Tomato soup is a classic. Served with toasted croutons or alongside a grilled cheese sandwich, it is a very comforting dish that can bring us back to our childhood. With its sweet-yet-tart flavor, it highlights the best of what fresh, ripe tomatoes have to offer.
It is a perfect cold weather food that warms the soul, but don’t stop yourself from making it year round. In fact, when you can get your hands on the best tasting tomatoes this is a perfect way to showcase their great flavor.
About this recipe
This tomato soup is absolutely comforting, tastes delicious & is flavor packed. A good tomato soup is all about the flavors, with a right balance of sour & sweetness. This homemade soup is one of the best I have been making for my family. It is super simple to make and needs only a handful of ingredients yet tastes amazing.
Tomato soup is made in so many ways. Each taste different depending on the ingredients used & cooking method. Some taste so plain with no flavor, while some taste very sour or runny.
This tomato soup has amazingly great flavors, nice texture & tastes superb with slight tang & sweetness. This recipe comes with many options to flavor, spice up & thicken this homemade soup.
The recipe goes in 3 simple steps
- Roast onions, tomatoes, garlic & herbs with some salt.
- Blend them and pass through a strainer.
- Simmer with some thickener, herbs & spices.
Fresh versus Canned tomatoes
There are so many approaches to making tomato soup at home. Some start with canned tomatoes, others with fresh. While there is certainly a convenience to using tomatoes from a can, it does not quite compare with the fresh variety.
In order to get the kind of soup we are looking for, skip the can and go right to the fresh tomatoes that are perfectly ripe. You will be rewarded with the sweetness that can only be derived from the best tasting tomatoes.
Beyond the debate of fresh versus canned tomatoes, some recipes will rely on tomato paste to bring a concentrated flavor to their soup. What this tends to contribute is a deeper, cooked tomato taste with a sweeter tomato essence.
While that certainly works, this is not the flavor profile we are going for, so it really has no place in this recipe.
How to make tomato soup (stepwise photos)
1. Choose ripe, red & less sour tomatoes. We need 500 grams tomatoes for this recipe. Wash them well and cube them along with 1 medium onion. Onion adds a sweet flavor to the tomato soup so I have used it here.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil or butter in a pan. Then add 1 small bay leaf, 2 garlic cloves & chopped onions.
3. Fry them on a high flame for 3 to 4 mins until they are slightly roasted. This brings out the sweet flavor from onions.
4. Add tomatoes and sprinkle 1/3 teaspoon salt. You can also optionally add a small carrot (about 3 inches long).
5. Cook them until slightly soft. Add 2 to 3 stalks of basil and cook until tomatoes and onions turn completely mushy. If you do not have basil, you may skip them.
6. Cool the mixture. Discard basil & bay leaf.
7. Transfer to a blender jar and pour 1 cup water. Blend to a smooth puree.
Tip: (If you do not prefer cornstarch in this recipe, then you may add a small boiled potato and blend.
8. Blend very well until smooth.
9. Firstly place a sieve over the pan or pot. Pour the blended mixture & filter. Discard the coarse particles. Bring the soup to a boil on a medium heat.
10. Meanwhile add ¾ tablespoon cornstarch (corn flour) or arrowroot powder to half cup water and mix well to make a slurry.
Ensure there are no lumps of flour.
11. Once the tomato soup comes to a boil, simmer for 2 to 3 mins. Then gradually stir in the corn flour mixture.
12. Next stir in sugar. Boil this well until the tomato soup thickens and the raw flavor of the flour has gone. Taste test this and add more salt if needed.
14. When it reaches your desired consistency then add herbs & black pepper. Turn off the stove.
15. Set the pot aside and stir in 2 to 4 tablespoons cream if using. You can also make cashew cream if you don’t prefer dairy. Soak 25 whole cashew nuts in ¼ cup hot water for 30 minutes. Add them to a small chutney grinder along with the soaked water and puree until you get a thick and smooth cream. If needed add a few tablespoons more water for consistency. Use this to top your tomato soup while serving.
16. Croutons loose the crispness if left for too long so toast the bread just before you serve the soup. Butter bread on both the sides.
17. Heat a pan & toast them on a medium heat until crisp. You can also add some grated garlic and red chili flakes to the bread and toast. You can also toast them in a oven.
18. Cool them and cut with a knife.
Lastly transfer tomato soup to serving bowls. Garnish with herbs & cream. Serve with croutons or toasted bread.
Most folks love tomato soup with just some toasted bread or croutons. To enjoy this in a meal, you can have it with salads, grilled veggies, Cheese toast, Sandwiches , spring rolls & Bread Snacks like cheese balls, toasts & rolls.
Tomatoes: Choose ripe red tomatoes. Avoid using unripe hard tomatoes as they taste sour. Soup made from sour tomatoes will taste acidic.
Onions: Adjust the quantity of onions in the recipe depending on the sourness of tomatoes. Onions help to balance the tang so using the right amount of onions is the key here.
Herbs: Flavor the soup with your favorite herbs. Without herbs tomato soup tastes like a onion tomato puree.
Sugar: Adding little sugar will not sweeten the soup but will balance the sour & pungent taste.
Spices: Pepper, red chilli flakes & cinnamon spice up & flavor the soup. Cinnamon goes great in this soup, do give it a try if you love the flavor. Add it along with the tomatoes to the pot. Discard it before blending. Pepper and red chili flakes provide heat to the tomato soup. Both these spices are good to add when the soup is done.
Once you have made tomato soup from fresh tomatoes you will have scratched the surface of a great scope of possibilities. Whether you prefer a sweet, spicy, or tangy soup, it is within your grasp with a few adjustments.
How to season tomato soup?
Bringing together a variety of herbs and spices that will add interest to this recipe is key to making an interesting tomato soup.
We love the classic combination of bay leaf and black pepper which deliver an earthy, spicy backdrop. Perhaps a little less traditional, yet really delicious addition is a hint of cinnamon. It adds a somewhat exotic element that pairs nicely with the sweetness of the tomatoes.
The point here is to make a soup that appeals to you, so feel free to customize it as you like.
One way of delivering an element of sweetness to your soup is with sauteed onion. Because of its natural sugar content, an onion will contribute sweet notes to your soup. Beyond that, onions deliver savoriness that rounds out the soup. Without it, you would have something a bit one dimensional. Though subtle, it adds something really essential.
One of the benefits of making tomato soup from scratch is that you can customize it to your liking. If you want a spicy soup, a touch of crushed red pepper will help.
Those who wish to bring some natural sweetness to the tomato soup can do so with the addition of carrots. They can easily be cooked and then pureed along with the tomato and onion to give a depth of flavor as they subtly heighten the sweetness that your tomatoes may be lacking.
Adding herbs and spices will add a range of nuances that can add interest to the flavor profile you are after. In the end, you will no doubt feel good about serving your family and friends a soup that is as healthy as it is delicious, made with the best ingredients which will bring you a great deal of satisfaction.
How do we add texture?
One of the things we love about tomato soup is its smooth texture and silky mouthfeel. Because we want something that clings to the spoon, it needs some kind of thickener.
Some sort of starch is a great way to achieve this consistency and there are a few options here that you can try. Adding cornstrach or arrotroot is one way to thicken this soup.
It is also a gluten-free option. This is easily done by mixing either the cornstarch or arrowroot with a small quantity of water.
This mixture, known as a “slurry” is then stirred into the soup. As the temperature rises, the starch molecules go to work to thicken the soup and add a silky texture.
An added perk of using either cornstarch or arrowroot is that they don’t impart any flavour to your tomato soup.
Simmering: Always simmer the soup well before adding the slurry. Continue to simmer until it reaches a desired consistency. Do not boil the soup, simmering brings out the flavour of tomatoes & herbs.
Serve tomato soup with croutons, cheese sandwich or any bread toast. Cheese balls, cheese sticks and salads also go well.
Yes homemade tomato soup is healthy. It is rich in nutrients especially vitamin C, A & iron. Homemade soup is also lower in sodium when compared to the canned soup. So a bowl of fresh homemade soup is not only tasty & comforting but is also rich in nutrients.
Corn starch, flour, potato starch, arrow root powder, carrots are some of the most common ingredients used to thicken soups. I often use a fresh boiled potato to thicken the soup. Blend it with the tomatoes.
Simmer the soup until thick. Turn off the heat and bring down the pot. Pour half cup heavy cream to a bowl and stir in some tomato soup. Mix well and add the tempered cream back to the pot. This prevents the tomato soup from curdling.
Tomato soup tastes good even without cream. You can also make cashew cream if you don’t prefer dairy. Soak 25 whole cashew nuts in ¼ cup hot water for 30 minutes.
Add them to a small chutney grinder along with the soaked water and puree until you get a thick and creamy consistency. If needed add a few tablespoons more chilled water.
Use this to top your tomato soup while serving. You can also use blanched almonds but they need to be soaked longer. This is a very old picture that I shared in 2012, tomato soup topped with almond cream.
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 500 grams Tomatoes (ripe red tomatoes) cubed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
- 1 small bay leaf
- 1 medium onion cubed
- 2 large garlic cloves
- ⅓ teaspoon Salt or as needed
- 1½ cup water (or stock) more if needed
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ¾ tablespoon corn starch (corn flour or arrowroot powder or 1 small boiled potato)
- ½ teaspoon pepper or as desired
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon dried herbs (I use mixed Italian herbs)
- 2 stalks Basil (optional)
- 2 tablespoon cream (or 25 cashew nuts)
- 1 small carrot (optional) (diced)
- Heat oil in a pan. Add bay leaf, garlic and onions. Saute all of these on a high flame for 3 to 4 mins.
- Then add in tomatoes and salt. Stir and cook until soft.
- Next add in basil and cook until tomatoes turn completely mushy. Turn off and cool.
How to make tomato soup
- Discard the basil & bay leaf.
- Add the mushy tomato mixture along with the juices to a blender jar.
- Pour 1 cup water or stock and blend smooth.
- Place a sieve over a pot & transfer the blended tomato soup to it.
- Filter and discard the leftovers. Bring it to a boil on a medium heat & simmer for 2 to 3 mins.
- Meanwhile stir in corn starch in half cup water and add it gradually to the boiling tomato soup.
- Stir constantly and boil until slightly thick.
- Add sugar & more salt if desired. Simmer until it reaches a desired consistency.
- Next add herbs & pepper. Cover the soup & turn off the stove.
- Allow it to cool down a bit before adding the cream. If you prefer to use cashew nuts, soak them in ¼ cup hot water for 30 minutes. Add them to a small chutney grinder along with the soaked water and puree until you get a thick and smooth cream. If needed add a few tablespoons more water for consistency. Use this to top your tomato soup while serving.
- Transfer tomato soup to serving bowls. Garnish with herbs & cream. Enjoy with croutons.
- Spread butter on the bread slices and toast them on a medium heat until crisp.
- Then cut them to bite sized pieces.
- For oven method: Spread onions, tomatoes, garlic, basil on a baking tray. Drizzle some oil and salt. Grill them in a preheated oven at 200 C for 30 to 40 mins or until the tomatoes turn mushy. Cool completely.
- Fresh plum or roma tomatoes are best for tomato soup. Feel free to use any fresh sweeter variety of tomatoes as tart ones don’t really go well.
- If using carrot chop it small and add along with tomatoes.
- If using potato, boil it until soft, chop and blend with cooked tomatoes. For the above quantities I usually use 2 baby potatoes or 1 medium potato.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
Tomato soup recipe first published in June 2012. Updated and republished in February 2021