabulous. Classic tomato soup and I made Jenn’s grilled cheese and pesto with gruyere as open faced sandwiches to go with it. An easy lovely wintery dinner after a long days work. And we had plenty to freeze afterwards. The bonus is that since there isn’t any dairy , it freezes beautifully! I have made so many of your recipes now, that I will try a brand new recipe with company because I know it will turn out well and be delicious! Thank you so much.

    • — Susan Ryan on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • The only soup I ever buy in a can is tomato soup and I won’t be buying it anymore. Loved this recipe! I didn’t have canned tomatoes ( I can’t find boxed ones) on hand but did have glass bottles of strained tomatoes (660 ml bottles) . I used 2 and 1/3 bottles and it turned out wonderfully. I’ve stocked up on some more strained tomatoes so I can make this again.

    • — Sylvia B on January 28, 2021
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  • I really never liked tomato soup but this is a winner! Definitely easy to switch out the all purpose flour to gluten free. Of course, made the Grilled cheese with sun dried tomato pesto to accompany it!

    • — Kamille on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made this for visiting siblings recently to rave reviews. They both are soup-masters so their comments were greatly appreciated. Be sure to blend the tomatoes completely to meld the onions fully into the tomato flavors. I added little meatballs because my brother in law says soup without meatballs isn’t soup! (Except chicken and pea soup!). It may seem like a lot of onions but it all blends together.

    • — Carolynn on January 28, 2021
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  • The best tomato soup I’ve ever had! The depth of flavor is astounding with a satisfying consistency. Close your eyes and you’ll know you’re eating tomato soup. I used canned San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes and when I puréed the soup I left some very small bits of tomato to give the velvety soup some texture. It freezes very well too. AND it’s super easy. Once Upon a Chef recipes never disappoint!

    • — Linda Heller Lynn on January 28, 2021
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  • All I can say is WOW! I have made this classic tomato soup many times over and it never disappoints. I always make sure to keep a can of both tomatoes and white beans in the pantry “just in case.” I’ve made it with homemade chicken bone broth for a little extra taste. Freezes well too!

    • — Cathy Ritter on January 28, 2021
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  • A classic. Can never go wrong, lovely to warm you up on a snowy day.

    • — Sian hughes on January 28, 2021
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  • This was fantastic! I used fresh thyme instead of dried because it needed to be used up. I don’t know how much I used as I just eyeballed it. I also added in 3/4 tsp dried basil because I love thyme and basil together. Served it with your corn bread I made a few days before and the combination was to die for! My husband said it didn’t have that tinny taste that some tomato soups do. It does make a lot but that’s ok because you can freeze your leftovers. Great recipe.

    • — Judy on January 20, 2021
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  • Whenever I make your tomato soup, instead of adding sugar, I add a little bit of baking soda to cut the acidity of the tomatoes, which I find it does. Do you think that has the same effect as the sugar and if not, what’s the difference?

    • — Susie on January 19, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Susie, I’ve never thought about that, but yes, I think that it would have the same impact.

      • — Jenn on January 22, 2021
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  • Another jewel in your soup crown Jenn. Have accumulated cans of Cento San Marzano tomatoes which need using up, so to compensate for more volume, I used a little less chicken stock and added 1 tbsp of concentrated tomato paste. My neighborhood market does have Pomi tomatoes, are they richer? That’s why I added the tomato paste. Trader Joe’s organic chicken stock has pushed Swanson out of my cupboard. Much better. I recently treated myself to a set of Acacia wood Spurtles (Amazon). The long one has taken the place of my wooden spoon when making soup. It was perfect for making sure the flour did not stick to the pan. Check them out. All that aside, I loved the soup. Have some Gruyere that needs using up, so grilled cheese sandwiches will be on the menu with the soup. Maybe I will make the sandwiches and cut them into croutons to float on the soup. Please tell me about the Pomi tomatoes. Should I try them?

    • — Carol Winkelman on December 20, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Carol, glad you enjoyed this! I like Pomi tomatoes because most canned tomatoes have additives in them that help keep them in chunks. I like that Pomi is nothing but tomatoes. Regardless, either it’s fine. 🙂

      • — Jenn on December 21, 2020
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      • when I reheated, I added a smidgeon of dried basil and the zest of a small lemon, loved that flavor profile even more

        • — Carol Winkelman on December 21, 2020
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  • Love all your recipes! Thank You for making cooking yummy and fun! I have San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes, not diced can I use those instead? If someone asked this already I apologize, I looked but couldn’t find the answer. Thanks for your help.

    • — DD on December 16, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure, you’ll be puréeing it anyway so whole tomatoes will work. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 16, 2020
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  • My children say it’s best tomato soup ever tasted

    • — Dennis Flower on December 7, 2020
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  • This is delicious and perfect for a cold December day. Thank you!

    • — Donna on December 6, 2020
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  • Love this tomato soup – it makes A LOT! I froze the leftovers last time and they reheated beautifully. This time I’m making 1/2 the recipe because I have no room in my freezer. This recipe is definitely going to make me buy an immersion blender – doing it in a regular blender is no fun. It has to be done in batches, meaning you need other bowls/pots to keep what you have blended separate from what needs to be blended. It makes a mess. Great, healthy comfort food for a rainy day

    • — Erika on December 1, 2020
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  • This tomato soup was killer (that’s a good thing)! I have tried so many different grocery store tomato soups (canned, boxed, etc.) and I have always been disappointed. Tomato soup is a comfort food for me and your recipe was divine!!!! Thank you for ending my search for the right tomato soup (I froze the extra and will thaw and heat again on a rainy day).

    • — Ann on November 26, 2020
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  • Hi Jenn! It’s Dana’s friend Rachel (from Philly). How do you think this would do with veggie broth instead of chicken broth? Would I need to make any other adjustments?

    • — Rachel W. on October 19, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Rachel! It’s perfectly fine to use vegetable broth with no other adjustments. Enjoy! 🙂

      • — Jenn on October 19, 2020
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  • Love this recipe!!
    Please advise regarding the “Rinse the pot.” Instructions in the photo-recipe instructions. If I purée my soup in the Dutch oven in which I cooked it with an immersion blender, any reason I can’t serve it directly from the pot?

    • — Lee on October 11, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Lee, glad you like the soup! Rinsing the pot really isn’t necessary – I just deleted it from the recipe. Sorry for any confusion!

      • — Jenn on October 14, 2020
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  • Followed recipe to the letter, fabulous soup. I also made the Leek and Potato at the same time.. I’m a zero confident cook and this website is like finding treasure! Recipes with the level of detail I really need and they are ‘bullet proof’. Also I can’t host and cook at same time (I go to pieces) so I absolutely love the ‘make ahead and freeze‘ recipes. When younger I used to love cooking, but over time the joy disappeared and it was just pure stress, but cooking with Jenn is a lovely experience for me. Thank you so much Jenn for the wonderful content on your website.

    • — Jackie, Liverpool UK on September 23, 2020
    • Reply
    • So glad you enjoyed it (and that the recipes have helped you enjoy cooking again)!

      • — Jenn on September 23, 2020
      • Reply
  • OK, I blew it! Somehow I wasn’t paying attention and added double the flour to the soup which I am cooking now. Too much soup to double the recipe, any suggetions?
    Multi tasking doesn’t work, arghh.

    • — Cathy S McCarty on September 12, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Cathy, I may be weighing in too late to help, but you can thin the soup out with a bit more chicken broth. Hope it turned out okay!!

      • — Jenn on September 13, 2020
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  • Thanks for this tasty soup recipe! I used canned Italian Whole Roma Tomatoes and I will take the time to strain out the seeds when I make it again to improve the texture; my immersion blender did not break up the seeds. Trying to cut fat, so didn’t add the butter at the end…..the flavour of the soup is brilliant. Thanks again

    • — Cathy on June 11, 2020
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    • Can you use pomi strained tomatoes?

      • — Taylor on October 13, 2020
      • Reply
      • Yes, I use Pomi tomatoes in this. Enjoy!

        • — Jenn on October 14, 2020
        • Reply
  • How many cans (400g) of tomatoes should use for this recipe?
    Thanks

    • — Gill on May 22, 2020
    • Reply
    • You’ll need 2. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on May 22, 2020
      • Reply
  • First of all, your recipes fit my family and myself wonderfully. I noticed you adapted this recipe from Fine Cooking which is my favorite Tomato Soup recipe and wanted to compare the two recipes. So here goes:
    First, if not for your having the same pot as you use pictured, I would probably have used the wrong size.
    Second, your rendition of the Fine Cooking recipe was changed enough to have altered the taste and texture significantly, but We love both recipes equally.
    My wife had a significant ski accident last winter, so I am the designated cook for about two years. I love to cook, but our child judges say I need more practice, so I will be checking out the “Once Upon A Chef” book and on line for quite a while to come. Thank You! Dr. Bruce Turner

    • — Dr. Bruce Turner on May 10, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Bruce, Thanks for your feedback on the recipe and I’m so sorry about your wife’s accident! I hope she continues to recover smoothly.

      • — Jenn on May 11, 2020
      • Reply
  • I just finished cooking this and it tasted amazing! It took a little longer than I anticipated (around 2 and a half hours) but think that is because I used canned tomatoes. This soup paired with a grilled cheese sandwich makes one heck of a meal!

    • — Uju Ezeaka on April 27, 2020
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  • Amazing, best ever ! I used canned crushed tomatoes that I had on hand. It worked perfect. I served with homemade croutons.

    • — Libby on April 22, 2020
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  • I’ve never made tomato soup before and decided to try your recipe, since everything else I’ve made from your site is so good. As expected, this was delicious! We had it for dinner yesterday with grilled cheese sandwiches and everyone enjoyed it. Thanks!

    • — Donna on April 17, 2020
    • Reply
    • I have made this recipe 2 months ago, so delicious 😋 I am making it again tomorrow with grilled cheese. This soup is a family favorite. Thank you!
      Elaine – August 20, 2020

      • — Elaine Pitlanish on August 20, 2020
      • Reply
  • Love, love , love, this soup. I’m not a soup person, especially tomato soup but I tried this because I’ve loved most of the recipes here so I’ve decided to try this one. Very easy to make was not sure how it would taste but it turned out fantastic! My husband loved it and I did too. I was licking to bowl, lol. Do not hesitate to try this. I made the recipe exactly how listed however I only garnished it with croutons and cheese.

    • — Shanell M on April 16, 2020
    • Reply
  • Simple to make. So delicious. My family couldn’t stop enjoying it!

    • — Prem on April 9, 2020
    • Reply
    • Btw, I used gluten free flour I had on hand from Trader Joes!

      • — Prem on April 9, 2020
      • Reply
      • Hi Prem! What type of GF flour do you use? I find when I use it, my recipes turn out gritty. 🙁

        • — Vincent M Tarantino on January 28, 2021
        • Reply
  • An easy and delicious soup to make. I added a bit more garlic and chili flakes, and swapped in vegetable stock because it’s all I had on hand. This recipe makes a lot and I’m excited to have all the leftovers!!

    • — Matt on April 7, 2020
    • Reply
  • My husband and I have always been big fans of tomato soup—the homemade kind! My granddaughter (18) has recently learned she has celiac and can’t tolerate flour. Can you suggest an alternative? I have most of the Red Mill “flour” products.

    • — Lyndie Billey on April 2, 2020
    • Reply
    • Gluten-free flour will perfectly fine here — hope you (and your granddaughter enjoy)! 🙂

      • — Jenn on April 2, 2020
      • Reply
  • Another family hit. Worth using best quality canned tomatoes.

    • — Yvonne on April 2, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi Jennifer,

    Can I make this soup with fresh tomatoes? I have an abundance which are all ripening at the same time.

    Kind regards,
    Diana

    • — Diana Strang on April 2, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure, Diana, but you’ll need to peel them. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on April 2, 2020
      • Reply
  • How do we make copies of your recipes when we are cooking them? My phone keeps timing out and it is hard to make a recipe from a cell phone. Thanks for your help.

    • — Elysa on February 13, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Elysa, when you’re viewing the full recipe (near the bottom of the page), look in the upper righthand corner of that box – you’ll see an icon there that looks like a printer. Select that and it will open a dialog box that gives you printing options. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on February 14, 2020
      • Reply
  • Made this soup last week and it was WONDERFUL! This will go on our menu list to make at least once a month! Served with fresh handmade sourdough bread.

    • — Tonni on January 30, 2020
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  • Never been a big fan of tomato soup but ……………can’t get enough of this one 😋😋. Used more expensive tinned Italian cherry tomatoes……..so delicious. Only difference to recipe was used thyme and bit of dried chilli flakes.

    • — Anthea Harrison on January 20, 2020
    • Reply
  • Great recipe – super easy and tastes so good on a cold winter night. Followed the recipe except reducing the sugar by half, the tomatoes were already sweet.

    • — Christopher Sharp on January 7, 2020
    • Reply

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