Tomato Basil Soup

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The BEST roasted tomato basil soup! Delicious, healthy, and so hearty! I chelseasmessyapron.com

Tomato Basil Soup is savory, hearty, and loaded with good-for-you ingredients. We roast garden-fresh tomatoes, yellow onions, and garlic until beautifully caramelized and tender — this forms the base of the soup giving it a rich, deep flavor.

Top this Tomato Basil Soup with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and serve with crusty bread or homemade dinner rolls for dunking. A simple garden salad like this Italian Salad makes a nice side dish.

Overhead image of the Tomato Basil Soup

Tomato Basil Soup

My entire family loves Tomato Basil Soup — in fact, it’s one of the most commonly requested meals by my little boys. While this recipe isn’t complicated, it is time consuming between the roasting of veggies and simmering of the soup. This recipe calls for fresh tomatoes and fresh basil, which add an incredible depth of flavor. Truly, it is the best Tomato Basil Soup I’ve ever had.

Since we love this soup so much, I created a similar tomato soup recipe for when we didn’t have access to fresh produce (or for when I’m short on time and can’t roast the veggies). If you find yourself in a similar boat sometimes, bookmark this recipe for Easy Tomato Soup for those busy times.

But if you’ve got the time and some fresh produce, be prepared for a seriously flavorful (and healthful) Tomato Basil Soup!

Process shots: roasting the vegetables for Tomato Basil Soup

Tomato Basil Soup Ingredients

Since there are (relatively) few ingredients and not all that many seasonings in this soup, the ingredients used are very important to the end taste. Below are a few ingredient tips:

  • Use the freshest and ripest possible tomatoes. Ripe tomatoes should have a glossy, slightly shiny skin that is fairly deep in color. A ripe tomato will slightly give to the touch — it shouldn’t be soft, but a little bit tender. And finally, ripe tomatoes will give off a nice fragrance. My personal favorite tomato to use are Campari/cocktail tomatoes.
  • Pick good-quality canned tomatoes. In addition to the fresh tomatoes, we also use one can of whole tomatoes. I highly recommend San Marzano whole tomatoes in this soup. Whole canned tomatoes are higher quality than diced or crushed (these products are made from bits of lower-quality tomatoes). San Marzano is both a specific brand of tomatoes as well as a style of tomatoes. Tomatoes grown in the San Marzano region of Italy fall into this category.
  • High-quality chicken stock provides lots of flavor and keeps the added spices to a minimum. Our personal favorite store-bought stock is Swanson®. If you’d like to keep this soup vegetarian, use Swanson’s vegetable stock instead of chicken.
  • Add fresh basil. This soup calls for a lot of fresh basil, so dried just won’t add the same robust flavor and sweetness. If you have garden-fresh basil, it’s amazing in this soup and, if not, a lot of grocery stores sell small (3/4-ounce) packets of fresh basil. If using these packets, you’ll need 4 for this soup.
  • Drizzle the veggies in extra virgin olive oil. The better your olive oil, the better the flavor of thisTomato Basil Soup will be. Here are a few tips when trying to find good olive oil and a list of chefs’ favorite olive oils. Cobram Estate® Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a current favorite of mine in this soup.

And, while not technically an ingredient in this soup, don’t underestimate the addition of good, crusty baguette to dip in this soup!

No Heavy Cream?

The base of this soup is roasted tomatoes, onions, and garlic. Then we add in even more tomatoes, herbs, and chicken stock. With a soup base so naturally nutritious, I wanted to keep it that way as much as possible. So, this recipe does not call for heavy cream, milk, or cheese. 

Even without these additions, you’ll be amazed just how creamy, thick, and hearty this soup is!

That said, any of those ingredients are easy to add if you prefer your tomato basil soup a little richer. A drizzle of heavy cream can be added as a garnish for soup bowls and a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese on individual bowls adds a nice touch.

Process steps: making adding everything to the stock pot for this Tomato Basil Soup

Tomato Basil Soup FAQs

1How do you make Tomato Basil Soup from scratch?

  1. Roast veggies: Drizzle olive oil over the tomatoes, onions, and garlic. Roast for 40-45 minutes or until very tender.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the soup base: Add olive oil, butter, tomato paste, and canned tomatoes. Stir and add in the chicken stock, seasonings, and fresh basil leaves. Add the oven-roasted veggies.
  3. Simmer the soup: stir occasionally and simmer until very fragrant.
  4. Blend in batches: transfer batches of the soup to a high-powered blender and blend until smooth.
  5. Enjoy!

It’s really not difficult, but the individual steps do require a bit of time.

2Is Tomato Basil Soup bad for you?

This particular recipe is loaded with good-for-you ingredients. There are lots of veggies, herbs, and chicken stock. Veggies contain all sorts of vitamins and antioxidants.

This particular recipe doesn’t call for heavy cream, milk, or cheese which can make a tomato soup less nutritious, depending, on your health goals.

3Why do you put baking soda in tomato soup?

Some soup recipes call for baking soda to neutralize the acid of the tomatoes and make the soup taste smoother.

I don’t call for baking soda in this recipe. Instead, I recommend good-quality tomatoes and balancing any potential acidity with a pinch (or two) of granulated white sugar.

4What is the difference between tomato bisque and Tomato Basil Soup?

Soup” is a very broad category that can encompass a variety of liquid dishes (including bisques).

A “bisque” is a more narrowly defined subtype of soup. A bisque is known for being thick, creamy, and smooth, and uses heavy cream and dry white wine in the base. Bisques often contain seafood.

5What can I add to Tomato Basil Soup?

  • Add a spoonful (or two) of fresh basil pesto.
  • Add in even more fresh herbs like flat-leaf Italian parsley, chives, or oregano.
  • Dunk a gooey and hot grilled cheese sandwich in the soup.
  • Top with croutons. (We love the croutons in this Panzanella Salad).

Process shots: adding everything in the stockpot to a blender and blending it until smooth

Tomato Basil Soup Tips

  • Add a pinch of sugar. Depending on the ripeness of tomatoes and the quality of canned tomatoes used, you may need to balance the tomato acidity with a little bit of sugar.
  • Don’t underestimate the seasonings! In the recipe card, I add my recommendations for how much salt and pepper to add in this soup and it is a lot, but the strong flavors in this soup need it. Salt and pepper are what bring all the flavors together and enhance the richness of this soup.
  • Blend in batches. I typically blend this soup in three batches to ensure it doesn’t make a mess and to get it ultra smooth. If you’d like a chunkier Tomato Basil Soup, use an immersion blender instead (or blend for less time in a regular blender). See “quick tip” box below for more tips on blending this soup.
  • Add garlic to preference. We love lots of roasted garlic in this soup, so I recommend a good amount. If you are sensitive to garlic, add cloves slowly and to taste preference. Remember, you can always add more at the end if you’d like more flavor.

QUICK TIP

When blending, make sure to secure the lid on tightly and then select the “soup” or “hot” cycle. Heat expands, so increase speed slowly and watch it carefully to avoid soup exploding out or over. Remove the lid carefully as it will likely release a burst of steam. If your blender doesn’t have a hot/soup setting, you can compensate by replacing the blender lid with a folded towel and holding it in place with your hands. This will help reduce steam pressure.

Image of the tomato basil soup in a bowl with bread being dipped in

Storage

  • How to reheat: Add Tomato Basil Soup to a small pot and heat over low heat until hot. Or reheat in the microwave–make sure to cover it so it doesn’t splatter!
  • This soup stores nicely in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-6 days. It will freeze well for up to 3 months. Here are some best methods for thawing frozen soup.

More soup recipes:

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Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

5 from 14 votes
This Tomato Basil Soup is savory, hearty, and loaded with good-for-you ingredients. We roast garden-fresh tomatoes, yellow onions, and garlic until beautifully caramelized and tender -- this will form the base of this soup, giving it a rich, deep flavor.
Print Recipe

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

5 from 14 votes
This Tomato Basil Soup is savory, hearty, and loaded with good-for-you ingredients. We roast garden-fresh tomatoes, yellow onions, and garlic until beautifully caramelized and tender -- this will form the base of this soup, giving it a rich, deep flavor.
Course Dinner, Main Course, Side Dish, Soup
Cuisine American
Keyword Crockpot Tomato Basil Soup
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 8 large bowls
Calories 271kcal
Author Chelsea, adapted from Ina Garten
Cost $12.20

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds (1362g) ripe tomatoes I prefer campari/cocktail
  • 2 large yellow onions
  • 1 head garlic
  • 6 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons good quality olive oil, divided
  • Fine sea salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 (28 oz.; 794g) canned whole tomatoes, undrained (I love Cento San Marzano)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 and 1/2 cups (94g) fresh basil leaves, packed when measured Note 1
  • 1-2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 carton (32 oz.; 907g) chicken stock I prefer Swanson's
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
  • Optional: crusty bread, fresh Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • TOMATO AND ONION PREP: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Slice the tomatoes in half lengthwise and place on a large (15x21-inch) or 2 smaller sheet pan(s). Cut the onions in half and then each half into 4 equal sections. Place on the sheet pan. 
  • GARLIC PREP: Peel and discard the outer layers of the entire garlic bulb making sure to leave the skins of the individual cloves intact (and keep the bulb together as much as possible) Using a sharp knife, cut 1/4th an inch from the top of the cloves. Wrap the entire bulb tightly with tin foil, adding 2 teaspoons olive oil before sealing it completely. Place the wrapped garlic on the sheet pan along with the tomatoes and onions.
  • ROAST: Drizzle 1/4 cup (50g) olive oil over the tomatoes and onions. Add about 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper and toss to coat. Spread into one even layer and roast for 40-45 minutes or until very tender and slightly caramelized.
  • SOUP BASE: In a large (8-quart) stockpot or cast iron pot, heat the butter over medium heat. Add in the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Once butter is melted, add the entire can of tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir for 2-3 minutes. Then add in the container of chicken stock, dried oregano, red pepper flakes (if using), fresh or dried thyme, and fresh basil leaves. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes and onions including all of the accumulated liquid on the baking sheet. Let the garlic packet slightly cool and then press the garlic cloves out of the papery covering (they should easily slide out). Add 6-9 of the roasted garlic cloves (depending on how much you like garlic -- we like lots) into the soup. Add another 2 teaspoons salt and an additional teaspoon of pepper (or to taste).
  • SIMMER: Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer (uncovered) over lowest heat for 40 minutes stirring occasionally, about every 5-10 minutes.
  • BLEND: When finished, transfer the mixture (in 3-4 batches) to a high-powered blender and process until smooth. (See Note 2.) Once blended, taste for any additional seasonings. Depending on the acidity of tomatoes used, you may need to add in a teaspoon or so of white sugar.
  • SERVE: If desired, serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and crusty bread. Enjoy!

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Basil: If buying the packets of basil at the grocery store, this comes out to 4 full packets (3/4 ounce each).
Note 2: Blending: When blending, make sure to secure the lid on tightly and then select the “soup” or “hot” cycle. Remember that heat expands, so increase speed slowly and watch it carefully to avoid soup exploding out or over. Remove the lid carefully as it will likely release a burst of steam. If your blender doesn’t have a hot/soup setting, you can compensate by replacing the blender lid with a folded towel and holding it in place with your hands. This will help reduce steam pressure. If you want a chunkier soup, use an immersion blender. If you do this, you'll want to coarsely chop the onions and garlic after being roasted and before adding them to the stockpot. 

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 271kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 352mg | Potassium: 1133mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 7198IU | Vitamin C: 57mg | Calcium: 258mg | Iron: 5mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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33 Comments

  1. Yum! Definitely adding to my tomato soup board on Pinterest. My non-official to let the world now how much I love tomato soup. 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    I love this recipe! I’ve made it before, and am making it tonight for a dinner party. Never skimp on the garlic. I add extra because garlic is a very complimentary flavor to basil and tomatoes. Thanks again for sharing this recipe.

  3. 5 stars
    Wow! A thoughtful recipe. Roasting the tomatoes and onions adds a very nice smoky flavor to the soup. Wrapping the garlic is one intelligent tip that I really needed. Thanks for the recipe.

  4. I live in the northeast, where you can only get ‘fresh’ tomatoes from the grocery store (read: not what I would call fresh) this time of year, unless (unlike me) you canned them over the summer. Do you have any suggestions for making these store bought tomatoes taste fresh? I’d like to make this soup! Thank you.

  5. 5 stars
    Oh my goodness, this really is the BEST! I made it last night for dinner to use up my garden tomatoes and basil before the weather turns and zaps them! I’m glad I had plenty of both, because it really does take a lot–so it’s perfect if you have an abundance of both you need to use! Roasting the vegetables really does give it a great depth of flavor that is missing in other homemade tomato soups I’ve made, and is worth the time! I made this in the afternoon because it’s easier for me to prep dinner then, instead of when things are extra busy in the evening with homework and kids’ activities. I simmered it for 30-40 minutes, then turned the heat off and put a lid on the pot and just left it there on the stove. Three hours later, I ladled it into my blender, and it was still hot, but not steaming, which made blending it easier and safer. We could have eaten it right then and it would have been the perfect temperature for my kids (warm but not hot), but I put it back on the stove to heat a bit more while I made some toasted cheese bread to go with it. I also stirred in a little cream, just because I had maybe 4-5 T. left that needed to be used up and I hate to waste it! I left about half of the soup out to freeze before I put the cream in, and after tasting both, decided if I had a little cream or half-n-half next time I make it, I would definitely add it. It’s great without (and better for you!), but I love the smoother texture and milder flavor the cream adds. In fact, next time I will leave out the red pepper flakes. I know a lot of people like a little spice in their tomato soup, but not me! The cream helped lessen that. Other changes I made that seemed to be just fine–didn’t have fresh thyme so added 1/2 tsp. dried, and used 2 (15 oz.) cans diced tomatoes instead of the 28 oz. can plum tomatoes. I just had a bowl for lunch while I write this. It is still so good! I’m glad it makes a lot so I was able to freeze some! Thanks for another great recipe, Chelsea!

  6. Hi Chelsea, great recipe can’t wait to make it today! My question is this. I have a box of fresh ripe Roma tomatoes that I received 2 days ago. Could I use these with the 28 oz can of plum tomatoes? And about how many would you recommend? Not sure how many equals 3 lbs.
    Thanks!

  7. 5 stars
    Yes I have made it a hundred times. Busy with it now. I always add 1 t sugar and cream at the end. Best soup ever.. O and lots of chillies. Thank you! 🤗

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