Best-Ever Homemade Tomato Soup

Last Updated on November 7, 2022 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD

Best Tomato Soup Ever. You’re going to love this tested-till-perfect Tomato Soup Recipe that uses canned tomatoes and milk. With its mild, soothing flavor, it tastes like homemade canned tomato soup (just so much better from scratch).

I have ventured many attempts at creating the best homemade tomato soup recipe out there. I tried roasting the tomatoes. Tomato soup thickened with bread crumbs. Tomato soup with canned tomatoes. Tomato soup with fresh tomatoes. Tomato soup with heavy cream.

The recipes I’d tried just weren’t cutting it.

Until one day I landed on this perfect combination of sweet and mild and creamy but not heavy. It truly reminds me of a homemade (much tastier) canned tomato soup. Perfect with a plate of grilled cheese sandwiches to dunk.

How to make amazing homemade tomato soup

I think the reason I have curled my nose up at every previous attempted tomato soup is because they are simply too harsh.

I felt like I was eating thinned-out marinara sauce by the spoonful. That acidic brightness is welcome when contrasted with bland pasta or other ingredients to round it out, but that isn’t what I want in a tomato soup.

I’ve always yearned after a homemade version of the sweet, mild flavour of the canned soup I grew up on.

I really hesitated before trying yet another tomato soup recipe, but decided to take another stab at finding a homemade version that had Campbells nostalgia.

It is thickened with flour, the acidity of the tomatoes is mellowed, and there is almost as much milk as there are tomatoes. It’s creamy, but there’s no cream. Mild and soothing.

Next are the tomatoes, baking soda and sugar

What Can I Add to Tomato Soup to Make it Taste Better?

Here are 3 things you can do to make the best-tasting soup ever using canned tomatoes.

  1. Use a tiny amount of baking soda. This tip comes from food science.
  2. Add a small spoonful of sugar to enhance the natural sweetness of the tomatoes.
  3. Season with salt in all of the steps (starting with the sauteed onions). This ensures your tomato soup is never bland.

3 AMAZING reasons You Should Put Baking Soda in Tomato Soup

Baking soda is alkaline. When you add a little bit to tomato soup, it neutralizes the excess acid. There are 3 amazing reasons you should add it to tomato soup:

1. Adding a bit of baking soda makes the tomatoes taste sweeter by canceling out the sourness. Tomatoes are naturally quite acidic but food processing companies often add extra citric acid to canned tomatoes to get the right pH (acid level) for food safety in canning. This gives canned tomatoes the extra harsh tartness that you don’t find in a sun-sweetened garden tomato.

2. Baking soda allows you to use milk in your tomato soup recipe without it curdling. If you don’t use baking soda, you’ll need to use a higher-fat dairy to avoid it separating with the heat and acidic tomatoes.

3. When you increase the pH of the cooking liquid by adding baking soda, the vegetables’ cell walls break down faster and more completely. The tomatoes and onions will become super soft, so that when you blend the soup, you’ll have the best, most silky, creamy texture ever.

Gradually adding the milk to the mix

How much baking soda should you add to soup?

Only a very small amount. In this recipe I use 1/4 tsp of baking soda for 3 1/2 cups of tomatoes. In this quantity, the baking soda is totally undetectable.

Don’t be tempted to use more, however, or you’ll be left with a soapy, odd-tasting soup.

If you’ve accidentally added too much, you can simply add more tomatoes.

And yes, it is perfectly OK and safe to use baking soda as an ingredient in soup and other savoury recipes.

Creamy Homemade Tomato Soup

How to Make The Best Tomato Soup Using Canned Tomatoes

It’s just so quick and simple.

  1. Melt butter and saute the onions: develop mild flavour by softening the onions in butter in a large dutch oven.
  2. Add flour: this is similar to making a gravy. Cook out the starch in the flour first before adding liquid ingredients. This will thicken the soup and add creaminess.
  3. Add milk and tomatoes: slowly whisk in milk to avoid lumps, then add the tomatoes.
  4. Add baking soda and sugar: our secret ingredients to make this the best tomato soup ever.
  5. Bring to a simmer: and cook on low heat 10 minutes or so to allow the soup to thicken and flavours to meld.
  6. Puree: to puree the soup, transfer it in batches to your standing blender to desired consistency. My super high-power blender (Vitamix) blasts my soups to silky smoothness, and the air it whips in lightens the colour quite a bit. You can also use an immersion blender.

Adding the butter

Tips and FAQs for Making The Best Tomato Soup Ever

You may have noticed that there are no garlic cloves added, no fresh herbs needed, no tomato paste, no chicken broth or vegetable broth.

Before you’re tempted to add anything, just try the recipe as is. It is simple, but so delicious. Here are some substitutions you could make:

  • You could splurge and use cream in place of a portion of the milk, but I find milk makes it lovely and creamy without being rich.
  • I’m not opposed to adding a few fresh basil leaves at the blending stage if you love a tomato basil soup.
  • To make a gluten-free version, use an all purpose gluten free flour in place of the regular all purpose.
  • The best canned tomatoes to use are San Marzano tomatoes, if you can find them. They are meaty and rich in flavour.

How to Serve It:

I served mine here with a little spoonful of sour cream and some homemade croutons, but a melty grilled cheese sandwich on the side is my favourite way to go.

Sprinkle with a crack of black pepper, if you like, and/or drizzle with a little heavy or olive oil if you’re feeling fancy.

How to Store Leftovers:

I doubt there will be any leftovers, because this really is the best tomato soup ever, but if you find yourself with extra, yay! Store it in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.

This soup does not freeze well as it will likely separate during thawing.

More Must-Try Soup Recipes

Homemade Tomato Soup in a bowl with cream and croutons

Creamy Homemade Tomato Soup Recipe

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Servings 6
Soup
American

Ingredients
 
 

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk preferably whole
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 3 ½ cups canned diced tomatoes include the juice
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • salt to taste

Instructions
 

  • Heat the butter in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and 1/2 tsp kosher salt. Cook until softened and translucent (not browned), about 6 minutes.
  • Stir in the flour and cook one minute, stirring constantly, then gradually whisk in milk.
  • Add baking soda, tomatoes, sugar and 1 tsp more salt. Simmer 10 minutes, then blend with an immersion or regular blender (see note below).
  • Add more salt by pinches, tasting as you go until soup tastes vibrant and well-seasoned (see note below).

Notes

On seasoning to taste, I use about 2 tsp kosher salt, but it really depends if the butter and tomatoes had salt.
To blend the soup in a regular blender, you must work in small batches as hot liquids will come shooting out if you overfill. Do a few ladlefuls at a time, pour the pureed soup into another pot, and continue until all the soup is pureed. 

Nutrition

Calories: 174kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 5gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 386mgPotassium: 152mgFiber: 2gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 1014IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 161mgIron: 1mg
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Mar
Mar
4 years ago

5 stars
OMG Jenn, This recipe REALLY is the best and fastest. I added some basil because tomatoes taste so good with basil, otherwise perfect. Thank you!!!

Khacho
6 months ago
Reply to  Mar

Me too, Basil is the best. Also a dash of cayenne pepper. Really up taste with no burn.

Rosie
Rosie
3 years ago

Can this be frozen?

Mealla
Mealla
1 year ago

5 stars
So tasty, so simple! Not one for leaving reviews really (anywhere), but this was so creamy and delicious, about to make again! And… I have shared with anyone who will listen! Thank you so much!

Karin Hulston
Karin Hulston
1 year ago

5 stars
Lovely soup xx

Kelly
Kelly
1 year ago

This looks amazing! Going to try it tonight. What did you garnish it with at the end? (the black bits in the picture)

lin
lin
1 year ago

5 stars
The name of this soup…Best-Ever…really is the best ever!!! It is a frequent request by my family. So good no need to change this recipe at all!!! Thank you for the best ever tomato soup!!!

Fi2020
Fi2020
1 year ago

I never leave comments, but this one is good! I added two pinches of pepper and paprika for a little kick. My husband asked me if I actually made this from scratch because it was so delicious!

Chloe
1 year ago

5 stars
Ooooh. So I’ve grown an entire farm’s worth of tomatoes this year despite a) living on my own and b) not really eating that many tomatoes *slaps forehead*. I’m really not a tomato sauce gal either and honestly, I am so done with them raw, but I do love a bit of Heinz cream of tomato. So I had a search for a recipe and saw your name pop up in the results. Your food always looks great on Insta so I came in for a read. Woah, totally unusually method and ingredients – colour me intrigued! Anyway I made the recipe for dinner tonight and, I’m blown away – it was so good! I gave it a quick strain after blitzing because my blender ain’t fancy and I threw in a bunch of cherry toms with the skin on. I dunked a ham and mozzarella toastie to make it a full meal and I’m already debating making some more tomorrow. Fab recipe, thanks for sharing!

Goldie walters
Goldie walters
11 months ago

5 stars
I’m almost 80 and you would think I would really know how to make tomato soup but kept thinking of the recipe my mom used with eight people in the family and it was a little onion milk butter soda and I couldn’t remember anything else so I saw this recipe and I thought you know what this girl makes it so uncomplicated I’m going to write this down because it’s exactly the recipe I was looking for. I’m so tired of having to run out and get a lot of ingredientsAnd then they just go to waste thank you my friend you’re really the best

Barbara Brinson
Barbara Brinson
10 months ago
Reply to  Goldie walters

I did this same thing that Goldie Waters did. Had some tomatoes I HAD CANNED FROM MY GARDEN AND REMEMBERED That my Mother used to make a tomato soup using some flour. Searched for tomato soup recipes and found this one that sounded similar. Made it and lo and behold, lm eating my Mother’s soup again.

Anne
Anne
11 months ago

Hi, I was going to make this but was astounded by the amount of butter. 4
tablespoons per portion? That’s 100grams or 4 ounces. Is that right?

Meredith
Meredith
10 months ago

5 stars
Sooooo good! This is the soup my grandpa made when I was a kid. He would make a batch of fresh cornbread (the regular, not the sweet) and put a slice in the soup bowl, and spoon the soup over the bread. He liked his with lots of tomato chunks so he didn’t blend it. That’s better with the cornbread, but your recipe is better with a cheese sandwich. But no, no basil – then you’re back in spaghetti sauce territory.

Adhya Baskar
Adhya Baskar
9 months ago

I made this recipe and it was amazing and easy and my family loved it.

BooBee
BooBee
3 months ago

I would like to make this for my mother in law, but she is celiac. Can i substitute the flour with baking powder? Same amounts?

Debra
Debra
1 month ago

5 stars
Hi, made this soup for dinner tonight!
It was delicious!
how long can you keep it in the fridge for , I made to much and see you shouldn’t freeze it.
thanks

Gayle Rorvik
Gayle Rorvik
1 month ago

5 stars
This is delicious just as you’ve written! Thank you!

Audrey
Audrey
1 month ago

5 stars
Oh my gosh I made this soup for lunch and it is truly amazing. SIX stars.

Kim
Kim
1 month ago

5 stars
This is the best and easiest tomato soup. I’ll be making this a lot!

Mel
Mel
1 month ago

5 stars
This recipe is really soooo good. Thanks so much for sharing!

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