Tomato Basil Soup

Tomato soup in a can is so basic — why not make your own? This recipe for easy homemade tomato basil soup ladles up creamy flavors and soothing memories.

The only cans of tomato soup I want in my kitchen are hanging on the wall in Andy Warhol print form. But for lunch? Not so much. It’s so easy to upgrade your soup game and make tomato basil soup from scratch. Whether you’re trying to thaw from the inside out on a cold day, or you just want to relive the classic grilled cheese and tomato soup meals of your childhood, a big pot of soup bubbling on the back burner of your stove is sure to warm the hearts of everyone who enters your kitchen.

Canned whole tomatoes and basil are the star ingredients of this soup. Fresh basil will give you the brightest flavor and aroma, but no worries if you don’t have any on hand. Did you know that the rule of thumb for substituting herbs is to use ⅓ as many dried herbs as you would fresh, since dried herbs tend to be more concentrated? If you’re wondering about that splash of balsamic vinegar, it won’t change that classic tomato soup flavor you know and love, but it will add subtle depth to the flavor. That’s because balsamic vinegar is a great source of umami, the savory taste that makes you go “Mmmm…” You might not even miss that grilled cheese!

To get perfectly smooth tomato basil soup, an immersion blender (a.k.a. a stick blender) is a cook’s best friend. But you can still achieve that nice consistency if you don’t have an immersion blender, by ladling the soup into a regular blender or food processor. Work in small batches and only fill up the blender halfway to avoid messy splashes. If you crave a tomato soup that’s on the chunkier side, simply don’t blend it as much.

A quick puree and a swirl of heavy cream make this soup extra velvety (with a flavor this creamy, you could even go as far as to call it a tomato basil bisque). But don’t let that make you think that this isn’t an excellent healthy dinner option. In fact, supermodel Chrissy Teigen is known to whip up a very similar soup recipe when she wants to fix a healthy meal for husband John Legend. This tomato basil soup recipe is also a frugal way to feed a whole family, with comforting flavors that both adults and kids will love.

Tomato Basil Soup

Serves 4
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 45 Minutes


  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, small dice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 pinch chili flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28 oz) can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • ½ tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup basil, chopped


  1. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, combine butter and oil. Once butter has melted, add onions, season with salt, and cook until onions have fully softened.
  2. Add chili flakes and garlic and cook another 5 minutes.
  3. Increase heat to medium, add tomatoes with their juices and cook about 10 minutes, crushing tomatoes with the back of the spoon.
  4. Add the vegetable or chicken stock, black pepper, and balsamic vinegar, and continue to cook until tomatoes completely fall apart.
  5. Remove from heat and use an immersion blender to puree the soup.
  6. Return to low heat and slowly stir in the heavy cream. Adjust seasoning as needed.
  7. Stir in chopped basil.
  8. Serve garnished with croutons and fresh basil.

A steaming bowl of tomato soup brings back so many memories. What are yours?