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Classic Tomato Soup (Lightened Up!)

classic tomato soup recipe

This soup is everything I want tomato soup to be! It’s rich and creamy, yet doesn’t weigh me down. It’s bursting with amazing tomato flavor, yet it’s made from canned tomatoes.

That’s right, canned tomatoes. The season for ripe tomatoes (summer) is not the season for tomato soup (fall through spring). It’s a real conundrum, and this homemade tomato soup recipe is the perfect solution.

tomato soup ingredients

I developed this recipe for my cookbook, and wanted to bring it to life here on the blog as well. I bet you have all of the ingredients in your kitchen right now.

Tomato soup is perfect for rainy days. It’s even more perfect with a grilled cheese sandwich. Are you ready?!

how to make tomato soup

Why You’ll Love this Tomato Soup

Here are four reasons why this tomato soup recipe will become your new favorite:

  • This recipe offers classic homemade tomato soup flavor, and it’s made with basic pantry ingredients. Winning!
  • It’s rich and creamy, yet cream-less. It uses a combination of white beans (I promise you can’t taste them) and butter to achieve this feat.
  • This soup is special diet-friendly. It’s gluten free, since it doesn’t need any flour for thickening. It’s also easily made vegan—see the recipe notes.
  • You can turn this recipe into tomato basil soup, if you have fresh basil on hand. It couldn’t be easier.

tomato soup in blender

how to make tomato basil soup

How to Make the Best Tomato Soup

This recipe is so easy to make! If you’re serving more than a couple people, I recommend doubling the ingredients.

1) Cook chopped onion in olive oil under tender, then add tomato paste.

Every great soup starts with an onion! Once it’s tender, we’ll stir in a dollop of tomato paste and let it cook for a couple of minutes. Tomato paste offers deep tomato flavor and adds a lot of intensity to this soup.

Tip: You can freeze leftover tomato paste in an air-tight container for several months.

2) Add whole canned tomatoes and vegetable broth, and gently simmer for 30 minutes.

Next, we’ll add one big can of whole tomatoes. Did you know that whole tomatoes are the highest-quality canned tomatoes? Canning companies reserve the less ideal tomatoes for diced and crushed varieties. Don’t worry about breaking up the tomatoes as they cook, because we’re going to blend them next.

This is the perfect time to clean up the kitchen or kick back with a glass of wine. You know which one I’m rooting for.

Tip: Stock up on Muir Glen tomato products, because they consistently taste the best.

3) Transfer the soup to a blender, and add a few more essential ingredients.

I always recommend using your stand blender for soups (vs. an immersion blender), because stand blenders produce much creamier soups.

Now, we’re going to add a few key ingredients: Great Northern beans (for creamy texture), butter (for amazing rich flavor), a little sugar (it balances the acidity of the tomatoes), salt and pepper. I don’t add sugar to savory dishes often, but just 1 teaspoon makes a big difference.

Tip: This recipe won’t use up a whole can of beans. You can freeze the leftover rinsed and drained beans in a resealable bag (silicone or Ziploc) for future batches of soup.

4) Blend until completely smooth, and serve.

There’s nothing better than tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich. You could also enjoy this soup with a big green salad. I actually think it would go great with this lentil and carrot green salad.

tomato basil soup variation

Tomato Basil Soup Variation

This is so easy and delicious. Once you have blended your soup, simply add a handful of fresh basil leaves and blend until they’re broken into tiny bits.

If you’ve ever had Nordstrom’s tomato basil soup—this option tastes like a more fresh version of it. Yum.

best tomato soup recipe

Please let me know how your soup turns out in the comments! I love hearing from you.

Looking for more creamy, lightened-up soups? Here are a few more favorites to bookmark:

  • Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Soup
  • Creamy Roasted Carrot Soup
  • Creamy Roasted Pumpkin Soup
  • Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

grilled cheese dipping into tomato soup

Classic Tomato Soup

  • Author: Cookie and Kate
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 4 bowls 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

You’re going to love this classic tomato soup recipe! It’s super creamy, yet light and magically cream-less. Make this easy recipe tonight! Recipe yields 4 modest bowls; if you are serving a crowd or want leftovers, simply double the recipe.



  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 large can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes, with their liquid
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ cup cooked Great Northern beans or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into a few pieces
  • 1 teaspoon coconut sugar or brown sugar, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • For the tomato-basil variation (optional): 10 to 15 fresh basil leaves, to taste


  1. In a Dutch oven or soup pot, warm the olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender and turning translucent, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the tomatoes and vegetable broth and stir to combine. Increase the heat to medium-high, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes, reducing the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer, and stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes. Carefully transfer the mixture to a blender, being sure not to fill past the maximum fill line (blend in batches if necessary). Add the beans, butter, sugar, and several twists of black pepper. Securely fasten the lid and blend the soup until smooth, being careful to avoid hot steam escaping from the lid.
  4. Since canned tomatoes vary in flavor, I always end up tinkering with this soup a bit at the end. Taste and, if necessary, add a little more sugar (to balance out the acidity of the tomatoes), pepper, and salt (I usually add another ¼ to ½ teaspoon).
  5. If you’re adding basil, add it now. Briefly blend again, and serve hot. This soup keeps well for up to four days or so. You can freeze leftovers for up to 3 months.


This recipe comes from my cookbook, Love Real Food.

My favorite canned tomatoes:  I always recommend Muir Glen tomatoes for their superior flavor. Plus, they’re organic.

Make it dairy free/vegan: Replace the butter with 1 tablespoon additional extra-virgin olive oil.

▸ Nutrition Information

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.


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