Here are two subjects I love: soup and canned tomatoes. I know, I might need some new hobbies. But, listen, soup is delicious and canned tomatoes mean you can always make soup (or any other number of recipes!) Canned tomatoes are a cheap, high quality, and shelf-stable pantry staple. They might be THE most versatile pantry ingredient; got any other nominees? Pop them in the comments.
- Explore: My Family Recipe for Spaghetti Sauce
Tomato soup is so easy to make and it’s a quintessential comfort food. You don’t need much more than a can of tomatoes to make it. I’m always a fan of a recipe that’s not really a recipe. You can use this quick and easy method for making tomato soup to make hundreds of variations on the classic.
5 Steps to Make Tomato Soup: The Method
Use this method to make dozens of variations of tomato soup.
1. Sweat Aromatic Vegetables
Choose any vegetables you have on hand and dice about 2 cups of them. These aromatic vegetables will add freshness and flavor to your soup. Anything in the allium family works great: onions, shallots, leeks, and garlic. Use one or a combo. Diced carrots and celery round out a traditional mirepoix. Some red bell peppers would be nice, too. Fancy heat: toss in a red Fresno pepper!
To sweat your veg: heat a glug of olive oil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat, add the vegetables with a large pinch of salt, and cook until the vegetables soften and the onions start to turn translucent. This will take about 5 minutes.
2. Spice It Up
This is the step where things get exciting. Choose a flavor profile: your tomato soup can send you an many global directions depending on the herbs and spices you choose. Simply add some dried thyme for a classic French approach; pair that thyme with basil, oregano and crushed red pepper for a quick trip to Italy.
Love Indian food? Stir in a tablespoon of garam masala instead–the warm spice blend amps up the already high comfort food quotient of tomato soup to 11. Have leftover red curry paste in the fridge? Dollop a bit into your vegetables for a Thai twist.
Stir your chosen seasonings into your cooked vegetables; 1-2 tablespoons total should do the trick. Let your spices toast for about a minute which will boost the flavor–especially from spices that may have been in your cabinet for a bit.
3. Add those Canned Tomatoes & Simmer
Add a 28-oz can of whole, peeled tomatoes to the pot with about 4 cups of your favorite stock–chicken or vegetable stock works well. Or, if you’re like me, add water with a heaping spoonful of Better than Bouillon. Bring this to a boil and then reduce to a low simmer for 30-minutes or so. Maybe use this time to contemplate a grilled cheese sandwich side car.
A note about the tomatoes: I like to stock up on whole, peeled tomatoes because you can always process them into what you need. Dice them, crush them, make them into puree–one can to rule them all.
4. Make it Smoooooth
Once your soup has simmered for a half an hour, turn off the heat. If you’ve got an immersion blender, blend right in the pot until the soup is smooth.
If you don’t have an immersion blender, use a stand blender. You might have to do this in batches because you should only fill your blender about halfway with hot soup. Also, be sure to remove the stopper on the lid of your blender so the steam doesn’t create pressure–and an explosion. You certainly don’t want liquid tomato magma spraying everywhere. Use a tea towel over the hole to prevent splattering. Blend until the entire pot is smooth then pour your blended soup back to the pot. Or just buy an immersion blender already!
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5. Taste for Seasoning and Choose Your Dipper
Give your soup a taste: add salt if it needs it. You can also add something creamy at this point: cream, half & half, yogurt, sour cream, or coconut milk work well depending on your chosen flavor profile. Whisk in up to 1/2 cup of a creamy component into your tomato soup. This is highly optional (but very rich and delicious!)
A sprinkle of fresh herbs is also a good idea: basil, cilantro, or chives are delicious garnishes.
And of course, serving your soup with grilled cheese is classic; but topping with some cheesy, garlic croutons could be a nice touch. Or simply serve with warmed pita or naan for dipping.
This easy, inexpensive, and adaptable recipe for tomato soup should help you get through the winter. So, what are you waiting for? Go stock up on canned tomatoes and unleash your culinary creativity for soup season!
How to Make Tomato Soup from Canned Tomatoes
- 1 tbsp neutral oil like canola oil or light olive oil
- 1 shallot roughly chopped
- 1 red bell pepper roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1½ tbsp garam masala spice blend
- 28 oz can whole, peeled tomatoes and their juice
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock or water mixed with Better than Bouillon
- ¼ cup heavy cream yogurt would be a good substitution
- fresh basil for garnish
- Add oil to a medium pot and place over medium heat. Add the shallot, red pepper, and garlic along with the kosher salt. Cook for about 5 minutes until the vegetables soften and the shallot starts to turn translucent.
- Add the garam masala to the pot and stir well to combine. Cook for a minute to toast the spices.
- Add the tomatoes and stock. Bring the soup to a boil. Reduce to low and cover. Cook for about 30 minutes.
- Turn the soup pot to the lowest heat setting. Blend with an immersion stick blender (or follow my steps above to use your stand blender.) Blend until smooth.
- Taste your soup and add salt if the soup needs it. Stir in the cream. Ladle into bowls and garnish with fresh basil.
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