Homemade tomato soup that’s loaded with delicious flavor, and uses common pantry items you probably already have. A quick and comforting recipe to serve as an appetizer or paired with a crispy grilled cheese sandwich.
One of my ultimate comfort foods
Mastering a classic tomato soup is all about keeping the ingredients simple, but focusing on technique. The red delicious fruit has a sweet but earthy taste that should shine through the dish. To elevate the flavors, I saute the savory aromatics like garlic, onion, and herbs before adding in the whole tomatoes to add depth and complexity.
Using ripe whole canned tomatoes makes it easy to crush and control the thickness of the soup. Customize the consistency by making it smooth and silky for a gourmet starter, or keep some larger chunks for a rustic appearance. And just like my tomato basil soup, this version can be enjoyed the same day or made ahead of time for a convenient healthy meal.
Use whole tomatoes
Canned tomatoes are a convenient pantry option to make this soup year-round. There are several different types of products to choose from, however, the whole peeled variety is best for this recipe. They have a balance of sweetness and acidity and crush easily.
I use a potato masher to break them down into smaller pieces before simmering and pureeing. You can also use your hands to squeeze and break them apart like my grandma used to do. This is where you have the flexibility to create a smoother of chunkier soup. For a smoky charred soup taste, use roasted tomatoes.
Add depth with alliums
To build a rich flavorful base, saute the onion and garlic in olive oil. Chopping the onions and using minced garlic releases strong sulfur-compounds that add depth to the soup. Lightly browning the onions naturally enhances the sweetness, while mellowing out the strong aromas into earthy notes. All of these ingredients infuse nicely into the vegetable stock.
Sprinkle in some herbs
Take advantage of dried herbs and add some Italian seasoning. The blend is typically a combination of oregano, basil, marjoram, rosemary, and thyme, so you don’t have to individually source each one.
If you have fresh herbs, feel free to use them. Simply add 3 times the dried amount listed, about 1 ½ teaspoons. Blooming these herbs in oil releases more fat-soluble flavor compounds, adding even more essence to the soup as it simmers.
Let it simmer
Once all of the ingredients are added to the pot, give it 15 minutes to simmer. Gently cooking the soup evaporates some of the water and concentrates the tomato flavor. This also gives the vegetables and seasonings time to merry together for a more gourmet taste. Here’s a little secret, the soup reheated the next day actually tastes better because the ingredients have even more time to infuse throughout the liquid base.
Puree the soup
There are two options for breaking down the tomatoes to its final slurpable form. The first is to use a handheld immersion blender directly in the pot to process and puree the soup. Make sure to submerge the blender head completely and then move it around the entire pot. This will give a chunkier, more rustic texture.
For a more refined, super creamy, and smooth consistency, use a blender. Remove the center plastic piece on the lid, then cover with a towel to let the steam escape without making a huge mess. You may need to work in two batches.
How to make a creamier consistency
Pureeing the tomatoes with a blender creates a smooth mouthfeel when processed down into small suspended particles. However, if you want a little more richness, add in some heavy cream right before serving. You don’t need to simmer as it can curdle. Just add 1 tablespoon at a time, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve this savory tomato soup with a classic grilled cheese sandwich. For a lighter lunch, make a crisp greek salad or creamy caesar salad. For heartier fare, pair it with a loaded baked potato. Make a stunning roasted chicken and enjoy the soup as an appetizer.
Substituting other canned tomato products
Crushed tomatoes are already broken down so there are fewer texture options for the final soup, but it’s a quick swap. A puree is often added to make it thicker, therefore you may need to thin out the soup with more stock. Diced tomatoes can be used, but often have calcium chloride added to the can to keep the pieces firm. Skip the mashing step and use the blender to break them down later.
Homemade Tomato Soup
- 2 tablespoon (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup (60 g) diced yellow onion, ¼-inch dice
- 1 tablespoon (10 g) minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon dried italian seasonings
- 28 ounce (794 g) whole peeled tomatoes, canned, plus juice
- 2 cups (480 ml) vegetable stock, chicken stock or broth
- 1 teaspoon (4 g) kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon (2 g) chopped chives, optional
- Heat a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the olive oil, once hot add the onions and saute until lightly browned and translucent, 2 minutes.
- Add the garlic and italian seasonings, stir and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds.
- Add the tomatoes, vegetable stock, salt, and pepper.
- Use a potato masher or large spoon to break up the tomatoes into larger chunks. Alternatively, crush using your hands before adding into the pot.
- Simmer the tomato soup over medium-low heat, until the liquid slightly concentrates, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes.
- Use a hand immersion blender and puree the soup until thickened and smooth. Leave small pieces of tomato for a chunkier soup. Alternatively, you can work in two batches to puree the soup in a blender. If doing so, make sure to remove the center of the lid and cover it with a towel so that steam does not build up.
- Add more stock if needed to thin the consistency of the soup.
- Taste and season with more salt and pepper as desired.
- Serve soup hot and garnish with chives.
- Recipe Yield: 4 cups
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Storing: Cool soup to room temperature. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Freeze in 1 cup portions in resealable plastic bags for up to 1 month.
- Reheating: Simmer the soup on the stovetop until hot. Defrost frozen soup, then reheat on the stovetop.