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.
Why This is the Best Tomato Soup Ever
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.
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.
- Use a tiny amount of baking soda. This tip comes from food science.
- Add a small spoonful of sugar to enhance the natural sweetness of the tomatoes.
- 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.
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.
How to Make The Best Tomato Soup Using Canned Tomatoes
It’s just so quick and simple.
- Melt butter and saute the onions: develop mild flavour by softening the onions in butter in a large dutch oven.
- 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.
- Add milk and tomatoes: slowly whisk in milk to avoid lumps, then add the tomatoes.
- Add baking soda and sugar: our secret ingredients to make this the best tomato soup ever.
- Bring to a simmer: and cook on low heat 10 minutes or so to allow the soup to thicken and flavours to meld.
- 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.
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
Creamy Homemade Tomato Soup Recipe
- 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
- 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).