Fresh Tomato Soup with Basil

Preserve the taste of summer with this Easy Garden Fresh Tomato Basil Soup. Come January, you’ll be thanking yourself!

Bowl of Fresh Tomato Soup topped with Basil

If I had to choose a single comfort food to live on for the rest of my life, it would be tomato soup and grilled cheese. Some people go for Creamy Mac and Cheese or Chicken and Noodles, but on my weariest days, nothing soothes my soul like a humble bowl of fresh tomato soup.

Summer may seem like a strange time of year to be talking about hot soup, but with garden fresh tomatoes in season, those plump, ruby beauties are appearing everywhere. So, whether you are looking for dinner ideas, or whether you are thinking about freezing tomato soup, I figure there’s no better time to stock up on fresh tomato soup than right now.

A variety of yellow and red Garden Fresh Tomatoes

Tomato Soup From Scratch

I’ve been looking for an easy tomato soup recipe made with fresh tomatoes for awhile. A long time ago I made a roasted tomato soup that was heavenly, but it was also time consuming and used canned tomatoes. I wanted a recipe that called for fresh tomatoes and could be made in about 30 minutes.

Luckily, this recipe fits the bill. Common pantry staples and about 40 minutes of your time is all it takes to make a giant vat of this stuff.

Close-up of bowl of Fresh Tomato Soup with a spoon

How to Make Fresh Tomato Basil Soup

  1. Saute some onions in a stock pot until they’re nice and soft and sweet.
  2. Add garlic, balsamic vinegar, and sugar. Enjoy the smells.
  3. Stir in a whole bunch of chopped tomatoes and simmer.
  4. Pour in some chicken broth.
  5. Season to taste.
  6. Blend to your desired consistency (smooth or chunky.)
  7. Top with fresh basil, cream, croutons, or a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

I was surprised how little seasoning this recipe needed. It tastes quite good without any added salt, pepper, or basil, but I gave it a small dose of all three for good measure.

For minimal effort, you’ll be rewarded with sweet, flavorful soup that tastes like summer in a bowl.

Hand dipping a piece of grilled toast into a bowl of Fresh Tomato Soup with Basil

Variations of Tomato Basil Soup

The great thing about making your own soup at home is you get to customize the flavor.

  • Creamy Tomato Basil Soup Recipe: While this soup recipe is pretty creamy all on its own, you can absolutely stir in some cream or half and half at the end.
  • Spicy Tomato Soup: Saute some jalapeno peppers with the onions, or stir in a little cayenne pepper.
  • Smoky Tomato Soup: Stir in some smoked paprika or the sauce from a can of Chipotle Peppers in Adobo.
  • Vegetarian Tomato Soup: Replace the chicken broth with vegetarian broth and use canned coconut milk for the swirl of cream.

Do I Need to Peel Tomatoes for Soup?

For a perfectly smooth soup, you will need to peel and seed the tomatoes. Here’s a great tutorial on how to peel tomatoes.

But, if you like your soup to have just a bit more texture, or you’re more low-maintenance (like me), then this recipe is perfect as is. And by perfect, I mean it coats the outside of a grilled cheese sandwich like a champ.

How to Blend Hot Soup

I tried to use my pitcher blender to blend this soup and had a boiling hot tomato VOLCANO erupt all over my kitchen. Seriously, it’s a good thing no one walked in on me, because I probably would’ve been arrested for murder. It was a tomato bloodbath in there.

Let this be a lesson to you. Hot liquids should never be blended in a sealed blender. To safely puree hot soup, remove the center cap from the lid, fill the blender half full, then replace the lid and cover the center hole with a towel. The towel allows some of the heat to escape so it doesn’t collect in the blender and cause the pressure filled explosion mentioned above.

An even better option? Invest in an immersion blender. It allows you to puree the entire soup at once and not worry about transferring, splattering, or ruining your favorite shirt.

Front view of a bowl of Fresh Tomato Soup topped with Basil with sandwiches and tomatoes in the background

Freezing Tomato Soup

Truthfully, I’m terrified of canning things, but I do a good bit of freezing, and that’s exactly what I did for this recipe.

There’s no real trick to freezing, but here’s what I do.

  • Allow the soup to cool.
  • Then, place a quart size freezer bag in a 2 cup measuring cup. The cup helps it to stand open and cuts back on mess while you pour it in the bags.
  • Fill each bag about 2/3 full, squeeze out as much air as possible, and seal them up.
  • Freeze the bags flat on a baking tray for easier storage then stack them up for easy access. Make sure to label them so you don’t wonder what that odd colored bag of liquid in your freezer is (trust me, it’s happened before).

Three step process cooling, bagging, and Freezing Tomato Soup

This recipe makes enough for our family of four to eat dinner one night and freeze for another meal later.

What to Serve With Tomato Soup

Our family loves eating this with a classic grilled cheese, but we also enjoy getting fancy with a Gruyere Grilled Cheese with Ham or the Ultimate Strawberry Bacon Grilled Cheese.

If you’re a soup and salad fan, I recommend pairing this soup with That Good Salad or Ham and Swiss Salad.

You could also sprinkle Melba Toast on the top or make Homemade Breadsticks for dunking!

Fresh Tomato Basil Soup Recipe

Fresh Tomato Basil Soup Recipe

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

This Fresh Tomato Soup is a great way to use garden fresh tomatoes and basil. This creamy soup goes great with grilled cheese and is freezer friendly, so you can enjoy this summer favorite all year round!

Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups chopped sweet onions (About 2 large onions)
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 cups (about 4 lbs.) chopped tomatoes *see note
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
  • Heavy cream, half and half, or coconut milk, if desired

Instructions

  1. In a large heavy pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for 5-7 minutes, or until they've started to soften. Add the balsamic, sugar, and garlic and saute for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until garlic is fragrant.
  2. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and bring the mixture to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in the chicken broth and bring the mixture back to a simmer. Simmer another five minutes then taste. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Stir in basil.
  4. Use an immersion blender to blend the soup into the consistency of your choosing. You can make it totally smooth or leave some chunks. I personally like a few chunks. You can also blend this in your blender, but be sure to remove the inner cap, cover with a towel, and only fill the blender 1/2 full.
  5. To serve, spoon the soup into bowls and top with sliced fresh basil. Swirl with half and half or heavy cream, if desired. Top with Parmesan cheese and croutons, or serve with a side of grilled cheese.

Notes

Types of tomatoes: This soup works great with any fresh, in season tomatoes. I've used all combinations of beefsteaks, romas, and heirlooms.

To Peel or Not to Peel: This is personal preference. If you decide to peel, you can follow this easy tutorial for peeling tomatoes. If you don't mind a little texture to the soup, leave the peels on.

To freeze: Allow the soup to cool then ladle it into freezer safe containers or quart size freezer bags. Freeze bags laying flat on a sheet pan, then stack and store as needed. Thaw soup in the fridge overnight then reheat on the stove top. Soup should always be frozen before cream is added.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 255Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 48mgSodium: 170mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 1gSugar: 6gProtein: 14g

Please note nutritional information for my recipes is calculated by a third party service and provided as a courtesy to my readers. For the most accurate calculation, I always recommend running the numbers yourself with the specific products you use.

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113 Comments

  1. I love this recipe. I found it online when I was visiting my 93 year old mom in BC so we decided to try it. She likes hers chunkier than I do but we split the recipe and had our own variation lol I have made it a few times since and enjoy it just as much, each time. I am wondering if you could can this recipe so it would maybe last even longer? I haven’t canned in a long time but I would definitely can this recipe!

    1. I’m so glad you love the tomato soup! Unfortunately, canning is not my area of expertise, so I can’t say for sure whether it could be canned. I would recommend googling options for canning tomato soup.

  2. Tomato soup is my favorite. I always add a lot of pepper to it, I like very intense flavor. Your recipe is very good, today it made me delicious for dinner. Thanks for that, he adds to the favorites.

  3. This is the second year to make this recipe. My family loves it. Didn’t know what to do with all my extra tomatoes from the garden until I stumbled on your recipe. Thank you for sharing it!

  4. Since tomato season has passed, , how would you go about substituting canned tomatoes for fresh? I am not sure what amount would equate to 12c – or even how many fresh tomatoes, if I use them

    1. I think you could sub canned tomatoes. I would probably get diced canned tomatoes and just pour them (undrained) into a measuring cup until you reach 12 cups. I hope that works out for you! I definitely wouldn’t recommend using fresh tomatoes out of season, as they don’t have much flavor.

  5. This has become my go-to recipe for all those extra tomatoes from the garden…I just love this recipe, super fast and very delicious! I have another batch on the stove as I type, this time I’m trying it with cherry tomatoes. Thank you so much for sharing this! I do have two questions, however. How long will it keep in the freezer, and how do you go about heating it up? I assume you would have to pull it out the day before and let it thaw in the fridge, but if there is another trick to heating it up out of the freezer, that would be awesome to know!

    1. That is wonderful! I am so glad you like it so much. I know it lasts at least 6 months in the freezer, probably longer. We freeze ours in ziplock bags and if I forget to take it out of the freezer the night before, I drop it in a bowl of hot water until it’s thawed enough to break apart, then just put the frozen chunks in a pot on the stove and cook like normal. Thanks again for taking the time to come back and let me know you enjoyed this. It makes my day!

  6. I am sorry you didn’t like the soup. We have made it a few times and freeze it each year to enjoy year round. I only share recipes we love, but obviously they might not fit everyone’s tastes. I hate when recipes don’t work out for my readers, but always appreciate when they can be gracious about it. Fresh tomato soups are not going to be as rich or thick as those made with canned tomatoes or paste. For a thicker, more traditional soup you may want to try this recipe-https://neighborfoodblog.com/2011/10/creamy-tomato-soup.html.

  7. This was really good. I screwed up a bit & 1/2 everything but the sugar & vinegar but still turned out good. I used veggie broth & use emulsion blender to smooth it out a bit. I didn’t use basil or cream. Will make this again.

  8. I’m going to chop up my basil fairly fine then try freezing it in large ice cube trays with about 50% ater. It won’t be usable for pesto in February, but I’m hoping a cube or two dropped in a pot of soup will be good. If it flops, I haven’t lost anything as the basil will just die otherwise.

    Your love of grilled cheese and tomato soup gave me a chuckle. G-ma told me when I was young (7-8), I told her when I was big and no one could tell me what to eat, I was going to live on grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup and lemonade! Hey, at least I hit all four food groups (or what they were back in the ’60’s.

    1. I make pesto every summer with my basil and freeze it in ice cube trays and it lasts us all winter long, so you can try that as well! 🙂

  9. I LOVE my immersion blender!! I dont even own a blender!! although I’m finding that I do want a blender for other things…. : )

    thanks for sharing! Love tomato soup!

  10. I’m with you, Courtney, loving the tomato soup and grilled cheese combo! We’re on the same page when it comes to freezing too! 😉

  11. I’m so glad to know it’s not just me who wears impractical clothes and then has kitchen disasters! But your capri sacrifice was worth it for such an utterly beautiful soup!

  12. Courtney, LOVE this tomato soup. . we just picked a bunch of tomatoes from our garden yesterday and I was going to make tomato sauce but now I’m going to try this! love!!

  13. It’s hard to believe that with minimal effort you could have this delicious soup — but I am willing to try it! Looks amazing.

  14. Sorry, Courtney, but LOL…And laughing with you because sooo many times I’ve worn white only to find a stain. Oh, well, more happy shopping =) Speaking of happiness, your gorgeous photos make me want to dive into the lovely comfort of your tomato soup =)

  15. My daughter could live off your soup (and grilled cheese sandwiches!). I need to make a big batch of this for our freezer! So sorry about the tomato blood bath…sounds like something that would happen to me :/

  16. Nothing better than homemade soup and tomato is one of my favs! Scrumptious with grilled cheese, it is on our menu often!! Your soup looks fabulous!!

  17. I’ve never been a huge soup person, but this looks so freaking delicious. The color is gorg and it looks so smooth and creamy. I want a bowl for lunch right now!

  18. I’ve had that same blender explosion thing happen but with butternut squash soup. It was all over my ceiling, cabinets, and clothes too. Your soup looks amazing and tomato soup is one of my husband’s all-time favorites. And yes, it is superb with grilled cheese.

  19. That is one gorgeous bowl of soup, Courtney! I love the swirl of cream and the little basil leaves. Just a word of caution about the immersion blender. It can create an awful mess if your pot isn’t deep enough for it to be completely immersed. Not that I know this from experience, you understand. Ah, hem.

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