Creamy Tomato Soup from Canned Tomatoes

Creamy tomato soup is the perfect cold weather meal, right? And this one is an absolute winner because it can be whipped up in less than 30 minutes with only a few ingredients. Made from San Marzano canned tomatoes, this is an unforgettable tomato bisque thanks to another unexpected ingredient. Your grilled cheese is going to love it!

light blue scalloped plate with a dark blue ramken filled with tomato soup and a cheese crisp.
Ladle up a bowl of cozy comfort thanks to this creamy tomato soup recipe.

It began with Nordstrom’s tomato soup

Back our newlywed days, hubby and I would saunter through Nordstrom and invariably stop in the cafe for a bowl of their creamy tomato bisque. I don’t know if it was the company or the locale, but their creamy tomato soup had me at hello.

And then a friend shared what I think is the best tomato soup recipe I’ve ever tasted and this version of it has sat beside my grilled cheese sandwich ever since.

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Tomato soup or tomato bisque

navy blue ramekin of creamy tomato soup with cheese crisp on top.

I keep calling it tomato soup but really, this recipe is for tomato bisque despite not being made with seafood.

The word bisque historically was designated for soups made from seafood but it has evolved over time to include vegetable based cream soups.

And a bisque is typically pureed or strained to make it ultra-smooth. You can choose to make it smooth or leave it as is (which I prefer as you’ll see below).

Ingredients you’ll need

can of tomatoes, bottle of cream, butter, onions, garlic and white wine on a wooden board.

One of the great things about this creamy soup recipe is that you only need like 5 ingredients to make it and you can be eating it in 30 minutes.

And—the other favorite thing about this yummy soup is its ability to confuse anybody I serve it to. That’s because of one key ingredient.

Here are a few ingredients that catapult this creamy tomato bisque to Flavortown:

  • Canned tomatoes. I’m kind of obsessed with good quality authentic canned tomatoes from San Marzano. You can use fresh too! Either way, promise me you won’t skimp here. The tomatoes are the star of the whole shebang!
  • White wine. It’s THE secret ingredient. Select a dry white wine like a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. And if you don’t puree the soup, you’ll bite into these tiny nuggets of onion that soak up the wine’s flavor. It’s my favorite part of the soup.
  • Fresh basil. Please, please, please…if possible, use fresh basil. You won’t regret the bright flavor it adds. And learn my easy tips for cutting basil.

Step by step instructions

pot of butter with onions sauteed and a wooden spatula
hand pouring white wine into stockpot of butter and onions
blender of tomatoes being poured into pot of sauteed onions and butter.
  1. Saute the chopped onions in the butter over medium heat until they are translucent and then add the garlic just until the scent releases – about 30 seconds. Making the soup in a 5-6 quart dutch oven or large saucepan works best as it gives you a wider surface for the onions to cook.
  2. Carefully, pour in the wine and let the onions and wine come together for about 3 -5 minutes until the alcohol burns off.
  1. Add the tomatoes to the pot. I prefer to use whole tomatoes that I first puree in the blender. I like a chunkier soup but you can make it as smooth as you like.
  2. Next, add the salt and black pepper. Taste for the seasoning – sometimes I add a little bit of sugar if the tomatoes need it. Just make sure to always taste your food as your cooking. You’ll know when it’s right for you and your family.

Make ahead tip

If you are making the soup in advance, which you totally can, stop at this point, let it cool and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours. You also can blend the soup at this point for a smoother texture if you prefer.

Finishing the soup

pot of creamy tomato soup with some blue scalloped plates nearby.
Pot of finished creamy tomato soup

Before serving, add the cream to the soup and correct the seasoning once more. Typically, I use half and half as I find heavy cream too heavy. At the last minute, add the basil and be sure to crown each bowl with a Parmesan Crisp. Or just eat the Parmesan Crisp between slurps of soup. I won’t judge.

How to safely puree hot soup in a regular blender

  1. Carefully ladle or pour the hot soup into the blender container.
  2. Put the lid on the container and remove the center “plug”.
  3. Cover the open hole with a folded up dish towel (this insures you won’t get burned but also allows the steam to escape).
  4. Confirm that the blender is set on the lowest setting and carefully turn on the blender to puree the hot soup. You can slowly raise the blender speed and puree the creamy soup to your texture preference.

Something extra

French rolling pin with parmesan crisps laying over it resting on a black white dish towel.

I used to buy bread bowls to serve this easy tomato soup (which my kiddos loved). Now with everyone being a little more carb-conscious, I came up with these little Parmesan Crisps as an alternative. (The simple steps to make them in included in the recipe.)

Made this recipe?

I’d love it if you’d share your review and leave a star rating and comment!

navy blue ramekin of creamy tomato soup with cheese crisp on top.
5 from 13 votes

Creamy Tomato Soup with Canned Tomatoes

Creamy tomato soup is the perfect cold weather soup, especially when you're busy because it can be made in less than 30 minutes and only has a few ingredients. This easy tomato bisque is made from canned tomatoes (San Marzano) and is the best partner to Parmesan Crusted Grilled Cheese, a great salad or my Parmesan Cheese Crisps.
Prep Time:5 minutes
Cook Time:25 minutes
Total Time:30 minutes
Servings 4


For the Tomato Soup


For the Tomato Soup

  • In a 3-5 quart dutch oven, saute onion in butter on medium until translucent for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute for about 30 seconds until you can smell it.
    1 cup white onion, 1/2 cup butter, 1-2 tsp minced garlic
  • Add the white wine and cook until the wine has reduced in half, about 3-5 minutes.
    1/2 cup white wine
  • Meanwhile, puree tomatoes to desired consistency or if using, tomato puree skip this step.
    1 28 oz can whole Italian tomatoes
  • Add tomatoes, salt and pepper to wine mixture and cook for 15 minutes. Can be made to this point and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.
    1 1/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper
  • If bringing from the refrigerator, heat until warm and slowly add the cream, stirring as you add it. Once completely heated, correct for seasoning and stir in the basil right before serving.
    1 cup half and half, 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

For the Parmesan Cheese Crisps

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.Using a tablespoon, lightly and evenly sprinkle cheese in a 3” circle on the parchment paper. You should get 3 circles across.Make sure the cheese isn’t piled or clumped together but loosely spread. It’s ok if there are small holes.
    1 package Trader Joe's Quattro Formaggi shredded cheese, or any combo of Parmesan, romano or any hard shredded cheese
  • Once you have filled up the cookie sheet, bake the crisps for 5 minutes checking at around the 3 minute mark. You want the edges to be a golden brown.
  • Cool for about 1 minute and while they’re cooling, get a butter knife or long metal icing spatula and a rolling pin.
  • One at at time, gently slide the knife or spatula under the crisp and lift it off the parchment paper and lay it over the rolling pin so that it bends to the shape of the rolling pin. (My rolling pin is approximately 2” in diameter so if yours is bigger, make your crisps bigger.)
  • Let the crisps set for a minute or so and remove to a cooling rack until they harden. Repeat with all the crisps. You can line your rolling pin with a few at a time.


For a smoother soup / to blend hot soup in a blender after cooking: Remove the smaller cap/plug from the blender lid. Place the lid on the blender and cover the opening with a folded dish towel to avoid any splattering. This way, the heat will be released through the towel and you won’t burn yourself.
Make Ahead. This cream of tomato soup is best made the day before you plan to serve it. The next day, heat it in a saucepan over medium heat until warmed through.
Reheating. Reheat in the microwave covered with plastic wrap in 30 second increments until warm. Stir between heating.
How to adjust the recipe. First, this recipe can be doubled easily. More than that gets a little tricky so I suggest just doubling it. I have quadrupled it but felt some of the taste was sacrificed. Let me know if you try it and have any suggestions.
For a few. Make the recipe as is and serve in bread bowls or with a salad for a cozy dinner.
For a crowd. Serve as shooters for an appetizer and top with mini Parmesan Crisp or garnished with a little crispy prosciutto and some extra chopped basil.
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Lori Murphy
Did you make this recipe? Tag @josieandnina or tag #josieandnina!

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    1. Hi Dianne! I have made this for a holiday before and served in tea cups. I usually would do a 4-6 oz ladle for a crowd so about 1/2 or 2/3 of a cup. Hope that helps!

  1. The best tomato bisque… and so easy to make! I’ve made it several times and it is delicious every time! I really enjoy your blog and get so excited to open an email from you! Thank you!5 stars

  2. I’m so happy to have this recipe~ it really does beat Nordstroms! Hope mine tastes as good as yours.♥️5 stars

  3. Love, Love, Love this soup!!! The parmesan crisp are a must and so easy. Thank you so much for sharing, keep them coming!5 stars

    1. Thanks Lynda! Makes me so happy you like it! And sometime I’ll share how to make the crisps into a bowl and we’ll serve gnocchi in them ?