This fresh tomato soup recipe tastes amazing—plus it's healthy and amazingly easy to make. Say good-bye to bland canned soup and hello to flavor and freshness. The soup is done in just an hour.
This fresh tomato soup recipe is surprisingly easy to make and the flavor is so good that you'll never buy the canned stuff again. Not to mention that it's good for you!
My inspiration for this recipe was to find ways to use up the loads of tomatoes we get from our garden every year. I mean, you can only eat so many BLTs, amirite?
The recipe starts out with onions and leeks sautéed in butter. You'll love how the butter adds a subtle richness to the soup.
But let’s be real . . . the key ingredient for tomato soup is of course, the fresh, ripe tomatoes. Don’t have access to fresh tomatoes? No problem. It's not ideal, but in the middle of Winter, you can substitute the best canned, whole tomatoes you can find. San Marzano tomatoes are always a good choice.
Also, this recipe doesn’t require a fancy food mill (although if you have one, by all means use it!). We use a simple coarse mesh strainer (a colander will work too).
So follow along as I guide you on how to make the best silky-smooth, fresh tomato soup you've ever had!
- Best tomatoes for tomato soup
- Homemade tomato soup ingredients
- How to make fresh tomato soup
- How to make tomato soup creamy
- Toppings for tomato soup
- What to eat with tomato soup
- How fix soup that's too tart
- Is tomato soup good for you?
- Want vegan tomato soup?
- Want more fresh tomato recipes?
- Other comfort soup recipes
- Fresh Tomato Soup
Best tomatoes for tomato soup
The best tomatoes for fresh tomato soup will be whatever is ripe and in season. We are looking for robust, fresh flavor after all. I've found that the best tomatoes to use are from your garden or your local farmers market. A few varieties that work great for this soup are:
If tomatoes are out of season, substitute canned San Marzano tomatoes in this recipe. They'll still deliver great-tasting tomato soup. You'll need roughly three 28-oz cans (drained) of whole tomatoes.
Homemade tomato soup ingredients
- Fresh tomatoes (see section above)
- Tomato paste
- Fish sauce
- Chicken stock
- Fresh parsley
- Dried tarragon
- Ricotta cheese
- Salt & pepper to taste
You might be wondering why I don't use basil. Great question! I prefer the flavor of tarragon in tomato soup. I use dried because fresh tarragon is hard to find (in my area, at least). I also add some fresh parsley.
You might also be wondering what the heck the fish sauce is for. This is simply a quick flavor-building hack that I have used for years. It doesn't make the soup taste fishy at all: it adds some umami in the background that boosts the complexity of the soup's overall flavor.
How to make fresh tomato soup
Using a large Dutch oven, sauté chopped onion and leeks in butter.
After the onion leek mixture begins to soften, add tomato paste. The caramelization of the tomato paste adds additional flavor and sweetness to the soup.
Deglaze with some dry sherry, then add your chopped fresh tomatoes and chicken stock. Add a couple sprigs of fresh parsley to the pot, stems and all.
Simmer on medium low for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, and mixing in the dried tarragon at the 15-minute mark.
After 30 minutes, the tomatoes will have begun to break down. It should look like a chunky, rustic tomato soup. Now it's time to make it smooth!
How to make the tomato soup smooth
I once ordered tomato soup at a high-end gastropub: it was chunky and reminded me more of marinara sauce than soup. NOT what I remember eating with grilled cheese as a kid!
To smooth out your rustic tomato soup, parsley sprigs and all, use an immersion blender for 2-3 minutes (take care to avoid splashing). The soup should have a consistency similar to crushed tomatoes when you're done. It’s okay to use a standard blender if you don’t have an immersion blender.
Of course, use extreme caution: the soup is HOT.
At this point, set up a coarse mesh strainer (or colander bowl) over a large mixing bowl. (Note that if you use a fine-mesh strainer, you won't be able to pass enough of the soup through.)
Pour 2-3 cups of your blended soup into the mesh strainer (you can also use a food mill for this part, if you have one). Then, use the back of your ladle to press the soup through the strainer. Work it around and around, pressing on the solids. The soup that passes through the strainer will be silky smooth!
Continue this process until all the blended soup has been pressed through the strainer. Discard the solids (mostly tomato skin and seeds) that remain in the strainer.
Give your Dutch oven a rinse and a wipe, then pour the silky smooth tomato soup back in the pot to reheat (medium heat for 3 minutes) and serve.
Did I hear you say, “What if I prefer creamy tomato soup?”
How to make tomato soup creamy
There are a few ways to make fresh tomato soup creamy. I prefer to put a dollop of ricotta cheese in each bowl and ladle the hot soup on top. I just love the creaminess and flavor of this cheese.
Other easy options are as simple as stirring in cream or milk.
Toppings for tomato soup
Our family loves bread, so we always make a fresh batch of Easy Stovetop Croutons. Freshly made croutons provide a great crunch and chewiness you can't get from those dense, store-bought things. They're easy and done in under 15 minutes.
Some of our other favorite toppings include:
- Grated Parmesan or cheddar cheese (if you want to get extra fancy, you can make Parmesan crisps!)
- Saltine crackers
- Freshly ground black pepper
What to eat with tomato soup
Well, the classic comfort dish to serve with tomato soup has always been Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. But on a similar note, Creamy One-Pot Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese is also awesome. Or, you could go the soup and salad route and serve Arugula-Shaved-Fennel Salad.
The reality is that you can serve fresh tomato soup with just about any sandwich or main dish. It's versatile and doesn’t box you into any one food category.
How fix soup that's too tart
Even perfectly ripe tomatoes can occasionally be less sweet and more acidic than you'd expect. This can make your fresh tomato soup a bit tart. But I have the perfect fix if this happens.
Did you know? It's a myth that adding sugar makes tomato sauces and soups less acidic.
Sugar does nothing to change pH. But baking soda does! This is a great trick I learned from an Italian chef. You simply sprinkle ¼ to ½ teaspoon of baking soda over the soup. You'll see it fizzing as the alkali reacts with and neutralizes the excess acid. Do this right before serving.
Is tomato soup good for you?
Check out Healthline’s article, 9 Health Benefits of Tomato Soup. It goes into great detail about all of these benefits. For example, the soup is:
- Highly nutritious.
- Rich in antioxidants
Want vegan tomato soup?
If you would like to make a vegan version of my Fresh Tomato Soup, you can make these substitutions:
- Use extra-virgin olive oil rather than butter
- Use liquid aminos in place of fish sauce
- Use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock
- Use a plant-based ricotta substitute
Other substitutions to consider are using white wine for the dry sherry (I would suggest a sauvignon blanc or chardonnay). Or, if you prefer not to use alcohol in your cooking, simply deglaze the pot with additional stock.
Want more fresh tomato recipes?
Here are some of our favorites:
Other comfort soup recipes
Stay safe, my friends. Stay well.
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter (see Recipe Note #1)
- 2 cups leeks, chopped
- 1 cup sweet onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoon fish sauce (see Recipe Note #1)
- ½ cup tomato paste
- ¼ cup dry sherry (see Recipe Note #2)
- 3.5 pounds fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped (see Recipe Note #3)
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried tarragon
- ½ cup ricotta cheese (see Recipe Note #1)
- Add butter to a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted and foaming, add the leeks and onions. Sauté until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Mix in the fish sauce and tomato paste; continue sautéing for 1 minute.
- Add the sherry, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon until the sherry is evaporated.
- Add the tomatoes, stock, salt and pepper, and parsley. Stir well, cover the pot, and simmer for 15 minutes on medium low, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the tarragon; continue simmering for 15 minutes.
- Use an immersion blender (see Recipe Note #4) to carefully blend the soup until smooth, about 2–3 minutes.
- Set a coarse-mesh strainer over a large mixing bowl. Add 2 ladles at a time to the strainer, using the back of the ladle to press down on the solids. Move the ladle around the strainer in a circular motion to squeeze as much liquid out of the solids as possible. Discard solids.
- Rinse and wipe the Dutch oven. Add the soup and reheat for 3 minutes over medium heat.
- Add a tablespoon of ricotta cheese to each bowl and ladle the hot soup over the top. Serve.
- For a vegan version of this soup, substitute extra-virgin olive oil for the butter, liquid aminos for the fish sauce (but use only 1 tablespoon), vegetable stock for the chicken stock, and a plant-based substitute for the ricotta cheese.
- If you prefer to cook without alcohol, you can substitute additional stock for the sherry.
- You can substitute canned tomatoes if you don't have fresh. You'll need roughly three 28-oz cans of whole tomatoes (drained).
- You can also use a standard blender, but work in small batches. Either way, use extreme caution to avoid burns.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 bowl, about 2 cups
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 150Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 858mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 4gSugar: 11gProtein: 7g
Nutrition data provided here is only an estimate: if you are tracking this information for medical purposes, please consult a trusted external source. Thanks!