Homemade with fresh tomatoes roasted in the oven, this tomato basil soup recipe adds a healthy and deliciously creamy flavor you won’t find in any old can.
If I think back to my childhood, tomato soup is at the top of the list of my all-time favorite comfort foods. But unlike my ultra creamy macaroni and cheese or my mom’s spaghetti recipe, tomato basil soup is on the lighter side of the comfort food scale. Even better, when you have a stash of roasted tomatoes in the fridge, it’s an easy recipe to whip up for an easy dinner with leftovers for lunch the next day.
I’ve seen some recipes for this soup that call for canned tomatoes, but I use fresh tomatoes roasted with garlic and herbs in my tomato soup. Earlier this week I shared my recipe for roasting the tomatoes here, and since I had a jar left over, I decided to update the photos and post for this recipe too. Soup at our house is a regular menu item, in fact, my husband has gone on an all-soup diet more than once. It’s also likely that our early marriage was built on tomato soup with grilled cheese. Because can one even eat tomato soup without a grilled cheese sandwich for dunking?
What’s in Tomato Basil Soup
This tomato soup from scratch is incredibly rich and creamy thanks to a few special ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need to make this homemade tomato basil soup recipe:
- Fresh tomatoes (I use fresh because I love roasting the tomatoes for maximum flavor)
- Olive oil
- Fresh thyme
- Shredded carrots
- Yellow onion
- Kosher salt
- Tomato paste
- Cayenne pepper (you could also use red pepper flakes)
- Vegetable broth (chicken broth or chicken stock would also work)
- Half and half
- Fresh basil
- Orzo pasta
- Grated Parmesan cheese
What Are the Best Tomatoes for Tomato Soup?
I used roma tomatoes for this easy tomato soup. They create a thicker blend of tomatoes for a more substantial soup. I’ve tried it with cocktail or campari tomatoes as well but be prepared, they release more liquid and seeds as they cook. (learn more about roasting tomatoes here.)
How to Make This Tomato Soup
I’ve made this homemade tomato soup recipe on the stovetop (let me know if you’d like to see instructions for a slow cooker or Instant Pot), but it gets its start in the oven.
Roast the tomatoes. Use fresh tomatoes, garlic cloves, and fresh thyme to create this homemade tomato basil soup’s healthy base.
*Time-saving tip: I often roast the tomatoes at the beginning of the week for a little meal prep, blend and store in a quart jar, and then add to the sautéed carrots and tomato mixture.
Shred carrots and onion to sweeten and smooth. Carrots add sweetness to this soup’s base and onion gives it depth, and I shred them instead of dicing as a riff on the Italian soffritto. Shredding and then cooking them makes them melt and meld into this soup’s base. You can use a Dutch oven or large pot for making this soup.
Make it more tomato-ed with tomato paste. Just 1 tablespoon of tomato paste deepens the tomato flavor of this soup. Add it to the carrots and onions and cook it for a minute or so to remove the raw flavor.
Blend baby. Use an immersion blender or a high-powered blender to puree and emulsify the batch until smooth. I recently got this blender and it totally lives up to its reputation (blend it less if you prefer a chunkier texture).
Heat and serve. I like to add the soup back to the pot and bring to a simmer before serving.
Add some bite. One of my daughter’s favorite tomato basil soups is from a local soup kitchen called Cafe Zupas. It’s there we discovered adding cooked orzo pasta and Parmesan cheese to the soup to give it a little girth.
What Can I Add to Tomato Soup for Flavor?
This tomato soup is already teeming with awesome flavor, but if you wanted to sub or add anything, here are some ideas:
- Purée some sun-dried tomatoes in with your soup
- Add freshly ground black pepper
- Top with a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche
- Top with fresh basil or chives
- Add bacon or pancetta for smokiness
Can I Use Dried Herbs Instead of Fresh?
I don’t recommend using dried herbs in this tomato basil soup. Dried herbs are more potent than fresh, plus they need a lot more time to cook down and soften.
Is There a Half and Half Substitute I Can Use?
If you’re trying to make this homemade tomato basil soup a little healthier, you may be able to get away with using whole milk instead of half and half. I’ve only ever used half and half though, so I can’t guarantee your soup will turn out perfectly using whole milk. Feel free to use heavy cream if you want it super rich.
Can I Freeze Tomato Basil Soup?
Yes, you can freeze this tomato soup from scratch in freezer bags and reheat it on the stovetop. I recommend freezing it without the orzo or fresh basil for best results (you can add both to the reheated soup later on).
Can I Omit the Fresh Basil?
If you’re craving regular tomato soup, you’re welcome to leave out the fresh basil. But if you’ve never tried tomato basil soup before, I highly recommend making it. The fresh basil adds a subtle pop of flavor that can’t be beaten.
Tips for Making Tomato Basil Soup
- The tiny bit of cayenne pepper in this tomato basil soup doesn’t make it spicy, it just makes it ultra-flavorful. Don’t leave it out, trust me on this one.
- When blending the soup, make sure to vent the blender so the hot soup doesn’t burst out. And it goes without saying that you should be very careful when pouring the hot soup into the blender. Please don’t splatter hot soup on yourself!
- I prefer serving my homemade tomato soup over orzo to bulk it up a bit and make it more filling. Feel free to leave the orzo out or use a gluten-free version if necessary.
- Leftovers also double as a super tasty base for pasta sauce!
What to Serve With Tomato Soup
- BLT Grilled Cheese
- Chicken Caesar Salad Recipe
- French Onion Cheese Bread
- The Best Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
- Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo, and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
Tomato Basil Soup
- 2 pounds roma tomatoes
- 8 cloves garlic , smashed, with paper removed
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 8 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 carrot , shredded, about 1 cup
- ½ medium yellow onion , shredded, about ¾ cup
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 ½ cups vegetable broth , (use chicken broth if you prefer)
- 1 cup half and half
- ½ cup slivered fresh basil
- 1 cup cooked orzo pasta
- 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Stem the tomatoes, then slice them in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds by gently squeezing them out (if you feel like it), or remove with a spoon.
- Lay the tomatoes, cut side up if cut in half, in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with foil. Roast for 40-50 minutes or until the skin softens and begins to burst. Discard the herbs and 4 cloves of the garlic, and set aside.
- In a large stock pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shredded carrot and onion to the pot and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Sauté for five minutes, stirring often, until the vegetables are soft. Add the tomato paste and continue to stir for one minute. Add the tomatoes and 4 cloves of the garlic, the broth, and cook for five minutes.
- Add the tomato mixture to a blender. Vent the top of then blender and blend for 30 seconds or until smooth, or use an immersion blender until smooth. Add back to the pan and stir in the half-and-half. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until warmed through.
- Season with more kosher salt to taste and divide among serving bowls. Serve hot with ¼ cup orzo per bowl, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.
More Vegetable Soup Recipes to Try
- Tomato Basil Tortellini Soup
- Broccoli Cheese And Potato Soup
- Curry Lentil Soup With Butternut Squash And Greens
- Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lasagna Soup
- 5-Ingredient Thai Pumpkin Soup
- How To Make The Best Minestrone Soup
- Moroccan Soup With Kale And Chickpeas
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